In 2015, together with Kimberley Chhay, I co organised the first ever second generation Cambodian event in the Netherlands. In a talkshow host format, we invited and interviewed artists and musicians of our generation on stage. This was the first of its kind.
Documentation of the show Ik dans de Roamvong (2015). Popcorner, Breda, the Netherlands. Photos and videos by: Settia Tin.
Screenshot of my Facebook account sharing: Aankomst 80 vluchtelingen uit Cambodia (1985). Nationaal Archief, the Hague, the Netherlands, among other archival photos as a part of the show’s promotion.
Compared to other Cambodian events, ’Roamvong’ was a breath of fresh air the program had depth, the theme was non traditional and organizationally it showed tremendous bravery.
The hall was small, it was uncertain whether the event would appeal to enough Cambodians and whether the elderly could agree with the entire set up. In the end it turned out that the evening was symbolic of fraternization and mutual understanding between the second and first generation Cambodians.
The irony is that the very thing, art, which I don’t think is valued enough in Cambodian Dutch culture, was the means that united young and old. Art was the means by which the young people delivered the reassuring message to the first generation that Cambodian culture lives on in their children. It gave us a form of escapism in which everyday reality and mutual differences were forgotten for a while.
’Roamvong’ clearly exceeded its objective: it was not just a pleasant evening in which young people gathered to admire the artistic activities of fellow Cambodians, but it also became an intergenerational fraternization.
This was an evening in which art has elevated each individual among us above themselves and in which the underlying essence, the desire for unity, was addressed. Here we were, sublimated through transfiguration into a unity of Cambodian Dutch.
–Excerpt from a review by Chhay Lin Lem, philosopher.