NOTE: As part of the SEA camp, participants are encouraged to write their media memoirs – reflections on how the media has influenced their lives and perspectives, regardless of whether it’s news, television, films, books or even the radio. Through these media memoirs we see how the media can shape us, and appreciate the importance of media literacy in our countries. SEAYSS will be publishing the media memoirs of most – if not all – the participants of 2012′s SEA camp, together with reflections on the state of media literacy in Southeast Asian countries. If you have any thoughts about media literacy in your country, do comment on our articles or email us your thoughts at editor[at]seayouthsayso[dot]com!
I am Cambodian. I started listening to the radio in the 1990s, when I was 6 years old. At the time, I listened to the radio mostly for the joy of it. I liked the children’s programs, especially the kids’ songs.
The radio station I listened to was the only one in my country. There were no other choices. It had only been about 10 years after the Pol Pot regime. The regime had destroyed all radio construction and networks. They used only one radio station to broadcast information to the soldiers supervising citizens in the fields (Cambodians had been removed to work as labourers in the fields). It was a communist regime. They killed many educated people and destroyed infrastructure.
From my childhood to teenage years, my way of listening to the radio was not so much changed.
However, change came when I was at high school. There were more radio stations established throughout the country, so I could listen to many different stations that I liked. When I was studying in high school, I could choose the program I liked or even my favorite station to listen to.
In 2005, I left home to pursue my studies in Siem Reap, where there were many universities. I lived alone in a small house after school. While I was alone at home, I spent a lot of time listening to the radio. Sometimes I called in to radio programs to request songs. I became a star caller, which meant that I called in to the program quite often.
One day in 2006, an announcement was made by the station, advertising job vacancies for radio programs. I decided to apply because I knew the programs at that radio station very well. I had to complete an application form and record myself reading an article. My record was broadcast to the public in order to find out who would get the most support from callers. I was not in the list of those who had the most votes, but a few people in that list withdrew their applications to work at the station. The radio administrator then asked me to work unpaid for a three-month probation period.
I passed the probation period successfully and decided to work there for a while. Two and a half years later I decided to quit that job, and was accepted to work as an assistant director at an NGO called Journeys Within Our Community. It was a new page in the story of my career, one which has moved from radio to charity.