The Zompea Project

Let's Get Scared Together!


Zompea Poster

Our Queen Bee at the Alex Theatre, and FICAC volunteer Lynette Cawcutt, in conjunction with St Kilda Tourism Association Inc Celebrate Children’s Week the only way we know-how, with Zombie pumpkins taking over St Kilda leading up to Halloween!

This project is to build ties between Fish Island Community Arts Centre in Cambodia and our tribe in St Kilda, uniting our communities together through the power of storytelling.

To find out more about Fish Island Community Arts Centre in Cambodia visit…

Zompea: a zombie variant released in St Kilda in time for Halloween! (only pumpkins are affected by Zompea. If your pumpkin is exposed to Zompea keep it away from popcorn until after all hallows eve… please. It will be safe to eat after that… maybe!)

Be safe and don’t let your Buttercup eat the pumpkins soup from St Kilda… Zompea is out there!

Related links – Children’s Week 23 – 31 October 2021

October st

Zompea Logo

“Children have the right to choose their friends and safely connect with others”

Childrens Week LinkedIn tile

ZompkinsSt Kilda Arts Tourism Association with St Kilda Writers Week have put together an online project sponsored by the Department of Education and Training and festival sponsors Fitzroy Street Business Association connecting the children of Fish Island Community Arts Centre in Cambodia with local children, online and safely.

The ultimate goal of helping create a library for FICAC and a bit of fun for everyone. Our project will be in the form of a mini movie to be shown on safe online children’s platforms during the week of 23rd to the 31st October.

sThe Curse of the Transylvanian Zompea is a cute yet scary story of Zompkins taking over the world featuring Veg Out garden and Luna Park in St Kilda as the locations. This locally written Halloween story created especially for St Kilda Writers Week will be animated, a big thanks to our animators Matthew Osborne and Julien Poulson for bringing this to life, with scary audio from Fiona Lee Maynard.  We have vox pops in true Halloween tradition from local children with a clip from Kek Soon with the latest art project from FICAC Cambodia.

FICAC was established late 2019 by Kek Soon & Julien Poulson to offer lessons in hospitality skills, cooking, art, music, and English conversation.  The Yellow Sub Tech hub is being built on the grounds and will house the library and teach production techniques to local teenagers giving them more opportunities.  During the lockdowns Kek Soon continued cooking classes, a way to supply lunch for the children, she also did food runs with them providing food packages to those less well off. The children who have so little themselves are learning the art of giving.

s‘We would love to have some books, a library ‘was the answer to the question posed by a volunteer. The volunteer returned to Melbourne with a promise to somehow get those books to create a library, so that how this project began.

A big thanks to The Alex Theatre, Etainment, Vic Edu, Vic Govt, Matthew Osborne, Julien Poulsen, The freight company, Kek Soon, The children from Trey Koh and St Kilda, Grocery Bar St Kilda and all the pumpkins in the world.

Donated books can be new or used for all age groups, you can even write a message inside for the FICAC children if you like. Our aim is for 200 books that will be freighted to Cambodia by….

Book drop off points will be The Grocery Bar Fitzroy St., St Kilda from Monday 1st November until the 10th more TBA.

Let’s connect and get scared together.

The Story of FICAC


FICAC LogoI was passing through Cambodia on my golden goddess’s gap years, that’s what I call it any way, retired mature woman backpacking through Southeast Asia. I knew Julien from St Kilda so called into Kama café in Kampot to visit and that is where I met Kek Soon. She made me the most delicious mango and ginger smoothie; I knew then we would be friends.

Before I left, I promised Soon that I would be back in a few months to help with Julien’s Kampot Readers and writers festival to be held the end of November.

I was back mid-September.  Set up KRWF headquarters at Kama café. many mango smoothies. Kek Soon would take me and other volunteers her block of land on Fish Island about 8 km from town, she would tell me of her hopes and dreams to create a place for the local children to gather after school and on weekends to learn how to hospitality skills, cooking, combined with English classes and Art.

This country that only a generation ago were in the aftermath of a terrible civil war, education was on the back burner while everyone tried to survive. Kek Soon never had the opportunity to go to school, she at the age of 7 years old would clean fishing boats, walk the streets selling the cakes she would buy at the markets. When she was in her late teens had the opportunity to work in Kuala Lumpur as a maid, coming back to her hometown of Kampot a few years later she began cooking in a local café, meeting Julien ultimately, they opened Kama café. Her creativity that had been bubbling inside her burst out when she was encouraged by Julien. Kek Soon has had exhibitions in Cambodia. Won a world cooking award in Sweden.

Her passion to teach young girls’ and boys’ skills so they have opportunities that she never had was her drive for the Community Centre. I remember the day I went out in the tuk tuk to help move few stones, dust flying on the red dirt road as we sped past the flat salt fields on one side and greenest rice on the other with Bokor Mountain in the distance. Then a block with bamboo structures under construction. I was there now it has dwellings, a lush garden, a big kitchen, café space ready when tourists return, a stage, a covered art area and the Yellow Sub the tech hub for FICAC, that’s where the library will be.

This is the future creative and learning hub of the children of Trey Koh, Fish Island. I watched as Bamboo huts grew and early 2020 Kek Soon and Julien opened the gates to the children of Trey Koh. We had over 50 children that day, as things settled down, I was helping the little ones with basic English, I could only find a few Khmer children’s books, although Kampot is a big town books are expensive and where the average wage is about 200 US a month books if you can get them come a long last.

Then Covid hit and in April we went into lock down. Over the next 8 months I would go visit Soon or she would call in to visit me. Schools were closed all this time when she could Kek would continue to teach cooking so at least she knew these children would be fed. Raising funds with the help of Julien to buy food packs for the struggling families on Fish Island. Kek Soon is teaching these children not only skills to allow them to progress in life but the art of giving.

In Dec 2020 I paid my last visit to FICAC, the children came to say goodbye to me   I asked them, what would they like most of all, they all said books so they could have a lending library.

For my dear sister Kek Soon, doing this without the support of an NGO, her burning desire to help improve lives, her endless energy and humbleness in her achievements I want to keep this promise of a library for the children of Trey Koh.