The Joy of living, A Cambodian Village Portrait

Stories like these are inspiring. I also like this video because it is the Cambodian people who are taking the lead to make change in their own countries as they are very much capable of doing. I’m sure outside assistance is welcomed and appreciated, but sometimes well meaning foreigners come in without truly listening to the real needs and even wisdom of the people they are trying to help.

Although I also enjoy the shops, restaurants, and parties out when I’m overseas, the villages and country-side are usually my most favorite places to be.

Former Vietnamese Refugee- surviving long uncertain travel, pirates, and refugee camps to new life of hope

Vietnamese woman, former boat person, one of many, tells about her family’s journey to the United States. Phuong and her family have volunteered for my organization to help remember and honor Vietnam Era veterans and to assist me with my work with Amerasians.

When reflecting with Phuong, some of the views, customs, and experiences we refer to are of our parents and their generation. I grew up with some of the culture because of my mother, but we were the only Vietnamese, let alone Asians in our area and of course I had my American father I grew up with. I later in my adult years took up the custom of having a family shrine for my grandparents as a personal act of respect. Many Vietnamese do practice some of these customs mentioned in the clip, but there are a lot of changes in the family system today. I personally like some of the old along with the new.

Watch my cooking show segment with Phoung on how to make Vietnamese Spring rolls and Rice Porridge (click here)

Vietnam Veterans meeting Amerasians in Vietnam for first time

Vietnam trip with two Vietnam Veterans- January 2010

Arriving at the restaurant to meet fellow Amerasians:

I was so overwhelmed. I looked at all of them and felt very honored to meet them, little did they know.

We started with introductions and I told them~ I am here because I never want to forget where I came from and I am a proud Amerasian. I also told them they were my brothers and sisters.

You can see the American features in their faces. That was the overwhelming part. With me, I am always mistaken for someone from the Middle East. With them however, it was very clear they were part American.

I was so proud of the Vietnam Veterans who were with me for wanting to meet with them. They were worried they would not be liked and wasn’t sure they wanted it known they were Veterans. I told them with my experience it would probably be the opposite. They would be happy to know that they were veterans who took time to come and meet them. I was correct.

They hugged the veterans and were so happy to have the interaction with them. To all Vietnam Veteran who have been writing to me about this, I thank you. I thank you for not forgetting and caring about us.