Moon Pich’s Journey from Cowherd to Navy Cadet

A former cowherd from Kampong Chhnang province made headlines recently when he uploaded photos of himself with US President Joe Biden and his grandmother at the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, where he recently graduated.

Pich Chantrea, also known as Moon Pich, worked hard in Cambodia to further his studies before being admitted into the US Naval Academy.

It is impossible to buy an Annapolis education. Everyone who attends the academy is on a full scholarship, ensuring that all students are admitted based on their exceptional abilities, with the goal of training them to be future commanders of naval vessels or admirals in charge of entire regions or navies.

His grandmother, Sao Yi, gave him a “cow leash and old krama” that she had brought over from Kampong Chhnang province just for the occasion.

In Cambodia, his achievement received wider attention, including Prime Minister Hun Sen’s. The premier said Chantrea, which means moon in English, got his diploma through hard work and deserved the recognition he was getting for his outstanding effort, and that he hoped the graduation ceremony would be a memorable experience for him.

“She [Chantrea’s grandmother] did this as a reminder to her grandchild to never forget the tough times he lived through or where he came from. I would also like to wish you happiness and prosperity,” Hun Sen posted in a comment on Chantrea’s Facebook post about his May 27 graduation ceremony.

Chantrea’s posts and photos went viral on social media, and the public praised his achievements as well as his grandmother’s loving gesture.

Chantrea made a public statement of gratitude following the public outpouring of praise and kind words for him and his family.

“It is my great honour and my family’s honour to receive all of this love from brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts, grandmothers and grandfathers who are fellow Cambodians. I wish I had more than just the 10 fingers on my hands to shake all of yours with to thank you for this precious spirit of support. Thank you. I also apologise for not responding more quickly, my grandmother is not feeling well after the long journey from Cambodia to the US,” he wrote.

Source: The Phnompenh Post

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