How To Get Ahead: Working Abroad ... Cambodia - If you can hire an elephant or pop out to buy an AK47, you must be in Cambodia

Melanie Leathers, client development group head at the National Magazine Company, had an unlikely sales job in Cambodia.

Melanie Leathers, client development group head at the National

Magazine Company, had an unlikely sales job in Cambodia.



’I worked as a sales and marketing consultant for a water purification

company that supplied water to the United Nations bases. They wanted me

to open an office to market the service to international companies and

embassies.



’My first task was to organise a launch party that was going to be

attended by a royal prince. I had to ensure that sufficient dignitaries

would be present, otherwise I would be risking a royal insult.



’I had to create my own advertising, which involved daubing some slogans

on fabric and stringing them up across the roads. Through an interpreter

I also negotiated to hire three elephants, which I draped with banners

and used to provide transport from the UN buildings to our party. Since

there was no postal system, I hired the local newspaper sellers to do

leaflet drops.



’Amputees were a constant reminder of the war and you could buy a

grenade in the market for dollars 1 or an AK47 for dollars 50. I

personally knew three English people who were abducted and killed by

guerrillas.



’But the Cambodian people were beautiful and the expatriate social life

was fantastic. There were lots of boozy parties. Cambodia was holding

its first democratic elections and there was a real sense of history

being made.’



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