It is almost two months now of me living with the Cambodian Center for Independent Media (CCIM) and Newsroom Cambodia Group II trainees, especially with all my trainers. Most of the time everybody calls them “Cher,” short for “Teacher.”

Honestly speaking, this class is SUPER…and…SUPER funny!!! And we can’t count how many times that we laugh loudly like a bomb exploded, since the first day that we started our class… We also can’t count how many times that our teacher got complaints from his colleagues about our activities every day.

Not only me but also my classmate well-know that both of you (Chansy Chhorn and Michael Dickison) get stressed because of us. As teacher Chansy mentioned in the training class: “When kids make mistakes … everyone will be complaining to the parents.” Yes… we are like your kids without a mom ha ha ha. And I know my voice is very loud in the classroom but this will become good memories for future conversations.

Before starting the serious part of my blog, and I want to share with you a funny story from my experiences this week. I was assigned to go out to the field on Thursday to cover a sports story about the Riellionaire Group and the Brazilian International Football Academy (BIFA) Vietnam hosting a press conference about a visiting Brazilian football legend, Roberto Carlos, at the Singapore Cambodia International Academy (SCIA).

I don’t like to watch football and I don’t exactly know many football legends and superstars. I arrived at SCIA and saw many pictures on TV screens, photo backdrops, standies and all the marketing materials promoting Roberto Carlos visiting Cambodia on February 5.

The press conference started, and in attendance was Ricardo Alves Fernandes, founder of BIFA Vietnam and an ex-professional football player of over 20 years, playing for several teams in Brazil, the Middle East, Asia and Europe.

Many guests joined the conference. I was not the only one confused. Many reporters thought Ricardo was Roberto Carlos sitting in front of us.

One reporter from another media outlet said to me, “Roberto Carlos, when he plays for his team, he looks very small and is shorter than his teammates. But outside he has a big body and is very tall.” My brain started to getting seriously confused: Ricardo versus Roberto Carlos on the posters. I looked at the real person and compared him with the poster. In my mind they do not look the same, but finally my mind made a decision that Ricardo is Roberto Carlos.

The Q&A started and I prepared my questions to ask Ricardo thinking he is Roberto Carlos in front of me. The press conference finished very smoothly and I am very excited to meet the Brazilian football legend, Roberto Carlos, and especially I have the opportunity to take a picture with Roberto Carlos.

When I arrived home during my lunchtime, I posted my picture with Ricardo on my Facebook with the caption, “With Roberto Carlos…” and many friends in my Facebook profile were also confused that I had taken a picture with Roberto Carlos… Wow…look at that picture. I received a lot of comments and friends on Facebook were proud of me, jealous of me, and especially they commented, “I want to take a picture with Roberto Carlos too. How can I meet him?” I also sent the picture with Ricardo to my classmates and trainers… I am feeling very special that I met him…

Finally, when I reach my class at CCIM and I am preparing to write the story about the Roberto Carlos press conference, I am checking Google once again to review his profile. I am starting to ask myself again that the guy that I took a picture with and Roberto Carlos on Google do not look the same… teeth, appearance, hair, face, age, body and height… I am looking many times and they do not look the same. I bring this up with my trainer Chansy and he says, “Normally, when players retire they will change and become fat, get a big belly and are not as handsome as when they were playing football.”

Yes, exactly. I am now believing that. But unfortunately I received a message from the CEO of the Riellionaire Group via my Facebook: “Bong, I saw your post on Facebook and the guy you took a picture with, he is Ricardo, founder of BIFA. He is not Roberto Carlos. Roberto Carlos will come to Cambodia on February 5.” And immediately I am very quick to go back to my Facebook profile to edit my caption…

After I received the correct information I needed to change the angle of my article, and my questions for Ricardo became a blur, so I must be careful and get a specific quote. So, as my advice from this experience, please make sure of things before you start your story angle.

Friday, January 24 was a day of childhood emotions in my heart as I am of Chinese blood. Or you can just look at my appearance and 100 percent you will say that I am Chinese. But since I left my hometown in 2003 until today, Chinese New Year has just become a normal day for me. But I am sure childhood has the best memories for everyone and it is difficult to forget our childhood. Mostly, they are the best stories to share and talk when we meet. Chinese New Year was a very special time for me during my childhood with family and relatives, or as everyone says, “The season to collect Ang Pao.”

This week I spent my weekend joining a CamboJA training course under the topic “Labor Rights and Union NGOs” at the Sunway Hotel Phnom Penh. The knowledge never ends if you don’t stop, and though I have been a journalist for many years, my abilities and my knowledge is still limited, or I can say that I need to learn a lot from my seniors. The training provided me with more knowledge about professional journalism and especially about laws, labor rights, union NGOs and also journalism ethics.

This week was very meaningful for my journalism career and I believe this career will drive me to become a professional woman journalist, and especially that this career will give me value and the respect of many people in my society.