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Photographer's Note

They were not on their leisure boats, they were actually a small poor Champa Muslim fishing community, part of a large group living on boats as their permanent floating houses moored at Chroy Changvar peninsula in and around the confluence of Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers, a stone's from Phnom Penh Royal Palace. This feature had been an integral part of the riverscene for many many years and just another face of the city.

This community entirely dependent on rivers for livelihood and in fact for everything. Their small, brightly painted boats were worlds unto themselves, serving as workplaces, bedrooms, kitchens, dining rooms, lounges, places of worship and even women gave birth on their boats. Interesting to observe too, how their possessions were kept neatly under wooden floorboards in bins and bags. Some families even reared chickens on their vessels, and at night many would gather around fluorescent light bulbs affixed to car batteries on decks of their boats. It was so distressing to witness this with my own eyes when I was invited on board !!

Usually they went out fishing in the morning at 0400 to 1500 hrs and sold the catch either at the market in town or on the riverbank in the afternoon. The river murky water was their lifeline but they were probably struggling to deal with an uncertain future now as the city development started to mushroom from a dusty war-scarred capital to a bustling metropolis and their presence was certainly an eyesore. This couple who had lived around this spot for 30 years with their four children told me that they wanted to move a shore but they were too poor, they’ll never had the money to fulfill the ambition. I am unsure of latest situation and their fate now after eight years since my last visit.

There was no end of contrasts in this city, both sides of the coin seemed to co-exist side by side here, plenty being surrounded by extreme poverty compared to section of high societies living in comfort within stones' throw just across this river.

In a meantime these boat people lived liked a timeless island amidst the strong currents of change.....


Additional pictures:
WS1 Safely moored with all their worldly belogings
WS2 This scene represents typical daily routine here.... ..

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Additional Photos by abmdsudi abmdsudi (abmdsudi) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4065 W: 141 N: 9376] (40576)
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