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Children of different lives in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam - 20 May 2008 Back to stories index

Children of many lives (By Fon)

This small set of photos are from my trips to some places in Thailand, Laos and Vietnam during the past 3 years. I took these photos with no specific purpose. But when I look at them again today there are things to think about; the pictures are telling different stories.

Children have different lives and priorities from each other depending on the circumstances they are in. For the children who do not enjoy adequate basic needs, the life is not as good as ours. For the children of poor families food is the most important thing they are struggling for day to day. For those lucky kids born to the well-to-do parents, higher education, international travel, networking, entertainment and plan for better future are what they are after.

Trat - Thailand

In Mairood fishing village next to the sea in Klong Yai district of Trat province, there are no air-conditioned shopping mall, tutoring schools, Internet cafe' and game centers. Children help their parents one way or another and do the house works when there is a need. They spend their life staying close to the nature. They learn and acquire the basic survival skills such as catching fish, driving or paddling boats, swimming and free diving, cooking food. They have no access to computer network, experiment lab, higher education that can help them get high paying jobs in the companies in the cities.

A boy diving and finding fish at sea
A boy spending the morning at sea, diving and finding fish

Boys playing on the concrete walkway
Boys playing on the concrete walkway in front of their houses in the afternoon

As the sun was setting, two boys were seen paddling an improvised raft in the canal
As the sun was setting, two boys were seen paddling an improvised raft in the canal in the middle of the village

A boy working as a helper for a canoeing trip during his free time, Baan Salak Klok, Koh Chang
A boy working as a helper for a canoeing trip during his free time, Baan Salak Klok, Koh Chang

Kanchanaburi -Thailand

A boy working as a helper for a canoeing trip during his free time, Baan Salak Klok, Koh Chang
Me and my guide

This small girl I met at a cave entrance volunteered to be my guide. She explained me the cave history and its important events during our walk into the cave. We took photo together after the caving.

Umphang - Tak - Thailand

Wife and children of a Karen trekking guide in Umphang district
Wife and children of a Karen trekking guide in Umphang district

They live in a small house constructed of wooden floor and walls, and grass roof. At the corner is a small bedroom, and the remaining area is for dining, living and for visitors.

As ethnic Karen tribal people they learn the life's basic survival skills such as use of knife, cutting bamboo and wood into useful items, cooking and house keeping since childhood. Still, their life is a bit better than those living in the villages without electricity and proper road access.

But then if they come from the western side of the border (from Myanmar) they enjoy limited rights in Thailand.

Bangkok - Thailand

(Dusit Zoo) first time visit to the zoo of a 3-year old boy from a province
(Dusit Zoo) first time visit to the zoo of a 3-year old boy from a province

He has a heart disease, and was born without a spleen. He has got a Catheter Intervention and operation at a Bangkok hospital. Heart surgery will come next. He is too young to ask why he has come to this world with difficult life and why he is different from other children.

Seri Center
Seri Center

It was late morning on a school holiday; three boys were sitting in front of a door to the shopping mall. They were waiting for the door to open. There are language schools; piano, singing, and dancing classes, game centers, and restaurants in addition to many other shops in the shopping center.

Ayuddhaya - old capital of Thailand
Ayuddhaya - old capital of Thailand

School children accompanied by their teachers touring the historical place. After reading from history textbooks in their class room, they came to visit the real place.

Three children at their mom's birth-day party
Three children at their mom's birth-day party

Life is good. Three children at their mom's birth-day party. After the big dinner, they were about to attack the birthday cake bought from a famous bakery in a big shopping mall.

They study at famous schools. Their parents send them to take special classes such as piano, dancing, badminton, and swimming courses on weekends. They have two maids at home to help with cooking and cleaning. Occasionally they go to a national park for camping. Sometimes they bring their maid with them on such outings.

At Suvarnabhumi Airport
At Suvarnabhumi Airport

A chubby Vietnamese boy with his parents and relatives waiting for a flight to Hanoi.

Vietnam

A girl demonstrating joss stick making to tourists for a tip, Hue
A girl demonstrating joss stick making to tourists for a tip, Hue.

Along the Mekong river from Huay Xai to Luang Prabang - Laos

As our boat arrived for a stop at a village, a group of children were waiting at the boat landing to sell snack, fruits, bags, cloth and clothes and so on. While their parents work in the farms, these children help their families by selling things to earn little income.

A village little girl presenting her basket full of snack food to the tourists in the boat

A village little girl presenting her basket full of snack food to the tourists in the boat. She wanted to earn money to help her family. Some tourists were reluctant to buy from her. Where they live it is against the law to use child labour. They thought buying from these kids would encourage the parents to force their children to work like this again.

A small girl pulling her boat before loading things on board
A small girl pulling her boat before loading things on board

Girls looking at camera
Girls looking at the camera

I am using their photos on the Internet.... But what does that mean for these people in the photos? Will you like them, love them, respect them or what?

School children in their uniform rowing wooden boat on the way home from the school
School children in their uniform rowing wooden boat on the way home from the school

Mother and her baby
Mother and her baby

A woman carrying her baby in the cloth fasten against her chest. It helps baby gets warmer while the mother's hands are free to do house works.

Children playing Petanque during the 2-hour school lunch break
Children playing Petanque during the 2-hour school lunch break

A school girl
A school girl

A girl in her school uniform offered to show me a cave in her village. We exchanged information about each other on the way. We didnít go inside the cave because we didnít have torch light.

She took me to her relativeís house on the Mekong river bank. On the river sand beach was a plot of vegetable. The girl left me with her relatives and returned to attend afternoon classes.
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