Sunday, January 23, 2011


I stumbled across this article today. And, it provided a bit of humor for me, so I thought I would share it with you.

For those of you who will not go and read the article, it talks about the hilarity of cell phone usage in Cambodia. It is hot market, folks! And, since the article does not go into great detail as to how cell phones work here, I will explain a bit more as it is much different from America.

Basically, one purchases a cell phone and a SIM card, which is attached to a phone number. Then, you purchase phone credit. Phone cards look similar to scratch off lottery tickets...and used ones are littered everywhere! You purchase phone credit in a variety of increments ($1.00, $2.00, $5.00, etc.), scratch off the back of the card, and enter the code that appears. You can then make phone calls and send text messages to your heart's content...or until the money runs out. But, the beautiful thing is that you do not have to have credit on your phone to receive calls or text messages. As a general rule, most Cambodian people that I know do not regularly have credit on their phones, thus you should not expect phone calls to be returned or text messages to be replied to. Sometimes they will use the glorious "missed call" to let you know they need you to call them or have arrived at your house. In that case, they call you, let it ring once and hang up before you answer so there is no charge. The other interesting thing is that many Cambodians change SIM cards as often as they change clothes. Based on no scientific research but only my own observation, I would surmise that most people have a minimum 2-3 SIM cards that they use interchangeably, in addition to borrowing from whichever friend they are among who might have a few cents of phone credit. Oh, caller ID, how useless you have become...

Cell phone usage is but one of the areas that has thrust Cambodia into the modern world. Cambodia is developing and changing at a frightening pace, and the influences from other nations are not creeping in, they are storming in with bells and whistles. Today is not the day that I will discuss the multitude of reasons this is dangerous for the nation's future, but please do pray for Cambodia. And, next time you see that fool with 2 cell phones clipped to his belt, just remember the orange-robed monk attempting to have simultaneous conversations on three phones while his other five sit in a pile beeping with alerts of received text messages.

1 comment:

  1. This post made me laugh!!! Love it! Riley came home from school the other day and told me one of her friends had a cell phone! I was like seriously? She was like yes, it takes pictures and everything and she said she could get me one too! WHAT???? I found out later that this girl's grandpa makes phones and it's just the phone and she can't actually make calls on it. Thanks goodness! What is the world coming to when a kindergartener gets a cell phone!