"Phnom Penh Champa" by Michael Klinkhamer

          "Phnom Penh Champa" by Michael Klinkhamer

All images and text by © Michael Klinkhamer.

Michael Klinkhamer is a Dutch photographer/videographer/writer and photography workshop instructor in Cambodia and now almost five years a resident in Cambodia.

Born in Amsterdam (1959) , Phnom Penh is now his home. 
For more information about his work you can check: www.cambodiaphototours.asia or michaelklinkhamer.com

"Phnom Penh Champa"

Life on the Mekong and Tonle Sap river is hard, and getting more difficult every year, due to range of issues, like climate change, pollution and the decrease of fish in the rivers caused by the degradation of biodiversity in the rivers and the hydro dam constructions in the upper parts of the Mekong river.
The Cham people are mostly depending on fisheries, agriculture and trade, and do so with excellence.

From the 2nd century through 19th century (1832), before being absorbed and annexed by the Vietnamese state the Chams populated ‘Champa’, Chăm Pa
Chiêm Thành. a contiguous territory of independent principalities in central and southern Vietnam. They spoke the Cham language, a Malayo-Polynesian language of the Austronesian language family. Chams and Malays are the only sizable Austronesian people that had settled in Iron Age Mainland Southeast Asia among the more ancient Austroasiatic inhabitants.

Their slim long boats with their bright colors are their homes and workstations; some equipped with solar panels can be seen everyday on the river from the ever-expanding city and high-rise buildings encroaching.
Cham family's gather on the borders of the rivers to maintain their equipment, nets and boats and pray in a makeshift tent mosque.
On that small strip of land they live and raise some ducks or chicken and let their children go to local schools. On the land just behind the enormous Sokha Hotel resort, they live peacefully with their religion and culture as descendants of the once great kingdom of Champa .

Independent from the cash economy they have survived prosecution and killings in Vietnam and the Khmer rouge war in Cambodia. Faced now with the decline of the biodiversity of the Mekong and Tonle Sap rivers the Cham economic future is uncertain.
Once on the water their true vibrancy and independency comes alive. 
Their boats are fast and colorful as they move gracefully and skillfully captained over the water to and from their fishing grounds.

During my photo visits and encounters near their boats, I was always friendly welcomed and got to know a few people a bit better and watched their children grow over the years. Their close family and relative relationships and the way they share their culture as one, separated from the mainstream communities of the city is truly amazing and inspiring. 
These pictures exhibited at Meta House from 7 March until the 15th are documentations of daily life, beauty, culture, diversity, and peace.

This photo essay is available in words and pictures for publication.
contact details:

Michael Klinkhamer.©MK~2017-2018.



Populaire posts