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Between the fortunate and the less-fortunate, experiencing debt with microfinance institutions and banks can be a completely different feeling. For the past couple weeks, Sothie and Samnang have been bombarded tirelessly by other people’s complaints which focus around the current debt issue. Listening to those complaints actually drains more of your energy than trying to address your own issue. However, since many people are stuck under this current pressure, Sothie and Samnang decided to voluntarily go through those complaints.
Sothie: Hey Samnang! Do you owe anything to the banks like everybody else?
Samnang: Do I look like I have the honor for the bank to loan me money?
Sothie: What do you mean?
Samnang: I own no real businesses. I have no important job or position. I am just an ordinary person who regularly follows the news. Without these aforementioned assets, we cannot get loan from the banks.
Sothie: So, you should be very aware about the latest information regarding debt issues.
Samnang: I hurt my brain following such content for the last few weeks. Some people are really worth to be pitied. All those insufficient income, they truly have limited options to deal with their debts. Even those who just managed to buy a flat for the sake of a better living condition now struggle. I also pity those people, since they still live paycheck to paycheck.
Sothie: How about those people who receive a sufficient amount of income, yet still complain about this very same issue. Do you have any compassion toward them?
Samnang: Normally, I pity everybody, but the person I pity the most is obviously myself. COVID-19 and the damage it has dealt is suffocating me financially. And yet, I do not have any intention to express or talk up my pain or complaints. When you look at those fortunate people, I do understand that they are in debt. But where do those debts end up? Perhaps, they wound up so in debt by expanding their businesses, buying more houses or land. That’s what bothers me, the people at the top whining about their debts when those at the bottom face very real financial trouble. People who have literally everything and people to have literally nothing experience this new debt crisis very differently. You cannot sense their exact feeling by looking at their face alone. Do you understand, Sothie?
Sothie: Complaints about debts are popping up everywhere. Do banks and other financial institutions also face similar challenges?
Samnang: Banks and microfinances are also a form of business. They surely face a similar issue on their side. They have their own employees to pay, and their entire business model revolves around borrowing financial resources from bigger financial institutions, which means they pay interest on the loans they take out in order to disburse loans to Cambodians and make a profit from charging the poorest a higher interest rate than those large financial institutions are charging them. When you contemplate the issue from above, you will somehow get the idea that banks and microfinance institutions are simply the “middle-men” and so to protect those at the bottom, we need cooperation from those at the very top – those lending to banks and microfinance institutions. In short, there is nothing better than being patient and the practice of mutual help. These are the best options so far.