Program Seven - Segment Two: Refugee Dreams Revisited

The refugees who came to America were Vietnamese, Cambodian, Laotian and the ethnic minorities from Laos—the Mien and Hmong.  Most had fought on the same side and helped the U-S military in the war in Vietnam.  The Mien and Hmong— the rural people in Laos—were particularly vulnerable for helping the C-I-A with covert operations.  Staying in Laos was not an option. By 1979, there were almost 62-thousand Vietnamese in refugee camps.  More than 140-thousand people displaced from Cambodia and Laos joined them. Oregon and Washington State had the fifth largest population of South East Asian refugees in the country.  The Portland School district was one of the first to figure out how work with South East Asian youth coming to their schools.  The 1.5 generation—those who came to this country at a young age—learned quickly, mastering language and writing skills before their first generation parents.  Now they own businesses and are community leaders in Portland.


The Van Lang Vietnamese School in Portland, Quy and Tien Nguyen, Ly Chheng Tang, Long San Tzeo, Farm Yoon Lee, Lee Po Cha, Khanthaly Thammavong, Sokhum Tauch, Kilong Ung, Kim Nguyen, Daran Kravanh.

Produced by Anne Morin and Dmae Roberts


Refugee Dreams Revisited Flash Presentation - A collage of personal stories, photos, and music about being a former refugee from Southeast Asia.


Daran Kravanh Slideshow - Photos of Daran's recent return to Cambodia.

Refugee Dreams Revisited Event Slideshow - In August 2005 MediaRites presented a community event in Portland, Oregon. See the artists and musicians, old and young, who participated.


Daran Kravanh and his Accordion as aired on 'Day to Day'

Listen to the Story of Daran Kravanh, musician and survivor of the Khmer Rouge, which aired in June 2005 on NPR's "Day to Day."

For information on Daran's music, or to purchase a CD, go to www.musicsurvival.com.

Information on the book about Daran, "Music Through the Dark" by Bree LaFreniere, is available on the University of Hawaii website.


Daran Kravanh, Accordionist grew up in Cambodia in a musical family.  Now living in Tacoma, Washington, Kravanh produced a CD, “Music Through the Dark” that accompanies the book about his life by Bree Lafreniere.  Kravanh travels throughout the US and abroad to perform and tell stories about his life and the continued plight of the Cambodian people.  musicsurvival.com

Further Internet Resources:


The Original Tracks: 1983 Portland Foxfire Project

Chin, Muong Poo.  Just Have Snow in Winter: The Journey of a Refugee Woman. 1999.

LaFreniere, Bree. Music Through the Dark. University of Hawaii Press, 2000.

Heimbach, Ernest E. White Hmong-English Dictionary.  Data Paper: Number 75, Southeast Asia Program.  New York:  Cornell University. 1979

Takaki, Ronald.  A History of Asian Americans: Strangers From a Different Shore.  Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1998.

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