“Capture with your heart”

Road Photo Exhibition – A self-reflection photography journey by Alex Soh



A       n                 I       n       v       i       t       a       t       i       o      n

Dear Friends,

You are cordially invited to the Photo Exhibition

R o a d – Give us a Road, and we’ll know how to walk out of poverty ourselves

A self-reflection photography journey by Alex Soh
4 – 6 June 2010 @ VivoCity #01 East Wing

There will be a little opening sharing at the exhibition on Friday night 8pm, 4 June.
I look forward to seeing you at the exhibition.

Cambodia is a country in Indo-China. Something glistens there; a pearl. The Angkor Wat, a National Heritage Site draws many visitors from around the world. War is ruthless, and it has led Cambodia to poverty. Lacking medical facilities, the people there may not live beyond 57 years old on average. As developed nations grapple with the issue of greying population, there is no such problem here. Instead, there are malnourished children everywhere.

My friend, Dr. King Gan, who is a retired doctor from Australia, asked me if I could help him in saving the lives of these people in a small village, Cham Resh, 70km away from Angkor. I followed the benevolent doctor to Cambodia in July 2009. It was a village that was almost bare. It was the monsoon season then. I will never forget the undulating journey full of mud. Sitting on the buffalo-cart because our 4-wheel drive could not enter the road, the group of us endured a jolting ride of 2 hours. I only realized that I was ‘rewarded with’ a blue-black back at the end of the journey.

Dr King Gan not only brought me to the village, he also showed me around the Angkor Children’s Hospital where he conducted medical relief. He helped out with the medical consultation and dispensing of medicine. Clean water is a major problem there; the lack of it causes skin diseases in children. Apart from contributing his medical expertise, he also got people to dig wells for them with his own savings, so the villagers may have clean water.

That trip will forever be imprinted in my mind. We asked the villagers if they needed any help, and if we could provide any material aid. Their reply was “Give us a road, and we’ll know how to walk out of poverty ourselves.” It was an answer full of dignity and wisdom. Simple words yet so powerful. Because of those words, I know, I will be back one day…

My second visit to Cham Resh was in end-April 2010, this time with 4 like-minded friends from Singapore. The dry season offered a different sight of the same journey. The lush paddies have now become cracked and parched. Dependent on the fields for sustenance, the ground has robbed the villagers of their main activity. They, however, did not sit around and do nothing. Instead, young and old, they congregated to learn survival skills, so they may live on.

It is difficult for us, materially-sufficient people, to imagine that in modern times like these, that there are still people living without water and electricity. When we deliberate between distilled water and mineral water, all these Cambodia people have got, is mud water.

When our children scream at the sight of ants, to the Cambodian children, they are grateful to the insects because they provide them with some much needed nourishment. To them, ant soup is a rare delicacy reserved only for the hosting of guests. Of course, we accepted the kind gesture with some trepidation.

Nightfall in Cham Resh is like a vacuum of darkness. An entrepreneur Alvin Goh, who went along on the trip, asked a young man, “It is so dark at night. What is there to do?” He answered simply, “Though outside is dark, our heart is light and our mind is clear!” Not only have poverty and darkness failed to erode the villagers’ dignity, it has added to their grip for life.

Modernization may have abandoned them, but in its absence, the most beautiful humanity has blossomed. I have decided to follow in Dr King Gan’s footsteps, to use my professional skills to do something for them. I am grateful for technology, that I may use my SLR camera to capture the touching scenes and pictures, to tell the colourful stories behind these black and white stills.

If the stories touched you in any way, you too can contribute to make the path of the Cambodian people a better one. I firmly believe that, sincerity transcends distance.

Please note that we will be selling some postcards and prints. All the funds collected will go to building a 4.5km road for the people in Cham Resh, Cambodia.

For those who share my sentiments, I Salute and Thank You.

alexsoh

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17 responses

  1. New Ren Jie

    Hi Alex,

    Really thanks for sharing your photos on Cambodia. May I know how can I continue to make my donation to your campaign? I missed the exhibition. Please reply me by email newrenjie@hotmail.com

    June 29, 2010 at 10:59 pm

  2. Andy

    I believe you misintepret what the villagers want. The most important thing that this poor Cambodia villagers need are having a clean water to drink (even in TV program, a participant wife say when her husband want to give them money, they reject and ask for a bottle of clean water that her husband is holding). Clothes or road is not that important to them (a wrong view committed by many ordinary people). Try to use the precious money collected to build a desalination water plant for the villagers. This is more practical and provide real tangible benefits for them. With clean water to drink, they can improve their health and save a lot of pain and sufferings. Please contact Procter and Gambler as they just invented cheap water desalination pill that can give cheap clean water for the villagers to drink (they also provide to UNICEF). You can also try to contact our local company that has build water desalination plant in Cambodia village (media corp top management can find out for you).

    June 29, 2010 at 11:11 pm

    • Friend, you asked why not give them clean water instead of a Road. The answer is YES we had already provided them clean water and filtration system and wells for now. The place will be flooded again this August raining season for the next three months, so the road will safe a few lives. There are more to be done, Heath, Education and Infrastructure. This is just the beginning of our project.

      So far we rise about 12 thousands from the three days exhibition @ Vivo from selling the prints, post cards and my coffee table books. (Wished we could have more days, even better after this Tuesday Report on channel 8).

      There is something I learned from the people in Cham Resh. They did not ask for money from doing nothing, they still try their best to work hard and study hard to get out of poverty. So I am keeping their spirit by not asking for money but selling prints, post cards, books and next will be rice 🙂 the profit from selling the rice will go to building the road in Cham Resh, Cambodia.

      Well we do whatever we could in serving humanity. And when life look back… we have no regret and had already gave our best. You too could make a different and be part of this movement.

      For those who are interested to help and support, please leave your contact with me and we will get back to you soon. It doesn’t matter whether you buy a photo print, post card, rice or giving your cloth, all are welcome. This is a project is for everyone to have a chance to participate. Whether it’s a small token or support… It’s a good starts.

      On behalf of the people in Cham Resh, Cambodia. I thank you for all you support towards project 路 (Road).

      Alex

      June 30, 2010 at 1:32 am

  3. Hwee Peng

    Hello Alex,

    I just saw the program on Channel 8 about your journey and am very touched. In my previous job with a global hotel chain, I was charged with driving our charitable activities and I would love to be able to assist in some ways. Please kindly let me know we can discuss this further?

    June 29, 2010 at 11:19 pm

  4. Serene Ang

    Hi Alex
    I was very touched by your program. I have babies clothes (in good condition) which I would like to donate. I am not sure how to go about it. Please advise.

    June 30, 2010 at 9:03 am

  5. Serene Ang

    Hi Alex
    I was very touched by your program. I have babies clothes (in good condition) which I would like to donate. I am not sure how to go about it. Please advise. Please reply me by email: ang6499@singnet.com.sg

    June 30, 2010 at 9:36 am

  6. Mrs Au

    Hi Alex, thank you for sharing with us the plight of the Cham Resh people. I have some maternity, baby clothes/ stuff and books. Can I contribute to your project? Is it ok for my facebook to create more awareness.

    June 30, 2010 at 10:19 am

  7. Mrs Boon

    Hi Alex, This is Mrs Boon, have watch the tuesday report last night. Just to find out some info from you. All the people who stay in Cham Resh, are they there staying/putting up illegally without any proper permit? As I can see that the place they are staying is not mend for human being. Firstly, there is no proper
    water supply and Secondly, there is no electricity, and during the raining season, the whole place is flooded which I think this is due to also no proper drainage system and no storage of excess rain water. I also understand that you and your friends are trying to collect donation of 100K to build road for them but I really feel that what they needed the most is to have clean water supply, proper drainage system and storage system to help them to cope with the two season that they are facing. Just by building road would not really help as with clean water, their health will improve and less sickness for the villager.

    June 30, 2010 at 11:09 am

    • Friend, you asked why not give them clean water instead a Road. The answer is YES we had already provided them clean water and filtration system and wells for now. The place will be flooded again this August raining season for the next three-six months, so this road will safe a few lives. There are more to be done, Heath, Education and Infrastructure. This is just the beginning of our project.

      This place is about 70km away from the city and it is also a place which is available for people to claim and that is why they are there.

      There is something I learned from the people in Cham Resh. They did not ask for money from doing nothing, they still try their best to work hard and study hard to get out of poverty. So I am keeping their spirit by not asking for money but selling prints, post cards, books and next will be rice, the profit from selling the rice will go to building the road in Cham Resh, Cambodia.

      Well we do whatever we could in serving humanity. And when life look back… we have no regret and had already gave our best. You too could make a different and be part of this movement.

      For those who are interested to help and support, please leave your contact with me and we will get back to you soon. It doesn’t matter whether you buy a photo print, post card, rice or giving your cloth, all are welcome. This is a project is for everyone to have a chance to participate. Whether it’s a small token or support… It’s a good starts.

      On behalf of the people in Cham Resh, Cambodia. I thank you for all you support towards project 路 (Road).

      Alex

      June 30, 2010 at 11:51 am

  8. Mrs Au

    Hi Alex, what is your office address for me to pass the maternity, baby clothes/ stuff/books? My email aufamilysg@gmail.com

    June 30, 2010 at 11:20 am

  9. Mrs Boon

    Hi Alex, regarding the road building project, will it serve their purpose when there is flooding everywhere during the raining season?

    July 1, 2010 at 2:33 am

  10. Ms Lim

    Hi Alex,
    I’m touched by your program, how can i continue to make donation. Yes water & health issues seen to be more important as these are basic needs than follow by the building road.

    July 1, 2010 at 2:47 pm

  11. kelvin

    Hi Alex
    U did a great job to provide them a road and to allow them to continue their journey to a better life is education. As an educator I have recently design children brought for them and was sent over. I have been raising fund on a personal effort. Do contact me so that we can have a collective effort and forward my efforts to your team. Best Regards Kelvin (kelvin.seahch@gmail.com)

    July 1, 2010 at 3:00 pm

  12. Xiangz

    Hi Alex
    my mom wants to know how to go abt making donations
    Thx

    July 1, 2010 at 8:24 pm

    • Thank you for expressing your wishes to help in contributing the project ROAD.

      For cash donations, you may issue the cheque payable to: LIONS CLUB OF SINGAPORE NEESOON MANDARIN . Cheques can be mailed to: Block 164 Bukit Merah Central #03-3653 Singapore 150164.

      On behalf of the people in Cham Resh, Cambodia we would like to say a big THANK YOU!

      July 6, 2010 at 3:47 pm

  13. Yeo Thiang Swee

    Hi Alex, I was really touched and am impressed with your passion and effort when I watched Tuesday Report on Channel 8. My wife and I would like to donate some cash, clothings and other items which are in good condition as a form of support. I am also keen to find out how else can I contribute towards your other initiatives to help the these less fortunate but clearly happier people. Warmest regards Yeo T S

    July 3, 2010 at 6:39 am

    • Dear Friends, here are the updates from Dr King Gan who is now in Cham Resh. Our project is progressing very well. There is an air of confidence amount the villagers. Great improvement at the Primary School. They now have Ceramic filters for their drinking water and water tank for the vegetable garden. Please take a look at the images from Project 路 page FB page http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=135421073143996. Thank you for your continuing support towards Project ROAD- a sub project of Make Every Child Count (MECC) http//:www.makeeverychildcount.com

      July 16, 2010 at 12:54 am

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