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A self-reflection photography journey by Alex Soh

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

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.

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. For more information email to: one@alexsohphotography.com

Project ROAD Chapter 1


Project ROAD Chapter 2


Project ROAD Chapter 3


Come and be part of this meaningful journey.
May God bless you as you bless others.



___24 Feb 2009
_ _

Dear Friends,

Thank you for all your generosity and support towards The Rice Project.
We are so thankful and encouraged to see so many of you has come forward with your donations.

The Rice Project Photo Exhibition has been very well received. Up to date we have about 1.8 million people hit our website: http://www.thericeproject.com, and thousands of people came for the exhibition. The TV news both Chinese and English interview us and broadcast in Asia, the news paper as well. It has been an amazing journey and a meaningful project. We are so excited that through the lens we could create such a great impact and to bring hope to the refugees in Sri Lanka.

With only SG$2000 you are not just building a house for them, but creating a home. We are hoping to raise SG$100, 000 to build 50 houses. We hope that corporates would come forward to donate generously. All donations will go to Habitat for Humanity and cheque should be cross and make payable to Habitat for Humanity Singapore (with The Rice Project written on the back of the cheque)

We are now looking forward to working with Habitat for Humanity for the restoration of houses. Many friends has shown their interest and we are now in the progress of planing the trip.

The Rice Project journey will be capture and there after published into a coffee table book, we are now looking for company who wants to order the coffee table book or to have your logo published in the book and to use it as your corporate gift to your clients. For more information email to: one@alexsohphotography.com and info@thericeproject.com

Come and be part of this meaningful journey.
May God bless you as you bless others.


___7 Feb 2009

A N__ I N V I T A T I O N

Dear friends,

As some of you may have known, photography play a big part of my life and God has shown me many of His wondrous beauty over the past 14 years. I have been blessed to be travelling frequently for overseas assignments . Sri Lanka is one of the places. I have witnessed Sri Lanka before and after the Tsunami. It has been more than 4 years since the Tsunami struck on 26 Dec 2004. Media and news have covered extensively on the areas affected and many people have stretched their hands to help financially and spiritually. News of such disasters come and go very fast. People tend to forget about these happenings and we move on in life living in peaceful Singapore where nothing much happens ... However, there is still much to be done. 150km of houses have been swept away along the eastern coast of Sri Lanka. This is the area that have been devastated the most as it is the first place that the Tsunami struck. The balance of the tidal waves went on to hit the southern coast of Sri Lanka. The southern coast being a more touristy area have received much aid and about 70% of the houses have been restored. The eastern coast being nearer to the Tamil Tigers area have seen very slow progress in the restoration of the houses.

Hence we have decided to embark on The Rice Project. What is The Rice Project all about? Rice is a staple for the people of Sri Lanka. For many families, they are used to consuming rice for all their meals. With the support of Canon, Cathay Photo and a few other sponsors, we have managed to purchase 16000 kg of rice. In August 2007, a team of six from theredtree and the 6 winners of the online photo competition embarked on a journey to distribute rice to more than 500 families in the Batticaloa and Trincomalee area. We worked with Habitat for Humanity http://www.hfhsl.org/where.html to identify the families who have a greater need and visited them to distribute the rice. Rice is just a catalyst and we hope that through the distribution of rice and by capturing the journey, we are able to share with everyone the real situation in Sri Lanka now. The people really need help to rebuild their houses that is once called home.

There are many stories to be told and it really changes our perspectives of life. What is recession? To the Sri Lankans who do not have a permanent shelter over their heads, the recession is just a passing wind as compared to the Tsunami that has taken away their hope. We did not realised how significant it is to have a home until I met the people from Habitat for Humanity. Statistics have shown that risks of the female gender being sexually abused is reduced by 50% if they have a permanent roof over the heads. In addition, the kids who have a permanent home do excel better academically and can look for to a brighter future.

With my warm felt heart, I would like to invite you for the Official Opening of The Rice Project Photo Exhibition

Date: 13 Feb 2009
Time: 7.30pm
Venue: VivoCity, South Court and South Avenue (Ground Level)
Duration of Exhibition: 13 Feb to 22 Feb 2009 (10am to 10pm daily)

Through this exhibition, we hope to recreate public awareness of their situation and hope to raise funds to help the restoration of the house. All Donations are to be made directly to Habitat for Humanity. We are people who believed in using what we do best to create publicity through our images and videos. Our target is to raise 100K and the cost to build each house is SG$2000. This will help to build about 50 basic houses and with more funds that we raise... more houses will be build. Remember you are not just building a house for them... but a home.

Here is a video clip to help you know a little more about The Rice Project http://vimeo.com/3104248

Beside the documentary of rice distribution, you will also experience Sri Lanka through the lens of 2 videographers and 10 photographers work.

Do come and join me and I hope to catch up with you again and share with you more stories about the beautiful Sri Lanka.

P.S. For overseas friends, please visit The Rice Project web site, we will update the site to tell you more about The Rice Project exhibition.