Photographer's Note


The naked swordsman

Have you ever tried to go to googledotcom and type “Cambodian naked kids” and see how many stories you could find?

If not yet, let's play with this shortcut.

Obviously, countless stories with the words “naked kid” there, but it is not easy to capture such a picture to share with those who wish to know how poor, how miserable and how the Cambodian young generation is taking the toll for the former war over their country.


I traveled by speedboat from Phnom Penh to Siem Reab using Tonle Sap River and Great Lake. While on the transport bus from boat station to town, as we crossed Phnum Kraom — the poor community along the dirt road extending from the paved National Road 63, running near the little 140-meter-tall mountain — I witnessed a lot of naked children playing kung fu combat in public. Of course I could not ask the driver to stop his vehicle with more than 20 passengers for my personal interest.

After checking in a motel, I quickly took a tuktuk ride to go back. At my return, the fight between the naked swordsmen has ended. But I was lucky to meet the hero. Hero, because he survived the kung-fu battle: all others disappeared but the victor still at the battleground with his victory bamboo sword. The boy doesn’t show any shyness. Being naked to him seems as natural or normal as sunshine or rain. To these human beings, the demand of food is more critical and practical than the luxury of clothes for warmness, or dressing well.


During high-school years, I had been taught, “When being seized the basic economic condition of living, human beings come near an animal.”

Nearing the end of life, I feel rather being naked than having a naked conscience — being callous while confronting the pain of others.


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Additional Photos by Ngy Thanh (ngythanh) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 472 W: 125 N: 2331] (8456)
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