Hand woven silk or cotton? Takeo in Cambodia is the place to go and see for yourself the weavers behind the beautiful scarves and cloth you see all over Phnom Penh and Siem Reap.
Many of the Takeo weavers learned the skill from their parents. They continue to share this with their own children and other family members. These days, however, when ready to wear garments are cheap and easily available, weaving is no longer selling well driving the younger generation to go for other employment.
Many young women who used to weave have now gone to work in the factories close by. They earn more and earnings are steady. They still can do weaving on the side if there are orders.
The weavers have not much idea about new design and the application of new weaving techniques. They have not moved much from the traditional design learned from their parents. A few, with the help of some buyers, try to create new design which hopefully will attract new customers. With better design, weaving can really revive itself and find attractive markets.
The other problem is marketing. Many of the weavers do not have ideas about marketing. They often just wait for customers or sell to store owners who go out to their villages.
Cambodia celebrates Pchum Ben, the culmination of a 15-day traditional festivities honouring the dead. During these 15 days, Khmer visit the temple to pray and make offering for dead relatives.
The Khmer believe that their dead relatives come and visit within this 15-day period in the Buddhist Calendar and, lo and behold, if they don't offer food and prayers for them, these dead relatives will leave curses. If they do, these dead relatives will leave them blessing.
You can see in these pictures the offering of food, money and prayers at the Temple.