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KLVH-CSOKHOM Interview Part 5

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Moderator: So, you, Moderator: Landed in Arlington? Yeah. Moderator: Arlington... Ar...Arlington, Texas. Moderator: Texas? Sokhom: Yeah. Moderator: And um.... Moderator: When you came to America, Moderator: and you got off the plane and stuff... Moderator: Were you greeted by the people Moderator: who sponsored you? Moderator: Or did you... Sokhom: Yes. I was uh, greeted by my, uh, my, the leader of my, sponsor. You know, group of people, and then there's a leader. Moderator: It was the church. Sokhom: He came... Yeah, he, uh, you know... He's the leader, of that group. Moderator: What was his name? Moderator: Do you remember? Ummm... Jerry Shipley. Moderator: Shipley? Sokhom: Yeah. Moderator: Did you live with Jerry Shipley? Moderator: Or did you live... Sokhom: No. Moderator: with someone else? They, they, rent a house. They rented a house for us. So... in Arlington. Moderator: So its just you and that family Moderator: that you had to live with before? Sokhom: Right. Yeah. Moderator: So.... Sokhom: They put us in a house and Moderator: Were the people at the church nice to you? Yeah they were very nice people. Moderator: Okay. Yeah, they were, good people. Moderator: What was that house like? Moderator: That you first lived in? Sokhom: That's like uh, three, three bedroom house. Um... Its a little smaller than this house. Uh, but its a, good enough for us. Um, they rented the house and, then the next couple days, my sponsor, Jerry came over and gave me, a, a, the uh, driving books. The driving manual book, for me to learn to drive. To take the driving test. And, all that. Moderator: So was that one of the first things you did? Moderator: Learn how to drive? Yeah. Moderator: In America? Yeah. Moderator: So... Moderator: Did you immediately get a job or start applying for jobs? Moderator: Or... Yeah, after I got uh, the, the driving test done and, uh, took the... Well, two part. One is the written test. You know? So I passed that written test. And, then, couple days later, I, uh learned behind the wheel, you know? Uh, and then took the driving test, and passed. And then, uh, he uh, found me a job. Moderator: What job? A job as a bus boy. In a restaurant, in Arlington. Moderator: So, wait how old were you when you came to America? Uh... 20... maybe 26.... Moderator: 26? Yeah. Moderator: Kay. Moderator: So, you got a job as a bus boy at the restaurant? Yeah. Moderator: Uh, was there anything that surprised you about America or? Moderator: Texas, here? Sokhom: Well, not surprised me. A, a lot of surprise. Sokhom: A.... Moderator: Like what? Its not the heaven that I heard of. You know. First... You know. Its cause, as soon as I got here in America, and couple days later... I still, you know, smell the airplanes and, and then my sponsor just, gave me the driving book, for me to learn to drive. And its sorta like surprise, you know. Its like, wow. America is going so fast, you know? So and, but I, you know... I made my decision. So I have to go through all of that, you know, I learn the facts too. And I, learn quicks and took a written test. I make it all hundred on written test. And pass the driving test. And got a job. And that's you know, that's one of the surprise. And, then the job itself. The worst thing during the early years in America, was for me... Was that job. Its just like, you know, I didn't like that job. very much. Moderator: Were you a bus boy? Yeah, of course, you know. You from a totally different culture. And you came to America. And you expect that, you know, you, you still, feel like, you are, you know, you are, you are, this level. And then suddenly, you came to America, you work as a bus boy. You know. Go out to get the empty plate from people. Sometime, they give you, a, a dirty look or bad looks or, angry looks and, sometimes people just plainly, arrogant and mean. They say something, you know, that is not so nice to you. You know? And, I got a cultural shock, you know? Came to the first early month and in America, its like, you know, I, never seen, you know, I had never seen women, you know, wearing just, almost like underwear to go to uh, and supermarkets and stuff, you know? Cambodia, you don't, at, at, my time, you don't, you, you don't see that. You know? And uh, so its sort of like, shock, you know? The job. The things that you see, around you. Its like, total shock. And, the bosses, where, whom I work for, he was not a nice guy either. You know? So... uh, that make me, really sad at the time. I was sad, and I was like, I wanted to go back to Cambodia. Kay? We had, uh, fight. I had fight with a, the boss there. At the restaurant. Because he did not treat me well. He made me work long hours, but he did not pay, uh, that long hours. He just paid me regular hours. So, because, he, he, you know, he thinks that, uh, you know... I was a refugee, so I didn't know, better, I didn't know much, so. Whatever he can exploit, you know. So... I complain to my sponsor. And I said that I quit the job. After we had the argument and yeah. And then my sponsor, found me another job. Moderator: As a.... Sokhom: As a factory workers. Moderator: Factory worker. Sokhom: Yeah. At uh, in Arlington, also. Its called a Tuckerhouse Ville Factory. You know where they make the trash can and ice trays and those rubber, you know, uh, plastic, uh, pail. Moderator: So, were you still keeping contact with Mak? Moderator: Or? Yeah, um, well, I, while I was in Arlington, the, maybe about, several weeks before, I left for Virginia, I heard that Mak was here. She got here in Carrolton. Moderator: Did she tell you or...doesn't? I think it was a letter. We exchange a letter. Yeah. And then um, well, at that time, you know, I didn't know, better. I don't, I don't, I don't know, where Carrolton is. You know? Yeah, I thought that Carrolton is like, far away, because different, big country. I don't know. Have no clue where Carrolton is. So... uh because the living condition, well, more like, the jobs that I, didn't like my jobs very much, so, I, a friend of mine, in Virginia, he... said that, "You know," "if you wanna come" "stay with me," "you, you come." A friend of mine invite me, to stay with him, over there in Virginia. Uh.... so I decided to leave. To go to Virginia. Moderator: So, what did you do in Virginia? Moderator: You left your sponsor family and stuff? Right. Moderator: Were they, were they.... Sokhom: Well... course they were not happy. But, you know. If you're not happy, you know, what can you do? Maybe, you want some change. Right? Because, the thing that you, you don't know yet, maybe you know, you always thought that, kinda better, maybe better than what you already can right now. So... Moderator: So, you moved in with your friend? Sokhom: Yeah. Moderator: Okay. Moderator: Like an apartment or something? Yeah. Moderator: And then you just found a job there? Yeah. A job as a same, you know, factory workers. So... um... But, you know, as far as jobs go, its, it didn't, you know, it was not a better change, you know. I got paid only $3.35 an hour. At that time. Moderator: Hmm. So... I'm thinking about my future, I wanted to go to school. I want a, you get a better education, and get a better, better jobs. During this time, we communicate with your mom, so... you know. We send letter back and forth, and... So, we decide to get married. Sokhom: So I came back. Moderator: So... Moderator: So, at what point were you guys like dating? Moderator: So, I wanna know. Well, Cambodian people, we don't really, date, you know. Moderator: But, you liked each other! Yeah, you like each other, Sokhom: you talk and... Moderator: At what point did you Moderator: know you liked her? Well, you know, you think back sometime, Uh.... I...I...I say you know, at the time, when you, feel, lonely and, you know, you're not...happy you're sad. That's the time that you, need friends, you need, you know, uh... somebody to hang onto. Moderator: And so... Sokhom: I mean.... Moderator: Did you have these feelings Moderator: for Mak? Yeah. Moderator: And you liked her? Mmhmm. Moderator: And, so you guys were kinda dating... Moderator: for awhile since the Philippines? Yeah. Moderator: And how did you just decide that you're gonna ask Mak to marry? Moderator: You? Well, while I was in Virginia, so we uh, exchanged the letter, and you know, Sokhom: So, we... Moderator: So did you ask her? Moderator: Did you say in the letter will you marry me? Yeah. Moderator: That she said, she wrote a letter back. Saying yes or? Well, she says, she depends on, her brothers and her you know. Because Cambodians, not like, Am...Americans, you know. Americans, okay... Well... Its me who decides, you know? But, Cambodians, you know, like her, you can ask her, you know, she, say, oh, up to my brothers, you know? Moderator: And, she... Her brothers is a caretakers, so, you know. Moderator: So, she wrote you a letter back? Moderator: And... Moderator: she said, yes? Well, you know, in Cam...Cambodian people, Cambodian woman... Okay, if they don't like you, they say right away. But if they do like you...well.. I got to ask my brothers, I got to ask my mom, and all that, yeah. That's the way, we, you know... how it be. Got together. Moderator: So... Moderator: do her letters saying that everyone approved? Umm..yeah. Moderator: And... Moderator: you were... Sokhom: And I came back. To Texas. Moderator: For Mak? Sokhom: Yeah, to get married. Sokhom: Yeah. Moderator: Ah.... Moderator: So that's why you moved back to Texas? Yeah. Moderator: So you could marry Mak? Yeah. Moderator: Take your bride? Mmm.. Moderator: So, you moved back to Texas. Moderator: You moved to Carrolton at that point then? Yeah. Moderator: Sorry and that was when? Moderator: What year was that? Sokhom: 1983 Moderator: 1983? Moderator: And, you guys got married? Mmhmm. Moderator: What was the day you got married? Moderator: April? Moderator: March? Sokhom: April... April 4th. Moderator: April 4th? Sokhom: Yeah. Moderator; And... Sokhom: The 4th of April, yeah, 1983 Moderator: So, did you have a job at that point Moderator: before you got married? Moderator: When you got married? Moderator: No. Hmm...Let's see.. No. Moderator: You didn't have a job? No. I got a job after I got married. Moderator: Were you scared that Moderator: you had a job? Sokhom: Well, cause you know, you kinda, afraid, you know, you kinda scared, but she said that, here in Texas, there are more jobs available, than, over there, in Virginia. So I transferred. You know. Moderator: So... Sokhom: Of course, yeah, here, there are more jobs. Moderator: So, how soon after you married Moderator: did you have a job? Moderator: Like right after? Sokhom: Oh, like, you know, the next few days. Moderator: Oh, what did you do then? Uh... let's see, what was the first job that I worked? Moderator: Weren't you a bellhop one point? Yeah, in a hotel. Also. That, that, one, I didn't like it either, that job. That hotel as a cleaner, you know? Clean the kitchen and stuff. Yeah, the, Inter...Intercontinental Hotel on Bell Line. Yeah. Moderator: And... Sokhom: And, then about two weeks, I quit that job. So...I... Moderator: You only worked there for like 2 weeks? Yeah. 2 or 3 weeks. Moderator: And, you just quit? Yeah. Sokhom: Quit that job and then I.... Moderator: Why did you quit? Because I found a better job. that I like. Moderator: Where did you work? I worked at a, what was it, Apple Computer, I think. Moderator: Oh... Yeah, Apple Computer, but just, uh, you know, packing and stuff. So... um... uh... production worker. Production worker. Moderator: Then, you had a baby? Uh... Did we have a baby then? I think we had a baby, Moderator: In 84? Sokhom: When we when we work at Mostek. I moved to a different job. Moderator: Moved to a different job? Yeah. Work at...work at it. A place called EPI for a little while. Maybe 3 months and then got a job at the big place called Mostek Technology. Over there, in, on Crosby. Uh... Moderator: What did you do there? I was a production worker also, but its a better job. That I can, you know, do better, than, and I, could find time to go to school. Moderator: So... Sokhom: That time, that I went to school. Moderator: So, when did you go to school? Moderator: 1984? Moderator: or still 83? 1983...84. I think, yeah, 84. Moderator: So... Yeah, 84. Moderator: you took classes? Took classes in, some in Brokerman College, and some in a, Mountainview College. Moderator: So you're working and going to college at the same time? Yeah. Moderator: And, then you had a child? Yeah. Yeah in 1985. 84, yeah. 1984, yeah. Moderator: And are you scared to have a child? Sokhom: Yeah, well, you know.... Moderator: Cause you seem pretty busy. Yeah. You kinda afraid too, to have a child, you know? Because you, uh, you don't have much, yet, you know? So I was just, everything, was just started. Right? So.... You know? Started to go to school... have babies and... jobs...new jobs.. all at the same time. Moderator: Where did you live at this point? Where do I live? Moderator: Yeah. Uh...we live in... let's see...did we live... uh yeah, during, the time I went to school, we live on Crosby. At Chita's house. Yeah, Chita's mom's house. Moderator: How many people were there? Sokhom: We live together. Moderator: I don't remember. Moderator: How many people lived at that house? Well, you count how many, um, she have four kids, six, yeah six, we two, eight, and a baby came... yeah came. So, uh, what three of us and, and six of em, so nine, ten... Sokhom: 1985 we had eleven... Moderator: Eleven people? Yeah. Moderator: Wow. Sokhom: In the house, yeah. Moderator: So.... Moderator: Um... Moderator: Were you really happy on November 27, 1985? October...20...yeah of course...you.. Moderator: November 27. Sokhom: Yeah. Moderator: So happy? November 27, yeah. Moderator: When did you move into your first house? 1991. 1990. Oh wait, yeah. 1990. Moderator: 1990? Sokhom: Yeah. Moderator: And, where did... Moderator: how did you decide to make that move? Well, because, we, worked and save up some money, and, you know, a lot of people in the house already. So we, uh, need to uh, find our own place. Build our own family. Moderator: So when you said, 1989, Moderator: is when you found out Moderator: about your... Sokhom: Yeah. Moderator: your siblings? Mhmm. Moderator: How did you find out about your siblings? Moderator: Did you...did you go to Cambodia at that point? Moderator: Or? Sokhom: No, uh, cause, I, exchange letter with my, uh, uh, well, I, I believe, I put out an, a, some announcement or, or, send a letter to people over there. In Cambodia. So... And then, you know, one person know that, okay, my brother, and my sisters, uh, already came back to the hometown. And then, you know, after that, then, we exchange a letter. I exchange a letter with my, uh, brothers and sisters. Moderator: Were you happy to find out Moderator: they were alive? Sokhom: Yeah Moderator: So...you said, Moderator: ffff..four of them were alive? Yeah. Moderator: And, then one, died? Yeah. Moderator: How, did you, what happened to... Well he just, he was just missing. But, its, you know, we assume, he die because if he still survive, he would, uh, you know, come back to look for family. Moderator: So, its never confirmed? It never confirmed. Moderator: Hmm.. He was just, missing. Moderator: Yeah.

Video Details

Duration: 20 minutes and 3 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Producer: Khmer Legacies
Director: Socheata Poeuv
Views: 91
Posted by: khmer legacies on Feb 18, 2009

Part five of six of an interview with a Cambodian genocide survivor. Carrollton, TX, 10/22/07

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