And how are things in Siem Reap?20 December 2016
My plane lands in the country commonly known as ‘The Kingdom of Wonder’. A tuk-tuk driver escorts me and takes me to Pactics. This is the company where I will engage myself for 4 month in writing my Bachelor’s thesis. The driver’s skills are tested as we hardly dodge 13 cows and a countless number of pot-holes. With a face full of sand and soaked in sweat we arrive. Nice to meet you, Cambodia.
I live in Siem Reap, a cheerful and lively town, which offers stay and night time entertainment, when visiting the famous Angkor temples. Angkor is Cambodia’s national pride. After a dreadful period of the communistic and purging regime of the Khmer Rouge, the temples are a reminder for Cambodians of their great past. Discovering the temples feels mystical. The deeper you enter the Temple City, the more the temples merge into the jungle. A monk smiles at me as I admire the detailed carvings in a wall. Everything in Siem Reap breaths Angkor. Going from Angkor Mini Mart to Angkor Muscle Gym, Angkor hotels and, not to forget: Angkor Beer.
The Cambodians I interact with on daily basis have another big pride. They work for Pactics. The cloth and pouches manufacturer for eyewear design labels such as Prada, Ray Ban, Ralph Lauren and Bulgari. This organization manages to combine social and environmental responsibility with a healthy focus on making profit. The company offers its’ employees a safe and clean working environment, fair wages, training of all kinds, subsidized lunch, a daycare, helmets for motorbikes and a library. “Pactics is the factory with 400 smiles. Pactics teaches people to share kindness and to volunteer in society. This is what I found important”, says production manager Sony. My Bachelor’s thesis evaluates how Pactics succeeds in facilitating its employees to continuously improve themselves and the organization. Activities that are examined include trainings, process optimization and performance measurement.
It is interesting to live in a country that is in a healing process after a horrible genocide. The steps that are taken to create better education, offer decent work and reduce poverty are promising. If these initiatives will continue to be carried through, the pride of Angkor will be in the future too.
For a while now, TU/e student Guido Buntinx and his friend Christophe Westerveld (student of Zuyd University of Applied Sciences) have been attracting a lot of attention with their 'electric beer crates'. Limburg's regional TV station and the TV news program Editie NL also got wind of their creative initiative. The short internet videos showing them riding along on the public highways have been watched multiple times.
The Department of Applied Physics needs to make significant savings: one million euros on a total annual budget of nine million. This was announced last week Wednesday by Departmental Dean Gerrit Kroesen at a staff meeting. The draft reorganization plan must be ready by the end of November and, says Kroesen, compulsory redundancies cannot be ruled out. The Departmental Council is holding talks today with the Departmental Office.
The fourth day of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge in Australia has come to an end and Solar Team Eindhoven is clearly leading the Cruiser Class. Despite earlier transport problems and the limited window for testing on site, TU/e solar car Stella Vie is performing in the outback “far beyond expectations”. With some 900 kilometers to go, a third world title seems almost a dead cert for the team from Eindhoven - but this is no time for complacency.
At this university there are students who are not taking any classes, but they are still forced to pay the full sum of their tuition fee. How is that? When you take a look at what they are doing instead of following courses, their reasons become clear. They form one of the most important cornerstones of the TU/e, they are the student board members and part of student teams.
TU/e has made a considerable leap in the prestigious international Times Higher Education World University Rankings that focus on the subject areas Engineering & Technology and Computer Science. TU/e belongs to the fifteen and eighteen best European universities on these subjects respectively. The THE ranking forms an important yardstick for government departments, policymakers and international students.