This picture has been taken in the floating village of Chong Kneas on the Tonlé Sap lake.
As many tourists I guess, I came there to discover the lake, the fishermen and the waterbirds. Guidebooks describe this boat tour as "very picturesque, a very much appreciated break when visiting Angkor's temples". I was not really prepared to discover deep floating misery as Thanh N'guyen (ngythanh) calls it in his theme Chong Kneas — the floating misery. People there live in floating "houses" which they move according to the water level. They live on the water, wash themselves in the water, go to toilet in the water, then drink the water... Health issues associated with this lack of hygiene are numerous. Most people there belong to a vietnamese minority. The least we can say is that they are not very much appreciated by the cambodians for various reasons going very deep in cambodian history. In an already very poor country like Cambodia, it means that they are the last to be taken care of.
Whenever your boat stops, children popup here and there sitting in washing bowls paddling very fast towards you. As expected from tourists, we just grab our cameras, point and shoot... Then the kids reach you, you hear "one dollar", and you suddenly feel extremely ashamed. Eventually you look in their eyes and see their utmost sadness. You realize that this place is turning in a poverty museum or human zoo due the Angkor proximity. The only solution these people found to get their share of the wealth tourists are bringing, is to transform their children into picturesque floating beggars.
There are a few humanitarian organizations mentioned in Thanh N'guyen theme. I also like to mention Osmose, a not-for-profit organization, which has implemented a pilot conservation and development project in the Prek Toal area of Tonle Sap. Their goal is to provide environmentally-sustainable income-generating activities for the villagers. Although they are not focused on Chong Kneas, where misery is maybe stronger than in other places, their example - if they become successful - could show that there are some ways out of the current situation.
Critiques | Translate
pablominto (53746) 2006-09-04 5:19
A nice image with a sad story attached..!
Simple but well composed, tech quality is excellent with fine definition... Great colours and details!
I'm not quite sure what I see in her eyes, but I'm sure it is not the happiness that should be an important part of a child's life...
tcht (7565) 2006-09-04 6:05
Nice image with good technical quality. Could be better with lower PoV, and more objects in the frame maybe. But I like her stare and lighting on her arms.
Thanks for the notes, this is an excellent photographic documentary of the place. Tfs!
lestans (17168) 2006-09-04 6:15
You tell us a terrible situation of misery! Tourism sometimes increase it, as you describe in your note. The picture is nice, and I think it could be also better if you would put inside also some information about the environment of the girl as the floating houses etc.
Anyway, a good approach to TE spirit! Bravo!
feather (51130) 2006-09-04 8:23
Technically a good photo, well composed and a good vehicle to show the plight of the people there. I've been there and seen the misery for myself; this is a timely reminder.
james-r (676) 2006-09-04 20:21
As you know, I've just been to Cambodia as well - and we went to this lake and saw the kids in their makeshift boats paddling out to beg from tourists. Excellent note and the capture of the girls face shows an expression I find upsetting - a true Trekearth image in my opinion, well done.
Graal (103028) 2006-09-05 2:45
interesting reportage and portrait in one. Good composition, colours and sharpness. Well done photo.
mfc247 (309) 2006-09-05 9:14
hi Vincent, very sad and amazing story, it's hard to believe that humans can make those kind of things to other humans, it's real shame.
The POV and combo are very nice, and the face of the girl shows a deep sadness.
wolf38 (31296) 2006-09-09 12:13
Hello Vincent. It is beautiful to see again once a picture from Kambodscha. I was 2002 there. At and on the Tonle Sap lake one can see very much. The people live at the water like other people on the land. Once I saw even a living pig on a small wood rack in the middle on the lake. The photo with the girl in the small tub pleases me very well. Many greetings, Wolfgang.
Amaniman (1122) 2006-09-09 12:25
Une image très bien composée dans laquelle le regard de la petite fille est bien libéré.
Tu as parfaitement évité le centrage "pleine pastille", c' est bon aussi de côté-là.
Bizzarement si je ne lisais pas ta note, je ne trouverais pas de côté "misère" à cette image : la petite a l' air correctement vêtu et ne semble pas maigre (voir ses joues).
Ta note est donc bien utile.
barrufeto_77 (28886) 2006-09-10 11:06
Excellent "social" picture. It's great how the girl is looking at you.
delkoo (68) 2006-09-11 9:11
une bien belle photo accompagnée d'une note très instructive bien dans l'esprit TE.
kensimage (8565) 2006-09-12 11:17
"Picturesque floating beggars"--that is indeed the sad state of things. There are no easy solutions--without tourism they might well be even worse off. Perhaps the propsperity in the rest of southeast Asia will reach them eventually.
The image is well-composed, but I think it would tell more of a story if it included some context, maybe having some of the people's homes in the distant background. Thanks for bringing it to us, though, it's certainly thought-provoking. Regards, Ken.
scalerman (26900) 2006-09-13 13:04
Powerful note and a good picture. I understand what you mean from the note. regards, c
AmiBe (6042) 2006-09-13 16:14
note bien utile pour nous faire découvrir la triste réalité de ces enfants.
En découvrant la photo, je ne m'imaginais pas cette grande misère.
Bien composé avec ce cadrage en plongé.
agbonavita (0) 2006-09-13 21:58
Hi vicent, I like a lot your POV. The little girl are driving a garbage can cover? Impressive!
Stepan (27210) 2006-09-23 3:46
Avant d'ouvrir, je pensais que c'était une bouée !!! Sa pose est étonnante du coup. Belle réalisation et bon cadrage.
gramma (3519) 2006-10-04 14:53
C'est une très belle image. Le sujet est à la fois original et plein d'émotions. Peut-être qu'un cadrage plus grand et l'utilisation d'un polariseur pour diminuer les reflets de lumière sur l'eau augmenteraient encore l'attractivité de la photographie. A essayer si l'occasion se représente. Cordialement,
zizzer77 (721) 2006-11-24 6:46
a release of daily life for the people of the river.
- Copyright: JM Hullot (vincz) (19113)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-08-23
- Categories: Daily Life, Decisive Moment
- Camera: Canon EOS 20D
- Exposure: f/10.0, 1/160 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Travelogue: One week in the Angkor area
- Theme(s): Navigation enfantine..., Interesting Transportation [view contributor(s)]
- Date Submitted: 2006-09-04 4:04