Six former or current Cambodian garment factory workers make up The Messenger Band, and they have much to sing about their working conditions and the state of the country. “Poor countries are kept in the dark,” they sing. Through privatisation, the government has stolen everything from the people, and resold it, they sing.
They sing about the hundreds of thousands of women who had to leave rural areas to work in factories to earn below liveable wages (US$50-100 per month) and send a bit back home. Along the way these women are exploited, abused, and repressed.
Last year the Messenger Band was with striking workers when police fired at them, killing four protestors.
“Other members were in more danger than I was as they sang from the top of tuk-tuks to encourage protesters to stay together and not use violence,” one band member said.