Voices of Cambodia: Ok Chantha

7 02 2012

Our first Voices of Cambodia interview comes from Chantha, one of our first friends at site.

Name: Ok Chantha

Age: 28

Occupation: Primary school teacher

Tell me about yourself.

My name is Chantha and I am a teacher and I live with my family. There are five people in my family. My father is a farmer and my mother is a housewife. My brother right now is married and stays with his wife. I’m the second son in the family. My younger brother stays with us. He has work also. I like to watch TV when I have free time. I like to watch live concerts from Phnom Penh and I read newspapers and books also.

What do you do in an average day?

Monday through Friday I go to school and teach my students. Class starts at 7 am to 11 am. From 11-1 pm I have free time and I have lunch. From 1 pm to 5 pm, I have class again. Every Saturday and Sunday, I go to Siem Reap for computer class.

What do you want American people to know about Cambodia?

I really want American people to know about the culture. I want them to know more about the situation of people living right now. I want them to know about the students studying in high school.

How has Cambodia changed in your lifetime?

The school has changed. Before, students came far away to study in Kampong Kdei, but the government is building schools. It’s easy for students to study now. Another thing is the road. The road is better now. Students can continue studying and find a good job in Siem Reap. Before, there were no MFIs (Micro Finance Institutions) or NGOs. The material used now is modern – new bicycles, new houses, new motos. When I was young, we had a civil war. There was fighting sometimes, but now it has stopped. They’ve come to work all together.

How do you think Cambodia will be different in ten years?

First, it will be different for students – they can go to school and study together. When they can increase their knowledge, they can find a job to do. Cambodia will be better, but nothing can change without knowledge. If the new generation has high knowledge, they will join and develop the country together.

If you could improve one aspect of your community, what would you improve?

The youth would study more and have a good job to do. They will change themselves and develop the community.

If you won $10,000, what would you do or buy?

I would study at university and find a girl and get married. I would have a plan for my future with my wife and build a new house.

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