BACK TO THE OLD SCHOOL – A Cambodia Village School in Photographs

Wat Ek Phnom is an atmospheric, partly collapsed, 11th-century temple situated 11km north of Battambang Town in Cambodia. During the journey back to town after visiting the temple, we passed by several local villages and made a few stops along the way to take some pictures, including an old village school (situated in Ek Phnom District – near Pheam Ek Village). This village school sits on a compound adjacent to the main road. It looked very much like a temple (I mistook it as a monastery initially), with a very odd ceramic zoo in its grounds. The old school was interesting enough to entice me to spend some time photographing the life there. It was all unplanned for, and it turned out to be an extremely pleasant experience.

Like most schools in Cambodia, the well-worn buildings have very little facilities and are hindered by leaky ceilings, crumbling desks, and crowded classrooms. The school is nothing more than a row of single-storey long-house consisting of classrooms adjacent to one another. Inside each classroom, wooden tables and chairs filled the dimly lit room that relied only on natural lighting. The walls were covered with an old coat of cyan paint, which seem to be peeling off. Many bicycles (that belong to the more fortunate students) are parked right outside the classrooms, filling up the long stretch of corridor. It happened to be the recess time during my visit to the school, and the kids were having fun chasing each other in and out of the classrooms. Some were playing games in the open compound outside the classrooms, while some stayed indoors to finish up their homework.

Time seem to wind-back at the old school. Having come from a developed country myself, a walk around the school seem to bring back time. I wandered in and out of the classrooms as well, trying to capture the kids in their most natural self. Most of the kids I approached in the school do not mind their photos being taken. I also wanted to capture the essence of the old school building, which had left a very strong impression on me. At the end of the recess time, all the kids rushed back into the classroom when a group of local teachers arrived. It was time to go and I bid goodbye to the old school…

Day Dreaming...

The Band Of Brothers...

Inside The Classroom...

The Curious Look...

My Favorite Bicycles...

Finishing Up My Homework...

Through The Window...

He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother...

The Blank Stare...

Recess Time...

~Editorial & Photography by Loy Chuan (Nov, 2011)~

Do you like this? Share it:
Lotus - 18 November, 2011 - 5:56 PM

Nice pictures! Love to watch the children’s most natural expressions.

Tony Pond - 20 November, 2011 - 2:19 AM

Nice glimpse into rural Cambodian school life. Well done Loy.

loychuan - 21 November, 2011 - 11:39 PM

Thanks Tony!

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