SE Asia - Impressions - Phnom Penh, Cambodia

Discussion in 'Photojournalism & Sports Gallery' started by Iron Flatline, Mar 29, 2008.

  1. NOTE: Several images added much further down the thread.

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    Hi all.

    This will be the first of several threads over the next few weeks. I just spent several weeks entirely by myself (no wife, no kids) moving around South East Asia. Just me, and some cameras.

    Parts of it was quite exciting, but Phnom Penh, and Cambodia in general, was actually quite depressing.

    First, some context:
    Cambodia is not a happy place. One of the things that happened is that the Khmer Rouge forcibly married people to one another, and then forced them to have children. Many of those children are living homeless in capital city, Phnom Penh.

    I have some friends in the various places I visited (mainly working as part of cultural exchange NGOs and one focused on the KR Trials). One of them explained to me why this young girl is wearing lipstick and nail polish. The obvious answer is enough to depress you for a long time...

    [​IMG]


    Another homeless child, with another child

    [​IMG]


    Nudity and shoeless feet do not necessarily mean homelessness though. At Wat Phnom, a small but important Wat in the middle of town, there were lots of kids playing, their parents not far away.

    [​IMG]


    The a young girl selling snacks to packed travelers crowded into a minivan. Yes, those are fried bugs... and though I'll eat just about anything, I found those to be simply kind of bitter.

    [​IMG]


    ... and if you need gas for your scooter, there's a station at every corner...

    [​IMG]
     
  2. schumionbike

    schumionbike TPF Noob!

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    Thanks for the series, the first shot is truly depressing. I never seen gasoline being sold like that before either. That's also depressing.
     
  3. Trenton Romulox

    Trenton Romulox TPF Noob!

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    I don't find the shots depressing, it's just their way of life. To them, that's normal, right? It's only bad if there's something to compare it to, and if they don't have another life to compare it to, then their life is okay for them.

    Very nice series, the last shot is my favorite.
     
  4. KOrmechea

    KOrmechea TPF Noob!

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    I feel like I should respond to this, but I'm not really sure what to say...

    Some strong people live in South East Asia (and other parts of the world). I don't know if I could do it. Seeing stuff like this reminds you how lucky you actually are.
     
  5. No, TR, that's a very common misperception, and a certain form of denial... at least it was for me. I always thought "well, they don't know what they're missing..." - But they do. Everyone there has TV, and for some odd reason they all watch things like E Entertainment and US Reality Shows.

    ... and no one wants to live like those girls, on the street with babies, without a place to wash, access to health care, or protection from predators.
     
  6. schumionbike

    schumionbike TPF Noob!

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    Hey man, I have to disagree with you here.

    First off, I think there are somethings that I considered universally wrong. Murder is a good example, you can't go shoot some innocent person and then say that is your way of life and normal therefore it's okay. In the first picture, such a young girl who is force to live on the street and force into prostitution at such a young age due the economic problems should be considered universally wrong and the problem need to be adress. I understand that different cultural have different norms and a lot of things are just the matter of preferences and opinions, one prime example is the way people get marry in different cultures. However, that's not the case here.


    Second, homeless kids walking around and force into prostitution is not normal in Asian societies as you seem to assert. These people don't have a preference for being poor and have their children on the streets and these conditions are not acceptable to them either but sometimes, there isn't much of a choice. The first picture would have depress them too.

    Eating fried bugs might be normal and culturally acceptable or even prefer and definitely not considered to be universally wrong!! That picture wasn't depressing though =)

    The last shot with the gasoline being sold like that show that the country is very low tech and probably not by choice but due to the economy after generation of wars.


    Just my 2 cents.
     
  7. Some of the same kids, the older ones playing cards in an alley just off the river where the tourists come to drink.

    [​IMG]
     
  8. This one is a little out of context, in the sense that it is not part of the Phnom Penh series. But it's also a kid, in this case a boy on the road to Chong Kneas in northern Cambodia.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. rob91

    rob91 TPF Noob!

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    I suppose starving your whole life is only a bad thing if you've ever known a full stomach.

    Iron, the first shot strikes me the most, her expression is so strong and it really gets me. Good series.
     
  10. Steph

    Steph No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I really like this series. I think you did a very good job at giving us an idea of what life is like on the streets of Phnom Penh. I went to Cambodia about 13 years ago; what depressed me in your pictures is to see that not much seems to have changed: children on the streets, child prostitution... are still present.

    What else did you see in Cambodia? Did you have a chance to go to Angkor Vat? Apparently it is an amazing place.

    I am looking forward to seeing more of your pictures.
     
  11. The_Traveler

    The_Traveler Completely Counter-dependent Supporting Member

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    This is not depressing but just a societal difference. Motorscooters need gas by the liter so there is no need for the huge expense of in-ground tanks and pumps. This way gas can be distributed to places where tanker trucks would never reach. A 'store' in a town reachable only by dirt roads might sell 20 liters of gas a day, do a service and make a profit.
     
  12. schumionbike

    schumionbike TPF Noob!

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    I understand that motor scooter don't need a lot of gas, however, when I was Vietnam over 10 years ago, there were filling stations like they have in the U.S, a bit more rusty but it's along the same line. I guess for me, a gas station mean modernization. A gas station like this to me mean people know of life in the modern world, want to modernize, but can't due to their economic conditions. Poverty is the word that come to my mind when I see that picture.
     

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