In the mid-1970s, when the city crashed and burned in a warped socialist uprising led by Communist Party of Kampuchea leader Pol Pot, untold fear gripped the people.
Today, although less menacing, the fear is surreal as Covid-19 does a number on the economy.
It has resulted in thousands of documented job displacements in the garment sector, and wage cuts among white collar workers in Cambodia, although this has yet to be quantified.
The situation is graver because garment workers, as past studies show, stimulate the economy in the informal sector which is made up of street food vendors, hairdressers and transport providers.
A rough estimate shows that each wage earner in the garment sector supports five to six persons in the informal sector via local economic stimulation.