After chatting with my boat guide, I was able to glean that many of these villagers on the Tonle Sap lake are, in fact, not Cambodian -- a few are indeed Khmer households, but a large proportion are ethnic Vietnamese refugees.  Since they are not legally allowed to settle on Cambodian land, they must make their homes and livelihoods on the lake, where poverty is a daily struggle.  Living on Water: Floating Villages by Tiffany Chu

Living on Water: Floating Villages

After chatting with my boat guide, I was able to glean that many of these villagers on the Tonle Sap lake are, in fact, not Cambodian -- a few are indeed Khmer households, but a large proportion are ethnic Vietnamese refugees. Since they are not legally allowed to settle on Cambodian land, they must make their homes and livelihoods on the lake, where poverty is a daily struggle.

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