May 26, 2009

The Graduate, College Park, Maryland

See a multimedia version of this story at this link.

Jamie Lok was born in the United States in 1984. Friday May 22, 2009 is one day Jamie will remember in her life, as this is the day of the ceremony and celebration of her graduation with an MPH, a Master degree in Public Health…
I joined Jamie and her family in Silver Spring, Maryland. Both Jamie’s parents are Cambodian natives . Her mother - Horn Lok (pictured below left) - arrived in the US in 1980 with Jamie’s grandmother and other siblings… Jamie’s father - Kimline Lok (pictured above) - has lived in the United States much longer as he arrived there as a student in 1972. He is today retired.
Together in the family car, with Jamie’s grandmother - Hauv You Orn - and her aunt - Suthy Ngan (pictured above center) - we drove to College Park, University of Maryland, more precisely to the graduation ceremony of the School of Public Health. Nearly 30 years after her mother had to flee her country devastated by the KR regime, and after 7 years of hard studies, Jamie is graduating with a Master of Public Health.

After graduation, Jamie will continue her research in substance abuse/addiction and working with minority communities. She plans to pursue a doctorate in public health in the near future.

May 3, 2009

Long Beach, Cambodia Town USA

Long Beach, California… A “suburb” of Los Angeles (just 20 miles away), on the Pacific coast. Long Beach is a city of nearly half a million people, the most ethnically diverse city in the United States. Besides this, Long Beach has one of the world’s largest shipping ports (for my whole life I had never seen such a wide huge massive extended port!), with a large oil industry since oil in the area is found both underground and offshore.

Long Beach Asian community includes a large Cambodian community, considered the second-largest Cambodian community outside of Asia (after Paris, France) with 50 000 Cambodian American people or Americans from Cambodian descent. The Cambodian community of Long Beach is mostly visible in a neighborhood along Anaheim Street, between Atlantic and Junipero Streets. In 2007, the “Little Phnom Penh” became “Cambodia Town” - - with an official recognition from the city of Long Beach.

Long Beach is a place that makes Cambodian people proud! Even though the integration has not always been easy, even though some people in the Cambodian community still face big challenges to be able to make it here in the USA (language, jobs, wages, health, studies, education, “weight” of the past, identity struggle…), the Cambodian people in the US are proud of Long Beach for the actions, the results and the impacts that the community here has built in the city…

. .
See more stories about the Cambodian Americans in the archives of this blog! ..

New Year festivities in Santa Ana, California

Santa Ana is located 20 miles East of Long Beach. On Saturday May, 11, 2009 the Cambodian community of the area gathered at the building of “The Cambodian Family” for the festivities of the Cambodian New Year. “The Cambodian Family” - - is a non-profit agency serving the refugee and immigrant community of Orange County, California, promoting social health, helping immigrants in the search of jobs, mentoring youth. If it emphasizes on the Cambodia community, the agency also serves other Southeast Asian immigrants (Vietnamese, Lao/Hmong) and Hispanic immigrants.

As "The Cambodian Family” also serves Hispanic immigrants, Mexican folkloric dances were in the program of the day.

And then came the Cambodian folkloric dances…

. .
See more stories about the Cambodian Americans in the archives of this blog! ..