…the art of survival

I haven’t written in this blog since January 2014 and many things have happened since then. There was a dark cloud that swept over my life with my battle with depression, but it was swept away with a new form of hope that I never thought I would ever experience in my life. How can sum up 24 months in a single post?

In February 2014, I spent almost a month in the mother and baby unit at Monash Hospital. It was a valuable experience. I had been moving like lightning and needed to slow down. Whereas it occurred after my second baby, the weight of air seemed to be pushing against me stronger. And it wasn’t the best time to be involved in politics. As I was an active liberal member, there had been long-standing differences with labor members in the area, and politics plays to people’s weaknesses… Without going into details, the events bought me to my knees, but at the same time, I was dragged out of a condition which has plagued me for many years… and with that came a strong amount of clarity.


But through the darkness, I felt I persevered the most. I achieved what I had been working on for many years and finally broke through to that light… and turning all the negativity into something positive and life changing. The resources and opportunities were there, but to key is to connect them. I had always been vocal and was never afraid to raise my voice on an issue that concerned me… it’s what we were taught in suburban classrooms… and it worked wonders.


My passion has always been to help Cambodia, to discover ways in which we can lift people out of poverty. Trade has been very effective in many developing countries, and an address from Julie Bishop MP inspired me. She spoke about how reducing trade barriers and opening markets creates opportunities for people to grow their ideas and expand the marketplace. So I set about putting this notion into actuality. Whilst there were many organisations doing grassroots transformation, there weren’t any connecting the influencers, change-makers and the decision makers. There were no mechanisms for dialogue, for building bridges and links or for developing streamlined processes/promoting skills and knowledge transfer.

The organisation went through several transformations through various consultations but we have settled on the Angkor Agenda, our pilot project the Cambodia Australia NZ Exchange Mission. A mission very dear to me and a combination of all my professional, personal, academic and community life.

It was an interesting journey and we faced many challenges but I believe we’ve persevered. I met many wonderful people who’ve transformed my life and my thinking and open up many possibilities.

The thing is… all you have to do is ask. And it’s a wonderful feeling to know people are now talking and looking for solutions.

So far, we have achieved:

ASEAN-Australian Celebratory Dinner
Invitation to Prime Minister of Japan Shinzo Abe Luncheon
Cambodia Mission – Presentation of our initative to Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Cambodia’s National Assembly, Meeting with Tourism Cambodia
Roundtable discussion with Cambodia Chamber of Commerce
Cambodia Business Year with over 12 missions from top Cambodian businessmen, enterprenuers and Government Officials – CBY is a mechanism for dialogue, and the means to discuss and provide solutions for problematic areas facing the private sector industry. It has been very effective in discovering ways to make trade between Cambodia and Australia simpler and more streamlined
Hosting His Excellency Hun Manet and delegation visit to Australia & New Zealand to discuss trade and build bridges between Cambodians in Australia & Cambodia
Formation of the Cambodia Australia Tourism Coalition


We are now planning a Cambodia Australia Friendship Festival in July. Stay tuned!








When I was fifteen… A reflection

When I was fifteen, I was a little dreamer wandering along the creek that flowed behind our house ~ Henderson creek it was called. I went to an all girls high school wearing a blue skirt and ruby red jumper. The routine was wake up, carpool to school with my friend and anime buddy, slave away in suburban public education then come home to dream some more. When you’re that age, the world seems so small and limited. I wrote a letter to myself… Always asking the question that has become synonymous with rapport building ~ where did I see myself in ten years.

The answer is overwhelmingly vague… I wrote that I wanted to be where I could help people. But I can see in this answer how relevant this idea has built my character and current whereabouts. Sure, it seems as a dreamer at fifteen, I probably imagined myself lifting water out of a well for the local rurals, but the idea of charity exists in many forms. Whether it’s helping out your family navigate through daily problems, local activism or rebuilding schools, it’s these small steps which create big changes.


Writings from Keysborough

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