After staying in the capital city for almost 10 years, it’s hard to imagine how different the world has become. In February of 2014, I went to Siem Reap for a break and to chase the sunrise of Angkor Wat, and what happened during that trip had been an eye opener for me. Besides the beauty that was all over the ancient city of Angkor, there lies a place where happiness is forever in existence. It’s not Disneyland nor is it a high class strip club, but instead a simple village tucked away inside the ancient city. My friend, Kimleng took us on a ride one afternoon to a village where I totally couldn’t recall where it was. All I remembered was the awesome sunset we saw and most of all, the innocent smiles of the children.
Never in my life, have I seen so many village children, living in poverty with old clothes, run-down wooden houses, self-made tractors, being so happy and filled with life. They had one of the world’s most genuine and sweetest smiles. Even kids in the city who just got a new iPhone 6 doesn’t look as happy as the kids there. As Fann and I hopped off our tuk-tuk, we were greeted by a group of children, as they eyed at our cameras. No don’t worry, they aren’t the children beggars you see in China, but instead these were the innocent children of the villagers. They weren’t shy like most of the people around. As I pointed my camera to capture them, they would immediately give me all sorts of expressions and poses. They were extremely excited and playful. A few of them dragged us around and were playing with us. Fann had a hard time fending off the kids because she was the favourite amongst us. Some of the kids were hanging off her arms as if she was a monkey bar. But there were laughters and great happiness all around.
I was told that many villagers or even people in the country are extremely poor and many of them never even had a picture of themselves. That was why when we took a photo of them, they would want us to show them their adorable faces on the screen of our cameras. It is pretty sad because they couldn’t afford to have their photos taken. Fortunately, Fann brought her Instax and she was able to give them a group photo of themselves. After playing around with the kids, the sun was beginning to set. We then went over to the river where we could see one of the most beautiful sunsets in my life. The kids were extremely helpful. Some of them posed for us while they played in their boats while others were rooting for their friends. It was one of the most magnificent and awesome experiences I’ve ever had in my life. Do check out some of the shots I got below: