Many of the foreigners living around Boeung Keng Kang keep to a nine-to-five schedule. People working behind BKK’s bars usually begin their evenings around five, in time to man the taps and greet the hordes looking for an end-of-the-day liquid respite. What do they get up to while their customers are toiling away, apart from catching up on sleep? Julius Thiemann asked the staff behind the bars of Street 278, NGO Land’s go-to watering holes, and found out that they seem to keep themselves busy almost every hour of the day…
Khema @ Liquid
When I am not working during the day I take a computer course and learn how to work with Microsoft Excel. I usually wake up around nine o’clock in the morning so I have enough time to do my homework. After I’ve finished my course I would like to do another course in administration. Working in administration is my absolute dream job because I love report writing and talking to people.
Dany @ Liquid
Before work starts, I spend my days watching TV, listening to music and reading magazines. I really enjoy reading about the singer Oak Sokunkanha because I like her special character and style. Sometimes I spend time with friends but not so much. I miss my family in Kandal and I would rather live with them. Now I visit them every two weeks, but in a year I will leave Phnom Penh and stay with them again. By then I will have saved enough money to open a beauty parlour in my home village.
Sopheap @ Equinox
I clean the house and cook for my husband and myself before I start work at 5pm. I will have a baby in January but I will stop working in December. In the first three months of my pregnancy. work was very hard because I was sick all the time. I already have a daughter. She is two years and ten months old and lives with my parents in Svay Rieng. I would like to keep on living in Phnom Penh but I miss my daughter. Once a month I go and visit her. We talk on the phone every day. “How are you and what are you doing, Mummy?” she asks me.
Saran @ Top Banana
I’m always really busy during the day. In the morning I study finance and banking at IIC University. In the afternoon I attend English classes. I work so hard because I would like to work at the stock exchange. I just have one more year to go and hope I will find a job at a bank. I will come back to Top Banana from time to time to see how my friends are and party with them.
Sovy Heng @ Top Banana
In the day I make lamps from toilet pipes, which I hang all over Top Banana. I also like to paint the walls because that creates a pleasant atmosphere. Once a month I go to Siem Reap to check if everything is all right at the Mad Monkey. That’s another guesthouse I own with a partner. If I have the time and the mood I revise some English grammar. It is a little difficult but the more I revise the better it gets.
Photographs: Alexander Crook/Phnom Penh Post
To contact the reporter on this story: Julius Thiemann at firstname.lastname@example.org