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Bank job's small return

Bank job's small return

B EING one of the country's top professional women doesn't necessarily mean that one will be laughing all the way to the bank.

At least, National Bank of Cambodia's Deputy Governor Tioulong Saumura doesn't seem to think so.

She says her job is 24 hour-a-day, 100 percent involvement with little opportunity for leisure.

Sam Rainsy's wife spoke frankly about her work in an interview with the Post.

She said: "I can't really say how many hours I spend working at the bank. It's an ongoing job and since I never switch off my mobile phone I'm always busy.

"Sometimes I wish I were more like my husband. Once he decides that enough is enough and that he wants to relax then he completely shuts out all outside interference.

"He relaxes by playing with his organ or reading Thai novels. I can't do that. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I'm a woman.

"I only get about three to four hours sleep a night. I am terribly conscientious about my work and my children are also a priority.

Saumura said: "As deputy governor of the National Bank of Cambodia, I earn a monthly salary of 100,000 riels. That's about $40.

"Of course, I can't live on that and I don't actually take the money. I share it between my two secretaries who work long hours and are unable to take on a second job to supplement their income. My husband does the same thing with his salary.

"We are both living off our savings. When I lived in France, I worked for Indosuez Bank and used to be a director of Fleming [an investment bank].

"Any money I made was invested in real estate and I am also living off dividends on shares I own. I shall probably have to sell a small apartment in France to help with living expenses."

Though Saumura is more comfortably off than most Cambodians she is acutely aware of the ethical problems lowly-paid public servants encounter.

"If you were earning $20 a month and had five children and a wife to feed, what would you do? How does one escape the vicious circle? It's hard to do," she said.

"The best way to fight corruption is through economic growth.

"That way people will come to realize that it is not necessary to be corrupt. Cambodians have not lost all sense of moral values. It comes and goes, it's cyclical. Now everything rests on private investment."

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