SINGAPORE - Seeing this, Mr Aloysius Chong, 43, readied his camera and snapped away.
After all, it was a rare display of joy from the six-year-old.
"The boy barely smiled for the past week I was there, so I was quite shocked that he smiled at me," said Mr Chong, who met the boy from Myanmar at an orphanage at the Thai border town of Mae Sot.
"You could tell that it was a smile from the heart, and I was very touched," he added.
And he hopes that the photo, which will be on sale, will help alleviate the suffering of Myanmar's orphans.
The photo of the child is just one of dozens that will be on display at Myanmar's Dreams, a photo exhibition chronicling the daily lives of Myanmar nationals.
Organised by social enterprise Art & Hope and featuring 13 photographers, it will be held at Ion Art Gallery from Jan 28 to Feb 6.
Proceeds from the sale of the photos, which will range from $350 to $1,500 per photo, will go into supporting Myanmar's orphans, children and youth in need, such as the boy in Mr Chong's photo.
Mr Chong said he was told by the orphanage's caretakers that the boy, together with his younger brother, had travelled to Mae Sot from North Myanmar, a journey that took them six days and through hills, forests and rivers.
"It is a journey that would be tough for most adults, let alone a young boy," said Mr Chong, a shipping manager who has been taking photos for 30 years.
He said that he took on the project because of his love for humanitarian work.
"I have always been keen on helping out but we've never been able to find the right channel to do so until this exhibition," said Mr Chong, who went into homes, schools and orphanages during his 10 days in Mae Sot last month.
He said that he learned a great deal from the Myanmar nationals living there.
STRONG AND POSITIVE
"The children there are mentally strong and positive, and do not cry over little things unlike many of those found in cities," he said.
"They taught me a lot more than I could teach them."
Mr Alan Lim's work will also be part of the exhibition.
A professional photographer and photographer mentor for almost 20 years, Mr Lim, 41, says that the trip was full of attractive photo opportunities.
He said: "They have a very rich and colourful culture, which makes it great for taking photos. Their costumes, shrines and authentic architecture all make for very nice visual elements."
Mr Lim, along with five of his students, toured the streets, markets, and temples in Myanmar during 2013, and Mr Lim said that they were well-received by those living in the area.
He said: "Just like in other developing countries, the people there are nicer than those living in cities.
"When you enter their village and start taking shots, you will be greeted with smiles."
Myanmar's Dreams photo exhibition
Ion Art Gallery, 2 Orchard Turn, Ion Orchard, Singapore 238801
Jan 28 - Feb 6
Free. Proceeds from sale of photos will go into supporting Myanmar's orphans, children and youth in need
This article was first published on January 26, 2015.
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