Floating Lives of the Tonle Sap, Kampong Luong

Good morning! Aroun suostei!

20 Sept – Fishing Village
The days feel, surprisingly, long. Maybe because the night itself felt (terribly) long; I wake up every few hours with a nagging suspicion that I had something crawling across my face. Eventually I heard the village come alive again with the crack of dawn; from the corner of my sleepy eyes I could see the hues of pink and orange blending into a canvas of beauty. Too lazy to pull myself up, the sunset will do, I thought.
Today was Fieldwork Day. Many times I thought – if only I could speak Khmer! I would hop from households to households. Research, being a researcher here, would likely encounter a language barrier don’t you think? Stemming from structural inequalities – lack of access to education = decrease in % of Geog / social sciences / other important disciplines’ researchers = decrease in % of researchers = decrease in % of researchers keen on working in local issues = decrease research on the lake, which is actually really key to the area, to find out their needs.
Tonight was lovely though, I find myself embracing nature as it is, and assimilating in the local lifestyle. As Kristal mentioned, “Look what village life has done to you!” (Lights are off – I’m writing in the dim) I took a longer shower tonight, I washed my hair, unabashedly walking out wrapped in a sarong and letting the scooped water caress my hair. I dangled my feet along the edge of the plank and looked joyously at the sky – the stars. Tonight they were brighter than before; my heart sang for a little bit. When I wrapped myself in I used a towel to dry myself, and found a tiny cockroach on its edge. I calmly tried to shake it off, and when it didn’t I kind of scraped it at its edge. My heart barely skipped a beat, and that surprised myself. Ah, how village life has changed me! (At least a teeny bit) I love the idea of bathing in rivers, I must say. In any case, our research findings correlate to all that I’ve known / read about village life, which reminds me of the importance of research. I wish more research can be done on rural areas. Thinking about it now, Dr Carl, Rigg etc etc rural geographers are really great people, embracing the challenges yet contributing to understandings of such marginalized groups. Thinking about it now perhaps I did not push myself for my thesis. I chose me. Still, perhaps in the future… Then again, everything happens for a reason, something I’m clear about on its own.
X, siangyee


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