RF.SG logo

Photo Essay: Not An Angel By Eddie Lim


Some have asked, so what’s with the title…simply put, I’m not one…


I’m an eccentric traveller and have included in this itinerary only with slums, villages and rubbish dumps. I think it calls out for a reflection for self as well as hopefully through my pictures, it might educe one to do his part in helping others.


Frankly, it was tiring with 9 hours of travelling each day as most of these places are located off the city. You eat with flies all around you and the stench is empowering… but that’s the whole point. Whenever I visit a place, I always believe to soak in and live the way they do.

But of course, the next 6 hours of the day will be the rewarding part. The cold showers, the restaurants and of course the beer. It cost $11 bucks for a carton so it makes more sense to hold a bottle of chill Angkor beer than a dumb cola.


I have since transitioned (at least 90%) to film and have never looked back. Making this choice wasn’t easy as humans tend to be avarice, tucking in almost every single bit of gears that they have for a trip. That was at least me back then… (not implying that I am a changed person overnight but I try)

How many times have you lug all that only to realize that it had always been that 1 or 2 lens that you have used? A trip is a more enjoyable one shedding off those weight and just concentrate on the fundamentals.

My little advice is to know what you like to shoot and shoot all the way with the same combination for at least a year. That is the only way to understand your gears and try to overcome the shortcomings. You tend to lose some but you also gain some.


Although Cambodia is rich in natural resources, the decades of wars have lead them to poverty. The legacy of strife includes social and economic scars that still persist today. Many of them have been cast to the outskirts because they have posed to be an “obstacle” to the country’s development. Next time you decide to dump your old clothing to the rubbish, think again. In another part of the world, there are many others that aren’t properly dressed for that matter of fact.

I urge all to consider donating them to an organization of your choice to help others. Please bear in mind that they are not a place to dump those torn and improper ones.

I cant preach to the choir as I’m guilty myself of buying clothes from time to time.


Frankly I didn’t know if it was the right thing to do. Many of these kids didn’t have the luxury of having fruits (Yes, basic fruits like the apples and lychees that we cant be bothered) and so I handed out some to them.

But to my horror, some snatched, shoved, shouted to get their share…

If this was the case that would put their relationships in jeopardy… then I would rather not…


Many Cambodian families collect rubbish and plastic bottles to exchange for reil or rice. I had initially wanted to visit a rubbish dump but was turned down by the authority despite talking to them for 10 minutes

The officer-in charge, wearing a python thick gold chain and watch, with a face that looks like he has facial every other week. That’s your so-call socio-economic imbalance.


Its not about perfect but more often the effort and when you bring that effort every single day, that’s where transformation happens. That’s how changes happen.

I hope in time to come, these people will have a better life, a better environment to stay in..

It’s inconceivable to think that we spend six or seven dollars a day for lunch, (I spend about $10 for the amount of food I eat…) while the Cambodians are living on forty-five cents per day.


Life in the slums is horrific. There is a serious lack of clean water, fresh food, and adequate healthcare. If the average income is only .45 cents per day, how could a Cambodian family afford a doctor and medicine, much less food?

These statistics are just mind boggling, and this is definitely the most important contribution to poverty in Cambodia.
(Source from M.A.P Nanking Project)


In Cambodia, population living under poverty line of USD1.25 is defined as the poor.

Itss hard to believe that, when everywhere in the city streets, you get to see land rover sports, mercs, mini Lexus (They call the RX350s the Mini…)

And there in the outskirts, you have kids who cant even afford apples to eat.

We tend to forget that happiness doesn’t come as a result of getting something we don’t have, but rather of recognising and appreciating what we do have.


I will end off these photos on the lives of Cambodia and I do hope that it would help them in one way or another.

Lastly, please continue to share and do our little bit for the less fortunate!


Photographer: Eddie Lim


This entry was posted in Photo Essays and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.