Magazine article Technology & Learning

Bridging Cultures

Magazine article Technology & Learning

Bridging Cultures

Article excerpt

Seventeen year old Prum is the seventh of ten children born to Cambodian immigrants who settled in Long Beach, California, after fleeing the Khmer Rouge at the end of the Vietnam War. With his older siblings born in Cambodia, Thai refugee camps and elsewhere, Prum was the first child born on U. S. soil--truly an American kid. But straddling the two cultures has not been easy for the high school senior.

"I live a life of extreme contrasts" says Prum. "My parents and I come from two entirely different worlds--rural Cambodia and modern America. As I grew up, I never quite understood them nor my elder siblings because we represented so many different societies, generations, and ideologies."

Frequent misunderstandings stemmed from what Prum terms his parents' "archaic" attitudes as well as their inability to speak English and his own limited command of Khmer. "My need for independence was blamed on 'being too Americanized' or 'having no respect' or 'having too much freedom.' My mother, at a loss for words and unable to understand why I was so strong-willed, even called me a 'demon child.' Feeling increasingly isolated and deeply depressed, Prum began skipping school and ignoring homework and his family. The only activity that lent any real meaning to his life was the Cambodian classical dance he was involved with. But his parents were dismissive of the dance lessons, urging Prum instead toward what they felt were more serious pursuits, such as striving to become a doctor, which would ensure him independence from the public assistance the family'd had to rely on since being in this country.

But things changed in 2003 when Prom participated in an intensive summer-long program through the local YMCA Youth Institute. The camp included team-building exercises, and in-depth instruction in digital arts skills, such as how to edit photos with Adobe Photoshop, create 3D animations with Cinema4D, edit movies with Final Cut Pro, build Web sites using HTML, Macromedia Hash, and Fireworks, and create logos using Adobe Illustrator. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.