We are currently sandwiched between two new years: the solar and lunar. There is a double sense of newness—a chance of catching the tipping point again—so happy new year twice over! I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a time of the year where we get to be reflective and plan ahead.
Calmly and with intention, Youk Chhang turned to us and said, “If you want to get rich, start an NGO in Phnom Penh.” It hit me like a ton of bricks, sunk into my chest and irrevocably burned me from the inside out. It became the debt I carry.
Through French-Cambodian director Davy Chou's artful lens— full of compassion, understanding, and absolutely no judgement for his city— I was free to imbue my own Phnom Penh with a more complete vision.
Faces. I see them every day, in comings and goings on my bicycle: An old man, folded in a deck chair. A woman in the back of a motorcycle, with a piercing stare. A man standing by a cart. Their expressions betray their emotions, flickering in and out. There are stories. Lived, and imagined.
Track X was my first uncharted step into "the design unknown."
After graduating with a degree in tourism almost a decade ago, design-as-vocation was a life direction I had taken from almost zero. I had taught myself without any mentor, without qualifications, and withtout a clear understanding of where I was headed. In my early teens I had been aware that I had a raw gift, so the skills came easily, but I knew that it wasn't enough since every skill needs a purpose and goal in order to grow.
The year was 2013. I went to Sikkim—a jutting piece of Indian territory set between Bhutan, Tibet and Nepal— I had only a vague notion of its history, and hoped for a new adventure in experiential learning.