Part.1 【Newly Joined Japanese IT Company Members Discuss “Living in Our Own Country, Now and in the Future.”】


Five new members joined our company in 2023. They are all fresh members in their 20s, one Japanese and four Cambodians. With these members, we had a group discussion in which we talked about four themes. What do they think about living in their own country?

  1. What do you like and dislike about Cambodia?
  2. What are you passionate about now?
  3. What do you want to try in the IT field?
  4. What do you think about the future of Cambodia?

What do you like and dislike about Cambodia?
Okada (facilitator): Okay, let’s go to the first question. You were born and raised in Cambodia. What do you like and dislike about your country?
Rosady: Well, the question is too abstract, so I don’t know what to say.
Okada: You guys know Cambodia well, don’t you? Let me ask you frankly what you think about it.
Rosady: OK, OK, let’s start with Minea, shall we?
Minea: Me, ok, I don’t want to talk about politics as much as possible…
Okada: You can talk about anything. Okada: You can talk about anything you want, Yamaguchi-san will edit it for you later.
Everyone: Laughter
Minea: First of all, I like Cambodian culture. Second, Cambodia is not strict at all. It’s free, and almost anything is possible in this country.
Okada: Really? For example, free in what way?
Minea: Well, for example, from a foreigner’s point of view, it is easy to get a job and work in this country, and you can work anywhere. There are two things I dislike about it. The first is that it is still a developing country. Infrastructure is still not good in the country as a whole, and even in the city, the roads are not smooth at all, right?
Okada: Indeed, when I ride a tuk-tuk, I often jump on the bumps on the road.
Everyone: Laughter
Rosady: Well, it may be clean, but compared to Japan, it is totally dirty.
Minea: People usually throw trash on the street, and the cleaners can’t pick up all of it.
Okada: The same goes for sorting. When I came here, I was surprised to see that they throw away all the garbage together, paper and bottles. Next, how about you, Vluck?
Vluck: Well, what I like about Cambodia is…I guess one thing I like about Cambodia is the character of the people. The personality of the Cambodian people. Second, I guess agriculture. As for what I don’t like, I don’t know.
Everyone: Laughter
Okada: You look like you have a lot. Laughs
Vlkuck: First of all, traffic jams.
Okada: You look like you have a lot to like.
Vluck: What can I say, I think it’s just some people, but what can I say?
Rosady: There are some people who are bad.
Okada: What’s it like?
Vluck: I mean, there are people who don’t know how to drive a car at all.
Rosady: They don’t try to follow traffic rules in the first place. For example, they cut into a motorcycle lane and crash with a motorcycle, and so on,
Okada: So traffic accidents happen frequently?
Everyone: Yes, they happen frequently.
Rosady: But not that often. Because there are not many wide roads, and not many cars drive too fast. But it is dangerous. People are cutting in and out of lanes, it’s really dangerous.
Okada: Come to think of it, is it true that you don’t need a license to ride a motorcycle? I was surprised when I first heard that.
Rosady: They don’t need a license for small motorcycles up to 125 cc.
Okada: Is it true that children can drive too? How old do they have to be to drive?
Vluck: They can drive if you are 14 years old or older.
Minea: They can drive at any age, but the police will stop them.
Vluck: In Cambodia, it’s like that..,
Rosady: But only in your neighborhood. Parents usually don’t let their children drive too far.
Okada: It’s dangerous. How about you, Kunthea?
Kunthea: My favorite thing is the food, I think Cambodian food is really good. I want you to try many different kinds of food.
Okada: What do you recommend most?
Kunthea: My favorite food is Braised Pork organ, which I really like to eat mixed with papaya pickles. I also like to cook in my spare time and search for recipes on YouTube.
And then maybe a resort. There are 25 provinces in Cambodia, and my hometown is Pohsat province in the western part of Cambodia, where there is a resort called one thousand fifty mountain. Many people visit here during the Khmer New Year and Putchumbang holidays.
Okada: I see.
Kunthea: There are no resorts in Phnom Penh, though. Here (the area where the company is located), there are a lot of people, and it seems like there are only houses. What I don’t like is the garbage and traffic jams. Every morning I commute to the office by motorcycle, which takes an hour, and it is really bad because of the terrible traffic jams every day. The other problem is garbage. There is too much garbage and pollution. It is not good for health. That is why all Cambodians are sick.
Okada: That’s tough.
Vluck: (rolls his arms and appeals for health)
Okada: You look healthy. (Laughs)
All: Laughter
Kunthea: I think Cambodians have at least one or two diseases of some kind. It is not only due to pollution, but a combination of various causes. I think there are many problems with alcohol, like wine and beer.
Okada: Many people have problems with alcohol?
Kunthea: Yes, they do.
All: Cambodia is free, you know. LOL
Rosady: Many people drink alcohol without working.
Vluck: Not me, though. (Laughs)
Rosady: Of course I’m different. (LOL), I’ve never had a drop of beer in my life.
Okada: Really?
Minea & Vluck: I believe it, I heard it’s true.
Rosady: Because I am a Muslim. I’m with Naseertha-san (senior engineer), he’s a Muslim too.
Okada: Oh, I didn’t know that.
Vluck: Now you know. (Laughs)
Okada: Yes, I did. Laughs. How about you, Rosady?
Rosady: My favorite part is the freedom. I am free to be an engineer or whatever, as long as I am legally employed. You can drive a motorcycle, you can eat food on the street, no one cares. In Japan, you probably wouldn’t eat while walking, would you?
Okada: That may be true, but..,
Rosady: You can do whatever you want as long as you are careful with the police, no one cares about you. The other part I don’t like is still the garbage problem. You live in Bonkenkong (an area with a lot of foreigners), right? That place is very clean but special, the rest is not clean. You don’t even have to separate garbage. It seems that these days the government wants people to sort their garbage. It seems that they are teaching people from the cities to sort garbage first.
Okada: Where does the garbage end up?
Everyone: I don’t know,
Rosady: Another thing I like is the food. Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Khmer food, Phnom Penh has a lot of good restaurants. By the way, do you know anything about Khmer?
Okada: Oh, is it Khmer, or the Khmer Kingdom?
Rosady: Yes, there used to be a Khmer Kingdom, you call it Cambodia, but it’s all good.
Vluck: Khmer is the Austro-Asiatic language spoken by the Khmer people and is the official language of Cambodia. Khmer and Cambodia mean the same thing.
Okada: Maybe you don’t like it when foreigners call you Cambodian?
Rosady: It’s totally fine, but from our point of view, if he says he’s Khmer, we know he’s been living in Cambodia for a long time.
Okada: I feel better when people call me Khmer.
Rosady: Yes.
Minea: It sounds more official. Normally I would definitely say Khmer. Don’t say Cambodia.
Okada: Is that so? That’s important information for anyone reading this.
Rosady: Also, I think the food is really good.
Okada: What do you like most?
Rosady: I like Japanese food. I love sushi, especially salmon. When I get paid, I always go out to eat sushi. Japanese food is unique. They use fresh ingredients, like raw fish. Come to think of it, I often watch videos of making sushi on YouTube, and videos of handling fish are interesting.

【What are you passionate about now?】
Okada: Moving on to the second topic, what are you passionate about?
Vluck: Let’s start with Rosady.
Rosady: Well, coding, I guess. I work 8 hours a day coding. After I get home, I code for four hours. So I always go to bed at 1 or 2 o’clock.
Okada: What? truth?
Rosady: Really! I’m interested in AI these days. JS is a scalable and powerful programming language, and there are many of these JS frameworks. For example, Vue.JS is a great SINGLE-PAGE-RELOAD (SPA) front-end framework and Nest.js is one of the most powerful NodeJS frameworks.
Maybe this passion of mine will last a year or two. I may have a passion for infrastructure, economics, or marketing in the future, but I don’t know. In the future, I would like to be one of 10 specialists.
Okada: Then, do you want to become a specialist in 10 fields?
Rosady: No, I want them to be specialists in only one area. I know other fields, but I am a specialist in one.
Okada: I see. By the way, is your motivation money?
Rosady: Yes, money is the driving force. (smile)
Okada: 100%?
Rosady: No, not 100%. I want to become an excellent human resource in Cambodia. For example, wouldn’t it be nice if everyone here, including you and I, could become excellent people in the future?
Okada: Ah, you are thinking about the country of Cambodia.
Rosady: Yes, I believe my passion is connected to the future of this country.
Okada: I see. Do you want to make this country a better country in the future?
Rosady: Yes, yes.
Okada: Great, I think you can do it. What do you think of Kunthea?
Kunthea: I’m not an engineer. I am an accountant. But I would like to know more about this job. Because in Cambodia, I have to file a monthly return of GDT (General Directorate of Taxation). Also, I have to pay NSSF (National Social Security Fund) every month. I have to pay a penalty if I am late, so I have a lot of troublesome procedures every month.
Okada: It seems to be quite difficult. You have to be focused all the time.
Kunthea: Yes. But at the moment there are few employees, so I can do it without trouble. I think this is my passion.
Okada: Thank you. what about Vluck?
Vluck: Hmm… . I am interested in the IT field. Not just coding and infrastructure, but IT in general. Regardless of new technology, hardware or software, I think it’s important and interesting. Because, after all, they are all connected. I am passionate about researching everything from how hardware works to new technologies.
Okada: Were you interested in the IT field when you were a child ?
Vluck: Well, I started playing games when I was a child.
Okada: I like games. what game do you play?
Vluck: I play them all. All genres, from mobile to video games. I can learn logical thinking from games, such as how to solve problems.The game is so addicting that it sometimes gets top marks. I don’t have much time to play games these days. I have never been an infrastructure engineer before and am really trying to learn how to code to work with hardware.
Okada: Then what about Minea?
Minea: Honestly, I don’t know what I want to do.
Everyone: lol
Minea: I’m out of college, but I think I’m still looking.
Okada: Yes.
Minea: But lately I’m interested in game development. When I was a student, I often skipped math classes, so I’m studying again. But now I work full time as an engineer, so I don’t have much time.
Okada: Then, are you thinking of changing jobs to a game development company in the future?
Minia: I don’t have any particular goals, but I want to change jobs in a year or two. Also, I plan to release my first game in 2025.
Okada: Really? what kind of game?
Minea: It’s a secret. (smile)
Okada: It’s in production right now. I didn’t know that.
Minea: Yes yes. I’m working on 3D rendering right now and being a developer is hard because I have to do everything myself.
Okada: Is this your first work?
Minea: Yes, that’s right.
Okada: I’m looking forward to 2025, I want to see what kind of game it is!
Now let’s move on to the third topic!

[Continue to Part 2]

Group discussion 2023.02
Translator: Okada
Photo: Yamaguchi

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