5 years ago, I came to Cambodia knowing virtually nothing about the country. Now, I still maintain I know next to nothing. As I step back from leadership of OIC Cambodia, here’s 5 things that challenged my preconceived ideas of working in Cambodia.
After witnessing an incident of racism and misogyny in public, and mentioning it on Twitter, I was called an “ingrate” and told to leave Australia. But, surely nothing indicates a love of country more than a desire to improve it. Imagine a place where we listened to what people said, rather than where they had come from, or the type of surname they had. That’s a country worth aspiring to.
I leave OIC Cambodia in country in a far better state that I could have imagined. With structure, an exit strategy, and most importantly, the best possible people controlling its destiny. Our new leader, Chenda, is not “replacing Weh”. She is entering a new position, has her own style of leadership, and will do things her way. She has my full support from afar, to make decisions her way and guide the organisation in the way that she sees fit.
“I’m hoping everything will be brighter by April. Stay in touch.” Less than 2 months after sending me this message, Mark Colvin passed away. Mark taught me many things, but perhaps the most crucial was this: The world does not revolve around my desire to help others.
In 2013, I started OIC Cambodia . Now, I’m months away from handing over leadership.
Stepping back from OIC, the organisation I founded, will be bittersweet. But this move isn’t just necessary, it’s also crucial to our future success. Here’s why.
In the coming years, we’ll look back at 2016 fondly. It was a tough year, we fought hard, and made some mistakes too. But on balance, 2016 was a year when OIC Cambodia took huge steps towards no longer being no longer a baby. In 2016, we learnt to walk.
Before I speak to you about my work in Cambodia, I wanted to tell you a little about how I’ve come to stand before you today. My great grandparents left China during a time of famine, and moved to Malaysia. My parents came to Australia in the 70’s, seeking a better life for their children. At the time, my father had $200 in his pocket.
Playing a musical instrument could be just about the best thing your child can do. And I should know – giving up music is one of my biggest regrets.
Given the choice of placing an iPad or a flute in the hands of your child, the instrument would have to be the better option.
A couple of years ago, I bought a little piece of plastic on eBay. It’s completely changed the way I work, by forcing me to have a break from technology. Here’s how it all happened.
In the West, it seems we want to worship leaders who are invincible. Leaders who are all knowing, all wise and can do anything. In my experience, these leaders don’t exist. Here’s how my experience as the leader of OIC Cambodia involves getting people better than me on board.