Building The Spirit Of Progress

by Patrick Liew on September 1, 2011

On Friday, 19 August 2011, I joined a mission team to go to Phnom Penh in Cambodia. We helped a local community and taught in a conference.

This was my first trip to Cambodia despite the fact that a humanitarian organization that I was involved in has been helping the country for more than ten years. We have been involved with building model villages, organizing medical and dental missions, and offering educational and multimedia programmes.

When Singapore first became independent as a nation, Phnom Penh, the capital and largest city of Cambodia was a more established city than us. After a tortured history, the city was almost destroyed.

In the study of the rise and fall of nations, I learned that we must never take our country for granted. What took us years to achieve can literally be destroyed overnight.

My first impression of Phnom Penh was that it reminded me of the Singapore when I was growing up. I sensed in my spirit that this city would rise again and enjoy another golden period in its history – just as it did during the Angkor Wat era.

While it pained my heart to read and learn about the inhuman acts of war, violence and cruelty, I also believed it is from such ashes that the phoenix would rise faster and more beautiful than ever.

The Cambodian people who have suffered so much in recent times will be more motivated to build a stronger nation.

What took Singapore thirty years to achieve, Pudong in China generally took about ten years.

I believe, with the collapse of the information float, Phnom Penh can become a developed city in lesser time.

I saw many signs of such a momentum. I could feel the pulsating energy of economic and societal developments.

I sensed the spirit of a young nation with a relatively young workforce, having a deep desire to catch up with the rest of the world.

What touched me was that their focus is on education. I could feel the passion of the young and old to learn and improve themselves.

Case in point, Cambodians are jumping on to the infocommunication bandwagon. They are leveraging on social media and other technologies just like many other developed countries.

With such an aspiration for progress, nothing can stop the Cambodians. I am confident Phnom Penh will rise in the near future to become a great city.

I want to learn from the Cambodian spirit.

I want to ensure the same spirit for progress will drive me to fulfill my dreams and vision.


I hope this message will find a place in your heart.

By the way, I have also recorded other reflections.

Please go to ‘Notes’ found below my profile picture.

Visit my Inspiration blog at

Visit my Transformation blog at

Please read them and continue to teach me.

Life is FUNtastic!

Question: How can we develop and improve on our spirit for progress?


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