Eath Chhnon (otherwise known as “Village Girl“) is a Cambodian “video blogger” or vlogger. She grew up in a small village in Cambodia near Angkor Wat, one of country’s cultural treasures. Two years ago, at age 20, she came to New York City. Eath is video blogging her life story.
1. Why did you start vlogging?
I think vlogging is an interesting way to express yourself and the right medium for my voice. It has changed my life in many ways. I can communicate with new people who share an interest in my country. Also, I’ve met people who I would not otherwise meet.
2. How did you learn vlogging?
I had never seen or touched a computer when I lived in Cambodia – my family lives in a small village – they’re farmers and don’t have electricity. When I came to the US, I taught myself how to use a computer. I was lucky enough to meet Ryanne Hodson who showed me how to do it. It took me about a day. Ryanne has her tutorials online, so anyone can learn as easily as I did.
3. What type of responses do you get from Cambodians viewing your vlog?
My vlog has been linked to from a lot of the Cambodian portals so I have a lot of Cambodian people viewing my vlog and commenting. They get so excited. I get lots of emails telling me “I love your movies!” They ask me a lot of questions about where I grew up in Cambodia. They are inspired that I grew up in a small village in Cambodia and live in Manhattan.
I had a very good friend from my village who was a driver for tourists and immigrated to Europe. By chance, he found my blog and left a comment. I was so surprised to reconnect with an old friend.
4. Why do you think people should vlog?
There are many Cambodians who leave Cambodia and they can’t connect with their family in a visual way. Phone calls are expensive and if they're lucky they can exchange email. But the vlog is almost like being face-to-face and great way to connect back to your culture. Of course, not everyone in Cambodia has Internet access. For example, my family can’t view my vlog – they don’t speak English and they don’t have computers or Internet access or even electricity.
5. What can vlogging do for Cambodians?
I think that Cambodians whether still in Cambodia or in other places in the world should express themselves – and tell the world about their ideas, culture, and experience. Not many Cambodians are doing vlogs yet and there are some good reasons for that (equipment, lack of Internet access, language barriers, skills, etc.) That aside, I want to encourage Cambodians to vlog. That’s why I started a listserv to help people from Cambodia to learn how to do it.
(Note: And judging by the discussion on the list, expect to see some vlog posts from Cambodians in the near future.)