A Typical Home

To me this photo captures quite accurately the style and tone of life in urban Cambodia now. This is a shophouse, where the main room opening on to the street is a business space and behind it and above it is a living space for the family. The father, a tailor, works at his sewing machine with material samples, sewing supplies, and completed garments set around the work space. In the lower right corner is a bag of charcoal for the charcoal stove with a big pot on it. Is the burner for cooking? Or with such a big pot, are they making some sort of snack like those on the table, a small sub business selling snacks to customers and passersby? Maybe that is the wife’s contribution to maintaining the family–in addition to mothering and cooking and cleaning. In the upper left corner is a little shrine for making offerings to placate the ancestors. Whatever the circumstances, there is a way to make do, like the wooden block under the leg of the steel table to level the table on an uneven floor. And then there’s the little boy, the well-dressed son (his father IS a tailor!) who just watches the world go by and figures that all this is just normal and the way the world should be.