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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - The life of a Cambodian lotus seller

The life of a Cambodian lotus seller

After hearing about the King Father's death, Cambodian people rushed to prepare white clothes, candle, incense and flowers to pray for him.

The flowers that people buy not only are a way to pray for the former king but also a way to support poor families.

Vit Thida, a 16-year-old flower seller, was holding a big jasmine plant in one hand and lotus flowers in the other. She was running around, in front of the Royal Palace, to gently talk with the mourners, while the sweat was falling down from her face.

After a few minutes of running up and down, Thida turned to me and said: “Working like that is nothing strange, it is my habit. Besides selingl flowers, I also spend some time in school. If I study in the morning I will be here in the afternoon, and if I have class in the afternoon, I will work in the morning,” said Thida.

“During my vacation, I come here for a whole day from 6 am and go back at 8 pm.”

She has to drive a motorbike from her house in Kandal Province's Koh Krobai district to a park in front of the Royal Palace. She often sells flowers until 8 pm and then goes back home alone.

When I asked about her safety while going back home alone at night, Thida answered: “Along the main road there is light, but the path that leads to my house is very dark. But I never am afraid of that because I got used to it. I care more about my family’s standard of living than myself.”

She also told more that, “Everyday I have to work so hard, because I need money for my family. My father quit his job, my older sister supports herself, another five younger brothers and sisters are too young to work and my mother just delivered a baby and she was looking after my brother who is sick at the hospital.”

Thida also mentioned some of her difficulties.

“Everyday is the same, whether it is hot or wet I have to come here and sell the flowers; I do not care how hot or rainy it is, and even when I am sick and cannot talk, I have to be here and sell flowers.”

She added that selling flowers is difficult because the police doesn't allow her to do so. But once the police is gone, Thida and other sellers come back to sell flowers again.



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