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Ore Huiying November 3, 2014

Posted by Geoffrey Hiller in Laos.

The one and only 3.5  km railway line on the Laos/ Thai border 2011

Ore Huiying (b.1982, Singapore) moved to the UK in 2010 and completed her MA in Photojournalism and Documentary Photography at the London College of Communication. Three years later she returned to Singapore as her photography is focused on investigating the development of Southeast Asian societies in the global context. Her work have been published in Le Monde, Liberation, The British Journal of Photography, Ojo de Pez and the BBC. Ore was named one of the ten emerging photographers in Singapore and was selected to participate in the First Asian Women Photographers’ Showcase at the Angkor Photo Festival. Last year, she was nominated for the Sagamihara Photo City’s Asia Prize (Japan) and received a Select Award in the Kuala Lumpur International Photo Award. She is currently based in Singapore.

About the Photograph:

“This image is part of a series in progress The Eternal Fatigue of an Incomplete Dream that aims to explore the dichotomy of Laos’ culture that is on the brink of change. It depicts the end of a railway track at Laos’ first and only train station. The existing track is only 3.5km, crossing over the Mekong River from Thailand and ends at the border of Laos. Poor and landlocked Laos harbors a grand ambition to build a high-speed railway line that would connect it to neighboring China in the north. For a country where no train has run except for an abandoned short portage railway built by its former colonial master, this is a mammoth task- one driven by the government’s desire to open up the country and tap into its abundant natural resources.”

“My first trip to Laos was in 2010, where I photographed the same scene in the digital format. I went back subsequently every year. This particular image was taken in 2011, when I had started to shoot the series in the medium format. Nothing has changed over the years. On several occasions, the Laos government were in talks with the Chinese government to come on board the high-speed railway project; yet no deal was made. With a lack of funding and technical knowledge, Laos faces constant frustrations to progress beyond its 3.5km railway track. In my most recent trip to Laos in March 2014, I discovered that construction has started in the land behind the depicted scene. However, the new construction is not due to an extension of the track, it’s for a new road. The ambitious high-speed railway project remains a dream. Yet one thing is for sure, change is coming, even to isolated Laos.”

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