EDUCATION AND CULTURE
My experience in Philadelphia, NY, and the UNPFII 2010
By David Trieu
I had the opportunity to be a part of something that is very important for our Khmer-Krom people. At first, all I wanted to do was please my parents when I took the trip to New York/Philadelphia and attend the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues/Youth Conference. However, the entire trip turned out to be far greater than what I had initially expected; it opened my eyes and gave me a very clear prospective about our Khmer-Krom people. I am slowly beginning to understand the importance of the KKFYC and it’s starting to become much more important to me.
For the longest time, I have been searching for some way to repay my parents for all that they’ve done for me. One thing that is very important to me now (since it wasn’t before) is trying to build a strong relationship with them. Before my involvement with the Khmer-Krom community in Alberta, the relationship I had with my parents wasn’t very good; I was very distant from them for years. However, in saying that, I have noticed that my relationship with them has improved a lot since I’ve become more involved with the Khmer-Krom community. And it all started with agreeing to take a trip to the east coast and attending the UNPFII at the UN Headquarters in New York and the 4th annual Youth Conference in Philadelphia.
Attending the UNPFII at the UN Headquarters in New York has allowed me to see that there are many other indigenous groups like us; and the individuals within those groups had so much pride that you know they would go great lengths for their people. There was a strong sense of pride within every one of them. I do believe that as my involvement with the KKF continues, I will one day be as prideful as they were for our Khmer-Krom people.
The most rewarding part this experience was being able to meet some very great people during the UNPFII and the Youth Conference, especially the KKF Youth. I really admired the hard-work everyone put in for the KKF organization. Everyone had such a positive attitude during the entire trip that it made me really enjoy the time I spent with them. I hope that we can all meet again next year.
Because it is only my first year and my first real involvement with the KKF, my heart wasn’t completely in it. At some moments during the trip, I had a hard time dealing with the fact that I did not understand Khmer and that I was probably the only one who didn’t. I felt really ‘white-washed’. However, I made a promise that I would learn Khmer the next time we all meet again. And I always try to keep my promises.
Nowadays, when I am asked about where I came from or what nationality I am, I’m proud to say that I’m Khmer-Krom, not just a Cambodian. I am very proud of our Khmer-Krom people and I hope that I can do more for them in the comings years.