A Tribute to Bo Boulen

Some very sad news that I just received from Marc Gold today and a perfect opportunity for the HipMum Community to step in to help.

It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you that my dear sweet friend Bo Boulen died yesterday in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

All I know at this point is that he died from “liver problems” at Calmette Hospital. I am trying to learn more details about what happened to him. Some of you receiving this email never met Boulen – but I wanted you to know about him and his very meaningful life.


Bolen wrote his final email to me yesterday, only an hour before his passing. Here it is:

“Sorry my  friend, that i didn’t tell about what am i going on ? now i’m meting the series problem inside of my body for last two weeks till now . I still in Calmette hospital waiting for operating . I’ve  problem with the wound of my liver. i used a lot of money for it. and now I didn’t have another money for paying so at moment i really need some help from the part of yous. I will be not go to internet for checking any mail , because i had only short time for using other person internet.”



I am in Bangkok and I wish I’d know earlier of his medical difficulties – I would have gone there immediately. I can’t help thinking that maybe I could have taken some actions to save his life but now he’s gone. What a loss.

Boulen was a tuk-tuk driver but he was so much more than that. He helped me and Ando (and MANY others) to find and help the neediest and poorest people he could find in both the city and the countryside of Cambodia. The elderly, mothers, families living on the street, villagers in desperate straits, children needing scholarships, people living in garbage dumps, you name it – he found them for us. And he gave us invaluable advice as to how to best utilize the funds we brought with us to help the poor in Cambodia. I remember that many times he took me to many poor villages in different provinces. His enthusiasm and compassion for the poorest of the poor was inexhaustible even while his own family struggled to survive in Phnom Penh. He felt the suffering of others very deeply.

Once he wept while telling me how he had to drop out of school as a boy to help his family. Then he went back years later as an adult to improve his education and his English. Boulen’s English was always a source of wonder, humor and amazement that somehow one could usually understand what he said although he always spoke in a circuitous route. But he never tired of learning and going to school to somehow recapture his childhood quest for higher education.

Boulen had a wonderful sense of humor, deep compassion, the ability to be a truly excellent tour guide and great patience with all his foreign guests. Everybody seemed to like him whether they were foreigners discovering the wonders of Cambodia, his fellow tuk-tuk drivers or complete strangers. I will always remember how beautifully he interacted with Cambodian children and the elderly (and many of the elderly were in a pitiful condition). He certainly used his ability to connect foreigners and the poor in very meaningful ways. His wonderful laugh is in my mind as I write this.

He leaves a wife and three children and a nephew or two I believe. Ando and I have already discussed starting a fund to help his family. I will use funds from 100 Friends to help his wife to start a small business in order to support herself and her children in the future. There will be other, more immediate needs for his family as well. Anyone interested in being a part of the help for his family is welcome to participate.


So I’ll end my tribute of Boulen by sharing these photos that show some of his wonderful qualities. Boulen, you’ll be really, really missed. The world really need many more people like you. The best tribute we can make will be to continue working to ease the suffering of the Cambodian people (and others).

Boulen, you were loved by so many people. You done well.

Marc Gold
100 Friends


(below is an update from the ground in Cambodia and a photograph of Boulen’s wife and family)

10th June 2011

Dear Marc,

This is merely an update on things.

We met with Boulen’s wife (Kruy Sreymom) and her children today. She is bearing up surprisingly well although obviously under a lot of sadness and stress.

We gave her the $400 and the photo album and talked about her future and possibilities for starting a small business venture. Her initial idea was dress-making/selling clothes as she has some experience in such. She knows that you’ll be returning in the coming weeks and will visit her to, amongst other things, talk about how you might be able to help with her business plan. She said she will give it further thought.

She is extremely appreciative for all you’ve done Marc and everything you are doing now. She sends her love and thanks.

Her first child is 9 years old, the second is 4 years old and the youngest is two-and-a-half years. They are all boys. The first son is in 2nd grade in state education (Hun Neang Primary School) and studies English at private school (Sokkhak School: 1st level is $20 per month). Her hope is that her other two sons could study at kindergarten level at Boston School (private – 1 term (3 months) is $35 per child). She says it will be much easier for her to start her business when all three sons are at school.

I think the family is also in debt with one or two people but to what sum I don’t know. Difficult times ahead.

Keep well Marc


Glyn Vaughan
All Ears Cambodia


Our Goal

The HipMum goal for raising money for Boulen’s wife, Kruy Sreymom and his children is $3000. Marc is visiting her at the end of July. Here’s an opportunity to give her some peace of mind during such a difficult time so she can be that pillar of strength to her 3 boys who have just lost an amazing man who was their father.

Total = $3000


Tax deductible donation

[wpdonatebuy cid=5]



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