Lakeside Kids

While on my usual pilgrimage to Boeung Kak district in Phnom Penh, I ran into these awesome kids who were very keen to have their photos taken.

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The ‘ringleader’ was an older boy named Dara, who essentially took the above shots of his friends (which is to say that I held the camera and he looked through the viewfinder, aimed the camera as he wanted, he counted to three in Khmer, “mouy, pii, bey!”, and I hit the shutter release). Hence, the credits for these shots are his.

Dara’s English was excellent too, especially for a boy under ten years old. Even though I worked the camera for him, he composed the shots and knew when he wanted the capture. I was impressed with what came out.

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Memento Mori

In January 2013 a memorial stele honouring journalists and war correspondents who were killed during the Cambodian civil war was unveiled in the park in front of Hotel le Royal in Phnom Penh. The hotel was home to most of the foreign journalists covering the war which lasted from 1970 until 1975.

Thirty seven journalists from twelve different countries perished during the five years of civil war which preceded the rule of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

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Cambodian National Rescue Party campaigns in Battambang

BATTAMBANG, CAMBODIA – the main opposition party, the Cambodian National Rescue Party, has been campaigning vigorously since party leader Sam Rainsy returned from a four-year self-imposed exile last Friday.

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Cambodian National Rescue Party leader Sam Rainsy addressing supporters at a rally in Battambang.

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Kem Sokha, Sam Rainsy and Mu Sochua

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A section of the huge crowd gathered near Psar Nath to hear Sam Rainsy speak.

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CNRP supporters listening to Sam Rainsy.

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Kem Sokha and Sam Rainsy

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Young CNRP supporters on the roadside in provincial Battambang.

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Young CNRP supporters who were part of the rally.

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Young CNRP supporters who were part of the rally.

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Young CNRP supporters who were part of the rally.

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Young CNRP supporters who were part of the rally.

Mr Rainsy along with high-level party members Mr Kem Sokha and Ms Mu Sochua, have embarked on a rapid journey through many of Cambodia’s provincial centres before the election this Sunday.

On July 23, the convoy stopped in Battambang and drew a large crowd.

After Mr Rainsy spoke to the supporters massed outside Psar Nath, the convoy travelled through the countryside to spread its message of change for Cambodia.

Mr Rainsy left Cambodia in 2009 after being found guilty of charges brought against him by the Prime Minister, Mr Hun Sen. The charges, connected with the moving of border markers between Cambodia and Vietnam, are believed by many to be politically motivated.

Last July, the Human Rights Party led by Kem Sokha merged with the Sam Rainsy Party to form the Cambodian National Rescue Party.

Earlier this month, Mr Hun Sen petitioned for a royal pardon to be issued for Mr Rainsy so he could return to Cambodia and campaign for his party.

Because he was found guilty of criminal charges, Mr Rainsy was made ineligible to contest a seat in the election. Despite petitions to have Mr Rainsy’s name reinstated, he will not be permitted to run for his own party.

The ruling party, the Cambodian People’s Party, headed by Mr Hun Sen, is expected to win the polls on Sunday. The party has been in government since 1985.