Chess against failure

A nice Ulule project which deserves support and sharing! Frédéric Zaborski is a newly retired teacher who is willing to give some of his time to NGO in Cambodia and Laos. He needs your help to gather enough chessboards for each NGO. The event will be covered by French chess federation.

18 days left!


What’s about

• Provide  20 complete games Chess and 1 large wall board for 4 schools.
• Get out there from February to May 2016 to initiate adults and children. This will be done with the approval of four NGOs or local official structures of Cambodia and Laos working in the field of education in disadvantaged areas.
• This material will be supplemented with school supplies and magazines of Chess.
• A booklet of Chess rules and principles will be written in 3 three languages                                                       (French / Khmer / English and French / Lao / English)


Why Chess ?

• They are universal, are played everywhere, at all ages and among all ages. They are a common bond.
• They are trainers. Many studies show that regular Chess significantly improves academic performance. They develop skills such as imagination, sense of observation, attention, concentration, memory, anticipation, deduction, determination, thoughtful risk taking, …
• They are learning because they facilitate socialization, respect for others, respect for rules, tolerance and peaceful provide essential weapons to grow progressing.

His représentative : Frédéric ZABORSKI, President  club since 2011.

Frédéric Zaborski

For Who ? Where ? With which NGOs or local official structures ?

* The School of Chiro (Cambodia)   with obt Cambodia.
* The E.N.S. to Luang Prabang, Laos  (      whith “Compter sur demain” (

These two structures, enthusiastic about the project, joined very quickly.


How ?
The objective, in the medium and long term, is to install the game of chess in the school structure.
For this, the older students, accompanied by one or more adults in the school, will benefit from this initiation. They will, in turn, pass on to others what they have learned.
The pedagogical approach : * A mix of the Chess rules and games to observe, reason, analyze, count. Take the time to appropriate the space of the board, to appropriate action specific to each part before starting to play.
In a second time, games will be played by reducing the number of parts                                                                    (eg : 8 pawns against King + King + 8 pins).
In a third time, the main principles of the game will be introduced : the importance of the center, the King’s protection, the protection of parts together, ….
Basic Duration : 20 hours spread over ten days + 1 as they want the rest of the day !
Extension : A distance (email, skype, mail), follow-up action will be implemented by French players or elsewhere, with the leaders of each school in the form of advice, documents, useful informations.


_________________Why help us ?

• Because in helping us, may, in the short term, 100 people discover a new area that will entertain them, will advance and strengthen.
• Because you will allow, these 100 people to discover other new field.

More about the project here:


The soul of Phnom Kulen


It’s been a year and half since I live in Cambodia. A few weeks ago, I went for  two days in Kulen Mountains. Phnom Kulen (”Mountain of the Lychees”) is considered by Khmers to be the most sacred mountain in Cambodia. My obsessions were to meet the inhabitants, sleep in the Pagoda and visit the batcave. I was dreaming about it. We rent a motorbike to go there and we just took a blanket in case we could sleep. When I travel, I love improvisation and the feeling of freedom.


Monks and Waterfall

It was a beautiful day with a generous sun. We swam in the waterfall surrounded by a lush vegetation. I was so impressed by the peaceful mood of the place. It sent shivers down my spine as I saw a ballet monks in the water. After few hours of serenity under the sun, we went at Wat Preah Ang Thom Pagoda, where an impressive reclining Statue of Buddha carved from rock rests in a tree.


The reclining Buddha

We were lucky to have a stunning view on the lush jungle.


Establishing contact with the inhabitants of the Pagoda was quite easy. As I know some words in Khmer, I asked if we could sleep in the Pagoda. We met a nice monk with an open heart and a generous soul. He told us that we had to ask the village’s policeman for a permission.


Miraculously, we obtained the authorization to sleep one night with the protection of the policeman. We slept under an inner courtyard near the Pagoda with others persons. A mosquito net was generously made available by the nice monk. An inhabitant took me for a walk before the sunset and showed me the hidden treasures and the fascinating beauty of the forest:


We ate in the inner courtyard with the other people and we had a short time of meditation. We played an interesting game of chess with my friend while we tried to avoid the flying insects.




Lying on the floor, I was looking through the darkness when I saw some exquisite fireflies around us for the first time of my life. I was like a child seeing snow for the first time. The sky was clear and starlit, and sleep with the sounds of the forest was an amazing experience.


We woke up early in the morning and had a soup for breakfast. A generous person proposed us to go with him by motorbike to visit the batcave and the lost city ”Sra Damrei”.

The batcave is quite narrow, humid and cold. Usually, the monks get together inside the cellar to pray.  We saw a big millipede on the ground and hundreds of bats from the ceiling. After climbing to the top of the viewpoint to contemplate the vastness of the forest , we went to the lost city ”Sra Damrei”.


Courtesy of Daniele Oliveri.

That was just amazing and surprising. I realized how lucky we are that we have met such warm people. The journey was quite exhausting but full of emotions.


He took me for a walk.


Delightful Koh-Rong.

Long beach

There are no words to describe this heavenly island. Just take a boat from Sihanoukville in Cambodia, put down your backpack on the hot sand and enjoy the turquoise blue water. Welcome in Koh-Rong island!

Es gibt kein Wort um diese Paradiesinsel zu beschreiben. Einfach den Boot von Sihanoukville in Kambodscha fahren, deinem Rucksack auf den warmen Sand hinlegen, und das blaue türkise Wasser genießen. Willkommen in Koh-Rong Insel!

Long Beach day

If you like sleeping in a hammock, eating the fishes that you have caught on your own, swimming in the blue turquoise lagoon with sometimes nobody around you (Coconut beach, Long beach), this island is just for you!

Wenn du auf einer Hängematte schlafen magst, selbstgefangene Fische essen magst, in der blauen türkisen Lagune schwimmen magst, ist diese Insel einfach für dich (Coconut beach, Long beach).


A luxuriant jungle surrounds the blue lagoon. By walking through the jungle, you can reach “Long beach” in 2 hours. The lazier will take directly a motorboat for Long beach. Snakes, spiders and monkeys are the main animals that you can meet in the jungle. You have to be careful. You will not find any hospital on the island, and come back to Sihanoukville will take you 30 minutes with the speed boat, and 2 hours with the slow boat.

Ein üppiger Dschungel umgibt die Lagune. Du kannst in zwei Stunden zu Fuß durch den Dschungel ”Long beach” erreichen. Die Faulesten werden einfach ein Motorboot nach Longbeach fahren. Schlangen, Spinnen und Affen sind die Hauptbewohner der Insels. Vorsichtig sein. Es gibt kein Krankenhaus auf der Insel. Nach Sihanoukville dauert es zwei Stunde mit dem Boot.

Long Beach and the Jungle

Snorkelling and scuba diving are the main sporting activities on the island. The lagoon contains a variety of coloured fishes and a beautiful coral!

Die Hauptaktivitäten sind schnorchen and tauchen. In der Laguna gibt es viele bunte Fische und schönen Korallen.

Desert Beach

Explore the coast of Koh-Rong will take you 5 hours by motorboat. It’s an amazing experience if you want to feel alone on the beach of Coconut beach, just listen the sound of the waves and the light gentle touch of the palm tree leaves.

Es dauert fünf Stunde, die Küste von Koh-Rong mit einem Motorboot zu entdecken. Es ist eine wunderbare Erfahrung, im Besonderen wenn du allein auf dem Strand liegen magst. Einfach das Geräusch der Vellen und die schöne samfte Bewegung der Palmenblätter.


Some fishermen live far from the main touristic part of the island.

Fisher wohnen weit von der touristischen Teil der Insel entfernt.


Just think about nothing and let it go…

Einfach denken aufhören und entspannen…

Peaceful life in Prey Chrey.

Dear readers,

I apologize. I haven’t written an article for a long while. My blog will restart soon. Meanwhile, I let you enjoy the mood of this short video and the photos of the peaceful life in Prey Chrey, a small village near the border of Vietnam, accessible only by boat  two times. It’s very complicated to go there, especially during the rainy season. But, you will find an authentic Khmer village, with some silk weavers. There aren’t any guesthouses and any hotels. Prey Chrey is far from modernity.

On the boat  for  Prey Chrey.

The silk weaver

KidsIn Cambodia, the kids always smile, play and laugh, even though life is not easy for them. In these pictures, they were surprised by my camera.


In Prey Chrey, I saw a lot of grannies in good health! It’s unusual in Cambodia to find some nonagenarian grannies. Perhaps, stay away from modernity is the secret to live longer.



Khmer Pile dwellings

The Dolphin of the Mekong.

  • The Dolphins of Irrawaddy is an endangered species in the Mekong. The main reason of his extinction is the use of string bags by the fishermen. Also, they are sensitive with the noise of the motorboats.


  • The most part of the villagers live with the income of the fishing. That’s why, it’s very difficult to change the habits.


  • The first possible solution as tourist is to not use a motorboat when you visit the Mekong. Then, the hard task will be to find a fair solution between the local NGOs and the villagers.


  • How could we carry out an appropriate income for all the villagers, if they can’t fish in great quantity?


  • Perhaps ecotourism will be the best solution, even though not all the villagers can take an advantage of this activity. But, what can we do for the others?

Cambodian Art Contest 2013!

I was looking for the National Museum of Arts in Phnom Penh, and I found by chance some beautiful paintings of Arts students in Cambodia. It was the second Cambodian Art contest 2013, organised by a japanese art’s lover. See below, some paintings that touched me:

Rong Reasey, Student of Phare Ponleu Selpak


Soeung Sorlita, Student of Anuwat high school


Pol Makara, Student of Rufa


Daim Souert, Student of Phare Ponleu Selpak


Sao Vannara, Student of Rufa


Im Pesey, Student of Rufa


Y Bunheang, Studend of Rufa


Nhem Sopheap, Student of Yamada School of Art


Theak Bunthon, Student of Rufa


Som Sokvibol, Student of Phare Ponleu Selpak, Sculpture


Chop Sopheap, Teacher painting


Em Theary, Student of Rufa


Sok Sereymony, Student of Num

DSCF8180Sina Boramy, Student of Rufa

Makara : Circus Performer at Phare Ponleu Selpak !

Phare Ponleu Selpak (PPS) is a social center and art school in Battambang. I was lucky to see ” The Adventure ” , one of the show of the circus. I wanted to know more about the life of the Circus Performers in PPS and what the circus brings them in their life. Makara, a talented artist, has graciously allowed me to ask him some questions:


1)      Hello! What’s your name? How old are you?

My name is Makara. I`m 23 years old.

2)      How long are you playing in the circus of Battambang? What is your main speciality in the circus?

I`ve been playing in the circus of Battambang for 4years. And I`ve been training for 5 years. (Note: Because of his talent, that`s why he take short time in training for the performance, but not all the students like him.)

3)     How many hours are you working per day? Are you going to school too? Can you narrate me a typical day in the circus.

I train every weekday from 8-11am, and 2-5pm, and the performance is depend on the circus schedule that require each group to work.

  • I don`t go to school anymore as I finish high school for 3 years now.
  • A typical day at the circus is that we have 2 hours to train every morning and afternoon. The first half hour, we do warm up, and the rest we train with our techniques. For me, I get a support from PPS, so I can have lunch in the association. My house is in Chamka Samrong village which is a bit far from PPS and I walk to school. Normally, if we will perform tomorrow, today we need to rehearsal ourselves with the story that we will perform and the music also in order to be together with the music. And on the performed day, we need to train with our techniques before the show starts.


4)      How have you found the Phareps circus? Is there a selection to work in the circus?

How to found the PPS circus: There was a group of teachers here (Social Workers) go to the community and announce about the extra class in PPS for free. Then my mum sent me to study here. I walk to school on the dirt road behind PPS because it`s nearer from my house. At first I come here to study at Child Development Center during my free time from school. I train with the dancing class about 4 years and I know almost all the dancing too. I and my friend were waiting to see the new school of dancing class as we don`t have a real class for dancing.

Later on, all of my friend stop studying here, and I also stop too. Then, I see other children are training in the circus school, and I also interested on it too, especially there was one group performed abroad, so I ask the teachers there to join the class, and the teacher also allows me to join it too. At that time, I was in grade 5, so I decided to change from my previous primary school, Pothivong Primary School, to study at PPS public school because it`s easy for me to ask permission from school if there is a performance at the same time with the class hours.

  • The selection to work at the circus: Normally, during the training, we always join group, the group that can perform is the one that work well with a good story. Before I was in Five Styles group but in 2012, it was separated into two groups- Chill and Adventure. For me, before I can perform, I train only three months. Then the teacher thinks that I have talent with art and he asks me to train with the clown. After three months, I join the performance.

5)      Can you become a circus performer professional and a teacher after your formation?

I cannot say that I can become a professional performer, but I want to be like that. I don`t want to be a teacher here but I and some of my group members want to open a place like PPS in order to teach other children in other area, especially in the rural area, and the border of Khmer- Thai, and Khmer-Vietnam because lots of people haven`t know about the circus yet.


6)      I saw the “Adventure” show. What is the story narrated?

The Adventure show is about the life of a boy who lives in domestic violent family. Every day, his mother always plays game, and his father drunk all the time and also use violence in the family. So, he decided to leave home to Phnom Penh. But he knows nothing about Phnom Penh- he just knows the name only. Related to Phnom Penh, this story is about the small markets there. He tries to find the job to work there from place to place.

Move back to his parents, after they lost their child, they stop playing game and drinking and try to find their child back, but they cannot find their child. Finally, the boy comes back home by himself and he lives with his family happily. The moral of this story is to show about Cambodian lives, and educate people to avoid domestic violence, gambling, alcohol in order to develop their family, and also the society.

7)      I really liked the costumes too! Who chooses the costumes and how?

Related to the costumes, they are chosen by the teacher, the group members, and our clothes designers (Sister Heang and Leap as they work at the theater, so they can suggest good costumes for our performance). So, it`s depend on the teacher, the group members, the designers and the story that we will perform in order to match the dressing and situation together.

8)      The music was so funny too! What is the name of the group? Where can we find and listen the music? CD?

The musicians are in Adventure group. (Normally, each group has their own music band. All the musicians are the students from PPS music school). I don`t think you can find it or buy it as we haven`t record it into CD. You can only hear it at the same time you see our performance. (The instruments that are used for the performance are Tro, Drum, Skor (drum), Roneat, and Khoem. and there are 3 musicians.)


9)      Can you tell me your projects in a near future? What’s your biggest dream?

In the future, I want to open a place just like Phare where the children can learn all kinds of art like circus, visual art, dance, and so on.

  • My biggest dream is I want to be a professional performer, and travel to different place around the world. I want other people know me and Cambodia as well.

10)   What the Phareps circus brings you in your life?

I think PharePS brings a good life for me, because it helps me to know the outside world, art, and also other countries. Moreover, it teaches me to build good communication with other people through art. Also PharePS help me in building my capacity too. Recently, I just know that I`m from the artist family as my grandfather was a musician and also play in the theatre, and my grandmother was an artist in the comedy and theatre. I think my life is good, even I`m not reach or I have everything, at least I`m better that other people. The other feel proud of me and they are happy when they see me, and I`m also happy too at that time, but in fact not really. By the way, I never think that I`m the best, I always think that I still need to learn more from other.



  • Support from PPS: Actually PPS sponsor to 90 children. Before they are living in the association, but because of the new policy from the government, we have to foster care instead of keeping them in the association.
  • Social Worker: They are the one who works directly with the community and choose the children into each project too. They need to communicate with the village chief for each family`s information to find out that which family really needs help from us. Then they need to do the family assessment and follow up. All the child who are in the project have join the public school curriculum as our main goal is to make the children going to school. So, the social workers have to do follow up with the children study- whether they come to school every day or not, and how do they learn?
  • Child Development Centre: it is the informal education as we teach the small children as kindergarten class. As some children have to take care of their small younger brother or sister at home, it`s hard for them to come to school, so they can keep their younger brother or sister here, and join the class. This department also gives such extra class to the slow learners at the public school. The teacher here, teach them more what they have learnt from school. Now, our new kindergarten classes just built and we will move all the small children to study there. Moreover, this department also provides the dancing class to the children also. We have three kinds of dancing here- Khmer traditional dancing, Pop and Classical Dancing.
  • PPS Public School: This school takes place in our association but it`s owned by the government. It`s good for the children too because they can go to the art class any time that they are free from school.