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Photographer's Note

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The derelict citizen

This is a Vietnamese vendor on her mobile grocery boat over Tonle Sap Great Lake, Siem Reab, Cambodia. She belongs to the Chong Kneas Vietnamese Floating Village at Northwest tip of the lake.

In Cambodia, she is considered a foreigner because she maintains all Vietnamese tradition, language and costume. If she ever has a chance to visit Vietnam, she would be a foreigner again right on her ancestral soil because she couldn’t even tell where her parents were from her native country.

The village kids go to the floating school to learn English from a Cambodian teacher using Khmer as teaching communication. The classroom and tuition have been paid by benefactors from abroad who cover the basic cost to keep them from illiteracy. But the children must follow tourists to sell postcards, or to beg for donation so they could pay for the chalk, pen and notebook. To them, motherland is nothing since they never have a night on land, just water. Their life is a synonym of Chong Kneas. Cambodia and Vietnam, to them, just as abstract and out of reach as the airplanes crossing by on the sky.

For those benevolent viewers of this picture who are considering some help, here is the contact address:

Jesuit Service
Catholic Church
P O Box 93036
Siem Reab, Cambodia
Tel: (063) 963846 or (012) 661747
Js.siemreap@online.com.kh


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Thanks, and God bless!


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