Thinking about my childhood life, I feel I brought many bad luck to my family. There were many issues had occurred when I was born. Now what! All those things push me to work harder to be a better version of myself like nowadays! Cambodia in 90s, life was very challenged for most of every families. I was born in a poor community in Battambang province, where my parents were displaced to, after their business gone bankrupt. It was a community where most of villagers go gambling, drinking white wine and alcohol, whispering as their normal routine. My dad was struggling finding a new career, and he started to be a taxi driver. Unfortunately, dad were robbed and shot wound. Since there were not many people have car in that time. He went missing for a couple months. Meanwhile, my two years old brother got seriously Dengue and died several weeks later due to lack of medical care. Fews months onward, my mom gave a birth to me by the absent of my dad. I heard from Mom that it was raining like cat and dog on my birthday. It was very hard for her since she did not know many neighbors. Luckily, there was one man live next to my house help to call an old midwife over and the she delivered my birth successfully. My mother started to sell vegetable in the market for the first time in the same week that she gave birth to me because nobody else was responsible for our finance. I was too young to remember the situation in that village. However, once the word “Birth place” come to my mind, it only brings me an imagination of a Dark Livelihood where sort of gamblers, whisper society, and drug community.
Next five years later, we had moved to a new rent house. It was an abandon ancient house of a rich man. That is where I grow up. The first day we moved in, there were lots of human skeletons left in the house since Pol Pot regime. That house were used as a hospital during Pol Pot’s ruling and left behind after the fail of that regime until we went there. There was a rumor that no one could even stay in that house for a whole night because of ghost. Luckily, I have never seen ghost for all my life. However, there were some of my relatives and my parents’ friends experienced it. No matter what, I don’t believe what they said. Another challenge for us came, the landlord was about to sell that house. We were worried that we need to move again. Yet my parent tried to convince him just rent that house for us instead of sell it to another person. We won the negotiation, but the renting price went higher and took us more than 10 years to buy that house. Yes 10 years! Then we managed to buy it in 10 years later.
Life was hard to describe in that time. I didn’t even have money to buy 100 KHR ice cream. Every morning, I waited at the fence just to stare at ice cream seller who pass through every day with his bike cycle. My parents left home early every day and return in evening to sell vegetables and pork at the market. Then they headed back to another outlet store to sell curried pork at night. Someday, my sister and I ate rice with salt since she was also too young to make food as well. Sometime, we stay starving to wait parents return home to make food us. I always told myself, I want to be a successful businessman once I grow up to help my family. No doubt that now I turns all thing I have met into business concept.
When I turn to six years old. My parents brought me to register for primary school. However, I were rejected for two years in row due to I were too small. My first grade started when I was eight years old. I did not have many friends, and I were kind of silent person even in the village nor at school. Because not every people feel comfortably to connect with a poor kids like me. The first thing come up to my mind about my early education was isolation. I got used to discrimination and being alone. Somehow, I am one the of lucky kid that no matter what, my parents are so supportive and they encourage me to have high education even they didn’t have a chance to have one for themselves.
Since parents rarely buy toy for me, I tried to enjoy in my own way. I invented my own toy by the stuffs I pick up from the trash collector near my home such as dynamo, mosquito shocker, radio and so on to combine together as remote car, boat, plane and many things else. I started to interested in innovation technology and very passionate about innovative since that time. It was similar to trash picker kid, but my friends and I were just make fun out of it.
Life is hard, but it would be even harder if we choose to enjoy too much comfort zone life. We cannot choose the living standard to be born, but we can build a good one for ourselves. Right!! If I choose to live along with the fate, maybe today I just be a force labor worker.