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Haute couture from a tuk tuk

Haute couture from a tuk tuk

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Customers seek some beachwear from Meas Hean´s tuk tuk.

IT’S Sunday afternoon and a small crowd of people are gathered around a solitary tuk tuk parked next to Kep beach. A policeman looks on disinterestedly. Inside Meas Hean, 53, sits surrounded by T-shirts, underwear, hats, gloves and socks.

Meas Hean has sold clothes from her tuk tuk by Kep beach for just over a year now. Each weekend her husband drives the 10km from their village to the esplanade next to the beach.

“I sell only on Saturday and Sunday because on working days there are not so many people,” she says. “This is a good place to sell, because people need underwear or T-shirts for swimming. Today I have taken around 500,000 riel.”

During the week the couple visit various markets around Kep and Kampot selling all kinds of clothes for men, women and children, which she buys in Phnom Penh.

“I do this business by myself because when I got old I did not know what to do,” she says. “I come here with my husband as both my son and daughter are married.”

Previously a farmer, Meas Hean sold four small cows to raise the $1,200 it took to buy the tuk tuk and motorbike.

“This is an easy job,” she says. “Farming is difficult work, especially when you get old.”

Meas Hean came up with her novel idea by watching other vendors transport their clothes to markets by tuk tuk. She doesn’t know of anyone else that uses a tuk tuk as a mobile shop.

“It is only me who does it like this,” she says. “It was my own idea. I saw other people take a tuk tuk to sell their clothes, but they never used a tuk tuk like this.”

Fortunately for Meas Hean’s micro-enterprise, her husband did not throw a spanner into the works.

“He agreed with me, because we did not know what to do,” she says.

Now he drives her around various markets during the week and down to the beach at the weekend.
INTERPRETER: RANN REUY

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