By Chenda and Reasey
On Friday 01st March 2013 at 6:00pm the van picked us at Chey School to join the Documenting Cambodia at Siem Reap, Cambodia. We went to the 1961 Gallery to attend the Opening Night of the photo exhibition ”Documenting Cambodia”.
We saw many photos that were made by the Foreign and Cambodian photographers. Most of photos showed about the land issues and other events in Cambodia. We met the Cambodian photographer Meng Kimlong and the other photographers.
We had 12 students from Chey School, 4 teachers from PLF, and a lot of people came to join that party. The program was sponsored by the organization NGO Insider. We were so very happy and excited to join in that party. It wasn’t the first opportunity to join the program, but we think it’s the best opportunity for us.
All those photos made us feel so sad. They showed about different issues in Cambodia. For example, the photos showed the people protest about the land, the people work in the sugar cane, violence of women and children, and children living in the dump. The photos of the children living in the dump made me think the most. These photos were taken by Meng Kimlong. He talked to us about his photography. I asked him why he wanted to take the photos of the children in the dump. He told us that he was given an assignment at school and he chose to photograph the dump because no one had ever shown these children’s lives to the world. For me, I had never known about the children living in the dump.
All of these photos are very important for us, and all the people in our country, because it helps people to know what is happening. Because some of the rich family caused problems with the poor family such as stealing the poor family land. Sometimes it has been the government that has stolen their land. The government said it isn’t your land, it belongs to the state. So in that time, there is violence because the poor people are angry. The government blames the poor people very much. They make the poor people hate them very much. All of the photographers took the such good photos and wrote the story of the photos as well that we could read while we looked at the photos. The exhibit made me feel that I want to hear and to know more about what is happening in our country. And, I want to take more photos and tell to the people of the world what is .
At 7:30pm the van picked up us from the Documenting Cambodia Photography party to eat dinner at Master Food. It was the best time for us because we ate dinner under the fire of candle. It was very fantastic and it was a romantic place to eat for new couples, groups of workers, family members and international tourists that live in Siem Reap. Did you know, why we ate dinner under the fire of candle? Because on that day, there was no electricity in Siem Reap because of an auto accident that broke an electrical pole. Some restaurants put fire of the candle on the tables so that people could it. It was very romantic place, a good dinner, and a night that we won’t ever forget.
I hope that in the future we can see more photography exhibits. Maybe, in the coming months we will exhibit our photographs and screen our videos at Gallery 1961.
Reasey is 17 years old and studies in grade 10. For the past year she has taken Global Citizen Media classes sponsored by the Ponheary Ly Foundation. She is a filmmaker and blogger who tells her audiences about life in Cambodia. Her most recent documentary Sunflowers of Srayang premiered at the Angkor Wat Film Festival and screened in major US cities. In he future she wants to be a teacher in Khmer. If she could go anywhere, she would go to China.
Chenda, 16, studies in grade 10 in Siem Reap Provence. She likes to study Khmer, English, and Media. She has studied computers at the PLF Tchey School lab since 2008. Her favorite project so far was her video “Sunflowers of Srayang” which premiered at the Angkor Wat Film Festival and screened throughout the United States. In her free time she likes to play with the children in her village.