the living ruins (a photo essay)

Knowing locals and immersing in their everyday lives  are the things that we never failed doing whenever we go out on a trip. It’s a leaning, enriching and inspiring experience. It makes us feel like toddlers all over again–ignorant and clueless as blank slates.



My favorite subject is people, particularly children. Watching them while they play (or work), inspires us to sit down and start writing and tell their stories. Or, take their pictures, to show their smiles and how they see the world through their unclouded eyes.




Each one got something to say and a story to tell. We draw courage to ask and play the game of charades to send the messages across. Most of the time, a moment of non-verbal interaction is enough for us to feel the non-categorical connection.







We saw dreams, desires, beliefs and an candid emotions of people we stumbled-upon. We are the strangers, and they are the generous hosts who openned their doors for us.




We still believe in the innate kindness of people, and that a simple gestures like a nod or a smile to a stranger will open-up barriers of social connections. We have met amazing characters as we walk around the towns, cities and unbeaten paths. We’re lucky to keep some of them and maintain constant lines of connection.

Though there were some that we barely got the chance of knowing them, not even asking for their names. At times we failed getting their email addresses and phone numbers, simply because they don’t have one. Our only remembrance of them would be those moments that we captured through the lenses of our cameras and inks blotted on our journals.


We are truly grateful to the Khmer people, for opening up their lives and letting us in… qualmlessly.


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  • lechua

    January 27, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    this is a great article with photos capturing what you’re saying. It also expresses what I felt when I was there.. i’ll be putting up a post on portraits captured of the children and ppl of siem reap soon – unfortunately i can’t express as well as you and monette do in writing!

  • flip'n travels

    January 28, 2010 at 5:36 am

    come on Lee… of course you can! can’t wait to see that set!

  • thepinaysolobackpacker

    September 8, 2010 at 2:58 am

    awesome piece Ron! I am deeply moved! *sniff sniff*

    Same here, my favorite subject is people, esp. children, i find their naivety beguiling.

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