Dedicated to Sookjai, a fellow Loatian, who is from the same town I came from. He is now living in Boston, MA. Below is what he wrote and some of my response You don’t have to read them all unless you are interested.
This is the story he wrote to me:
“Waylim, Thanks so much for sharing the pictures as well as your past on TrekEarth. Like you, I am originally from Savannakhet and currently living in the US. Your pictures brought back a lot of old memories, good and bad. And my favorite has to be “A River of My Past” Back in the late 70's, as a 17 year-old boy, I swam across the Mekong river alone, approximately a half mile down from where this picture is taken, to escape over to Thailand . This particular image of yours not only brought tears to my eyes, but it also brought a chill to my spine as I closed my eyes and thinking about that fearful night. I could have been shot and killed without a trace and my family would never know that I have gone missing or where to look for me. I considered myself a very lucky person that I am not one of those dead bodies floating down the river as you described it.
…I went back to Laos many times, on average about once a year, since I have been here. My first trip back to Laos was in 1995 and I won’t be able to described in words for you how emotional I was as the tears of joy falling down my cheeks after setting foot on the ground in front of my aunt’s house in Seno. Seeing my 5 younger brothers, I am the elder of the six boys, and relatives for the first time after 16 years is like reaching the heaven except that I am not dead yet.
Anyway, fast forward over to today. A few years ago, my mom went back to Laos, who came to visit me in the US since 1994 and living with me ever since, went back and built a house in Seno a few hundred meters from the main bus station. I now considered Seno, your hometown, as mine hometown as well, since our family have moved there permanently.
To be continued..."
My response to him:
I’m so sorry it took so long for me to reply to your message and thank you so much for your share story and pouring out your emotion. I know what you mean to be walking on the same little street where we grew up. I sometimes wish I’m a better writer, so I can write a book to tell my story, which is also your story and many others. As time passed, people forget what we have been through, even we ourselves forget after such a long time. Until I returned home, all those emotion come rushing through like this river in the monsoon season, flowing through my heart, my soul and as tears out of my eyes.
Critiques | Translate
emka (104196) 2010-10-11 23:16
Hi dear Way,
A lot of to read, great emotions in it. I can understand with what feelings you see the pictures of Mekong. Very beautiful photo, mysterious and nostalgic. Great colours and composition.
All the best
Angshu (56760) 2010-10-11 23:20
A very, very emotional note...I can only imagine how you would have felt when you first heard from Sookjai. The nostalgia sweeping through like a torrent, the old memories, the wounds & looking back...
The picture is nice, perhaps instilling into us, your feelings, but your note is worth a thousand pictures here...for a change
rginer (881) 2010-10-12 2:17
No critics ... Wonderful and emotional picture. Perfect colors and the view of the Mekong is absolutely unique and to have nice dreams. Yes, all of us we have to read the stories; so many all over this world and all of us we have to think about this, to fleed from home in dangerous and bad circumstances, and coming back to recounter the past and the present. The picture a beauty, which remembers me the Mekong River I felt last year ... the same atmosphere.
wolf38 (31296) 2010-10-12 5:43
Hi Way. A beautiful photo full of atmosphere. composition, light and colors are best. Regards, Wolfgang.
abmdsudi (57160) 2010-10-12 7:54
A great sunset image in a very peaceful atmosphere and excellent well written notes. Lovely soft golden-pinkish effect on the water and lovely placement of the small sillhouetted boat. Love the golden tones on the water reflections creating a special, romantic mood. Superb in clarity and sharpness, Shadows areas on the horizon are finely visible. A pleasant scene, Waylim. TFS
manudautriche (4348) 2010-10-12 11:03
Une grande douceur et une belle tranquillité se dégage de cette photo,les tons rosés sont sympa et le format avec la répartition est très bonne,bravo.
sothy81 (9630) 2010-10-12 14:34
What's a nice view of the sunset! Love the colors a lot. Well done. Sothy
Cricri (123700) 2010-10-13 4:38
Une image pleine de douceur et d'une grande émotion en lisant votre note, très jolie scéne de vie.....et un très beau moment capturer
Bluejeans (64251) 2010-10-13 5:20
Ola Way ,
Muiot bonita esta tua composição vertical com este pôr do sol , gostei muito dos reflexos em laranja no rio , parabéns!!
Um abraço Gonçalo
Wahclellaspirit (4093) 2010-10-13 8:24
The letter from your neighbor is very interesting to say the least! As is your reply to him! I for one would enjoy to read of the hardships incurred by those trapped in Laos during those times of hardship. Laos is not spoke of much and the historical factors that were prevalent then would be both sad, but interesting to know of at the same time. If you ever do write your memories down on paper I would like to read them, it would be fascinating to know more of the world then and attempt to understand the evolution of the differences as they are today.
You may have titled this images as:
"A New Dawn"
TFS this Way...
Sistercosmo (242) 2010-10-13 11:12
a beautiful, peaceful shot and a touching, moving story. It's hard to believe that danger could lurk here as your friend described. It looks so tranquil.
Thanks for sharing this view and that story!
Take good care,
paololg (31448) 2010-10-13 14:03
Ciao dear Way,
I have read with emotion yours beautiful notes, a history of true life. Admiring your beautiful photo I have imagined that boy that escapes in the night swimming in the river. Fortunately he can tell his history as also you can to tell it. Beautiful sunset, dear friend!
Ciao, have a ncie day!
jhm (157854) 2010-10-14 4:22
I've read the note, I know what a 17 year old boy told, with nice remembrance.
A really picture where we can feeling the evening .
I really enjoy seeing pictures like as this.
Very well commposition, nice done, TFS.
s_lush (16600) 2010-10-14 7:09
I don't know what is more emotional and touching, the note or the picture. Maybe the note is more descriptive and informative, while the picture is extremely impressive and aesthetic. The twilight atmosphere is very well reproduced here.
quillo (11856) 2010-10-15 12:01
Hi Way ne Lim :
A beautiful capture and with
the delight of the simple things,
Congratulations and thanks for sharing this nice moment.
janusz2054 (2) 2010-10-17 0:49
Great moody picture, the soft tones in the sky are wonderful.
A very nice view with the boat and the moon.
mkamionka (39507) 2010-10-17 11:22
very romantic view. Low light introduces a fantastic mood here. I like the regularly shaped sun and its subtle reflection in the river.
shevchenko (20548) 2010-10-18 22:39
Very nice dim and calm scenery by the river, just look like a paint, full with poetic flavour too, good vertical format to frame the broad river, impressive sunset view, thanks for sharing.
pablominto (53746) 2010-10-19 3:29
the setting sun reflects so nicely from the river, and the boat in a distance is a real treat!
Overwhelming simplicity, the story is loud and clear...
Well framed, moody colours..!
romanaa (8016) 2010-10-20 4:51
it seems you want me to take my pastels again and paint. Very nice and soft image, very different of your others.
Well done my friend
hardyuno (4650) 2010-10-31 11:05
thanks a lot for these lines. If felt also the chill at my spine.
I hope you will continue to post as I will do.
That's all what I can say, thank you.
iainsp (3204) 2010-11-03 15:56
A beautiful note and a beautiful shot to accompany it.
thank you, Iain
delpeoples (59430) 2010-11-04 2:29
Dear Way, your Note, and the writing of your friend Sookjai brought tears to my eyes. What an amazing story to tell, an amazing history lived through and a tale of sadness and triumph. You write perfectly, you should write this history, it needs to be told. And to your photo (for once your Note has dominated over one of your magnificent photos). So serene. So simple. It's tranquillity and beauty hides a history of sadness and violence. I pray to God that those times are well and truly over. Thanks for your Note and your photo, they are something really special...a gift to us and TE. Hugs, Lisa
ManuMay (36287) 2010-11-04 23:44
What a great moment of light and colour...very good composition, and very nice colour tones...a fine reflection, and a very fine and elegant work!!
Have a nice day...
danyy (0) 2010-11-06 23:50
un grand moment de douceur et de tranquilité, une photo dans des lumières bien tamisées, un format vertical efficace et un cadrage en décentrement parfait.
Pas toujours facile de rendre de telle lumières.
foozi (7101) 2010-11-25 0:22
a very classical composition and superb calmness of the country side. the reflection isso wonderful and the lone boat is really well place to render a powerful object of presence. how the ripples on the water gives an exciting silvery colours.
Very pleasant presentation.
kiasari (62) 2010-12-27 15:44
The warm tones of this shot make it so fantastic. I like your idea to do such a framing and light management. Well done!
fabbs99 (17175) 2012-10-31 9:35
Very nice shot of the setting Sun.The colors are nice and vivid.Fine natural colors and good composition. I like the colors and contrast of your shot.Very well done.TFS