Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Week 6 Reflection

Mai Moua Vang

            I thought the Ted Ngov article was really interesting. I did not know that a lot of Cambodians own donut shops and to hear the statistics—it was pretty crazy! Especially to read about Ted Ngov, who was the man behind this Cambodian emphasized business. The article covers a partial of his life in Cambodia but I want to know if he came from an elite and/or educational background because he’s really smart in the business realm and he was able to recruit a lot of Cambodians to the donut industry in a matter of years. It is also amazing what money can do to a person. Ted Ngoy came to America with nothing, became a multi-millionaire, and then lost all of and is currently spending his time sleeping on someone’s porch—because of money! Although he was not born as a citizen, he breathed capitalism, which I think is a very Western view. Because of this mindset, he created his empire very quickly but it also brought him down just as fast.
            Going back on the statistic of how many Cambodians owning a donut shop is pretty amazing. But as the presenter highlighted, pretty much all of them still have a hard time building economic mobility. They work everyday from dust to almost dust, and with no vacation. Though it may be family run, children and wives must sacrifice home and/or school time for their shop to make the extra money, but in the end, it does not benefit them too much. Children are not taking off to college and family issues may arise. And I can imagine health issues rising as well since they are making one of the fattiest foods out there. In addition to capitalism (that I mentioned earlier), the presenter brought up a really good point that though Cambodians own 90% of all donut shops, the number is actually dwindling down due to competition from Starbucks, McDonalds, and etc. This is devastating for the donut shop owners because they make a lot of their money from coffee, which these big corporations are selling. Overall, as a small business owner, who doesn’t have much to begin with, have an extremely hard time trying to get by.
            As for the article “ Where Do We Stand?”, the same issues from during that time still exists today. There is still a lot of discrimination within the school system. I think that it is still necessary to create a safe space but I don’t think that it always has to be based on ethnicities. The faculty in the Boston school was mainly white, for the longest time as well, therefore they didn’t know how to handle the Asian students, specifically the Vietnamese, when it came to the fight. It seems like a new structure needs to be implemented. The faculty members need to be educated about the culture of each group and be able to facilitate a dialogue with the students. I think it’s essential to have a safe space but it needs to have a purpose. In their case, they need to bring students of all backgrounds together and dialogue the issues they face with one another in order to come down to equal terms. Faculties need to be presented at the dialogue as well. The dialogue needs to break down the assumptions and beliefs they have with each other and recreate new paradigms that are more acceptable of one another and their differences. Though this will not change their minds overnight, it is never too late to start. Though it may not be easy, as there is a lot of cultural and language barriers, to start a dialogue is a great start from what it used to be: a fight.          

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