Cambodia to Arizona: Bo Dul’s extraordinary journey to democracy

Cambodia to Arizona: Bo Dul’s extraordinary journey to democracy

Op-Ed: Arizona Capital Times, By: Katie Campbell and Carmen Forman April 19, 2019


Founders Day 2018: Sambo “Bo” Dul – Young Alumni Achievement Award
Sambo “Bo” Dul is the elections director under Secretary of State Katie Hobbs

Sambo “Bo” Dul wasn’t born in a democracy.

Her father gave his life to smuggle her and her family out of Cambodia following the Khmer Rouge genocide.

Thirty-five years later, she’s a crucial cog in Arizona’s elections.

On January 7, Secretary of State Katie Hobbs tapped Dul, a former election law attorney at Perkins Coie, to be her elections director.

“It was very hard to think of leaving [Perkins Coie], but I also couldn’t not think about it,” Dul said. “It was like once that genie came out of the bottle, I couldn’t put it back in.”

PATRIOTS

Dul was born in Cambodia at one of the most tumultuous times in the country’s history.

Her family fled the aftermath of the Khmer Rouge genocide when she was just a year old.

The trek to a refugee camp on the Thai-Cambodian border was perilous. Her father didn’t survive.

Pure luck may have been all that kept Dul, her pregnant mother and siblings alive.

Crying babies aren’t ideal for quietly fleeing a country, so her family slipped Dula sleeping pill before the trip.

As the Duls approached the Thai-Cambodian border under the cover of night, the sleeping pill wore off. Dul, finding herself in the arms of a stranger as her mother had grown too weary to carry her, started wailing.

That might’ve been the end, but the wind was blowing away from the soldiers lining the border, carrying the sound of her cries in the opposite direction. She was carried to safety.

She lived in the camp on the Cambodian-Thai border until she was 5.

Her family arrived in the United States as refugees in the 1980s.

Her mother, Leng Poch Dul, didn’t speak English, so Dul was in charge of completing her family’s immigration paperwork and securing their place in the U.S.

While in high school, the Dul family’s immigration status was renewed for another year, but something had gone wrong with her paperwork and immigrations officials couldn’t pinpoint the problem even after she skipped school in Tempe to go to the immigration office in Phoenix.

Her experience highlighted how bureaucratic errors could plunge the lives of immigrants into a tailspin of anxiety, anger and even resignation.

“At some point, I was just like what can I do? There’s nothing I can do?” she said.

It took nearly a year for Dul to find out that someone had misfiled her paperwork. All this time, she feared deportation.

Dul later became a U.S. citizen, and took full advantage of what America has to offer.

She graduated summa cum laude with three degrees from Arizona State University, and went on to simultaneously earn a law degree from New York University and a master’s degree in public affairs from Princeton University. She built a successful law career and a family of her own.

And she set out to help others like her family through a pro bono immigration law program called the Phoenix Legal Action Network or PLAN.

Telling her story isn’t always easy, but it’s evenmore important now than ever to combat misinformation about other immigrants who fought so hard to get to America, she said.

Dul said it’s important to share what she went through – and what she does now – out of love for America, Arizona and democracy. Stories like hers prove that immigrants can be “patriots,” too.

INVALUABLE

Attorney Roopali Desai had made the call and given the pitch.

Continue reading “Cambodia to Arizona: Bo Dul’s extraordinary journey to democracy”
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Cambodia hires Brownstein Hyatt

កុងត្រាជាមួយមន្ត្រីព្រឹទ្ធសភាជាន់ទាបថ្នាក់ឃុំសង្កាត់រដ្ឋវ៉ាសុឺនតោនក្នុងទឹកប្រាក់៥សែនដុល្លាក្នុងមួយខែ ឥឡូវជាមួយក្រុមហ៊ុន Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck ក្នុងទឹកប្រាក់៦សែនដុល្លាក្នុងមួយខែទៀត ដើម្បីជួយឡបប៊ីសហរដ្ឋអមេរិកនូវអ្វីដែលយើងអាចយល់ថាជាការសំរួលអោយសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកយោគយល់រដ្ឋបាលឯកបក្សរបស់លោកហ៊ុន-សែន។ ក្រោមការដឹកនាំបែបអត្តចរិកពុករលួយ(corrupt mindset) ទោះនាឡិការដៃតំលៃជាង៣លានដុល្លាអាមេរិកក៏ហ៊ានពាក់បង្ហាញជាសាធារណៈដែរ ចុះទំរាំលុយជាតិជាច្រើនយកមកប្រើទិញនិងជួលដើម្បីរក្សាអំណាចផ្ទាល់ខ្លួននោះ មិនមានអ្វីចំលែកទេសម្រាប់មនុស្សវង្វេងផ្លូវលុសក្នុងអំណាចយោងតាមទ្រឹស្តីព្រះពុទ្ធជាម្ចាស់៖ អវិជ្ជា បច្ចយា សង្ខារា នោះ។ តែអ្វីដែលគួរអោយអនិច្ចានោះគឺមានបណ្ឌិតមួយចំនួនហៃអើដើរតាមដានជើងមនុស្សវង្វេងផ្លូវនោះថែមទៀត ដោយមិនគិតគូរដល់អនាគតកូនចៅខ្លួនឯងក៏ដូចជាយុវជនខ្មែរជំនាន់ក្រោយៗទៀតសោះឡើយ។

Cambodia hires Brownstein Hyatt

Op-Ed: Politico, By THEODORIC MEYER (tmeyer@politico.com

04/19/2019 01:52 PM EDT,With Daniel Lippman

BROWNSTEIN HYATT WILL LOBBY FOR CAMBODIA: The government of Cambodia has hired Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck to lobby on its behalf in Washington. “We’re going to be helping to forge and renew their relationship with the U.S. government,” Marc Lampkin, the managing partner of the firm’s Washington office, told PI in an interview. Al MotturDouglas MaguireAri ZimmermanDavid Cohen and Brian McKeon will lobby for the country as well, according to Justice Department filings. The contract is worth $60,000 a month and lasts nearly a year.

— Cambodia has shelled out to bolster its representation in the U.S. over the past month. As PI reported earlier this month, the Cambodian government hired Doug Ericksen, a sitting Washington state senator, and Jay Rodne, a former state representative, to lobby on its behalf through their company, PacRim Bridges LLC. The contract is worth $500,000 a year. Ericksen praised the country’s widely criticized elections last year, calling them “amazingly transparent” and “incredibly well conducted.” Ericksen didn’t respond to PI’s request for comment, but he defended the arrangement in an interview with The Seattle Times. “We could have tried to skirt the rules and not file under FARA,” he said. “We are doing everything out in public. I am just trying to make my way in this world.’”

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Has new war between US and China in Cambodia reignited again?


The United States and China — The Avoidable War: read article, watch video

ចាប់ផ្តើមដោយនិយាយការពិតពីកម្ពុជាបាត់បង់ចំណូលជាតិមហិមារពីឱនភាពពាណិជ្ជកម្មជាមួយចិន ប្រជាជនកម្ពុជាត្រូវបង្ខំចិត្តធ្វើចំណាកស្រុកនិងអត់ឃ្លាតនៅលើគំនាតខុសគ្នាឆ្ងាយណាស់រវាងអ្នកមានអំណាចនិងប្រជាពលរដ្ឋទូទៅ។ ហ៊ុន-សែន កូនចៅ និងបក្សពួករបស់គាត់មានកប់ក្តោងដោយជួនកាលអាចយកលុយផ្ទាល់ខ្លួនជួយអ្នកក្រជាជាងយកលុយជាតិជួយទៀតនោះក៏អាចធ្វើបានដែរ ហើយក្រុមពួកគាត់នេះបានកំពុងទទួលផលប្រយោជន៌ពីការបន្តកាន់អំណាចដែលខ្វះភាពស្របច្បាប់ ដោយការទទួលយកថវិកាពីចិនធ្វើផ្លូវថ្នល់ដែលជាកម្ចីអោយប្រជាជនខ្មែរជាអ្នកសងជំពាក់វិញ ឬវិនិយោគវារីអគ្គីសនីដែលប៉ះពាល់ដល់បរិដ្ឋាននិងប្រជាជនរស់នៅក្បែរៗនោះ។ សមិទ្ធិផលផ្លូវថ្នល់និងវារីអគ្គីសនីនេះត្រូវបានស្ថានទូតចិនលើកមកអួតដាក់សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ដូចគ្នានឹងលោកហ៊ុន-សែនអួតប្រាប់ប្រជាពលរដ្ឋខ្មែរថាជាសមិទ្ធិផលខ្លួនផងដែរ។

ប៉ុន្តែអ្វីដែលបារម្មណ៌បំផុតនោះ អំណាចហ៊ុន-សែនក្រោមការដាក់ជើងដោយចិនហាក់ដូចជាអណ្តែតនៅលើព្យុះក្រោមទឹកសព្វថ្ងៃនេះ…តើវាសនាកម្ពុជានឹងធ្លាក់ចុះដូចសម័យខ្មែរក្រហមក្រោមការគាំទ្ររបស់ចិនទៀតឬមួយយ៉ាងណា?

Beginning with truth speech about the huge trade deficit of Cambodia with China. Cambodian people must surrender to migrate to work in another countries for the survival and the huge gap of socioeconomic status of all Cambodian people particularly between general Cambodians and the family of powerful and patronage leaders. Hun Sen, his family and patrons have accumulated largess wealth and sometime they could transfer those personal wealth to support Cambodian people rather than national treasury. The powerful family and patrons have benefited from China’s support to renew their power although this power has been illegitimate. With such power aide, China boasted US about their road buildings and dams while those infrastructures are loans that shall burden all Cambodian citizens to repay, and the dams projects have devastated environment and local Cambodians exponentially. China’s boasting is at the same level of Hun Sen’s who has always manipulated his success to cheat Cambodian people.

But what has been so worried is Hun Sen’s power is just on the tray lifted up by China, in which this tray is floating on the water surface with circling storm underneath….shall destiny of Cambodia will fall into Khmer Rouge style under China’s aids again?

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[Posted on Saturday, April 19, 2019 at 3:20AM local time] *English below*
ប្រទេសចិនគឺជាដៃគូពាណិជ្ជកម្មធំជាងគេរបស់ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា តែទំនាក់ទំនងនេះចំណេញខ្លាំងទៅខាងប្រទេសចិន។ ប្រហែល ៨៧% នៃទំនិញដោះដូរគ្នាគឺជាទំនិញនាំចូលមកពីប្រទេសចិន ដែលមិនជួយដល់ការធ្វើអោយមានការងារ ឬជួយដល់ឧស្សាហកម្មដូចទំនាក់ទំនងរបស់ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាជាមួយសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក ឬសហភាពអឺរ៉ុបនោះទេ។ នេះគ្រាន់តែជាផ្លូវមួយទៀតដែលប្រទេសកម្ពុជា បានងាកចេញពីយុទ្ធសាស្រ្តសេដ្ឋកិច្ចដែលមានតុល្យភាព និងលក្ខណៈចម្រុះច្រើន ទៅរកយុទ្ធសាស្រ្តសេដ្ឋកិច្ចដែលមានការពឹងផ្អែកច្រើនទៅលើប្រទេសចិន។ #fullpictureKH
China is Cambodia’s largest trade partner, but this relationship is heavily skewed in China’s favor. About 87% of trade are Chinese imports, which do not support jobs or industry in the same way Cambodia’s trade relationship with the United States or EU does. This is just one more way Cambodia has shifted from a more balanced and diverse economic approach to one more dependent on China. #fullpictureKH

[Posted on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 1:30am] មិត្តកម្ពុជាទាំងអស់ចូរប្រុងប្រយ័ត្ន! សហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកកំពុងតែបង្កបញ្ហាម្តងទៀតជាមួយនឹងអ្វីដែលគេហៅថា បញ្ហាឱនភាពពាណិជ្ជកម្ម (https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=10156316819443224&substory_index=0&id=79770243223។ វាគឺជារឿងធម្មតាទេ ព្រោះនៅក្នុងពិភពនៃសកលភាវូបនីយកម្ម សកម្មភាពពាណិជ្ជកម្មតែងតែធ្វើដំណើរហួសពីកម្រិតទ្វេភាគី។ នៅក្នុងករណីកម្ពុជាវិញ ប្រទេសកម្ពុជាបាននាំចូលនូវវត្ថុធាតុដើមវាយនភ័ណ្ឌ និងគ្រឿងម៉ាស៊ីនវាយនភ័ណ្ឌយ៉ាងច្រើនពីប្រទេសចិន សម្រាប់បម្រើវិស័យកាត់ដេរខណៈដែលខ្លួនបាននាំចេញផលិតផលសម្រេចទៅកាន់គ្រប់ទីកន្លែងទូទាំងសកលលោក ក្នុងនោះរួមមានទាំងសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិក និងសហភាពអឺរ៉ុបផងដែរ។
នៅក្នុងករណីនេះ វាគឺជាភាពសកម្មបំផុតរបស់កម្មករខ្មែរ ដែលបម្រើក្នុងវិស័យឧស្សាហកម្ម។ ក្រៅពីនេះ ទំនាក់ទំនងរវាងរដ្ឋ និងរដ្ឋ គឺមិនមែនត្រឹមតែដើម្បីពាណិជ្ជកម្មនោះឡើយ។ អ្វីដែលគួរឲ្យកត់សម្គាល់ គឺប្រទេសចិនបានកសាងផ្លូវចំនួន៣១ខ្សែ និងស្ពានចំនួន ៨ សម្រាប់ប្រទេសកម្ពុជា ដែលមានប្រវែងសរុបជាង ៣,០០០គីឡូម៉ែត្រ។ចុះតើសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកវិញធ្លាប់បានជួយធ្វើអ្វីខ្លះដល់កម្ពុជាសម្រាប់វិស័យមួយនេះ? ចិនបានជួយកសាងស្ថានីយវារីអគ្គិសនីទាំងអស់នៅកម្ពុជា (ស្មើនឹង ៨០%នៃសមត្ថភាពផលិតថាមពលអគ្គិសនី ដែលមានដំណើរការនៅកម្ពុជា)។ ចុះតើសហរដ្ឋអាមេរិកបានធ្វើអ្វីខ្លះដែរ?

Continue reading “Has new war between US and China in Cambodia reignited again?”
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Gateless: A Story of Child Sex Abuse in Cambodia’s Temples

Gateless: A Story of Child Sex Abuse in Cambodia’s Temples

Op-Ed: Aljazeera

មានករណីចាប់រំលោភក្មេងប្រុសអាយុរវាង១២-១៣ឆ្នាំដល់ទៅជាង២០០ករណី ហើយករណីនេះជនល្មើសបំពានផ្លូវភេទទៅលើអនីតិជនដល់ទៅ១៧នាក់ តែអ្វីដែលគួរអោយខ្លាចបំផុតគឺទំលាប់លែងអវៈយវៈភេទក្មេងប្រុសត្រូវបានបកប្រែថាជាការស្រឡាញ់ទៅវិញ ហើយច្បាប់ការពារអនីតិជននិងចំណេះដឹងទូទៅចំពោះបញ្ហានេះមិនមានប្រសិទ្ធិភាពសោះឡើយ។ អាជ្ញាធរ ឳពុកម្តាយ ព្រះសង្ឃ និងគ្រូបង្រៀន មិនមានចំណេះដឹងសោះឡើយចំពោះបញ្ហានេះ នេះមិននិយាយដល់វិធានការណ៌ការពារនិងដាក់ទោសទណ្ឌដល់ជនល្មើស។ លោកនេនដែលអង្គុយជក់បារីក្បែរសិស្សតូចៗបង្ហុយផ្សែងបារីធ្វើព្រងើយ និងនៅមានមនោសញ្ចេតនាស្រឡាញ់ឳពុកធម៍ដែលចាប់រំលោភខ្លួន ក៏ដូចជាមានសង្ឃដីការថាទង្វើនេះមិនមានអ្វីខុសនឹងច្បាប់ព្រះពុទ្ធសាសនានោះ គឺជាកម្មវត្ថុជាក់ស្តែងដែលព្រះពុទ្ធសាសនាខ្មែរកំពុងប្រឈមនាពេលបច្ចុប្បន្ន។

កម្ពុជាធ្វើដំណើរ៣០ឆ្នាំនេះគ្រាន់តែដើម្បីអោយអ្នកនយោបាយដឹកនាំបែបប្រជាភិថុតិបន្តភូតភរនិងឆ្លុះបញ្ចាំងពីអំពើសាហាវយង់ឃ្នងរបស់ខ្មែរក្រហមតែប៉ុណ្ណោះ ដូចដែលម្តាយរបស់ជនរងគ្រោះនិយាយថាសម័យខ្មែរក្រហមគឺបង្អត់បាយនិងកាប់សម្លាប់(killing) សម័យសព្វថ្ងៃគឺអោយយើងបិទមាត់ស្ងៀមស្ងាត់សន្សំសុខ(silence)។

A young man seeks justice after being abused in a Buddhist temple in Cambodia.

15 Apr 2019 06:20 GMT Child rightsCambodiaAbuseBuddhismHuman Rights

Two young men sit under the shade of trees in Takeo, Cambodia; Se Bros wears a button-up shirt and jeans and Monk Ry wears his deep orange garb.

“Did he ever touch you?” Bros asks over the steady drone of insects, but Ry remains silent.

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“I believe he has done something like this to a lot of other children. It’s you, me, and other children,” Bros says.

In Cambodia, Buddhist temples are regarded as places of refuge and rehabilitation for the community, but for Bros it was the site of his sexual abuse as a child.

The perpetrator was Saravuth Tan, a Cambodian-American who investigators would later find had abused at least 17 young boys sometime during his 14 years’ living at the temple.

In Cambodia, Buddhist temples are regarded as places of refuge and rehabilitation for the community [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

Soon Bros will be testifying against Tan, who he says raped him dozens of times.

“I used to feel ashamed, lost all confidence, I lost focus in my studies, and lost time,” says Bros. “Sometimes I felt physically sick because he used to do something bad to me.”

But for Monk Ry, Tan was his beloved godfather, someone who cared for him after he escaped his abusive family and became homeless. Tan provided him with food, a home and anything else he needed.

“He loved me as if I am his own child,” Ry says. “I don’t know where I’d be right now if he hadn’t adopted me, maybe not where I am right now.”

More than 200 cases of sexual abuse in Buddhist temples have been reported worldwide in the last decade. An increasing number of temple abuse incidents have been reported in Southeast Asia but experts believe most cases remain hidden.

According to Socheat Nong, a child social worker, the problem of sexual abuse in Cambodia is a silent one.

“In general, people in Cambodia don’t believe or accept the fact that sexual abuse happens to boys,” he says. “Even those who work with children, including counsellors and social workers, know very little about how to help boys who have been abused.”


Young monks perform their daily prayers and chants in the temple [Screengrab/Al Jazeera]

As the Tan investigation unfolds, a more unsettling truth comes out: a chief monk says that the monks at the temple knew about the problem all along.

Gateless follows two young survivors reckoning with their pasts, and what happens when child abuse is treated with a blind eye.

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FILMMAKER’S VIEW

By Lorraine Ma

I first went to Cambodia in 2013 with a filmmaker and personal mentor to shoot a documentary on child sex trafficking. After the trip, the filmmaker discovered she had cancer, and her health deteriorated rapidly over the next three years. In 2016, before she passed away, she reached out to ask if I would pick up her unfinished project. I agreed to do so, but I did not have a plan as to how it would happen.

Continue reading “Gateless: A Story of Child Sex Abuse in Cambodia’s Temples”
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