Comment on your Perspective September 16,1998
by Sean C. Saing
I want to congratulate and compliment for the job well done on your first issue of Perspective.
I had read everyone of your apsiration and was touched by every one of you.
I never know so many of you have the same goal and the same view as I had about Cambodian culture and community.
I wish I knew all of you during my study at CSULB.
This is a very good idea about having your own newsletter.
As a CSULB's alumnus, you guys made me feel proud and attached.
For of those who do not know me, my name is sean Chhoung Saing.
I had received my BS in Civil Engineering from CSULB in May, 1992.
During my study at CSULB, I was actively involved in the Cambodian Student Society because I shared the same view as many of you had
"to preserve our Khmer culture, language, tradition and custom"
and use CSS as a vehicle and a place to socialize, help, learn and have fun.
I had involved and played some roles in everyone of the CSS Annual Culture Show every year beginning in the 1989 to 1992
During my four years at CSULB, I received many compliments and criticism for many of my fellow students.
One thing that I learned "the more you're involved in the community, the more volunteers you had, the more you do, the more visible you are, the more you'll make
mistake and the more criticism you'll received and the more enemy you'll created."
In your Perspective, the comments that really catch my
attention and strike my heart the most was from Ms. Sopheap Keo.
Her statement "not recognize or accept my roots or people", I used to feel like that in Junior High School.
I felt ashame of being born as Khmer. As I entered Millikan High School in 1985, I began to realize that no matter what you do you can not change your root and your blood.
So in 1986 I chose to make a differences, I started to gather fellow students to open the Asian Club at millikan. Since there were
so many Cambodian students in Millikan High School, I felt that we need our own identity.
Therefore, in 1987 we opened the Cambodian Student Association. I served as President for both organizations. In 1987 the community asked me to participate in the Cambodian Festival.
The events were held at LAC Campus for two days. We had art exhibition, culture show, food, dance and the first Cambodian-American Pageant that ever held.
We had the biggest crowd, almost as big as the Cambodian New Year celebration at the park.
Miss Keo's next statements " I have seen negatives within our community but instead of making changes I chose to sit back and criticize. I have realized that
such criticism only increased the negativism that our communities already have instead of improving it." This statement is very true. I want to share with all of you
the real life incident that happen because of this criticism.
Many of my friends entered in that 1987 Cambodian-American Pageant. One of my friends had won Miss 1987
Cambodian-American Pageant title. She was very intelligent, sharp and had the ability to take charge.
I was always had admired her for her quick thinking. She wanted to contribute to the Cambodian community
and wanted to make the difference for Cambodian community. Howerver, after she won her Miss Cambodian-American title, she received many criticisms from the community.
They made fun of her looks. They said she should not deserve the title.
She felt hurt and so vulnerable. she cried almost every night. She wished she never had entered
the Cambodian-American Pageant. She really hated the Cambodian Community. But she never gave up her dream.
She used this criticism as a challenge in her life. She received her Master of Public administration and currently working on to become a lawyer
(maybe she finished). She moved out of the community (out of state) and chose to serve the American Community.
I too had felt the same way like she did. After my graduation in 1992, I had never did get involved in the Cambodian Community. I feel that I have been given a lot to the community but the community never appreciated my work.
I received many more criticsims than compliments. Why should I give up my valuable time to the community and in return received so many criticisms?
I don't have the energy or the drive to contribute anymore. I rather work for American company and received $4,000-$5,000
salary per month and kick back, relax and enjoy the time with my friends and families. If every successful person think
like this, the Cambodian Community as a whole is not going to get anywheere. Sooner or later, we will lose our tradition, culture and language and maybe even our country.
Deep inside my heart, I feel that I need to give bacl to the comunity and carry on with my view and my dreams. That is why I chose to get back and get involved and the Miss Cambodian-American Pageants in 1997 and 1998.
Well, because of criticism, the Cambodian Community lost one young talented and intelligent individual.
This is a great loss. I hope someday she will have a change of heart and return to the Cambodian Community. How many other similar incidents that have happened in the Cambodian Community?
How many other good people do we have to loose?
Ms. Keo's statements "... criticism only increaed the negativism that our communities already have instead of improving it." This is so true.
I urge everyone to change the way we think. Let's not criticize each other anymore.
There are four type of people in this world:
We need more of DOERS and the FOLLOWERS in Cambodian Community. Nobody is going to change or make a different in the Cambodian Community except our new generations.
Let's make the difference for the Cambodian Community. I urgue all of the DON'Ts and WATCHERS to get involve with the Cambodian Community. If you don't like the
way the DOERS conduct business, please get involve amd change the way the DOERS do it. The DOERS always
get criticisms and made mistakes. The DON'T and the WATCHER are always right and never make mistake because they never do anything to make mistake.
The Cambodian Community has too many of the DON'T and the WATCHER.
- The DOER,
- The DON'T,
- The WATCHER, and
- The FOLLWER.
Due to my involement in the community, I have met all kinds of people: the good, the bad, and the ugly. I have dealt with all kind
of situations and criticisms. One positive thing that came out was thatit made me become a better person. It had helped my career tremendously in the workplace.
Recommendations to CSS:
When I was a student, what I need most was a mentor! I did not have anyone to guide me or to ask questions regarding the field that I majored in.
I recommend that CSS establish a Mentor Program to reach out to all the students in the United States. The CSS should contact all the professional individuals who have finished school and who are already working in the real world.
Please invite the Cambodian doctors, lawyers, professor, social workers, teachers, and businessmen to come out and be special guest speakers at your meetings. Each meeting
you should have one of these professionals to be a guest speaker. Let them share with you their success, failure, dream,
and struggle in life. Ask them to be mentor for the younger generation.
Keep up tthe good work. I want to hear more successful stories in your Perspective.
Sean C, Saing, CSULB Alumnus