Losing The King. The day after.

Short film about the next day after the death of Thailand’s king Rama IX. Thais narrate by themselves the sadness and memories after losing their beloved monarch and express their wish and concerns that in this crucial moment, the people will remain united. 

Video Journalist: Raul Gallego Abellan
Producer: Saiwasan Nadia Chongcharoen
Music: Ross Bugden
Shoot and edit on October 13-14, 2016. 

Raul Gallego Abellan

Raul is one of the most awarded video journalist of his generation. His work with TV3, Associated Press and Channel 4 News UK has led him around the world, between war zones, natural disaster sites and social unrest. He is also considered a pioneer in producing innovative and compelling online news and documentary video content, experimenting with new ways of news storytelling. (source: http://thevjfilmmakingworkshop.com/teachers)


Heart of Darkness – Phnom Penh

Jonathan van Smit

“She didn’t stand much of a chance in life. A fatherless childhood, minimal education, a life spent on the margins of poverty, and later, a guy she loved, who said he loved her, but who ran away years ago after making her pregnant. With a young baby, the moneylender debts spiraled out of control but people told her she was beautiful, and almost inevitably she headed down south to the neon bars of Phnom Penh…..and an endless line of preying assholes. Foreigners mostly; ‘fucking barang’ she calls them.

There is a price to pay for fake smiles, fake hugs, fake kisses, and fake loveless fucks.

She started cutting herself finding that physical pain can blunt the shame. Then came yama pills, and later ice, sometimes mixed with heroin. Her looks faded, her teeth began to rot so she began to work in the darker streets and clubs.

 Now she has HIV. All she ever dreamed for was a guy to hug her and protect her.”

Jonathan van Smit is a 67 year old photographer from New Zealand, now living and working in Hong Kong. He is emphatically not a photo-journalist, and primarily takes photographs to help explore and understand this world of ours. Economic marginalization and broken dreams are key interests. One area of focus over the last 3-4 years has been drug use in Phnom Penh, and the rapid growth of amphetamine-type stimulants such as meth (ice), as well as heroin.

Jonathan van Smit

Jonathan van Smit

“I met up with Adda again yesterday, and took some pictures while she smoked ice with her friend. She had a baby boy three months ago. Laughing, she said she didn’t know if the father is a local guy or ‘fucking barang’. 

We caught a tuk tuk over to Street 51; she gave me a quick hug, and walked off into the sunset to start the day’s work.

She was beautiful once.”

Jonathan started by walking the streets, and slowly built up some contacts, fixers if you like,(drug using bar girls, tuk tuk drivers, etc). A key fixer was a guy called AK who is a drug dealer and pimp. He used to be a child soldier in the Khmer Rouge in the late 90s, and used to cradle his AK47 as he slept, hence his nickname. Some of the photos were obtained by walking into derelict buildings, girlie bars, and then many were taken at AK’s parties or trips to KTV bars in Phnom Penh.

Jonathan van Smit

Jonathan van Smit

“Lao opium very good, Cambodia opium no good” she said, holding up a little cellophane packet with blackish/brown gunge inside. “Have ice too”.”

More pictures of Jonathan van Smit can be seen on his Flickr-Album:





Dead bodies and hellish prisons on the Philippines police graveyard shift

Noel Celis/AFP

Noel Celis/AFP

Philippine president Rodrigo Duterte was elected by a landslide in May, largely on a pledge to clean up the streets by killing tens of thousands of criminals. 

His campaign threats were backed by his record in southern Davao city, which he ruled for two decades according to his ruthless law-and-order policies. He was accused of running or tolerating death squads that killed more than 1,000 suspects.

Noel Celis/AFP

Noel Celis/AFP

Police say 402 drug suspects have been gunned down in the past month, and rights groups claim hundreds more have been killed by vigilantes. Thousands of people have also been detained, doomed for lengthy stints in underfunded and overwhelmed jails. (written with Cecil Morella in Manila)

See more pictures and text on:


The AFP Correspondent blog is taking readers behind the scenes at the global news agency Agence France-Presse. Correspondent was set up in April 2012 to give the public a glimpse inside the 24-hour operations of the world’s third-largest news agency, whose 1,500 text, video and photo journalists span the globe in a vast, multilingual network. 

Untouchable Husbands: Stories of Gay Men’s Wives

Zhao Heting

Zhao Heting

An estimated 16 million women in China are married to gay men. Most of these women entered their marriages unaware of their husbands’ sexual orientations. Discrimination and parental pressure are key reasons why these unions persist. Gay men and lesbian women often resort to marrying each other to hide their sexuality and to please their parents. Although the issue has been covered by both Chinese and international media in written stories, this photo essay is groundbreaking for the way it visualizes the topic.

Zhao Heting

Zhao Heting

See more stories and pictures on Chinafile:

All pictures and text of this story on (only Chinese):

Chinafilis an online magazine published by the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society, dedicated to promoting an informed, nuanced, and vibrant public conversation about China, in the U.S. and around the world.