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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Youth of the week: Chea Theara

Youth of the week: Chea Theara

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Photograph: Phnom Penh Post

As traffic is busy in Phnom Penh, the process of controlling it with traffic lights is very important. Have you ever wondered about the people in charge of making the lights change from red to green and yellow?

It looks easy, but the process of setting up traffic lights is very difficult and complicated.

Chea Theara, 25, majored in electronics in the National Polytechnic Institute of Cambodia. While studying during his last year, he and his friends created a traffic controller box as part of their final thesis.

“We cooperated and helped each other to make the controller box. Now our achievement is on display at a public expo at our school.” Theara said.

According to Theara, students who study electronics are under pressure because they must focus on critical thinking as well as calculating.

“We have to put effort into mathematics, writing programs, inputting codes and new technologies that we have not seen before,” he said.

Although the major was a hard one, he still tried his best as he found that the subject was his favourite.

“I know about real science. In my free time, I like to repair broken things, like radios,” he said.

After he graduated in 2010, Theara spent several months learning to set up electronic lights, including traffic lights, working with the Ministry of Public Work and Transport, as well as Phnom Penh City Hall.
“During the training course, I used to repair the system controller box. Sometimes I also set up new boxes: we need more boxes on the road.”

He has also set up traffic lights at Lux cinema, Nekvon pagoda, Sihanoukville and in the Steung Meanchey area.

“In the process of setting up the box, we have to think carefully because we have to write a code, insert the program and test it many times. Moreover, we need to spend a lot of time on it -- at least a week,” he said.

“Working in this field, we have to know and understand clearly about both theory and practice because if we are careless, we can get electric shocks -- which can be very dangerous.”

Now Theara works in employment at Electricity of Cambodia but he hopes to return to setting up traffic lights someday.

“If it is possible in the future, I will come back and work in my previous field again because it is 100 per cent the subject that I have learnt and enjoy”, he said.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post

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