“You saved my life.”
Ping Ann reads the message he received from a Cambodian woman who saw the breast cancer campaign video he made in 2018 to raise awareness on the disease in the Kingdom.
“If I haven’t seen the video, I might not have been aware nor have been interested to go to the hospital, challenged my fear of embarrassment to check my breasts and then realised that I am one of the victims of the early stage of breast cancer. I got an early treatment that is now saving my life. I am safe now. It was your awareness campaign that saved me,” continues the message addressed to Ping Ann.
This message, and all the other messages of gratitude and hope that Ping Ann has gotten since he started producing motivational videos that highlighted the importance of awareness and knowledge about diseases and life in general, make Ping Ann believes that he is, in his own way, making an impact in the lives of others.
His 2:07-minute video on “Men should talk more about women’s breasts” was created merely for public information. 26-year-old Ping Ann didn’t think it will help others, let alone transform lives positively.
“I am deeply overwhelmed by the life-changing messages that I received from the public about how this video has become a platform of information for them about issues and diseases. The video enabled them to engage, to think and to move,” says Ping Ann in an interview with Youth Today.
Featuring topics on general wellbeing, mental health and profiles of prominent people, ‘Think with PingAnn’ is basically a platform dedicated to educate, inform and inspire people. The issues being raised by Ping Ann – who acts as host and producer himself – are all socially relevant; thus, connecting people to the realities of the present society. Ping Ann hopes to empower his fellow Cambodians to critically think and take actions in a well-informed manner.
But the path he has chosen is not easy, says Ping Ann. Discussing social issues in a public platform opens doors for hates, arguments, backlash and criticisms. But Ping Ann isn’t backing down. His enthusiasm for his work, which he doesn’t really consider as work but as an advocacy, stems from the stories of people he meets every day.
“Sharing other people’s stories has made me learn about the journey of others. The small things, the big things – all of those taught me something about life. Their stories are unique and they all deserve to be known and admired by others,” shares Ping Ann, a graduate of Department of Media and Communication at the Royal University of Phnom Penh.
It is Ping Ann’s goal to see Cambodian people and the younger generation create decisions based on knowledge and not on mere superstitions or presumptions. Whatever people do, they should be guided by principles of empathy and compassion and of factual information.
“I think one of the most important subjects that should be taught at school is the principle of empathy. We embrace the ‘Golden Rule’ to treat others as we would want to be treated. Empathy, the sharing of feelings with another person and consequently caring about them, is typically a virtue in our society. ‘I hear you’ and ‘I feel your pain’ are said with a sense of compassion and concern for the welfare of others.”
Growing up in the countryside, Ping Ann is well aware of the setbacks that hinder young people from engaging with the world. The fear of being ridiculed or bullied gets in the way, and pulls people away from learning and discovering realities.
And now that he has found a way to share his knowledge on health and to motivate others, Ping Ann feels restless. He says he will be pouring more effort to make videos which can light up other people’s paths and give them a reason to fight against all odds.
“Whoever we are, whatever we do, we all desire motivation, an essential and ultimate source of power to go forward. I used to fail and experience hurdles. As a matter of fact, I clearly understand how it feels to be a person that needs to hear just one encouraging word to get up and stand straight again.”
Ping Ann’s mother once told him, “A single act of kindness you shower to other people will leave a mark in their hearts forever”. Ping Ann carries these words in his heart every time he creates “Think with PingAnn”.