The year is 2040. It’s 8am on a Monday morning in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh, where Mongkol, an 11-year-old boy, is eating his breakfast and listening to a science podcast. Soon the school day will begin.
Mongkol takes the driverless bus to public school, looking out at the quiet roads following the successful implementation of a city-wide public transport system back in 2030. Long before his time, Mongkol heard these streets were brimming with motorbikes and tuk-tuks that contributed to an environmental crisis.
The facial recognition scanner beeps in acknowledgement of Mongkol’s attendance as he arrives at school. He’s excited – the semester has only just begun and Mongkol, now in Grade 6, has picked out the subjects he wants to specialise in. First lesson of the day – history, and his classroom instructor fires up a hologram of Angkor Wat that has been developed by a Grade 12 class. Taking notes on his tablet, Mongkol marvels at the architectural intricacy of this ancient structure and wonders how it has survived for so long.