Check out some of Mark Shelby Perry’s fantastic photos of Dengue Fever and Bochan’s packed show at LPR earlier this month. It was a blast!
I just wanted to thank everyone who has been keeping me on my feet and helping me reach towards my dreams. I cannot thank you all enough. All I really have left to offer to say thank you are my dance moves. I hope you enjoy!
For those who don’t know, I am working on raising money to fund my volunteer trip to Cambodia with the Cambodian Assistance Foundation. I have always dreamed of working with youth in Cambodia and making positive changes in that specific country because that’s where my family is from. My family left their homeland over thirty years ago to escape the Khmer Rouge. And since that time, Cambodia has never been the same. The youth of this generation and all the generations following all have the potential to bring great changes to Cambodia to us all back on the right road, whether we are here in the America or in Cambodia. We all have the ability to help our country grow.
I am planning on working with students in Takeo for the month of December, but I will not be able to go unless I have enough funds. :( Please, please, please help me out! Any donation big or small will go a long way! Whether it’s one dollar or just sharing my link. Anything and everything is appreciated!
Last night I attended the screening of “Lost Loves” a film written, produced, and directed by a Cambodian filmmaker, Chhay Bora. Unlike other “Khmer Rouge war” films, this one was different; it was created by Cambodians who experienced and survived the war and rather than having the main plot of the story be about the war itself, this film told a different perspective. It is a heart-wrenching movie about a mother’s resiliency and perseverance to keep her children and herself alive during the horrific Khmer Rouge regime. It most definitely struck a chord among not just war survivors, but among Cambodian youths (living in the motherland and those living aboard). While “I love you’s” and affectionate gestures are not the norm in most Cambodian households, this movie reminded us that though unspoken, the love of a parent for his/her children is a bond that no one can strip away. Even when faced with unimaginable torture and unbearable losses, it was hope that kept them fighting. Hope that one day their children will live to experience a world of love and peace.
Most of my extended family were executed during the war. For as long as I can remember, it was always just the five of us – it was the five of us that my parents fought to keep alive, and when we took our first steps off the plane onto American soil in 1981, it was just the five of us (my parents and my two siblings). Growing up, I was always aware of why there was just the five of us and so the value of family and community was not a hard one to grasp. I was very fortunate that in my household, dialogue about the war, my parents’ losses, and experiences, was something we talked about often. My father wanted us to know and to never forget our story, to be empowered by being refugees of the war (as we were no longer victims, but survivors). It is a past that makes us unique among our American peers. My father was quite an exception to the typical Asian male – as my siblings and I spent many Saturday mornings watching cartoon in our parents’ bed all the way up to our teen years. He would tell us that he loved us and that we could accomplish anything we put our minds to. In us he embedded strength and courage (a message I carry with me and echo in my song Believe - “We survived. We made it here alive. Believe in you!”). Him and my mother had beaten the odds and fought long and hard to provide for us the opportunity to live in a free country, a country where one can overcome hardships and succeed… they fought hard so that we can live “The American Dream.” Coincidentally, It was just a few days ago that I was in New York City listening to my NPR piece on my father’s legacy and the dream he dreamt for me. All my thoughts and emotions began to intersect and I find myself at a place of reflection and gratitude.
Though I knew about the plight of our people, it wasn’t until after watching this film that I truly felt the pain, the suffering, the bravery, the resiliency of my parents along with so many other Cambodians all over the world. I felt more than ever, a deep pride for what it means to be Cambodian American. After spending a couple hours in thought, I went to bed with a sense of peace. If you are Cambodian and you are standing today, you are a symbol of hope and peace - an inspiration, a light that shines endlessly.
Thank you to my mother and father for giving me the chance to live out my dream. As a Cambodian American artist paving my way in this world, it is your reflection that shines through and for that, I am forever grateful. Thank you to Chhay Bora and his team for shedding light and sharing our story with the world. Love and light, Bochan