When Cambodian Refugees Came to the Bronx

In this month’s episode of “Asian American Life,” produced by CUNY TV, reporters cover the spread of jazz music into Asian countries, the resettlement of Cambodian refugees in the Bronx, an acid attack survivor now working in the fashion industry, and the only bank indicted in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis.

The episode starts off in the Village where reporter Paul Lin examines how jazz made its way to Asian countries and the jazz musicians who performed across the continent, with some of them ending up in New York. Watch at 1:16.

Between the 1970s and 1990s, the largest refugee resettlement program in the U.S. took in more than 1 million refugees from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. In the 1980s, some 10,000 Cambodians moved to the Bronx. Their story is told in the book, “Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the New York City Hyperghetto.” Author Eric Tang speaks to host Ernabel Demillo. Watch at 8:40.

Acid attack survivor Monica Singh speaks to reporter Tinabeth Pina about the nightmare she endured, how she’s now working in the fashion industry and was a part of New York’s fashion week, and about empowering survivors through fashion. Watch at 15:13.

The final segment focuses on the family-owned Abacus Federal Savings Bank in Chinatown, the only bank indicted in the U.S. in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The bank is the subject of a documentary, “Small Enough to Jail,” airing as part of the “Frontline” documentary series this month on PBS. Reporter Kyung Yoon speaks to the family in charge of Abacus. Watch at 21:03.

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