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A Little Bird’s Journey to Penmanship

Som Kanika / Khmer Times Share:
Vinheasa Chivit (Life Exam), one of the best-sellers written by the Little Golden Bird. Supplied

Growing up in Pursat province, Set Hattha, who is well known as “Kon Chab Mease” (the Little Golden Bird) had nothing other than going to the rice field, tending to the livestock and spending the rest of her time in the kitchen. But inside her heart, she always knew she wanted a future of living her life fully and to explore what the outside world may offer her. But to achieve that, it took her blood, sweat and tears. It took her to different paths of life. Walking in the journey of becoming a young author in the kingdom, many people clapped and acknowledged her talent but not many people know her unsung story behind her true success. Som Kanika caught up with Set Hattha for an exclusive interview.

GT2: Everyone knows how much you love writing and reading, can you let us know your journey of how you become an author?


Set  Hattha: I was born in a family where I need to pull out all the stops to earn money so that we are able to have a proper meal. I took many different paths from studying different majors to working in different fields. But one thing I knew was that I had never dreamed of seeing myself as an author. It happened when I begin writing my thoughts on social media with the purpose of reminding myself what has happened to my life.

Then people started to get interested in my stories as they found that the stories resonated with theirs. After that I continued to do what I am doing and the journey took me to become who I am today. Plus, it is also because of my readers who suggested that I should write those schools of thoughts in one book. I can metaphorically compare this to planting a tree and nurturing it. Sometimes, you plant a tree because you love nature but when you put effort and have done it well, it returns you not only beauty but with a great shadow and an abundance of fruit to eat.

Set Hattha had to overcome hurdles, including countless failures, before fulfill her dream of becoming a well-known writer.

GT2: Why did you decide to write your book based on your real life story?


Set  Hattha: I write books based on my own experience because I think the best lessons we can learn is from the experiences one’s self.

In everybody’s life, we have encountered many things that lead us to have physiological effects on our decision making in the future. Within these 20 years, I have learned a lot from my own self experiences more than the lessons I got from outsiders and I believe it is also the same to everyone.

In order to become who I am now as well as becoming an author of this book, I talk to myself a lot about everything, such as the lessons I have craved for from this life. For instance, I always ask myself what kind of ideal life I would like to live? Or what do I really want to achieve in this life? With all of these questions, it wakes me every morning to remain the life I always want to live.  If you don’t like where you are now, you should dream of where you want to be and make it your reality.


GT2: In your childhood despite your struggles in  life, you had helped and taught 52 children to learn how to read and write. How did you do that, to open your heart and show compassion to others?


Set  Hattha: Because I come from a rural area,  I know well about the circumstances of children who live there. Growing up, they have been involved in a lot of physical labor, including planting, working at the rice fields, helping their parents in the agriculture field. Their childhood never had much attachment with education. As a matter of fact, they don’t understand much about the importance of education or general knowledge they should have to live in society.

I know how it feels to know nothing and I know how dark it is to live without knowing anything. Therefore, back then even teaching in the dark and sitting on dirt, my 52 students and I still continued with our mission.


GT2: When you live in hardship, why should you show compassion to other people?

Set  Hattha: Most of us want to receive rather than to give. This idea and endless expectations ruin the way we live our lives. For instance, all of us human beings, we all crave all forms of love, no matter who you are. Rather than showering  your surroundings with more love, we hide and expect to receive first and than give later. What if people around the world think in this way, then nobody would be the first to offer compassion and love on this earth.


GT2: As one of the young authors in the kingdom, what does writing mean to you?


Set  Hattha: Since young, I have always wanted to be the reason for someone else’s smile and happiness of other people and I believe we can do this through many different ways and one of which I choose is to write it out. Because people can have many opinions on a single topic, idea and ideology.


GT2: Having been in the field of writing for quite a long time, are there any tips and techniques you would like to share with us?


Set  Hattha: For those who want to begin their writing,  the first step you need to begin with is your reading and then observe and think. Every writer always has these thoughts “I am not good enough at literature or linguistics. I don’t know how to write, plus I have no skills”, I don’t think these thoughts have any relation to how we want to become an author.

Nothing begins with perfection. The more you do, the more you see tons of mistakes. Then you begin to correct your loopholes and step by step, you will be along the way of what you want to become.

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