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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Poor Pol Pot half-orphan becomes CEO of a Japanese company

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Poor Pol Pot half-orphan becomes CEO of a Japanese company

Taiwa Seiki (Cambodia) Corporation is a big Japanese post-harvest machinery maker in Cambodia and the first company in the country that imports materials from Japan to produce rice mills in Cambodia.

The machinery making company in Cambodia, worth several hundred thousands of US dollars, is an achievement of a Cambodian youth who has struggled studying until he become successful as he is today.

Sitting in a cafeteria in front of a famous Institute of Foreign Languages in Phnom Penh, Vuthy Monyrath is talking about his life struggles in his childhood, “I heard my mother said that a few days after I was born, my father was killed by the Pol Pot regime. So, I’ve been living with my mother alone since I was a kid.”

In spite of life without warmth from a father, Monyrath still has his beloved mother who always worked hard for her son. Like what the other parents do to their children, Monyrath’s mother tried her best to support Monyrath’s study and made this son become an outstanding student when he was studying at a primary school in Prey Veng province.

Monyrath says, “At that time, there were only eight grades in the village I lived, and I got number one or two every month.”

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Remembering how he studied at that time he says: “My teacher took a wooden board and used mud to write on it. When she wanted to erase the letters, she used leafs of a plant called Ton Trean Khaet to wipe the board.”

Noticing the efforts of her son, Monyrath’s mother decided to move to Phnom Penh in 1991 so that Monyrath could study in high school.

When mother and son came to Phnom Penh, they used the little money Monyrath’s mother had saved to buy a small house. Monyrath’s mother then had to work harder to pay for Monyrath’s study.

He says, “At the time, my mother was a bicycle-and-motorbike watcher for a market to earn some money to support my study.”

Because he is an outstanding student, and thanks to his high ability, Vuthy Monyrath passed three scholarships at the same time in 1996 to study three majors: History, Commerce and Fishery. However, he chose to study only fishery.

In 1998, Monyrath passed another scholarship to study English at Institute of Foreign Languages (IFL) during his third year in fishery. That was the time he worked as a part-time teacher to earn some money for his study.

Talking about that time, he says, “I taught English at Borey 100 Khnong School, and I got US$30 a month. I was very happy with the money I could earn.”

When Monyrath graduated in his fishery major, he was in the third year at IFL. Besides his part-time job, he involved himself in some other environment-related projects with the U.S. Embassy and NGOs.

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His experience in protecting the environment helped Monyrath to gain an international scholarship to study the Japanese environment. Japan is the place where he graduated his Master’s Degree and Ph.D’s Degree in Underwater Management.

Having lived in Japan for more than eight years, Monyrath, had built good connections and trust with many people there including high-ranking officials.

He says, “Everyone liked me. I had a good relationship with the Cambodian ambassador to Japan because I was the president of the Cambodian Youth Association in Japan at that time.”

Good communication skills with others made Monyrath know many potential Japanese investors.

One of the investors he has met is a head of Taiwa Seiki Company in Japan. Because of immaculate conduct and honesty, Vuthy Monyrath was promoted to the CEOI of the company in Cambodia in 2010.

Now, 37-year-old Vuthy Monyrath explains the goal of the company and the investor of the company, “In the future, the company is going to be Cambodian-owned under technical surveillance from Japanese. We need Cambodian students majoring in mechanical technology to work in production, and the students can also seek the right place to practice their knowledge after graduation.”

Besides being CEO of Taiwa Seiki, Vuthy Monyrath is also working voluntarily as president of the Association of Cambodian Graduates from Japan in Cambodia.

To Cambodian youths who want to become CEO Monyrath gives this piece of advice: “Be strongly committed to learn whether you really have the strong passion necessary to lead people! Have a clear goal of what you want to be.”

Because of his success and to be grateful to his mother, Mr. Monyrath bought a new house for her in 2008.

He said “my mother is really proud of me.”

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