Hard work plus talent equals Vann Sok Heng

Hard work plus talent equals Vann Sok Heng

5 Vann Sok Heng

V​ann Sok Heng is a steel expert: from doors to warehouses, he can build and fix all things made of steel. Today, Sok Heng is the owner of a steel shop located near the antenna in Tuol Kork District.

Sok Heng, a big man with dark skin, got his start in steel when he arrived in Phnom Penh for the first time in 1993. He and his older brother took jobs as construction workers at the 7 January Bridge when Sok Heng was just 17-years-old. Although his brother gave up after a few days on the job, Sok Heng began a long career as a blue-collar steelworker.

When he first started, Sok Heng made a pitiful salary of just $40 a month. To complicate matters further, his fellow workers spoke Vietnamese. However, he received extensive training just by doing his job right.

“I did not know their language, and I knew only that they asked me to do this and that, but what was important is that I had to learn the job.”

After working as a steelworker, a retailer and a motor taxi driver, Vann Sok Heng started his own business in 2004.

He said that he is a good employer who always thinks of his staff’s safety instead of just his benefits. Sok Heng’s aims to learn to repair stair mechanisms.

As a business owner, Sok Heng sometimes has to deal with dishonesty.

“I have been cheated many times, but I do not know how to deal with it.”

His job can be dangerous, as demonstrated by several accidents that have occurred on the job. One day in 2000, Sok Heng suddenly fainted while standing on the sand at his workplace. When he finally opened his eyes again, he was at Calmette Hospital the next day. He then realised that his body was burnt.

His friend told him that he was shocked by electricity when a nearby worker put an iron ladder on an electrical cable. The scars are still on him today.

He went back to work after just two weeks of recovery, but he found the work very difficult in his condition. Instead of working with steel directly, he decided to become a steel realtor. Staff and budget issues caused that to fail, however, so he went back to his old job.

After the accident, he could not work hard because when he tried to do something difficult, the blood went to his head and he began to feel dizzy. But he continues the job because it is what he loves most.

“I used to be a hairdresser, a radio and TV repairer, but I love being a steelworker, and I have a talent for this job,” he said, covered in sweat.

MOST VIEWED

  • Temi tourism project approved by the CDC

    The $500.4 million Tourism, Ecological, Marine and International (Temi) tourism project has been approved by the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC), according to a notice on its Facebook page on Monday. The project is part of Chinese-owned Union City Development Group Co Ltd’s (

  • Rainsy will return at ‘favourable time’

    Opposition figure Sam Rainsy on Saturday suggested he would not return to Cambodia as he had previously promised, saying that like liberators King Father Norodom Sihanouk and Charles de Gaulle, he would only do so at a “favourable time”. “I will go back to Cambodia

  • US Embassy urged to stop ‘disrespecting sovereignty’

    The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation called on the US Embassy in Phnom Penh on Saturday to respect the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations after it called former opposition leader Kem Sokha “an innocent man” – a move deemed to be “disrespecting Cambodia’s

  • NagaWorld casino sees net profit of more than $390M last year

    Phnom Penh’s NagaWorld casino posted a 53 per cent net profit increase last year at $390.6 million, a sum which is almost equal to the combined net profit of all Cambodian commercial banks in 2017. NagaWorld’s parent company, NagaCorp Ltd, is listed on the Hong Kong