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Photographer's Note

.Take 12 (Click the number for info of entire trip)

Catholic believers used to say their “Lord’s Prayer”, “Our father who are in heaven, give us this day our daily bread.”. Even after skipping breakfast, Chong Kneas people still need to pray for total of 14 meals a week. On Sunday, they can get the free pork soup after mass, but there are another 13 meals to confront each week, rain or sunshine.

These people live in animal condition, in regards to registration as human being with local authorities, and in living condition. Generation after generation, they have not been issued civil documents like birth certificate or marriage certificate or death certificate. All they have to identify themselves are the personal identification. They have no right to live, no right to exit. From time to time, in political turmoil, Cambodians residents or government beheaded them and dumped the corpses into water; then the current took them down to Mekong River and down to fatherland Vietnam. That’s the only occasion they can “return” home.

The conflict between Cambodian and Vietnamese in Cambodia never ends. On Dec 20, 2006, a young TrekEarth friend wrote me:

”Dear Thanh,

Thanks for all your pictures of Cambodia especially pictures of Vietnamese in Cambodia. I knew the things happening here since I used to live and work in Cambodia for 4 years since 1999. Most of Vietnamese don't know or don't believe about the stories of Vietnamese living in Cambodia and Thailand. They live their life like hell, they were afraid of speaking Vietnamese because the local people don't like Vietnamese. I really don't know why, All Cambodian say that if Vietnamese didn't come to help them to fight against Khmer Rouge, they had been killed all, but they still don't like Vietnamese even a little — just one answer can sever my wondering, “is that racial discrimination something in the blood of Cambodian people?”

One more thing I wonder about is why the Vietnamese live in Cambodia don't want to come back to Vietnam. I asked a lot Vietnamese working in Cambodia, and the answers are "no money". The "money" here is not the transportation cost from Cambodia to Vietnam but the sum of take-home money that can make them be proud of with their friends and their family. In the eye of their friends and family, they are foreigners also. So staying in here nobody from their hometown knows about the real life of them. And after more days and months and years and generations, they will never have a slim chance to repatriate.” (VictorPhung)


Well, the answer to Victor is floating as the way these people are living. Before the collapse in 4-1975, South Vietnam government did nothing to help. Now that the entire Indochina has peace for 32 years. The question of these people still be left unanswered by new regime. The Kingdom of Cambodia doesn’t recognize them as human. Vietnamese Embassy offered a continuing silence. These people believe they are oversea Vietnamese, just like other “Việt kiều” in Orange County, California, or Paris, France. The only difference is their empty hands.

Please looking into this kid’s eyes. Can you tell she is an animal?


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PSYOPS, cknara, mikecone, michiels, nicol_g has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 472 W: 128 N: 2359] (8576)
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