DURING the dry season when farm work decreases hundreds of countrymen venture to
the city to look for short-term odd jobs.
This year many countrymen have
decided to stay in Phnom Penh after landing good paying jobs in the newly
expanding car-wash industry which is flourishing this wet season because of the
muddy streets and a large increase in the number of cars on the road.
female car-washer from Svay Rieng said: "Almost all of the car-washers are poor
people from the countryside. Besides cyclo and moto taxi driving, washing cars
is also suitable for unskilled countrymen, especially for women. That is why
nearly half of the car-washers are women."
A 21-year-old man from Prey
Veng province called Mab who works at the Car-Wash on Street 51 near Street 200
said: "I never learned at school. I am an illiterate man.
"I left my
province four months ago in order to find a job in Phnom Penh but there was no
job suitable for me except for washing cars."
"Many people consider
working as a car-washer to be a low position. I sometimes get looked down upon
by car owners who come to have their car washed, they scold me as if I am a dog.
"I try to be patient and friendly, this is the usual behavior of low
ranking workers. Being poor I cannot hesitate to accept any job. I make 40,000
riels per month which is much more than I ever made in the country."
Than, a 22 year old woman from Svay Reing, said: "I am very happy to do work
washing cars even though people look down on me because I can earn as much as
some civil servants."
"I make 30,000 riels a month and my boss provides
me with free food and accommodation as well. This allows me to save money for my
"I am pleased to work as a car-washer. No other job suits me
because my knowledge is too low. I only finished primary school."
Ny, a 30 year old widow from Prey Veng, said: "I am proud to be a car-washer, it
is better than being a prostitute or an escort girl in a nightclub."
owner of the Street 51 car-wash Ngin Yanny says: "Car-wash owners can't make
much from the business due to expenditure on salaries, water, tax and spare
parts for the cleaning and pumping machines."
"However many car-wash
businesses have opened recently. Many people think there is considerable money
to be made washing cars when they see the dirty streets caused by rain and
"I have 20 employees. The eight women I pay 40,000 riels
per month, and the twelve men I pay 50,000 riels per month. The business earns
revenue of between 60,000-70,000 riels per day. I charge 5,000 riels for
cleaning cars, and 1,000 riels for cleaning motos."
"After paying taxes
and expenditure on capital I make only enough money to just feed the family. But
I keep the business going because otherwise I'd be jobless."
car-wash owner said she employed five women and six men. "I pay the women 30,000
riels [each] and the men 60,000 riels and I provide them all with food and
accommodation. I only make a profit in the rainy season."
She added that
the men are paid more because their work is harder.
car-washers make money from the rain and the streets being dirty and full of mud
they say they have goodwill towards the country and want the streets to be clean
and the weather to be sunny.
In contrast one woman said: "I want it to
rain every day so that the streets are filled with mud and I can make more money
VN fights inflation
HANOI - The Vietnamese government is determined to keep the annual inflation
rate below 10 percent but the task won't be easy, Prime Minister Vo Van Kiet was
reported as saying on June 24.
"In the first five months of 1994,
[prices] increased six per cent. The effort to keep the annual rate below 10 per
cent will be quite a strain," newspapers quoted Kiet as saying.
inflation Kiet prescribed measures such as boosting production, widening the
distribution of consumer goods, controlling the circulation of money and
balancing supply and demand.-Reuters