What I always hear from men in this society say is, “If you want to have a good job you must learn to drink!” And then the next sentence is, “If you don’t drink, it means you do not respect me!”

Alcohol seems to play an important role in relations between men. I used to think that alcohol for bonding only happens in some lines of business, but I changed my thinking when I went on a trip to cover news in Koh Kong with my mentor. I always thought that people who work for society don’t use alcohol to make friendships. Maybe I was too young to understand this world. Sitting there and listening to them talking and drinking, I pretended like I was fine and hoped I could go back to the hotel as fast as possible. When I’m the only one who is not drinking alcohol, I become a topic for them to judge.

I can drink alcohol but I don’t think I should take a risk and drink with people that I never knew before, especially when I am the only female in the group. But the endless judgment did not let me go; it really affects my feelings when one keeps repeating that sentence, “If you don’t learn to drink alcohol you can’t become a journalist.” Is it a big issue that all journalists need to do? I don’t get it!

In my previous workplace, they used to say that “drinking alcohol is an important thing that we all need to do when we want to get good relationships in business.” Some people get into family issues when they always come back home late at night drunk. Some people might have an accident when they drink and drive.

Most of the people who do this maybe don’t understand how their families feel, that they have someone waiting for them at home. Someone who can’t sleep because of worrying. I really get tired of this kind of situation, so that’s why I wanted to work in a new environment. Who knew it would turn out like that.

I felt very complicated when everyone said I have to drink with sources from whom I want to get information. If so, I’m not ready to do something like that. Finding a comfortable workplace is hard.