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Monday, March 19th, 2007
9:18 am - Can not go home...
It has been more than 3 decades that our people were forced out of their home country and sought refuge in many countries around the world. Surving the camps and trying to adapt to many foreign countries was not easy, especially when you are limited in Khmer and English literacy. While many live to tell the stories of heroism, suffering, starvation, patience, and bravery to their children and grandchildren, many of our Cambodian people died and left everything in foreign lands. Many people died alone and body left to their caretaker government to be disposed.

Some people live together and cherish their parents and provide homeage and life of no pain until death. Other parents forced out by their children and live in Nursing Home to live on the second phase of prison without walls. We have so many Cambodian elders around the world who never left Pol Pot regime. Unbeknown to their children, they live in pain to see their children have a better life. Acculturation was and is not possible for most of them, they struggle to live in the countries of unknown noises/languages. The only way to MUTE and shut off the noise, a peaceful last breath, if it's ever possible. Some of our elders never made it back home. Their bones and souls floated in neverland and never see peace.

Today in Canada, US, Australia, and other countries, our Cambodian elders live in darkness with their eyes wide open. They are deaf because of the unknown voices and unsavory souls left from the Khmer Rouge era eating away at them every second.

As, VOCC, we see this and will hold a day of appreciation and thanks to our elders for bring cultures, traditions, religions, and life experiences and planted in the third world for us, our children, and the future generation. Without them, there wouldn't be any temples....without them, there wouldn't be Cambodian associations...without them there would be YOU. Remember, most of them don't speak the language and don't understand the environment...but look at the results.

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Tuesday, February 27th, 2007
by: Sidney Liang

Living in a time of fast pace, money driven, and modern technology connections make many people who slowly settle loose touch of reality. Living day by day with the fear that one day your lovely fiancée’, wife, or girl friend would just dump you for someone else. Oh! The aching heart of uncertainty which ones would say is inevitable in these days and ages. A boiling water in a pot will soon spill out into the dirty ground. A human filled with emotions, a grown man’s fears turned into rage create unwanted domestic situations. The law enforcement comes in then created more distance between relationship and provided a passport for the relation to travel into a new world of affair, distrust, deceptive, and broken family.
A society of take and take…then throw away. A time moving too fast, living from day to day, and pain of manipulation. A friend’s tears fallen from broken love; he is lost with no relatives which left him from KR ages. A wife of beauty from the land of persevered natural stars provided comforts and peace for the lonely heart. This Christmas and New Year, while family gather together in front of a warm fires or heat for a long holiday. The snow light and the warmth heat melted his distant star. The faded wedding songs forced into the background of hard rock of living day by day, self destruction, and destruction the only love to feed the hungry. Once again, the pain returned bursting into tears covering and blanketing the sound of Christmas Carol and Karaoke entertainment. Lonely again…he begins.

The scenarios of crossover love, collapsing family culture, starving for capitalistic in the world of material goods are occurring every day. It happens on both sides, surprisingly grown men cry, and broken hearts provide domino affect for the last love. No long are love, just for the sake of love and caring for one another. A husband once said, “I am her husband just a couple of hours each day, but she is someone wife 8 hours or more per day” – what do I do? This is an unfair and unbalancing story, but sadly, they are the truest sense of living abroad. Yes, a quiet sound cracked the POT.

The cycle continues. A week ago, another friend excitedly traveled across oceans to receive his bride. Ah! The joy of helping, loving, and together with the one with fullest of our culture, tradition, and plain natural preserved star. Knowing the stories of those before him, he is optimistic of making it works…unfortunately the one before him said the same thing. Someone said years a go that still holds true “Love is blind”. Unfortunately when you are blinded by love, you’ll be pushed off the cliff.

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Tuesday, January 30th, 2007
8:11 am - LOST

I can’t help not responding to the Minister of Foreign Affair H.E. Hor Nam Hong as reported on Radio Free Asia today about those Cambodian women being abused by their foreigned husbands, employers, and other countrymen in Taiwan, N. Korea, Malaysia, and other places around the world. According to Mr. Hor Nam Hong, he blamed the women because they sneaked out and also because they were betrayed by those who led them. When I first read this, I immediately disgusted about the uncaring nature of the Foreign Minister. Maybe that I am naïve, but beside political ping pong between him and King Sihanouk – does he has any emotion for those poor Cambodians who try to live? Before I go further, I apologize if his words were taken out of context.

Can he imagine that if Cambodia is a haven for works and paid labor that our people would not endure pain and suffering, isolate from family, beaten and caged like animals, and sold to other people like materials goods? Instead of encouraging the people who are being abused to seek help, he has turned them away and pushed them back into hiding or even worse. Maybe it is not his intention or maybe it is; those women are swept away by the sea of poverty and worsen by the unsupportive nature of their own government. Mr. Hor Nam Hong, nobody on this earth want to be beaten, scolded at, spitted at, betrayed, and sold like animals. As a leader, your message was unacceptable. Your message was not to unite the women with their family and provide hope, but to diminish hope and scattered dreams of being together and come back home again. It is unacceptable to every Cambodian around the world that looks up to the government as the care taker of its people. The people who work in the government should be the protectors of their people.

It occur to me that, if you are a women struggling to breath the air of safety, freedom, and come home you should contact the NGOs next or around you; because they probably can find better care for safe return home. In our mind, we are hoping that the Cambodian government will take care of every Cambodians from east to west, and from north to south...and not just those around their houses.

Good Luck,

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Tuesday, January 23rd, 2007
My apology for not writing so much in this last couple of months; I think this path will continue for at least until June 2007. This short wring is to let people know about this great opera that’s coming to Lowell in April 2007. It is the combination of traditional and modern music entails love and sadness, “Where Elephants Weep”. Stay Tune for more information. If you have time, come down to Lowell, Massachusetts in April 2007.

I want to mention to everyone around the globe to help preserve our culture and traditions. These past several months, I met many people that offer support for the sustainability of our Cambodian arts and culture. It is amazing that Cambodians around the world still continue to embrace and strengthen our heritage as keepsake for our children. For example in Lowell Massachusetts, every New Year or Pchum Benh many of our people still display great admiration to whom we were and who we are. In Long Beach California, where the largest Cambodian population resides, there are so many activities, dances, and music aloud the city with smiles on their faces. We are proud of our heritage, traditions, and culture. I want to shout congratulation to everyone who stands support of our struggles to preserve our cause and culture.

My dearest Cambodians, unfortunately in our home country of Cambodia arts and culture are diminishing everyday. According to one prominent Minister who wants to remain anonymous, within twenty years, our country will be assimilated and taken over by foreign culture. Therefore, even our own culture will remain a minority as with its people. It is sad. Just take a look, in all the provinces in Cambodia the government allows and supports to have at least one Vietnamese organization. Yet in all provinces, there is no support and/or no theatre in more than 90% of the provinces. Not only that, funding and allocation of support is less than most of the Ministries. Our people have lost supports in our own arts and culture. The governement is not value our arts and culture as they should be. If the leaders don't stand up, the people must do it. We need everyone to chip in and talk to them and ask them to values our ancestors’ treasure. We're rich, but if we don't spend it, our treasures are meaningless.

We need to do this together at home and abroad, please remember with unity everything is possible.


- Sidney

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Monday, January 8th, 2007
9:34 am - Lets do it together...
Ladies and Gentlemen:

We are into the first week of 2007. I am excited to hear all the programs changes and expectations of the year. Please do not hesitate to contact us during the show to give us your inputs, comments, suggestions, compliments, and concerns. All the Voice of Cambodian Children volunteered staff are honored for the interactions provided to us from folks all over the world. Please remember you can also send audio version to us as well. Do not forget to go into the staff section (about us) and look for the contact information available to all of you. So far, I want to thank people from Cambodia, Thailand, Japan, Canada, and United States that took time to give us your opinions on the survey. More information will follow, but if you have not done so, please take a moment and give us your voice.

We are very happy to know that we have committed audiences around the world. Your participation with the Voice of Cambodian Children program will make us stronger and for Cambodian listeners a more democratic voice around the globe. VOCC welcomes your life stories, journey into success, failures, and other concerns about your communities and Cambodia. The Phone number for live interaction is 978-934-2030. When you call this line, you will be placed LIVE on the radio dial.

One step at a time we will make a difference in people’s lives. We are a non-paid staff. All our staff have their regular 80+ hours job; therefore this is a huge commitment from everyone and their families. We do not have all the fancy equipment or reporters doing the work for us, but we provide non-bias, non partisan, and unafraid of telling the true. From time to time, we do need to hear from our listeners telling us how we are doing, our weaknesses, our successes, and just to hear that there are people listening to us. We need to hear from you!

We are in this together. While we see our children going to schools, our monks chanting Cambodians/Sanskrit, our leaders speak, read, and write Khmer, our country is the Kingdom of Cambodia, and the people are Cambodians, we have to learn to look deeper and see behind the scenes. In all aspects, we see that our country is developing. We see roads and community and government infrastructures being build and progress smoothly. We see the relationship between neighbors growing peacefully. We see our people peacefully minding their own businesses.

I am asking everyone to go into another step; you must feel what you see. How is the children feeling walking to schools? Is religions separate from temples and state? Are our people being Cambodians? Are the buildings have peaceful sentiments? Are the roads make you feel safer and whose is it build for? Are we living in peace or have we found peace and does not care what happen to the country as long we survive? Or we have suffered so much that we finally gave up to the world because no one cares? This does not mean that everything we see today are bad. We need to understand why things happen. We must learn how to ask questions even for a simple thing. For future leaders, we must provide hope to our people, love them, care for them, and teach them to live for themselves. While we can live peacefully, we should be firmed, patriotic, independent, and most importantly be proud of who we are. You are not alone!

From all of us at the Voice of Cambodian Children, we’re proud to serve you.

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Monday, December 11th, 2006
10:14 am - Yoerng Os nisaay
This year I was reluctant to write about the oversea romances and the heartaches of broken promises. United States is a country of liberty, freedom, and capitalistic bounds. Many people come to the United States to start new life and acquire the American dreams like those before them. In attaining these goals, the price is too high and sometime priceless to return or go back. Therefore keep going and moving forwad is the only option. From my friends to close relatives, I have heard the above words as many as 4 times. In all occasions, these words are the sticking point to inflict inhuman pain into loves ones.

In the American society, if we want to bring our Cambodian moral, values, and culture to be planted and enforced, your souls and strengths should be extremely strong and committed. There are possibilities to strengthen families in this third world using Cambodian traditional system of marriage and togetherness. There are many success stories but not without hard work, give and take, and forgiveness.

In most cases, the monetary and materialism overtaken by personal and traditional values thus create havocs in family at their early stages of development. A newlywed started a new life fallen into the greatest demons of betrayal and secrecy in the world of everything yet nothing. When we have everything, then we miss nothing. Then we realized that having everything is incomparable to nothing. Because nothing give you everything...sadly the road continues.

I am not pinpointing to one person or group of people as mistakes derive from actions of individual or individuals. Whether you are men or women does not matter, your actions will determine the road you take and the person you are. A grown man cries from holiday leftover of memories. A woman embraces new life looking for better freedom and lifestyles try to bury the the past. A wife is alone without family members because she journey with husband in a new world. Loneliness created a sense of loss… and looking for settlement and warmth…temptation comes and choices had to be remake and promises broken…the road continues.

It is hard to predict wishes or create solid picture of happiness - even in holidays season. While life could be such a pain and heartache; it has happy moments. Memories are all we take with us in life and in death. Remember the good ones and throw away the bad because it is good for others. If we hang on to it, others will not enjoy their good. Be good, be generous, be kind, be forgiven, and most importantly be who you are and don’t let anyone changes you…once they do…the road continues. The answer to all the problems is as close as closing your eyes and as far as opening it.

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Tuesday, November 21st, 2006
Dear friends,

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, On behalf of the Voice of Cambodian Children, I would like to wish everyone around the world a little time off to be with friends, relatives, and love ones. Our thanks most importantly are to the ones closest to us who include our parents, our children, our spouse, and our friends. As well our loves for others should soar beyond just thanksgiving holiday but spread out through the year. Our thought and best wishes are the best gift a person could ever give to another. As Cambodians, we are monetarily limited. Let our heart be rich and our soul be pure of hope, love, and peace for all Cambodian families and their friends around the world.

Especially during the holiday when unsound judgment mixed with alcohol and other substances, our mind drifted from our body and evil takes over. Violence comes to those who tempted and death come to those of the living. During this vulnerable time, please take care of each other and must provide hope, patience, compassion, and unconditional kindness to the ones that has lost his or her way. You must be strong yet extremely weak to each other.

We should Thanks – for all the lives around us even little one, big one, small one, sick one, healthy one, rich one, poor one…and yes that ONE. Yes, also thanks to nature that bring us air to breath on all occasion, bring us warmth on cold day, bring us cool on hot day, and bring us water to nourish our body.

We should be Giving – giving people a chance to do right, giving yourself a chance not to make mistake, be a giver and not taker, give love to the loveless, give hope to the hopeless, give patience to the impatience, give what you have to the have not, give heart to the heartless, and most importantly give compassion to those have lost all the passion to care and be cared for.

Happy Thanksgiving to All!

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Monday, October 30th, 2006
3:14 pm - VOCC Report
TO: Nate and WUML Directors
CC: Community DJs
From: Sunny Liang, the Voice of Cambodian Children
Subject: VOCC Report
Date: October 30, 2006

Since its inception in June 1999, the Voice of Cambodian Children has been providing information, cultural and community events, News from Cambodia, and much more to the city of Lowell and around the Merrimack region. Each week many Cambodians in Lowell, Lawrence, Dracut, Billerica, Gardner, and Tynsborough tune in to listen to us. According the U.S. Census 2000, Lowell has a population of more than 105,167 residents, which 16% represent Asian (primarily Cambodians, 57%). The unofficial estimation of Cambodian population in Lowell according local agencies, temples, churches, and businesses represent about 25% of the total.
In the middle of 1980, the majority of Cambodian refugees came to the city of Lowell were mainly farmers, where national and local infrastructures such as education, religion, and health were less developed or were completely destroyed by the Pol Pot regime. During the communist regime, all free information was not allowed and suppressed for control. If someone to find themselves with a radio, they will be tortured and killed immediately. More than 1.7 to 2 millions Cambodians were systematically killed, starved, and overworked to death. The education background of this group range from six years in Cambodian schools to nonexistence. Many local Cambodians ages 45 and older could not read or write in English or Khmer. There are limited sources of information they could get to assimilate themselves in the US society.

WUML, 91.5FM radio is an important vehicle for the Cambodian community to be able to get involved in the society. WUML allows our Cambodian volunteers to provide information on health issues, community forum, school information, electoral and citizenship education, and much more. We interviewed many Cambodian movie stars, community leaders, politicians, and educators. WUML is not just a radio station but a source of educational institution of itself and continues to play vital role in the community. With free spirit and open management of students Directors and leadership, my community has benefits so much and continues to grow tremendously.

Four years ago, I launched a website called “the Voice of Cambodian Children” (www.cambodianvoices.org) with my own money. Since then we have our international audiences in Thailand, Japan (little Rabbit), France, Canada, Australia, Cambodia, and Switzerland listen to our WUML radio programs on weekly basis. Two years ago, I received $20 Euro Dollar from one of the listeners in France; I still have it as souvenir. Recently a Cambodian Professor from Thailand wrote “the Voice of Cambodian Children provide a lot of truthful information that most Cambodians in Cambodia don’t have, thank you.” Our national or local audiences are ranging from Rhode Island, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Washington, and Chicago just to mention a few. One of our listen in Chicago, Illinois wrote “It is good to help our Khmer people to know and learn about the reality situation in Cambodia as well as the world. I am very proud of you all to create this radio and website. I also want you to dig out the true for the serious issues such as the border issue, genocide issue and others. I really want to know who the big responsibility for that genocide is. Thanks. I wish and hope you all succeed in your work. Good luck and health to all of you”.

Nate and Directors, these are just some of the successes that the WUML radio offered to the Cambodian community. The fruits of all your leadership provide comfort, education, and the ability to assimilate and acculturate into the mainstream society of the U.S. system and around the world. The Voice of Cambodian Children Radio program through WUML, 91.5FM makes a lot of differences in the lives of many Cambodians not just locally, but throughout the world. The impact of your leadership affects many Cambodians that starve for democratic and impartial information. For us it is not just a radio but a mission to free Cambodia and her people from illiteracy and darkness by providing all and truthful information.

Lastly Nate and Directors (new and ex) and especially Dan; I don’t know everyone but only know your faces - sorry. I want to make sure everyone gets this information on behalf of the Voice of Cambodian Children program. Regardless of what the administration thinks, your leadership and spirits impact our Cambodian communities tremendously. On behalf of all Cambodians around the Globe and at home, we thank you so much.

Sunny Liang
Host: Voice of Cambodian Children

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Wednesday, October 25th, 2006
2:15 pm - MY SHORT STOPS:
My first stop is to say hello and want to mention and thanks everyone who comes in every often to visit the Voice of Cambodian Children Radio website. Sometime it is difficult when you don’t have to even time to say thank you. By viewing this site and offer suggestion or just browsing through, you have shown interest in our Cambodian people; whether it is for good or bad intention…it’s in your heart. Each week, our volunteered staff committed many hours of their valuable time and energy to provide information, opinions, and unbiased (well! sort of) commentary for your listenership. Thank you…

My second stop is to bring front the election season. Even though, you are in Cambodia or United States, the election days are close and getting closer. We must not give up our right to vote and to be heard. It is one of the most important fundamental rights a person ever has. The fears of voting or persecution will inevitably destroy your life, your children’s lives, and the life of those you love. Many people have died fighting for the right to vote, don’t let their death be a waste. The recent atmosphere in Cambodia provide no other important time than now to use your right and make your ballots count. Look at some villagers in Cambodia, some of them get denied in the voting process. You must assert your right by contacting NGOs and other committees to fight for you. In 1993 many long democratic lines across the rice field waited for hours just to exercise in the voting process. While the leaders in those days did not enforce their democratic rights after the election, you should not be like them. Democracy takes many turns, many times, and many voices to make it right, so don’t give up. Let’s vote for ourselves, our communities, and country, and our children’s future.

My third stop is about the current political climate in Cambodia. Politic is a business in some country and sometime the closest competitors are within your party. Prince Rannaridh was ousted by his own general secretary. Everyone knows that Prince Rannaridh’s fate was due to his own doing and he deserves it. It is unfortunate the new FUNCINPEC is just a puppet. This is an example of poor leadership and disgruntles members fueled by outside hands and power. Is the glass half empty or half full? You decide…

My Love is my weakness is my last stop!

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Monday, October 16th, 2006
7:59 pm - My WHEELCHAIR...
There are so many things in life that we take for granted. There such things as walking, talking, breathing, looking, and simply smiling at each other. I have a relative who has cerebral palsy (CP) forbids him to do the above things I mentioned. According to WebMD, a Cerebral palsy (CP) is a group of motor problems and physical disorders related to a brain injury. CP causes uncontrolled reflex movements and muscle tightness (spasticity) that may affect a part, a side, or the entire body, with varying severity. I have to say that I have not been a good person in doing the many things in life that I should. I have known him for so long, yet forgot all about him and his struggle to have a friend. If it is not because of courses I take at school, I might have continued to walk the same path. I met and talked with him this morning and learn so much. He called me his cousin, therefore, my cousin’s name is Yeth Kong. He is 38 years old. He was born with the condition of cerebral palsy. He tried so hard and struggling calmly to communicate with me. His body and head moved uncontrollably during our talk. His feet pointed to the ground as he gets strength to talk to me. He moved around the corridor with his wheelchair very professionally. He does not have a father or mother, but he misses his mother very much. He explained to me; life is so dark. In my life I just sit here and waiting for someone to care about me. I used to walk before, now I am in the wheelchair. Sadness makes my life hard…life is difficult. My life is difficult. All my life…tears. All I see about my life is darkness. When the light goes off I am in the dark…this is my life.

All I can say is that he is a very bright man. Unfortunately he could not write, walk, or even hold things for himself. I have two reasons for writing this talking points; one is I realized that there are so much I missed and should walk slowly and carefully. Secondly, to everyone out there; please do not take anything for granted. There are folks around the globe who want to have what you are not appreciating – like talking, walking, and breathing. All life forms are important and should appreciate and love it just the same.

Take a look or listen to what he is saying in his own word titled “WHEELCHAIR MAN TEARS” originally written by Kong Samore.

I am wheeling my chair near the tree

Seeing a robin above

A brown robin standing on the boughs of the tree

I gaze at the bird of love

My wheelchair I take away from the tree

As the wind lifts the leaves high and away

Here I sit looking out at the river, a man, a woman, a canoe

Slowly they move the aquaria blanket

The man, then woman, the canoe

They talk of love as people walk near

It reminds me of you and I back then;

Together in our canoe

I traded my canoe for a wheelchair, silently travel the walk.

I look to big white stone where you wrote our names “With Love”

My mind says move on; my heart won’t let go,

It stands expressionless

I remember when we were one,

Good memories pour through me

Now there’s the loneliness and pain

And with this I’ll never be free

Without you there’s no hope

Without you I don’t smile

I remember our river, do you?

Our love is there, as well as my smile

You were my robin and I was your branch

You sang as I held your hand

I have no love to give, no hand to hold

There are thorns where there were roses, there are crows where robins

Or affection to receive

Used to fly

Like the leaves in the wind, my soul

Has also flown on high

Somehow I’m still alone in this world

I don’t know where I am going

You say our love was a sin, an emotional waste of time

Now you leave me alone again never to be mine.

His poem touches me deep to the soul and I looked into his eyes and see nothing but sadness. His laughter covered the appearance sadness of his life. He looked down to the floor as I was saying good bye. I promised him to bring some Cambodian CDs to listen during his down time. He loves Sin Sinsamouth songs. He watched me as I walked pass the door to go out. Good bye, my cousin…I’ll be back soon. You take care of yourself, Ok. I left.

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Wednesday, October 11th, 2006
9:01 pm - YOUR VOTE
It has been a long time since I write something on this page. I apologize for unable to reconnect to you all via written messages. I am proud as well to welcome new people to the sites; our VOCC site is increasingly popular thanks to everyone involved. While I won’t be able to make this site fancy with up to date technologies, I can assure you that the message posted whether by audio, video, or text will be interesting and educational for everyone.

Last night I posted a video on the Cambodian American Voting Project that I direct during my spare time, with Mr. Sophal Meas as the Coordinator. This project is intended to be educational and up lifting about the American politic and ballot system. It is important that if you come across our VOCC site to take home the message to our fellow Cambodians around the world and especially in Cambodia where people are hungry to be heard. Our Cambodian people have their unique and democratic voices, but we need to make sure people around their neighborhoods, across provinces, closest and furthest allies can hear them. The first step to do is by example and by providing necessary resources for them to make their own choices. This is a long process but we need to start sometime and no better time than the present moment.

There will election across the United States in the coming months, in November to be exact. For some Cambodian Americans will be their first time and others are old timers of using the system; therefore we need to exercise our rights to participate in the process and vote. It will be difficult and challenging. Some of our citizens will not be able to vote due to transportation, translations, literacy, and other forces, but we must embrace the obstacles and move ahead together. Many people fought and died trying to have and preserve the right to vote. We should continue and assimilate in the political system so that our next Cambodian Americans or American Cambodians can be heard and accepted into the new society. It is new. It is scary. It will be rewarding.

For our folks in Cambodia, you do have the rights to vote to better your family and children. I understand that the voting process is new and strange in our land. It is your vehicles into the life’s limitless possibilities for your kids and their children. People get kill everyday at the ballot stations, politicians struggle sleepless nights, and willing to do harm for your vote. It shows that they need you and you have the power to change things in our country. You want foods, shelters, clothing, safety, peace, and education for yourself, families, and fellow Khmers; they want your vote. Let it be a fair trade. Study the candidates or political parties carefully before casting your vote. Watch for the empty promises and short term exchange, but long term profit for them. You should not be afraid of your government, but your government should be afraid of you. Remember, the pen is always mightier than the sword. You have a voice so let it be heard. Do't vote to stay the same course...but for change. We will prevail!

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Thursday, September 14th, 2006
8:31 am - ICE COFFEE
Sidney L. Liang

Outside of a restaurant in Transit across from ChhunBori, Thailand, a thirteen year old, barebones, and dirty looking shoeless boy with no shirts but a dirty blue short was staring at a glass of ice coffee. From the outside heat, the water dripping down the tall glass exposing the black color ice amid the creamy thick water. In the market, there were many people walk around the boy but he seemed not to hear anything but the banging of small ice cubes against the glass. As the man with two kids sit and drink the coffee, the ice moved against the glass created mouthwatering sensation for the boy. He locked his eyes to the glass as he never seen anything like this before in his life. In the while, he was hoping that someone in the restaurant could spare a piece of bread, a zip of water, some leftover, or a little shade to stay from the sun. As he blocked all the sound around him, most of the people inside the restaurant block the view of him outside the window as well.

Now he was about 5 feet away from this delicious dark cloud in a glass of ice. Under the morning heat, the boy’s stomach rumble and his mouth turned watery. The two kids and their father continued with their breakfast and barricaded the existence the boy. The young boy gazed into the eyes of the two kids at the table and wondering how lucky both of them were to have a father with money to spend on something heavenly as that.

Before long, the kids and their father finished the breakfast. Left behind were half melted ice cubes, noodle plates, and two glasses of yellowish orange juice. The boy walked home. In a long tent that shades about 20 families, the boys opened the dried rice that his mother cooked months before and have his meal for the day. As a refugee running from Cambodia, the boy was trained to put dried rice in a long bag and tied to his waist during his runs toward Thailand. That boy was me.

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Tuesday, September 12th, 2006
11:14 am - We, the People...
Sidney L. Liang

This time of year our elders come together to pray for their children, grandchildren, parents, relatives, and friends that passed away. Even we are far away from the motherland, the ceremony began last Friday, September 8 th, 2006 at various temples all over the world. My mother and her friends are coming together and spent lots of time at the Trairatnaram temples. It is extremely hard when they can not spend a full night at the temple to fully utilize the event as indicated rules from Cambodia and passed on by their parents. Therefore the best way would be to go to the temples many times.

As time past, I don’t see many young generation take advantage of these national ceremonies. Most importantly due to the stress of working 8 to 10 hours a week, the spirits our Cambodians abroad die along with the strength of their bodies. The temples in the United States can not stay open late at night unlike in our home country. The fear of unruly neighbors, night disturbants, and unsafe conditions make the ceremony unable to be completed and unsatisfied. Any night time event is not allowed because it would disturb the neighborhoods. Our temples in the United States built closely and within the boundary of community settings thus must abide with the local laws. As well, the temples are the restructuring of old homes and abandoned buildings. Even we lack of many resources, most of our elders’ spirits are still strong and conform to the old traditions of national ceremonies.

In the future, I hope that my children and other Cambodian Americans’ children will continue this and many Cambodian traditions. Even if with time constrained, our cultures and traditions in the United States continue to be upheld and embraced by our people. The people of Cambodia are doing the same thing as those in other places around the globe, but with more allegiant, resourceful, structured, and surrealism.

For this moment in time, I know our people come together as one to conduct the ceremony as many did for generations. We should show the world that no one can take this away from us no matter where we are and will be. The more we love our cultures, traditions, and people we will inevitable drive away the evils all around us. My friends, if anything, please drop by the temple closest to your homes whether in Cambodia or abroad and pay respect to your parents, grandparents, children, compatriots, and freedom fighters that parish before us. If you are in Japan, the Buddhist wonder of it all, please send some love to our home.

For those who dislike Khmer but live in Khmer bodies, we ask you to take a few moments and get to know Khmer. We are a people of love, beauty, affection, and of peace. We ask you to make peace and do not alienate your bodies because they could be love.

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Wednesday, September 6th, 2006
8:46 am - DRY ICE
kosal cheat

The sound of music adoring the lyric of love can be heard in cars, homes, and across the globe. Whether the music is newly made, the content of the songs are based on the affection of one person or duet of harmoniously peaceful hearts. The traditional, classic, and modern type of songs float across the air delivering echo sound over rice fields, rooftops, and big and small huts leaving nothing but memories of beautiful love. One would say that Cambodians have the most love, warm hearted, caring, and romantic among the Southeast Asian nations. These are music used to lure girls into the guys arms by breaking parents’ fences and traditions. The beginning of the relationship is mostly full of commitment and dedication toward each other. Remember the stories of Tum Teav, Buntheoun, and Kong Rei…these are all model of great loves and sacrifices.

In recent days, the music and lyric are still hovering over most Cambodians mostly due to the fact that our language when spoken or written can be the most beautiful and yet deeply hurtful. While the beats of drum, guitar, piano, and bass are flowing smoothly toward organized sound that could be as beautiful that enabled a strong man down to his knees. The growing tenderness of Cambodian sound suddenly turns strong, rough, and unattractive comparing only to people yelling at one another. In the art of music the sounds could be heard piecing the hearts of Cambodians in local communities from Phnom Penh to Battambang, from Cambodia to United States, from Canada to Australia, and spreading like wild fire into homes across the world.

In community, home, offices, temples, and public arenas our communication with each other also take its toll on how we feel about each other. In many decades of war in the family, in the community, and in the country, we’ve lost our morality and real love for each other. It is really rare that we see pure love, whether is between wife and husband, parents and children, teachers and students, and as well monks and their followers. In Cambodia, the National Assembly just passed Adultery Law that forbid anyone married person from having extra marital affair. It is unfortunate that the government is running the family. It will be soon that they will tell people how many times they could have sex in a week, how many kids they should have, what kind of food they should eat, sooner or later the curfew will come down on people so that they can stay at homes. In the United States, the temples turned into non-profit organizations and run by Board of Directors which monks have to report to them. In Cambodia, teachers are forced to take bribes from kids to trade for education; education for sale is normal and acceptable. In Cambodia or abroad, married life is like a coed during college years. When a person enter marriage, just like college, both or one of them, has their goals or objectives which they have to work toward. When they are finished, whether it takes two years, four years, six years, or ten years the road seems inevitably grinding smaller and smaller. In all of these whoever vulnerable and don’t have goals or objectives and stuck with feeling of romance and love ended up alone (or most of the time lonely heart) cleaning up the mess. My friends…oh! What pain. I end here and let everyone continues…

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Monday, September 4th, 2006
5:08 pm - Truth or Dare
by: Sidney Liang
Sept.4th, 2006

It is very intrigue to sit and listen to Heng Peou's stories, even I recorded myself from Moneakseka Khmer Newspaper. On the other hand, living in Cambodia these days is like living in a shadow of big brothers and gang related organized countries. Being afraid of connected or have any contact with their members of these gang. Heng Peou might not be the luckiest guys in Cambodia if he is to return to Cambodia to stand trial. In a matter of fact, he is probably walking into the door of hell. The burning flames of hatred and the misdeed that broken the codes of silence among big brothers. This is probably the begining of many public outcry awaiting for peace and security. While I don't think Heng Peou's doing for the better of Cambodian's public goods, I do think that there are some truth to his tellings. Even it is 1% truth, it should stir up some questions among the people of Cambodia that should not sit idle by and be killed. At the very least, the people will walk with caution and create the realm of curiosity among the leaders. Hell, at this stage, even the leaders are creating mistrust among themselves or within their own group. In all honesty, there's not a lot that anyone can do because it is Cambodia internal issues. The people that have the most power are the people of Cambodia. If there is no one in Cambodia investigate the stories, then 100% of Heng Peou's stories will dies in several months. Remember, the cloud of suspicion will remain as to who kill or order the kiing of Chea Vichea, Pisith Pilika, Sok Sethamoni, and the grenade attack infront of the National Assembly. Many millions of dollars being pured into this country just to empower the strong and rich to equip themselves with enough guns and knives to kill the inocent people. The donors should look beyond the shadow curtins of beginning democracy and see the end of the Cambodian race and fighters of peace and national security.

It probably is about time for the Cambodia people to start standing and demand democracy for themselves and family. The donors give money to the people of Cambodia and not for the Cambodian government. The government is the just an account holders so that the money can pass through to the poor and unfortunate people of this country. There are many smart, young, energetic, and passionate new generation waiting to take the leadership path. At this stage, I am deminishing the hope that the old leaders will bring social and economical stability into the country. The young will have to grab the opportunity when it is open and take it for themselve, family, community, and our belove country. It probably will take the in-fighting of the gang members to open up opportunity and see bright light. Let's us hope that it is not too late to save our country. In many instance, it is almost too late for Cambodia to be herself while she is being disrobed and covered with blond dye hair, jean, t-shirt, nose job, green contact lenses, and high heel just to mention a few alterations. The same time her head is being brainwashed with imported cultures and dysfunctional thinking. The Chinese, American and Thai translated shows are dominating the television screens. In the outside, the neighbors' culture infiltrating the mind of our youngs and adored the old with their beautiful temptation of self destruction. If there's god in this world, Cambodia and her people will not suffer too long. Her children will find their way back homes to help blossom the beautiful sights and sounds of love and peace. The wills and commitment of her children will make her proud.

current mood: sad

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Monday, August 28th, 2006
10:35 am - Cultural TAKEOVER
by: Sidney Liang

According to the VietNamNet Brdige, A Vietnam Cultural Week will be held in Cambodia from August 28 th to Sept.1 st on the occasion of Vietnam’s 61 st National Day. Personally I am outrage by such an event in our homeland. It is not enough that our land being invaded now we, yes WE, opened the door so that they can bring in their own culture and tradition to be planted inside our country. Can anyone out there see this as being infiltration of culture? For god sake, this is what we have left in this world. Our people are being scattered around the world because of war, mistrust, jealousy, and corruptions amongst ourselves. Abroad, we are trying our best to preserve what we have so that our children and our children’s children can continue to identify themselves as Cambodians. My heart is numb and beating faster knowing that we, as Cambodian leaders, are opening ourselves and let people taking out our hearts and souls. Why are we continued to kill ourselves? Remember the poem "Tor Thmor"!

Each year many Cambodians around the world flock to Cambodia and want to visit the motherland. The reason behind these visits are to see the land - palm tree, the people, and most importantly our culture and tradition that has been carrying onward from generation to generation. We want to bring these to show people around the world that as Cambodian we love our culture, tradition, beliefs, and our people. We are proud of our cultural heritage. When the Thais looked down on our culture we protested, but why so quiet now. My fellow friends, this is the most self destruct kind of gesture I have ever seen. This is the last of what we have as a nation and people. We are forced to blend in with other folks of the Southeast Asian descent. Please don't let people strip you of your identity.

Yes, it is a good idea to share our culture with other folks, learn from each other, and exchange experience. What’s a crock! I might be harsh but my eyes still can see, my heart still beating, and I can still think…this is an invasion of culture. Sooner or later, they will start to burn down or help rebuild temples, replace and exchange monks, all the head monks will be VIETNAMESE, the student monks will be forced to be bilingual for the sake of sharing and preservation of culture and experience. Yes, they are preserving and expanding their culture and traditions in our LAND (or so called). Remember two years ago, there was a decree set forth the creation of Vietnamese ORGANIZATIONS in ALL provinces of Cambodia. Honestly, you are the people of Cambodia…make your own destiny and don’t lead a few of these folks make it for you.

They can have our land, houses, river, but we should not sell our hearts and souls. I ask everyone around the world to voice their concerns. This is bigger than anyone would think. Everyone is getting what I am trying to say, this is hurtful.

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Thursday, August 10th, 2006
3:52 pm - We lost our beloved TA LOTO
by Sidney Liang

The sound of music is starting softly and smoothly as the wind blow across the filed of green rice field. The rice is beginning to grow and the even growth of this beautiful plantation reminiscing about the once time that Cambodia was the larger exporter of rice in the Southeast Asia region. In the background of the music were monks chanting in the afternoon prayer before peaceful afternoon rest sets in to escape from the scorching heats of midday. Presently the vast majority of the Cambodian populations are in search of daily food and shelters. The cycle of life seems always to shun those that are unfortunate. This week the death of Ta LOTO was immensely touching because of the picture of how he died. According to Koh Santepheap, he was skin and bones. At first glance he looked like a skeleton in an example of people at latter stage of AIDS. Just several months ago, I heard he was sick with no food and broken shelters were not comfortable for this old man. From his sentenced death bed, he raised his hand and beg for food.

TA LOTO was one of the most important people in Cambodian history. This week we watched as a chapter of the art and cultural history died in front of our eyes. For many decades he has entertained millions of Cambodians across the globe. He worked with many stars such Tep Rindaro, Yuthara Chhany, Kong Samoeun, Chea Yuthorn, Prum Manh, Neay Krem, Neay Plok, and many other stars. If all of these folks were willing to donate $1 to him from their fortune of new cars, many villas, and thousands in the bank accounts, he would still be alive today. What has this short cripple man done to anyone to deserve this kind of death in the 21 st Century beside entertain people?

On top of that after his death, it takes Koh Santepheap to ask for donation to bury him. For god sake, where are the hearts of these stars? I don’t know TA LOTO except from his many comedic stories lines, but most of us owed him something. It is outrageous for his fellow artists to stand by and let his soul suffer even in death. When Som Vitchea died, there were tons of people attended the funeral. Piset Pilika, many people crowded in daylight vigil to wish her into next life. We should come together and set farewell for a man bigger than his image and bigger than his own life. It is also sad not to hear the other media companies mention about his death, neither RFA nor VOA.

On behalf of the Voice of Cambodian Children, we mourn the lost of our legendary artist who for decades entertained many of people around the world. For decades, he showed his talent in making people laugh and forget all the suffering around us. Unfortunately, we are sorry for overlooking his pain and suffering which ended his enormous life. We would have pitch in something, if we know all the detail of his suffering; but too late to mention further. We are sending some money as well to his family, we hope other will do the same. We know he is going to a place that is without suffering, without discrimination, without the feeling of hungry, thirsty, and no bound of starvation. We thank him immensely for all the works he has shown throughout the years. LOK TA LOTO, we thank you! and good bye...

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Monday, July 31st, 2006
11:46 am - RECYCLE of LIVES
by: Sidney Liang

One day, last week I went to do a Cambodian cultural presentation at one of the many nursing homes within Massachusetts. As one of the Cambodian children, I was taught to care for our elders as they are getting old. From our birth to adult age, our parents remain the extended family within our lives, community, and society. The shivering body along the halls as they were grabbing the blankets to cover themselves, the lotus hands banded together in prays formation asking for better life of no pain, suffering, and loneliness in the afterlife and the care takers exhausted from assisting having a smoke outside the area. Not knowing they are heading the same directions of care and cost of the human life. As I was walking into the home, I could felt the aeries feeling of lost souls and wondering bodies. The hospital smells produced uninviting aroma for visitors once entered the area. The majorities of the tenants of the homes are Americans and few Cambodians.

In certain culture it is the cruelest of things to do to your parents and loved ones. It is also unfortunate when the children died sooner than the parents. The wheelchairs lineup neatly near the wall and several elders laying in them unable to move or go anywhere without assistance from the shortage of staffing at this clinic. As I walked by toward my presentation room, I could not help but sadden by one of the old lady trying to cover herself and her hands were shaking. It is as thought I could feel the cold in her body. The outside temperature was over 90 degrees; a scorching heat. It is a mystery as the cycle of life reverted to the beginning of where life begun many decades ago.

In Lowell, Massachusetts the numbers of Cambodian elders in nursing homes are increasingly too high for our culture and belief. There are instances where children put their parents at nursing home just to get rid of them. Ah! The sound of music, karaoke, cookout, and home parties over shadows the cry for help by our beloved elders. Yes, when a person doesn’t know the language, learn system, unable to sink in the new culture, unable to change, revert, accept, or understand the new world, and on top of everything your children pushed you away because you are in their ways. As well, there are times when the children had no other choice and make the decision of loosing sides. The sadness of the waiting before death is beyond comparable. The suppressed feeling of afraid to cry, can not talk, and drawn deeper into the speaking deaf and mute.

There are no other places for them to salvage themselves. In Cambodia, the temples are the foundation of patience, serenity, and peace for people of all age, especially the elderly. Our elders stay many days and months to find peace, pray, and build a comfortable life with gods and spirits. The temples open arms to them and accept them with grace and smile. It’s like a parents open arms toward the lost child that finally found his/her way home. It is not the same as we live abroad. The temples covered themselves with problem; legal bind, money tied, and corruption of human souls lost in the path to heaven mixtured with bright and colorful light. The dries tear of suffered heart of our elder continues…

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Friday, July 21st, 2006
4:24 pm - At what PRICE?
While drinking with a friend on Mt. Washington Street one night, a friend called and said he is in a fight and not knowing what to do. The fight was in one of the house on upper highland Street, basically a house party gone wrong. The snow was falling down very hard as we drove up to the house. The car kept spinning left and right. Finally we arrived at the white house up next to the stop light. There it was a friend with bloody nose standing outside the house shivering in the snow. He explained that one of the guy got into a wording with him and smash him in the head with the beer glass. We started to approach the door, but stopped as his wife came out and told us to bring him some place as he was drunk. We didn’t want to make trouble and left after a short discussion.

My drunken friend got married seven years ago in Cambodia to his present wife. They had no kid because his wife said it’ not time yet and want to wait until they have a little more money. She worked at factory place; it’s a norm for many folks in where we live. Especially, when you first arrived into the United States and want to earn some quick money to support the family.

I am not a novel writer or anything so here goes. Many months later I met my friends at one of the functions – New Year party. He told me what happened the night he had his head smashed with the beer glass. It was an argument from drinking in a group. In the group was the owner of the house and wife, him and his wife, and another couple (of which the man was the one that smashed his head). Whether you are a seasoned drinker or a rookie, once you have alcohol in your system, you tend to act differently. For the sake of the story, let me call him CAMX for that man. It started as they were toasting around and banging beer bottles. One thing let to another the two men got into wording in regard to my drunken friend’s wife. Remember, she was drinking too. My drunken friend wife was flirting with CAMX. The jealously enraged and push comes to shoves, then the beer bottles was strong and fast toward my friend’s head. As a good wife, during the fighting, my friend’s wife was holding her husband not to fight with CAMX. Seeing his wife holding my drunken friend down, CAMX got closer and POOSH to the head, what a disgusting scenes; two grown men got drunk and fight each other.

Now, this is supposed to be a long story…but for the sake of suspense and mystery I finish it here.

Life is full of surprises. He love a girl, got married, and spend more than 6 years together and sadly separate because of a fight during one snowy night. It’s sad and stupid. But this story is twisted like in the Stephen King movie. Here you go: CAMX was my drunken friend’s husband that just arrived from Cambodia “sic”.

Now go back and read between the line…


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Wednesday, July 19th, 2006
9:31 am - 10th Annual Lowell's Southeast Asian Water Festival
In just several weeks, the 10 th Annual Southeast Asian Water Festival (SEAWF) will be vibrant again in the city of Lowell, Massachusetts. The celebration of water as the original theme of this festival is committed to the third Saturday of August of each year. This year the SEAWF is scheduled for August 19 th, 2006 along the Pawtucket blvd – Merrimack River at the Sampas Pavilion. The version of the water festival is to reminisce about the life along the Mekong River. As immigrants and refugees, we could not celebrate the water festival in Cambodia, therefore we are trying to preserve that in United States. Even, it’s not the complete or the same as at home. This celebration takes place in August because there’s snow fall or colder temperature in November; as it is the month to celebrate water festival in Cambodia. Well, the school vacation also might be in the equation as well.

Each year, this festival draws many Cambodians and other Southeast Asians across the globe to come and enjoy this long day celebration. On Average, 10 to 15 thousands Asians participate in this treasured event to honor our livelihood of water along the Mekong River. The Cambodian and other performances cement the programs of the day with traditional dancing, singings, and modern hip hop. The display of information booth in various languages along with food vendors pasted together side by side connecting entertainment stages brought out the rich culture and tradition of the Southeast Asian nations.

The best time to arrive at the festival is after 11AM. Unfortunately the parking and driving are the worse part of the festival. If you are driving from long distance, you must park at a designated areas or risk being towed. Each year, the parking issue dominates the festivities. We are not anticipating any weather related problems; so bring the entire family.

As one of the many Cambodian how live abroad, being able to preserve our culture in another country is the proudest feeling. It is out culture and traditions are our identity of who we are. Whether we are in our home country, in our own home, or live abroad, we should find time to cherish and celebrate our national/tradition and cultural events. If we continue to do this, Cambodia and her people will never die. It is up to all of us to keep our identity alive.

So come and joint the Lowell’s Southeast Asian Water Festival on August 19 th, 2006.

with love,


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