Sok Lak Short Bio

Last update: July 2017

Sok Lak lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, the country where he dreams and loves to make positive impact and grow green heart. Currently, he is co-founder of Scholar Library and Writing Alliance, an independent student-run association aiming to promote writing awareness and discussion among Cambodian young generation on various topics including climate change and environment, and other social, economic, and political problems. He is also freelancer economic reporter and has over 5 year journalism experience. As media background, he also freelance to work on media contents and media engagement for social projects run by youth group and companies as well. He got a bachelor degree of Economics Development from Royal University of Law and Economics (RULE) in 2010, and bachelor degree of English Literature from University of Cambodia (UC) in 2012. From his practical experiences, and academic background, he has gained skills and qualification in project management, writing and media and communication, public speaking, and good leadership. Sok Lak very passionately loves working with young people and contributing to social change.


Agenda of International Conference on Social Entrepreneurship.

International Conference on Promoting Vibrant Social Entrepreneurship

Date: 22-24 May 2017

Venue: Cambodia-Korea Cooperation Center, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Organized by SESA Network

Sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, The Royal University of Phnom Penh, and the University of Calgary

11:00 – 13:00 Registration
13:00 – 16:00 Field Visits to Social Enterprises
18:00 – 20:30 Conference Dinner, Special Presentations and Entertainment
07:30 – 08:00 Registration
08:00 – 08:15 Greetings
08:15 – 09:45 Plenary I- Regional Inspirations, Realities and Opportunities
09:45 – 10:15 Break
10:15 – 12:15 Plenary II- Insights from Big Picture Initiatives
12:15 – 13:30 Networking lunch
13:30 – 15:00 Concurrent Sessions A
15:00 – 15:30 Break
15:30 – 17:00 Concurrent Sessions B
07:30 – 08:00 Registration
08:30 – 10:00 Plenary III- Opportunities for International Collaboration
10:00 – 10:30 Break
10:30 – 12:00 Concurrent Sessions C
12:00 – 13:30 Networking lunch
13:30 – 15:00 Concurrent Sessions D
15:00 – 15:30 Break
15:30 – 16:00 Closing



How to create blog


On 12 March 2017, Scholar Library organized a mini course on how to create blog with 4 trainee.

Paid Job during Unemployed

Many people advised that we should not leave regular jobs to work on freelance job or do business early. They also advice we need to be employed for full time in long term around 5-10 years first before leave for freelance or business. Wherever we are, all struggling, but when we jump in own work, we will feel that we hold a very big rock on our back. We need to consider everything by ourself and need to take challenges to overcome it.

Life is hard, it is more harder when we enjoy social activities rather than money orientated activities. It is more harder when we enjoy working for social benefit than for oneself. It is more harder when we think about others much than oneself.

Life is struggling. Since the end of 2013 till early 2015, to catch the dream I was being unemployed around one years and half to explore and adventure in finding the ways to be environment economist and seek for sustainable living style. And again, I was being another unemployed for whole 2016 at the same purpose and finally jump in library and knowledge management sector. Many people asked me how can I survive especially budget for wedding, transportation, communication, friends gathering, clothing and so on.

Sure, it is not easy to survive and enjoy life, but it is not pity like others, like people who is suffering and no food to eat. It is not hard like others who do not have home. It is not so difficult like others who even cannot go to study at school. I still have 3 meals and a good shelter to sleep. What I am lacking is budget to fix motor when broken, budget for wedding reason, budget for friends gathering or party, budget for working facilities especially when computer and phone broken, budget for traveling, budget for saving in case emergency and budget for any saving including for future wedding, own home, capital, healthcare and even for study in higher education especially pursue master degree. So only less new cloth, less gathering friends, less party, less entertainment, less traveling, less freedom to do what we love to do and so on.

To manage event is hard, to manage project is more harder, manage life is more and more harder. The life is full of misery, but also mystery. We cannot blame others, but blame oneself who not try more harder, who not work harder, and who not think harder.

Flashback to unemployment situation is facing, let’s clear doubt of many people how could I survive when I involve so much with volunteer works at that times. Since end of 2010, I start to involve in volunteer and social work especially environment, education (including reading and writing), culture and media. In the early of 2013, I involve in social work in form of volunteer much more than before. To sustain social work as active mode, I also involve in paid job as freelance working style.

  • Freelance on news writing: as I remember, I earned some budget from Khmer economy magazine and Cambodia economy magazine.
  • Freelance on translation: There are organization I worked for.
  • Freelance on interpretation: Involve both interpret from English to Khmer, Khmer to English, also from Chinese to Khmer, Khmer to Chinese too. That’s also including interpret for foreign report at Phnom Penh Post.
  • Freelance on selling tourism service: when have time, also used to become guide for tourist a few times. Also sell some tourism package including tour package for traveling, passport service, bus service, restaurant booking and so on.
  • Investor: in 2013, I also jump in newly establish stock market in Cambodia to experience and for learning invest a small money to be investor that time then earn some budget for survive too that time.
  • Minute taker: join a workshop and write what is going on in the workshop.
  • Speaker: Most of the times being speaker is volunteering. But some events especially even in Nepal and Barcamp, I also get fund from them on being speaker .
  • Trainer: beside being volunteering trainer in many field like writing, leadership, event management, blogging, and technology. Also used to earn from being trainer on “How to write blog”.

These paid look like a lot, but earning not equal to every month salary basis, still happy to continue these kind of journey. Journey is on going.

What’s just my experience only. If you know more opportunities on it, please share.

Caring about Admin Letter Error is about Caring Education Development?

Flashback to the time I was working with Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in 2013 under physical education development sector or simply called sport sector, till now I still really wonder if what public officials were doing is really care about development. What they really care about mistakes on admin letter is really the way care about education development.

A very critical but funny from a very high ranking and knowledge person at ministry stated that “We need to ensure that there is no any mistakes on admin letter, because it is Ministry of Education.”

A mindset and action for perfect admin letter led many admin letter keep delay again and again, correct many times and many times till the last minutes that work need to process or let’s it fail then program or project no need to work on. But the question end here that why they really care about mistakes on a single paper rather care about program development or sector development? or they really think that what they act could benefits to Khmer language literacy or admin paper literacy or sport development or simply education development?

Reflect back to their action, I really wondered if their act is really from a policy of ministry of education which ensure the high quality of Khmer language and education development. I really wonder that why they really do that? It is really caring about education development and physical education development in country?

What I found out that all sport organization face that challenges and admin letter challenges. However, I keep asked them why do not they offer training on admin paper to them, but what they answer that it is not necessary.

Taking years to think about issues, still keeps wondering. The wonder of mind. If anyone know about it, please let’s me know.

However, I really did not find out any much benefits from their action while they only care about mistakes on admin letter rather care about quality of works or program they approved. What I experienced with them they rarely ask about technical issues, program activities or any development ideas from admin paper that I submit to them every times. What I could get from is only feedback related to word spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, paper format mistakes, using wrong colors, using wrong title, using unacceptable word, using impolite word in written language.

Note: Admin letter submission process at Department of Sport and Physical Education, Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport in 2013:

  1. Sport Federation
  2. Administrative office department (2.1: with deputy, 2.2: with director)
  3. Technical Department
  4. Sport and Physical Education Department (4.1: with deputy, 4.2: with director)
  5. General Department of Sport (5.1: with deputy, 5.2: with director)
  6. Administrative office at ministry level
  7. Financial Department (optional)
  8. Deputy Secretary of State
  9. Secretary of State
  10. Minister

When completed each admin letter submission process, we also need to be careful and aware that it is like game rule. If we fail at whatever stage, we need to start again. Another careful is every stage, our admin letter could be missing. What also surprise that it is a lot of process, but it would spend only one day long if it is urgent. But if there is problem, it would take one month long.



Reflection from visiting CDRI library

Normally, people use their day off to relax or entertainment activities. However, I am more exciting and energetic when I know that what I am doing is valuable. Sometimes it is really fun for me as well, also what people called peace of mind. Monday is the only one dayoff for me for every week. So I spend a morning of Monday in second week of January 2017 to visit Cambodia Development Resource Institute – CDRI Library.

After spending a few hours visiting library and talk with the head of library there, here is what I learned from them:

  • Catalog skill: after observe bookshelf, I found out they are using Dewey Classification Class (DDC) code for catalog, but what is different they use a lot of digit for each books and also use author short name on it. So when we checked book it is more easier by searching DDC code plus author short name.

 “The more number in call number, the more easy to control.”15970205_10211428133241175_1013640728_n


  • Library promotion: In CDRI, they design banner by using DDC code and color to represent the whole book categories in their library. 50% of their books are in 300 class, then they use blue to represent in banner and mean that their library focus areas in that class: economic and social.


  • Inter-load: Another interesting one is inter-loan service also introduced at CRDI library and CKS library between two library and two areas: Phnom Penh & Siem Reap. It is another new tool to introduce for library in Cambodia. In this service, user need to pay shipping cost for 5,000 riel from Siem Reap to Phnom Penh and another 5,000 riel return book back from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap. If any lose book, each library responsible.
  • Integrate Library: another pop up after visit library. All library should integrate library together and I believe that it is another step to promote library value, also user is easy to know where is available in their location. Also easy to exchange services among library.
  • Classify knowledge resource: in a library, there are many kind of knowledge. It made more understand that we shold seperate into book, journal seriers, magazine, report and other documents.
  • E-library: what I aware that library system we also can upload PDF file or book file in that system. User can download that book and read it, no need to come library to read.
  • Specialized library: when library go specialize it is good. CDRI mostly collect only DDEC 300 and currently it has around 50 thousand books there for the whole library.
  • Own code. When we use code, we also need library sytem knowledge or we called DDC. 15941966_10211428133441180_1228874455_n

Why should we study more?

[Journal] 11.01.2017

The day of 11 January 2017 is not really a good day for me. Since morning, I was really exciting about meeting with Unit Nation Development Program (UNDP) specialist in Cambodia and hope to discuss more and prepare a very strategic workshop for librarian to learn and understand as well as continue their works to be more critical in development process, but unlucky the meeting cannot made due to urgent issue. Because of no meeting, we had more time then the team went to Pannasastra University of Cambodia library for upcoming workshop on “Library Role in Development – SDGs”. After the meeting, I met a little girl. She seems remember me so well and make me surprise so that I just smile to her.

After that, we spent a few minutes on conservation. In the mid points, she ask me.

Her: Bong, did you graduated?

I simply answer: I already finished and graduated in Bachelor degree.

Her: hmm…

I continued: Still planning to continue to study master degree in one or two years more.

Her: Why should you continue study?

I smiled and reply: I want to increase my productivity in working.

Her: why?

Me: The more I know the more productive I am and the more result from my work. Knowledge can help to guide in a very short ways to achieve our goals and our work. So if we want to produce more result and impact, we need to study more.

Her: Yes, that’s right. My grandparent also blame me on not to continue study, because I drop to study here.

Me: Sister, you should not do that. The more study you do, the better future. You should continue your study.

Her: Yes, bong. Thanks!

After this conservation, I realized that there are many ways to explain the value of knowledge. There are many reasons for people to study whatever we are children, student, employee, employer, unemployed person, business person, old people and so on. Everyone still need to study or learn in any form to consume knowledge to increase quality of their life (work, friend, social, family, personal and …).

“The more knowledge we have, the more quality of life we enjoy.”  Sok Lak