Thursday, February 12, 2009


A worthy cause – the investment into humanity. The help rendered below may seem small compared to the vast, pressing need of thousands of victims; nevertheless it is better to help even one, than not at all. I speak for myself.

Straits Times - Feb 12, 2009

Photographers' mission to help tsunami victims

By Gwendolyn Ng

PHOTOGRAPHER Alex Soh can still recall the ache he felt as he watched a sack of rice fall off a truck in a Sri Lankan village and a group of boys scramble to scoop up the grains as rain pelted down.

Batticaloa village was just one of many that had been devastated by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Yet, more than five years on, residents are still struggling to rebuild their lives.

Mr Soh, 36, was there six months ago with The Rice Project, an initiative he started with his photographer friend Triston Yeo, also 36.

Its aim is to document the lives of tsunami victims, even though the disaster has faded from international headlines.

The ambitious undertaking began with him organising a photography competition requiring participants to submit a photo essay on the theme of 'Living'.

Instead of cameras or cash, the prize was a 10-day photo expedition to Sri Lanka last August to distribute rice and document the lives of people in Trincomalee and Batticaloa, two of the worst-hit towns on the east coast.

The team that went included the six competition winners - student Damien Chng, 17; systems specialist Tom Low, 32; and photographers Aaron Lim, 27; Denice Lim, 20; Jean Loo, 24; and Casandra Wong, 22.

Along with taking photos, they distributed 16 tonnes of rice to more than 500 families displaced by the tsunami and civil strife.

An exhibition of their photographs will be held at VivoCity from tomorrow to Feb 22.

Prints will be on sale and the money raised will go towards building about 50 houses for tsunami victims later this year.

'As we distribute rice, we hope that the stomachs of the tsunami victims will be momentarily filled,' said Mr Soh.

'However, this is only a temporary measure. The next step would be to restore houses in the affected areas.'

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