Is the economy getting better or worse?
Yiyay Farmer/Beggar, Achar Mean Boulevard
"No loss, no gain. Several times a year I come to town to ask people for
money. I get enough to make it day by day. It is not good to do that, but I have
no other support and my field in Kom-pong Speu province doesn't have enough water
Hout Sothy Accountant, Finance Ministry
"Our government salary of only 30,000 riels is not even enough to pay for
my breakfast-we depend on my wife, who sells groceries in Chba Ampoe market. Everything
is still difficult, but our standard of living has been going up slowly."
Sithou Stationery Seller Psah Thay Market
"I don't think inflation is the problem because everything follows the price
of resources and the people understand. Actually, these days I'm selling better than
before. I earn a profit of 15,000 to 20,000 riels a day. It's not much, but it can
save my family."
Um Sinoun Teacher Bak Touk High School
"We cannot live on our government salary of 32,000 riels [about U.S. $15] a
month. At the very least we have to do some business or get a second job to get money;
otherwise we will die. My sister and I sell some food in the school. I almost gave
up my job, but I'm waiting to see what happens in the future. Anyway, I'm interested
in my profession."
Chan Thorn Owner Fraternite Restaurant
"Business has been good recently-more income, more profit. My sales increase
with the value of the riel on the black market. Last year our income was approximately
150,000 riels and now it's more than doubled. It seems that people have more money
to spend in my restaurant since UNTAC came. Because of robberies and murders in town
recently, business has been slow at night though. When security is good at night,
business is great."
Phy Roun Farmer and Cyclo Driver Prey Veng
"Everybody knows that things are so crazy and that even cyclo rides cost more
now. I still earn about 3,000 riels a day after I pay for my meals-the same as before-although
the money doesn't go as far now."