Bun Tharum, Phnom Penh
Cambodia has no official Apple Store where fans of Steve Jobs, who died Thursday at 56, can pay homage. But Cambodian Facebook pages were cluttered with news stories, messages and memorable quotes from the man who helped found Apple and led the company through the explosion of the information age.
Here, he is best know for his iPhone and iPad, two desirable gadgets that have found their way into the Cambodian marketplace.
Sen Tharo, a graphic design student in Phnom Penh, wrote shortly after news of Jobs’ death: “If you love apple, you’d better remember the name of Steve Jobs- one of the brightest visionary in this 21century.”
Many people have been touched by Apple’s cool gadgets, as well as fascinated by Jobs’ salesmanship. I talked to Chean Long, a long-time Apple user, photographer and video producer about how the machines have helped his work.
“The first computer I ever used was in the 4th grade,” he said in an e-mail. “It was an Apple II Macintosh. Apple products have definitely changed the way we interact with electronic devices. Someone took the time and the effort to make sure the user experience is one of a kind and just perhaps one would forget they’re using a device and it becomes and extension of our mind. It’s just a part of my everyday life and I can’t see myself buying competitors products.”
Referring to the iPhone, the Cambodian-American Apple lover wrote: “From my phone I can interact with the world, and it’s not a pain because IOS has such a great interface.”
Chean Long is currently working in Phnom Penh. He runs a YouTube channel, Third World Studio, to showcase some of his digital videos, most of them shot and edited in Cambodia.
But Apple products are not just for professionals like Chean Long.
For a mother like Keo Kalyan, the simplicity of the product design is what appeals to her. She admits that gadgets like the iPad have significantly changed the way she reads news, magazines and books.
“I spend far less than before I had an iPad on magazines,” she said in an e-mail Thursday. “It saves me alot, both space and money. I can get access to a wide range of information just at my finger tips… Most that is not widely available, [but] can read those on iPad.”
But it was more than his gadgets that made both of them respect Jobs and lament his loss.
“To me, Steve was the best marketer CEO and visionary I have ever known,” she wrote. “His name will be even more remembered if [he shares] some if his wealth to digital charity, like Gates.”
“We’ve lost an icon,” Chean Long wrote. “I mean here is a guy that started in a garage and then took the reins of a company to make it the most valuable firm in the world. Just amazing. One thing that I personally admire is that he loved what he did. If it were possible we should all do things that we love and are passionate about. Passion is underrated and Steve had that in droves.”
Cambodians working high tech said Jobs’ death is great loss to information technology, saying they are sadden by the news. VOA’s Khmer Kong Sothanarith reports from Phom Penh.