Please note that works on the Canadian Literature website may not be the final versions as they appear in the journal, as additional editing may take place between the web and print versions. Almost three decades later, he revisited his collection and published it as a book in collaboration with Pete Pin, a photographer based in New York City, and Silong Chhun, a multimedia artist and a community advocate against the U.S. government deportation of Cambodian Americans. The team at Bophana helped me make a movie called The Roots Remain with my Canadian filmmaker friends. I, myself, experienced being a refugee; I left Cambodia when I was seven with my family. I didnt film at first. In addition to struggling to lift themselves out of poverty, many Cambodians faced challenges associated with PTSD and other mental health ailments. So, with that, Ive had the opportunity to work in a school system where about twenty-four percent of our students are of Cambodian descent. I understand this was because you hear these stories from a generation that was traumatized first-hand. Without water, everything is nothing. For those who live in rural areas, the word Tuek-dey means something essential. Some were beaten. In Canada, there has been little public discourse about this chapter of Canadian history, and even less about the circumstances that displaced these refugees to Canada in the first place. It was extremely cold for me. It was chaos and in the heat I was amazed that everyone stood stoically waiting for transport to places newly carved out of the Thailand countryside. We had climatic and culture shock, especially the elderly people. Photograph courtesy of Colin Grafton. Thank you to everyone. This really changed my life. Unlike the many Cambodians who had no family outside their country, Sithea and her family were sponsored by a now-deceased uncle who had come to the United States in the early 1970s. I had been doing traditional graffiti before and then this new form of graffiti opened up an intergenerational dialogue, not just with my family, but with a lot of people around me.
They were sleeping in their hut. Sithea, a Cambodian American community leader in Long Beach, is the co-founder of Cambodian Town Inc., one of the oldest Cambodian nonprofit organizations working to preserve the community's culture and traditions. We have a heritage that is over one thousand years old.
Many men were armed. The refugees arrived at the border at first not so much for reasons of politics or starvation. I took a taxi and waited very close to the camp gate. They just dont want to be seen that way. This is a way to know my cultural heritage and to share it. Its the second largest Cambodian community in the US. At the same time, its so easy to have fatigue from all of the images of refugees. The refugees lives were so difficult, depending totally on outside help.
Between 2012 and 2015, things changed in Cambodia so quickly. Pin put Isett's images in order, and Chhun wrote the text of the book, published by Catfish Books. The pro-Vietnamese government in Phnom Penh demanded that all humanitarian aid be channeled through it, and some UN and aid organizations attempted to work with the government. A lot of these people were hoping to be resettled in a third country. It was difficult to see how families placed themselves in such impossible spaces.
When I first arrived at the camps very little infrastructure was in place. So thats why, in 2012, I realized that this was going to be a lifes work. Khemarey Khoeun, now 40, still lives in Chicago and is board president at the National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial. Colin Grafton: I think I have the distinction of being the only non-Cambodian here, and also maybe the only one who was walking around in Khao-I-Dang refugee camp in 1980, apart from Mok Rotha. Barbwire, bamboo poles and tarps were trucked in for the camp infrastructure. (Photo: Stuart Isett), Silong Chhun is a Cambodian-American artist disciplined in multimedia, graphic design, photography, music production and videography based in Tacoma, WA. It is hard to move on. Bamboo is the main framing material and is one of the strongest natural building materials. This was a very optimistic period in the life of Khao-I-Dang. At the time, I was studying film animation and cinema, so Rithy invited me to the Bophana Center in Phnom Penh. A few months later, I went to the Thai army headquarters based in Bangkok to get a permit to enter the camp. Aid agencies estimated that up to 2.5 million Cambodians were at risk of starvation. They died in front of me. For Cambodians, Tuek-dey is not a simple word. With Colin, Keiko, and Sopheap Chea from Bophana Center by my virtual side throughout 2020 and 2021, this exhibition brought together the voices of artists, activists, and community members for a collective conversation focused on Cambodias artistic renaissance today. After we completed that publication, we went back to Cambodia several times to help train teachers and professors on how to use Dys book in their classrooms.
They faced obstacles if they wanted to return home.
I wanted to adapt my graffiti style and really dig into our communitys identity and culture, and to use the traditional kbach style from the Angkor Wat temples. They were all taken between May and September 1980, when the situation on the Thai border had stabilized. "So, what happens is they are immediately tracked into urban poverty in the United States, and that makes for a unique situation of Cambodian refugees and [other] Southeast Asian refugees," Tang told VOA Khmer. My understanding of these sacrifices became the fuel of my work, and the result is what I am doing right nowalong with other artistsin Cambodia and elsewhere. The images appear in a recently published photo book, Krousar: On the Corners of Argyle and Glenwood, by Stuart Isett. In fact, it did exist. Children seemed happy to have a safe place to play. For Khemarey Khoeun, the photos bring back memories of growing up as a child in the Cambodian community of Chicago: Mothers caring for toddlers in front of an apartment block on a steamy summer day. I found the purpose of artto open up a certain kind of dialogue, to grasp whats happening now. Chhun said the text accompanying the photos was meant to provide context and help "humanize" the Cambodian experience and the struggle to find an identity and fit into American society. 1 Rithy Panhs contribution to this forum was translated from the Khmer language. Part of what I wanted to do with this exhibition is to insist that Cambodian history is Canadian history, as well as the history of the world in the twentieth century. There are very few images in the exhibition that are sad or horrific. I think my photographs contrast with the situation eight years later, when Rithy Panh made his film, where people were suffering from a kind of lethargy because they had lost hope for the future. We were able to go and travel across the country to help support teachers. "We were labeled as this community that came from nothing and had to try to find a way in the country," he said. In 1989, it had been ten years since Cambodian refugees started coming over the border. "Around that time, [Cambodian] people used to hang out at the beaches nearby, Foster and Montrose, and it got to the point where people stopped going there because that was where the gangs were going at each other," she said. Mr. The refugees were placed in housing projects, and eventually formed sizable communities in Chicago, Illinois; Seattle, Washington; Long Beach, California; and Lowell, Massachusetts. Young men dapper in caps and sneakers, smoking cigarettes on a street corner. I think they dont want to have that identity or stigma that theyre not well or not mentally healthy. There were even dance classes held in Khao-I-Dang. It was very dangerous coming over the border. The musicians sometimes found discarded instruments; sometimes they made their own instruments from various scraps. (Stuart Isett), In early 1990s Chicago, in the Uptown neighborhood on the north side, young Cambodian men hang out in a back alley of an apartment building and an elderly Cambodian woman and young boy work with krama, a traditional Khmer textile. There were no beds in the camp hospital yet, so they allowed the dance teachers to set up classes there. I took some photos of the first open-air performance where the Cambodian girls could dress up. I was humbled by the intensity and compassion with which she spoke about her memories of the refugee camp. "My uncle and his family provided all the support I needed," she said. It was so difficult for them. Thankfully the Ministry of Education in Cambodia was able to grant us that endorsement, and the prime minister also helped endorse the program.
Now the population has been estimated to be roughly 5 million.
Like many youths, Chhun said, he relied on his friends on the streets for "acceptance and value.". Because they were now living in the United States, so they formed these I don't like using the word 'gang,' but they formed gangs.". Some people called it Franco-Shakespearian.. "How easy it would have been for them to be recruited into the Cambodian gangs. There were only films made by foreign film crews and there was no participation from our side. I am based now in Phnom Penh, and Ill explain what led me to dedicate my time to setting up a gallery and new platform for art here in Phnom Penh recently. Figure 2. (Stuart Isett), Cambodian Gino paints a gel tattoo on the arm of one of his friends in an apartment at a public housing building in Uptown, Chicago, 1990s. Families in the Lowell public schools have experienced a great deal of trauma, and they come with the experience of being a refugee.
FONKi Yav: To introduce my myself, my name is FONKi Yav. Photograph courtesy of Colin Grafton. Many of the refugees come to Lowell from the Congo, Burma, Myanmar, Syria, and other parts of the world. "Bill New" will search for instances where his name appears as a whole, but searching without quotations marks will return all instances where the word "Bill" and "New" appear in th text, separately and together.
He was the only one in his family to survive the Khmer Rouge. We have nothing of our own, not even the right to speak, the right to travel, or the right to produce rice or other food for ourselves. Photograph courtesy of Colin Grafton. Khao-I-Dang closed in 1985, and, by that time, a lot of people had been stuck there for years. We must never forget. She wanted me to know that refugee women and girls had suffered the most in this camp. Tens of thousands of Cambodians fled to Thailand from the mid-1970s onward to escape the genocidal Khmer Rouge regime and the subsequent protracted conflict between Pol Pot's forces and the Vietnamese army occupying Cambodia. Questions were submitted to Panh by Y-Dang Troeung in English and translated into French with the help of Hoi Kong and Tara Mayer.
It was important for us (as Cambodian people) to document the lives of the refugees there. And it's also about how these young men had to form their own family in some ways, which was separate from their Cambodian families. "Vast numbers of Cambodians with oxcarts and bicyclescame to the border every day" and were given sacks of rice to take home with them. **General searches have ALL the datatype filters options switched on.
No one wants to leave their family, friends, and homeland to go to a camp and to depend on food aid from others.
The people at Sa Kaeo were mostly from the countryside, and they had no relatives anywhere in other countries, so they had no thoughts of getting to a third country. Chhun also founded Red Scarf Revolution, a clothing brand that promotes Cambodian culture and history. When I went back to England the next year, I made an exhibition in London, and I found I had to almost apologize to the British audience looking at these scenes.
We still see problems of alcoholism within the family. Like Cambodian people say, as a refugee, Im like a floating weed carried off by the current, with no roots. I listened to them talk like they had been waiting for us for a long time. Many used polluted and unsafe water to wash their clothes and pans. When rice was handed out, children stayed behind to find pieces of rice that had fallen to the ground. I mixed kbach with the graffiti style that I had learned in Montreal. I just walked around the camp, looking for someone we were destined to talk to. At that time, PTSD was not yet believed to be a problem at the camp. Then, when the Vietnamese forces came into Cambodia, my uncle hired the militia to bring usme and my sistersto a refugee camp in Thailand. The geopolitics of the pandemic had laid bare the reality that in places such as Cambodia, the thin layer of scab holding back the unhealed wounds of the past could easily come undone. People had to pay a lot of money to get to the camps. Its a long process of recovery that we have to go through togetherto support each other, and not just when we see each other in the neighbourhood. (Stuart Isett), National Cambodian Heritage Museum and Killing Fields Memorial, first Cambodian American woman to be elected to public office at any level of U.S. government.
That is where I met Rithy. "And they grew up in an environment where their parents were survivors of genocide, wars, and had PTSD, traumas," she said. In 2016, a learning center opened on the former Khao I Dang site.
This whole return trip to Cambodia in 2012 changed my life, and I wanted to paint my great-grandfather somewhere in Phnom Penh to honour his life. The camp covered 5.2 to 5.5 square kilometres, and it was considered the second largest Cambodian city after Phnom Penh. Khmer classical dance classes for teenagers in the temporary hospital at Khao-I-Dang. Rice became abundantly available in the distribution centers. It wasnt what the Thai government and the international relief organizations expected, but then the numbers increased gradually and by the time I got there, which was in April 1980, there were 130,000 people in Khao-I-Dang. What Im going to do is just give you an overview of what was happening in 1979 and 1980. During the day, there was not as much danger, but at night, it was a different situation. Photograph courtesy of Colin Grafton. (Stuart Isett), Ricky, the groom, is escorted during a Cambodian traditional wedding ceremony in Uptown, Chicago, 1990s.
Some Cambodian refugees who went to Thailand were abused. The premiere of the film was in Long Beach, California, where we shared the film with a lot of refugees and second-generation Cambodians who were born in America. Everything came in from the outside, including rice, water (for sanitation), and so on. They came out in groups or individually.
Y-Dang: Thats a great way to conclude our discussion today. Before going to France, we were kept in that place, what might be called an adaptation centre, which was like a prison. It was being built on the fly. I have many styles. Some were sent back to the Khmer Rouge soldiers, and some were repatriated back to Cambodia. He said the photos also capture how elements of Cambodian culture survive in the U.S. "There are celebrations and the dancing, the older folks and the younger folks doing it," he said. I encountered a project that brought me back to Cambodia.
It had been a long journey, from Siem Reap, a Cambodia city best known for the Angkor Wat temple complex, to the Sa Kaeo Refugee Camp in Thailand, which the family left in 1981 after a two-year stay. Rice was handed out to long lines of woman waiting for hours in the hot sun.
But photographs capture only two-dimensions in a world where the pain and suffering goes many layers deep. ", Overcoming Challenges and Barriers, Cambodian Refugees 'Accomplished So Much', Cambodian women and children relax and play between the street and sidewalk outside their apartment building in the 1990s along West Argyle Street in the Uptown neighborhood of Chicago. We are people that came from nothing, and now, about 40 years later, we've accomplished so much. A camera came the closest to bringing back the breadth of the problem. But we are resilient. We still have hope. Refugees were no longer hoping for resettlement. 2 Rotha Moks contribution to this forum was translated from the Khmer language.
That is, you cannot filter for Editorials if you are searching for Publishers. 246 Refugee Worldmaking: Canada and the Afterlives of the Vietnam War (2021): 142-158. I actually heard the term Khmer Renaissance for the first time from my friend, who is sort of the pioneer of bringing hip hop to Cambodia, mixing hip hop with old Khmer rock n roll songs from the 1960s. You can only filter issue content only if you are searching for issue content.
There were kids and teenagers classes, and dont forget the musicians. These events included a three-month photography exhibition at Bophana Center, a screening of Rithy Panhs film Site 2, a recorded interview with Rithy Panh, gallery talks, embassy visits, countless conversations (as well as disagreements), and a concluding Zoom roundtable that gathered voices from across the Cambodian diaspora.
Humanitarian organizations and international aid agencies brought rice and other rice seed toNong Chan Refugee Campon the Cambodian border in Thailand and distributed the rice to Cambodians who came to the border. Since that first meeting in 2014, Colin and his partner Keiko Kitamura have become two of my dearest friends and collaborators, seeing me through countless personal and professional crises as I have sought to navigate the fraught and delicate terrain of conducting research about Cambodias Cold War legacies. The open fields were cleared down to the stubble to prevent fires and make setting up the tents easier. They expected conditions of malnutrition and disease, so they decided to set up Khao-I-Dang. All of his family members were killed during the Khmer Rouge. I realized that I had become part of the Khmer Renaissance without realizing it. Their lives felt meaningless. Getting it out to the camps was the challenge. When I started coming to Cambodia, I was really struck by the ornaments carved on the walls of these ancient temples. The principal dancer wasnt bothered at all, but some of the others were laughing or looking rather angry because of the strong wind blowing through their hair. "They provided a place for me and my family to stay and made sure I was on track with school and stayed out of troubles.". According to statistics, refugees flee due to war, poverty, violence, and economic collapse. The 150,000 Cambodian refugees who came to the U.S. 35 to 40 years ago were dispersed by the government to cities and towns across the country. Moks live responses in Khmer were translated into English script by Sopheap Chea and Colin Grafton. Some pendants were even made from intravenous drip tubes from the hospital. When I arrived in the US, I was nine years old and starting life in a new country and in a new school. That many have been decimated. As recently as 1975, there were 8 million Cambodians.
Some were abused and kidnapped.
"Many of them came from peasant backgrounds," said Eric Tang, director of the Center for Asian American Studies at the University of Texas at Austin.