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Photographer's Note

Allow me to focus on that little boy staring at us...

This picture was taken in 2000 in a Hmong village up in the north of Vietnam. My guess is that my wife and I were the first westerners he had ever seen. He was afraid and kept hiding behind his grandmother's back, but he was also intrigued and kept looking at us at the same time.

Flash-forward to NOW...

That little boy will have grown into a young adult, maybe still living in his ancestral village, maybe he moved to a city, maybe even to Hanoi. Will he still remember the first time he saw those rich white people? Will he think of this as a beginning (of modernity) or as an end (of tradition)?

PROGRESS IMPLIES ABANDONMENT.
How will he cope? How do we cope?

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notes:

The Hmong are among the largest 'minorities' in Asia. They live in most countries of SE-Asia and in China, where they are usually refered to as the Miao. There are many subcategoris. Most names for these refer to their traditional clothes, this picture was taken in a 'Black Hmong' village. I'm sorry I don't remember the exact location.

The scribbling on the wall is a leftover from a lesson in Vietnamese. Most 'minority children' do not learn any Vietnamese until they go to school. Another sign on the wall...

And I love it that the grandmother turns her back to us.

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scan from analague print, selective (un)sharpening in PS

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3045 W: 35 N: 6707] (34746)
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