Written by: Sokunthea Hang (All Rights Reserved)
(In memory of my friend from Bachelor studies, who died in a traffic accident on the 29th of August,2016)
It was all over Facebook that night, and it was all over Facebook again the following day.
At least for students at Pannasastra University of Cambodia (PUC) in our year, it is hard not to see people sharing the news about the accident in Battambang, and later the news of Solinet’s death.
Heang Solinet, a fresh graduate law student from Pannasastra University of Cambodia.
The last conversation I had with her was before I went to Europe for my Master’s studies in 2014, when she told me she was also about to go for an exchange in Europe too.
God knows it became the last goodbye.
After hearing the news, I started reading our chat history repeatedly.
“I’m proud of you because you know what you are going to do, wish you success in your career and become a professional journalist so soon. I can’t wait to read your stories,” she said to me before we took off for our next journey.
The thought of regret flooded my mind. We kept talking about visiting each other in Europe.
She is the kind of person that you can hardly forget after connecting with her. Always aspire with a lively spirit, my experience working in group with her for class assignments always be the memorable one.
She didn’t just live to breathe, she lived to inspire.
After moving from the province to Phnom Penh for primary school, Linet’s friendly personality and hard-working spirit earned her love from most of teachers and classmates.
“She’s smart, always got good grades, and was within top ten in class. She used to teach me some lessons during high school, and she also helped other people if she knew better than them” said Van Socheata Chan, one of her friends from high school.
Socheata wasn’t convinced with the news when she first heard about it (it was the same with me).
“I’m so shocked to lose this kind of a good person, I tried to find more information because I can’t believe it. I’m sure many people who used to know her would be sad.”
Linet’s academic achievement was a real legend.
After finishing high school in 2009, Linet received a full scholarship from PUC to undertake Intensive English for Academic Purpose (IEAP). In 2010, she started her Bachelor of Law at PUC once again with a full scholarship. Later in 2013 she represented Cambodia at an international conference in Vietnam among 20 countries, fully funded by Bridge Across Border Southeast Asia Community Legal Education Initiative (BABSEA CLE).
Before she went to Estonia for a one-year exchange under Erasmus Mundus scholarship scheme, Linet had also received another one-year exchange scholarship to Chiang Mai University.
I used to ask her why she always went for exchanges to delay the time of her graduation. She told me that she wanted to use these opportunities to see the world while she was still young and able to leave.
Not all the inspiring women should be in the news or establish big things. Linet had shown how to be inspiring, cherish moments in life in her way of simplicity, be humble, and focused on making every moment of her life count.
A Cambodian media outlet published an article quoting her thesis partner’s sad statement on Facebook after hearing the news.
The news went viral on social media that day, with some other media picked up the story as well. One of the articles that reported about the accident which killed nine people especially focused on her academic achievements including her GPA score in Bachelor studies, 3.87.
Linet’s friend from university described her as optimistic and cheerful, although stubborn as the youngest child in family, but with a very high discipline in social and academic life.
“She was the best consultant and the one who encouraged me when I was down” said Heng Sreygech, adding that she still could not accept the news given they had just had a conversation less than a week before the accident.
“She was a brilliant and potential resource for our country who supposed to have a very bright future”.
The university also expressed their condolences on the great loss, with the founder of the University Dr. Khol Pheng having attended the funeral with other committees.
Dr. Raymond Leos, one of Linet’s professors, posted the news about the accident on his Facebook timeline, and expressed his frustration regarding the increase in severe traffic accidents in Cambodia.
“Another victim of the growing madness on Cambodia’s highways. This has to stop!”
Dr. Ray’s post was picked up by Cambodia Daily and publish in the paper the following day.
“One of the very brightest and hard working students I’ve ever encountered in Cambodia. A voracious reader (often unfortunately a rarity here), full of curiosity. A thoughtful soul. Her year in Europe really broadened her horizons, and made her even more committed to helping her society. Her family was so proud of her. I am utterly and completely gutted.”
I kept thinking what I can offer to Linet at the end of her life. As a writer, at least this is what I can do for her for the last time.
But this young girl from PUC, is someone who should be remembered.
Let us be reminded of her positive spirit, and remember the good that an ordinary girl can bring to other people’s lives.
- Solinet’s Facebook Post on her account.