Written by Kosoma Kim | Edited by Abigail Perriman
From a girl who writes down her curiosity into a blog just to improve her English, to an entrepreneur, co-founder and blogger of www.wapatoa.com! This month we are doing an interview with a curious mind, Sokcheng Seang, who is turning her passion into a business.
Q1: What is Wapatoa? Why?
Sokcheng: Wapatoa is a word in Cambodian Language that means Culture. Wapatoa is a bilingual website that answers the urgent needs for fun, intelligent content regarding knowledge that makes one’s life better. I had an idea of Wapatoa in early 2017 and finally launched Wapatoa by early 2018 after a few months working on it with Alix Feschotte, co-founder of Wapatoa who has the same passion as me in blogging.
With my passion in blogging and 5 years experiences in running a personal blog www.mschengcorner.com, I learnt that there are a gap and a need for meaningful content written in a fun way for the Cambodian context. There is good content being written every day in Cambodia, but most of it is written in a report or journalistic style, and I don’t think this is attractive to young Cambodian readers. While other entertainment news blogs in Cambodia provide fun and entertaining contents; but are those articles useful or is it only for fun? So we designed Wapatoa to be a place where we put the essence into our writing, promote critical thinking, and yet remain entertaining.
Q2: What makes Wapatoa unique?
Sokcheng: All articles in Wapatoa are available in both Khmer and English; so that we can reach more Cambodians. There are 5 areas of Wapatoa: Art Dive, Think, Meet, Do and Learn. ART DIVE session will take you into the arts by specially selecting films, books, songs, and visual arts. THINK and DO will help answer your why and how to questions; while LEARN will give you the available tools to learn for free. MEET session will introduce you to awesome Cambodians from the arts, business and science sectors. The uniqueness of MEET session is a podcast interview which allows the audience to listen anytime; especially useful if you are stuck in a traffic jam.
Q3: What are your challenges in running Wapatoa?
Sokcheng: My main challenge when I first started Wapatoa was my personal time management since I was graduating from two universities almost in the same year. After almost a year of struggling with this challenge, now I am working full-time for Wapatoa. Building a sustainable financial model for Wapatoa is also a challenge for us. Everything is going as plan; so we are positive that we will get through it.
Q4: How do you see Wapatoa in the future?
Sokcheng: More than just an online fan base platform, Wapatoa will create an offline community of young Cambodians where we will host events, possibly create clubs and movie nights; that these will be the platform for our community members and audience to connect, motivate and inspire each other. We are also thinking about running a certified translation program that translates and creates more resources to be available in Khmer on the internet.
Q5: What would be your advice for Cambodian who are interested to be a blogger?
Sokcheng: I believe that everyone can write. In order to write well, do not force yourself to write on a topic that does not interest you; this works the same way in reading. In fact, I know myself that I don’t like writing about the news; so I never force myself to write about it; instead, I am writing a lot of blogs related to personal development. So firstly, find the topic that you are interested in.
Secondly, find your own style in writing whether formal or funny. Personally, it took me two years to realize my favourite style of writing. I was trying to copy the style of writing from articles or books that I read; however, even the authors’ writing styles are cool and interested me, it consumed me a lot of energy when I actually try to follow them. So start writing and explore! You will find a style of writing that you like and enjoy.
Thirdly, based on my experience, don’t spend too much time or force yourself to finish your writing. Writing is like an art; give yourself a break and come back with a fresh new idea!
Thank you, Sokcheng! Visit Wapatoa at www.wapatoa.com!!