As a little girl, Her Excellency Serey Chea was obsessed with “The X-Files” television program and the idea that we are not alone in this universe. Fascinated by the extraterrestrial and outer space, she dreamed of becoming an astronaut. But her father, Chanto Chea, who is governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC) today, said: My poor girl, Cambodia is not going to launch any spaceship out there any time soon, so you’re not going to be able to get any job.
Chea, now 40, was self-conscious about holding a Cambodian passport. In the 1980s, Cambodia was isolated from the international community and she felt certain prospective international employers would jump to all sorts of conclusions about her nationality, the university where she studied and so on.
“I mean, I can’t imagine applying as a Cambodian to NASA,” she says of the U.S. space agency, laughing off a notion she thought so preposterous, so foolish, only a child’s imagination could come up with it.