Cambodian student in China chases dream of illuminated homeland

(Xinhua) 15:14, February 21, 2023

KUNMING, Feb. 21 (Xinhua) -- Tim Chivorn's graduation project is a manifestation of his dreams -- a miniature model of a hydropower station designed to operate in the mountainous region of Battambang in western Cambodia which he hopes could solve the problem of electricity shortage in the area.

Chivorn, 24, is a Cambodian student at Kunming University of Science and Technology. Pursuing a major in electrical automation, he aspires to leverage his education and apply his learnings to the development of Cambodia's electricity infrastructure.

Chivorn shared that in his home province of Battambang, it was customary for the locals to start working at sunrise and rest at sunset, as the area's electricity supply was inadequate. During his childhood, frequent blackouts were a regular occurrence, which severely impacted the daily lives of the people.

"Every time when there was a power outage, the city would be plunged into darkness," he said.

The memories of those dark nights ignited a fervent resolution in Chivorn to bring light to his hometown, and provide uninterrupted access to electricity for its people.

When Chivorn pondered on where to start, China provided the answer. Since the launch of the Belt and Road Initiative, China has helped Cambodia build several hydropower stations such as the Kamchay Hydropower Station and the Lower Sesan II hydropower station, which have been instrumental in mitigating Cambodia's electricity crisis.

Although access to electricity has illuminated the nights of his hometown, the management and upkeep of hydropower stations still demand considerable human effort.

"Part of my dream of lighting up my hometown has been realized with the help of China. Now I am determined to learn more practical skills in China and contribute to the sustainable and stable power supply in my hometown," Chivorn said.

He moved to China in 2018 on a scholarship to pursue higher studies in Kunming, capital of southwest China's Yunnan Province.

According to Chivorn, Kunming bears a striking resemblance to Battambang due to its warmth and hospitality. The familiar atmosphere of the city draws him in and makes him feel right at home.

However, pursuing a degree in electrical engineering as a foreign student in China is a formidable challenge, and Chivorn is no exception. In addition to mastering the intricate concepts of his professional courses, he must also overcome the language barrier, adding another layer of difficulty to his academic journey.

"It was difficult to understand the academic terminology at first because I couldn't find the corresponding Chinese words in Cambodian," Chivorn said. His notebook was tightly stuffed with notes, with several Chinese terms meticulously labeled with phonetic symbols and explanations.

From experiments with small light bulbs to the models of hydropower stations, Chivorn has continued to explore the link between light and electricity.

His graduation project -- model of a hydropower station -- carefully took the geographical location and topography of Battambang into consideration.

Chivorn also requested his seniors to conduct field research and used the relevant references from the design and operational data of a hydropower station built in Battambang with Chinese aid.

"I believe that my design will become a reality one day and Cambodia will be able to enjoy an uninterrupted flow of electricity in the future," he said.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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