Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Rich pickings for driver of "Space Age" cyclo

Rich pickings for driver of "Space Age" cyclo

Rich pickings for driver of "Space Age" cyclo

W HILE toddlers can tell the bell of a passing balloon seller, and the horns of

motos, cars and trucks are instantly recognizable to all, the noises of On

Korn's cyclo often confuse people.

They might find that what sounds like

a wailing fire engine coming down the road is in fact only a little cyclo like

all the rest in Phnom Penh - except for its battery of lights and

sirens.

Of the hundreds of cyclos which ply the Capital's streets, On

Korn has the most unique.

It is equipped with sirens which can produce

six screeching alarm sounds - including that of a fire engine, police car and

ambulance - and 18 lights, 10 of them mounted on the front.

Attracting

customers and avoiding accidents were the main reasons why Korn decided to go

high-tech with his cyclo, and his efforts have been successful.

He has

never had an accident while peddling the streets, and earns a fair bit more than

the average cyclo driver does.

Korn used to be moto-taxi driver but gave

that up about a year ago, when armed robberies were rife, to switch to a

cyclo.

He says his cyclo cost him $100 to buy, and he spent another $100

buying used car and motorcycle parts to spruce it up.

The cyclo is a

frequent sight outside the Diamond Hotel, where he flicks on his flashing lights

to attract tourists as they venture out to see Phnom Penh.

Living "an

owl's life", he mainly works at night when his cyclo lights can be seen to their

full potential.

Korn, a 33-year-old man with a Chinese-Khmer face, says

he usually earns 10,000-20,000 riels a day, much of it from foreign customers

who often pay $3 an hour to tour the city in his cyclo.

But while

foreigners such as Japanese and Singaporeans usually pay well, others are more

miserly.

"The French love cyclos very much but they pay little money," he

says, adding that the Americans are the same.

Some tourists pay him money

just to take photographs of his cyclo, which is just one of an estimated

10,000-15,000 cyclos in Phnom Penh.

MOST VIEWED

  • With herd immunity likely in 2022, is Cambodia ready to reopen for tourism?

    The government aims to inoculate 80 per cent of the target population by June next year, giving it a head start among regional peers to reboot the sector but first, it has to do a few things to up its game A sign on a glass

  • US wants 'full access' to Ream Naval Base

    On June 11, the US embassy's Defense Attaché Colonel Marcus M Ferrara visited Ream Nava Base in coordination with Cambodian officials following the recent approval of Prime minister Hun Sen to allay the concerns on Chinese military presence at the base as raised by US Deputy

  • Jab drive heading to 5 provinces

    The government is set to vaccinate more than 1.2 million people in five provinces after finishing with Phnom Penh and neighbouring Kandal in an ongoing campaign administered by the ministries of Health and National Defence. The five provinces are Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Speu, Takeo, Kampong Cham

  • New immigration bill targets illegal foreigners in Kingdom

    General Department of Immigration (GDI) officials are discussing revisions to the new draft law on immigration to prevent foreigners from entering Cambodia illegally and to supervise those living in the Kingdom more effectively. The revisions draw wide support among civil society organisations. GDI director-general Kirth

  • School reopening can’t wait

    With the Covid-19 pandemic now well into its second year, safely reopening schools has become an urgent priority. School attendance is critical for children’s education and lifetime prospects. The long-term costs of closures – both for individual children and society – are simply too large to

  • Kingdom set to be a gold producer

    Cambodia will soon join the roster of gold producing countries after the government announced the commencement of commercial gold mining operations in the Okvau area in southwestern Mondulkiri province's Keo Seima district from June 21. Prime Minister Hun Sen on June 10 announced that after 14 years of