Reading is Fundamental: Southeast Asian Refugees and Immigrants in the Mill City

Thursday, May 15, 2008

I'm just going to put it out there that I don't really read that much anymore, at least when it comes to actual novels. When I was a kid I scooped up anything I could get my hands on, but now, somehow I just can't find the time, or I can't seem to find too much that actually interests me like a movie, or things that I read online. I'm not saying that there isn't good literature out there anymore - because there definitely is - but I guess sometimes a good book has to hit you over the head, and there haven't been too many books that have done that for me lately.

There are exceptions though. For instance I'm still working my way through Stealing Buddha's Dinner, which I actually like - I just need to finish it. The Gangster We Are All Looking For I ended up reading in one sitting because it was that good, and while I've sucked up a few Harry Potters, a Da Vinci Code, some Kim Wong Keltner - and how I could I not want to read The Unwanted - if you're keeping score - that's like one book a year - maybe (and I still haven't been able to finish IBM And The Holocaust).

Enough about my illiteracy though - here's another book I might have to add to the list (which I'll hopefully get through in 2009...) called Southeast Asian Refugees and Immigrants in the Mill City, which is a collection of essays about the Southeast Asian American population in Lowell.

Here's a quick snippet from The Boston Globe:

The 1970s, Tem Chea remembers, were a time of fear, running, and crowded refugee camps. The Cambodian refugee and his family moved four times from camp to camp while escaping the horrors of the Khmer Rouge regime that claimed about 1 million lives. After landing in Oregon, he later moved to Lowell, where he integrated into American society by becoming a teacher and eventually helping create the Cambodian American Voter League.

Last week, a book recounting the struggles of Chea and other Southeast Asian-Americans in Lowell was released at a special event at the Mogan Cultural Center [...]
Chea said the book depicts how people from Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam have contributed to Lowell. "This gives us the opportunity to share our story," Chea said at the book-release event. "It's kind of therapeutic, so to speak, for some of us who went through so much and rarely talk about it."
Read more here.