A letter to Mr. Koko [South East Asia Series 2019.2020]

To Mr. Koko, a tuk tuk driver from Siem Reap, Cambodia, who speaks 5 languages but was never taught how to read or write. Mr. KoKo who has 3 children, likes beer and hearing to very (very!) loud music on his Tuk tuk. To Mr. KoKo who learns about the Angkor temples on YouTube so he can then help tourists like me for a minor fee.

Thank you for taking me around for hours and not complaining about my lack of understanding when you spoke one of the 5 languages you know how to speak and thank you for trying so hard to teach me everything you possibly could.

Thank you the company and for talking to me about your life, your present and your reality.

Thank you for telling me about your family who you care so much about and look forward to go back to after your working day. I’m sorry to hear your little baby isn’t well and I do hope he gets better soon. Hearing you say that all the money you’ve made in one day went to your little baby’s medicine and hospital treatment gave me one of the biggest reality checks ever.

And as I looked at you not knowing what to say, you just replied: “no money, no problem. Ok. I’ll find job. I love people, not money. KoKo gets job, KoKo happy. KoKo likes job, KoKo likes people”.

Thank you KoKo.