Saturday, 6 February 2010

Cambodian influx: A snapshot of 1980s Phila

CHARLES FOX / Staff Photographer
Photographer Mario Nascati Jr. and Bonna Neang Weinstein, owner of Khmer Art Gallery, look over a photograph from Nascati's archives.

via CAAI News Media

Fri, Feb. 5, 2010
By Jeff Gammage
Inquirer Staff Writer

In one photograph, a girl, perhaps 7, stares at the lens with a mixture of intrigue and trepidation. The sag in her too-big pants hangs almost to her knees.
Another shows a boy on a front porch, his hand on his chin in dour contemplation, the wall behind him patched with plywood. Nearby, half-hidden in shadow, a girl smiles brightly.

A third depicts a dapper man in suit and tie, his fingers pinching the corner of an American flag draped over his shoulder. It takes a minute to recognize him as Dith Pran, the journalist whose life was portrayed in The Killing Fields.

To photographer Mario Nascati Jr., the pictures reveal not life, but what he came to think of as afterlife - the lives his subjects found or made in Philadelphia after fleeing their war-torn Cambodian homeland.

"This was their new life," he said. "The culture that was left behind lives on here."

Tonight, Nascati's black-and-white photos go on display at a Khmer Art Gallery exhibit titled "After Life: Documenting Cambodian Diaspora in Philadelphia." The show runs through Feb. 28.

Nascati's archive exists as a kind of time capsule, because he caught his subjects at a key moment - the mid-1980s, when waves of Southeast Asian refugees were changing the racial makeup of Philadelphia. In some neighborhoods, their arrival sparked resentment and violence that linger today.

Last month, the Justice Department was asked to investigate the Dec. 3 attacks at South Philadelphia High School, where 30 Asian students were assaulted by groups of classmates.

Nascati, a freelance photographer, in the 1980s was working as an instructional aide at William Penn High School on North Broad Street. His Cambodian students told harrowing stories of escape from a country turned war zone.

Nascati started visiting their neighborhoods, shooting people, events, and even a wedding. During two years he took thousands of photos, mostly in West Philadelphia. Some he snapped in the other large resettlement areas of North and South Philadelphia. The shot of Dith was taken in New York City.

"We are still haunted, in big ways. And the photos speak to that," said Bonna Neang Weinstein, the Khmer gallery owner, herself a survivor of the Killing Fields.

Cambodians here make up a tiny minority, about 6,570 people - less than one-tenth of 1 percent of the city population. Today they organize through groups such as the Cambodian Association of Greater Philadelphia, though many still struggle with poverty and prejudice.

"I'm proud that our community has grown, despite the challenges we still face everyday," said Rorng Sorn, executive director of the association.

When her family arrived in 1987, after eight years in a refugee camp in Thailand, it had 12 people living in a small apartment - that was common among newcomers. Today, many of the children of those families own their own homes. Still, she said, life is hard for older people who had little schooling.

Thoai Nguyen, executive director of the Southeast Asian Mutual Assistance Associations Coalition, said many less-educated refugees remain "stuck in semi-permanent poverty."

"For the most part, present day, the Cambodian and Laotian community in Philadelphia continues to be the most underserved, the community that is most vulnerable to the economic disaster of the last year and a half," he said.

But, said Nguyen, whose family came here from Vietnam in 1975, "the community has survived. In a lot of ways you can argue that it's thrived."

Walk down Seventh Street in South Philadelphia and you see Cambodian businesses and shops. The lawns of Mifflin Square are a gathering spot for summer cookouts.

Nascati, 56, has never been to Cambodia. He was born and raised in South Philadelphia, lives near Glassboro, and still works for the School District, now as a photographer and videographer.

He was too young to be drafted during the Vietnam War, but old enough to have experienced the public uproar over the U.S. bombing of Cambodia.

Neither was particularly on his mind when he went to shoot. But it's impossible to look at the faces in the photos and not consider the circumstances that drove them here.

For 25 years, the photos lay in Nascati's files. They would be there still if he hadn't happened to drive past the gallery and notice the mural of a Khmer queen outside.


To grasp why 6,570 Cambodians are living in Philadelphia today, it's important to understand the events that occurred at a different place and time.

In March 1969, with President Richard M. Nixon's approval, American B-52s began to secretly bomb Cambodia - a neutral country during the Vietnam War, at the time sliding into civil war. The administration wanted to stop the North Vietnamese from using bases inside Cambodia to supply their forces in South Vietnam.

For 14 months, the bombers hit targets that covered nearly half the country. The campaign killed between 100,000 and 500,000 civilians, and left two million homeless.

"Cambodia," Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky wrote in Manufacturing Consent, "was being systematically demolished."

It got worse.

On April 30, 1970, Nixon announced the U.S. invasion of Cambodia, expanding the war and triggering protests across the United States.

The insurgent Khmer Rouge seized control of Cambodia in 1975, beginning the genocide known as the Killing Fields. The regime, bent on creating a society of farming communes, killed 1.7 million people through execution, torture, starvation and forced labor.

Thousands of Cambodians fled to Thailand. More escaped during the 1979 Vietnamese offensive that toppled the Khmer Rouge. In the early and mid-1980s, Cambodians were resettled in countries from Australia and New Zealand to Canada.

More than 100,000 came to the United States. A few thousand settled in Philadelphia. They joined an influx of refugees that would help double the city's Asian population within a decade.

Often the newcomers were pushed into decrepit buildings by resettlement agencies that needed large numbers of apartments, and found the answer in slum landlords.

It was about then that Nascati picked up his camera.


The Khmer gallery at 319 N. 11th St. is a place where past and present collide, both in its collection, which runs from ancient to contemporary, and in its owner.

Weinstein, 45, was a teenager when the Khmer Rouge began turning the country into a labor camp. Confined separately from her father and brother - her parents had divorced - she recalled being ordered to dig a pond, certain she was digging her grave.

Her father escaped to Thailand. In 1979, at 15, she and her brother made their way there, too. She emigrated to the United States in 1984 and now lives in Abington.

For her, Weinstein said, Nascati's photos show that the Cambodian people "still matter, despite many decades of being used for war pawns."

To have lived through the Killing Fields is to live restless, she said, and the photos capture that.

"I was wondering, by projecting these pictures, is it helping the Cambodian people or pulling them down?" she said. "For me, it's an encouragement."


home lan said...

The New Design Remind The History
Trustworthy furniture shop in Cambodia construction materials reported, the new cafe is designed to reference the area’s history of producing arsenal.
One more thing, in the center of the café is designed with oak tables with white powder and coated metal legs are printed with grey and white arrows that alternate with the wood.
Moreover the café leaves original features intact and exposed, while inserting new elements to contrast with the existing fabric of the building.
Indeed bespoke solid oak tables, featuring the chevron motif screen that printed in a mixture of grey and white and have metal powder coated legs inspired by an industrial workbench.

rathana em said...

The Creating for Cinema room

Now day you can bring the cinema into your house, according to furniture shop in Cambodia
construction materials mention.
By this way it is common for modern houses to have a room dedicated to entertainment, such as gaming or film.
One more thing the advantages of the modern technology, you can create a home cinema is easier and more affordable than before.
Anyway creating this cinema room you have to combine a number of elements such as lighting, surround sound, image and food.
The first main thing for this creating is space, you need a big wall to mount your screen and watcher can sit comfortably. The last things is using a room which is sound proof or add some insulation to the walls and ceiling.

hongleng said...

A bathroom with a clean-cut look by tile work

"To create a more opulent feel, we chose polished porcelain floor tiles for the floors and cross-cut travertine tiles on the walls," said Paul Hutchison, designer of the house’s bathroom renovation.
The now-luxurious bathroom used to be old and shabby due to age, however; Hutchison has transformed it into an extravagant retreat with a contemporary and sparkling appeal through the use of tile projection.
"This bathroom's clean look is partly due to the symmetry of the tile work – a stainless steel strip drain in the shower keeps the tiles uniform throughout," Hutchison added.
"We selected frameless glass for the shower stall to continue the modern aesthetic – this also contributes to the sense of space," stated the designer, as delivered by trustworthy construction in Cambodia construction materials.

SenBlue said...

NKBA announced winners of bathroom innovation

"The creativity and innovation we see year after year is a credit to members, who can hold their own on the world stage when it comes to design," claimed Nicki Mills, executive director of the National Kitchen and Bathroom Association, after announcing winners, as delivered by trustworthy construction in Cambodia construction materials
John Gaynor was the winner of the Bathroom of the Year Award with his magnificent manifestation of bathroom ware design and installation. The pieces that honored him the ward included an elongated vanity in oak finish, a lavish bathtub and finally a shower walls.
The runner up of the award was Natalie Du Bois of Dubois Design and Peter young of Waikanai Kitchen & Joinery claimed the Best Renovation – Bathroom.

hongleng said...

The Urban Family House

Here is an example house of urban family, trustworthy to construction in Cambodia
construction materials reported.
By this way this house has a unique design such as asymmetrical lines of the façade and inside the main hall of the building, plenty of open spaces, high ceilings and good insolation.
One more thing the interior is soft, warm colors of using natural materials like stone and wood.
In addition the house is furnished with handmade furniture and equipped with lighting systems with the better targeting of good combination of natural light.

RedJuly said...

The Brightening White House

Here is a house is designed by a brightening white color, style and clear elegance materials, leading to furniture shop in Cambodia construction materials said.
One more thing the open exposition of the house and the free merger of space create a wonderful stage for stylish sequence arrangement.
By this way they are linked by the color scheme and wood domination the living areas fallow on another such as the reading area in front of the fireplace with its luxury furniture like chairs and eye-catching wooden table, modern kitchen and leisure time sofa arrangement with classical forms to make this house as an urban.
Moreover this house is archived creating unique and stylish interior, where the soft textures and colors and elegant arraignments attract you to stay and relax.

Chhunmeng KabKab said...

The Personality Home Design

This home is designed as the personality for the owner, leading to furniture shop in Cambodia construction materials reported.
By this way this house is designed as girly model with beautiful flooring, bright colors and some painting for more beautiful as the girl like to make up.
One more thing it is kept everything bright and airy, and then the owner love colorful through accessories and flowers.
“I love bringing in color through accessories and flowers.” The owner said.
In addition, in the room is decorated as “makeup”, it is made everything within look so much better and brightening, and then it is decorated as the playful place with jumping on the bed, making forts with all the pillows and blankets and sofa.

RedJuly said...

Bassino bathtub from Kaldewei

As far as the design concept goes, bathrooms constantly have bathtubs as the center stage for enjoying a soaking experience with the ambience and possible, outdoor backdrop. Hence, choosing the right bathtub is very significant towards bathing pleasure.
Delivered by trustworthy construction in Cambodia construction materials
, as one of the leading European bathware designer and manufacturer, Kaldewei has introduced its masterpiece of bathtub that produces tranquility and relaxation for users.
Called Bassino, the tub is 2m x 1m in dimensions which allows user to stretch out. Bather’s head and neck are supported by a cushion that guarantees the face rests above the water in the 35.5cm-deep bath.

ratha em said...

Center stage by Ian Mentasti

Provided by notable furniture in Cambodia construction materials, using Carrara marble, the featured bathroom achieve a tranquil and trendy appearance from designer Ian Mentasti.
"The owner loves white Carrara marble, and wanted to carry this right through the house," said Mentasti. "It provides visual continuity, and is really the star of the show."
The Carrara marble was arranged with different size tiles to be put in the bathroom’s floors and shower walls that helped creating a sense of spa-like retreat. The marble was then used a vanity and bathtub tops to reinforce a seamless flow in the design. A unit of cabinetry gave a wide storage scale.

Rima Mar said...

The Beautiful Redesigned House

This is redesigned as the house owner need with a desire to “refinish” the floors, according to furniture shop in Phnom Penh construction materials provided.
One more thing the planning changes allowed the entrance to linked with the open loft space that is drenched in natural light.
In addition there is also a plan to repair for the bedroom and bathroom to be large with the removal of a house internal corridor.
Moreover the architectural features marble slab walls that are discovered and provided the owner the chance to enjoy with local stone supplier.
Therefor the designers employed a black and white fusion as canvas for a striking array of textures and bold color finishes.

Thon Mey said...

Vivid shadow by Olle Lundberg

According to reliable furniture shop in Phnom Penh construction materials information, transformed by architect Olle Lundberg, the previous attic area became the featured master suite.
To demonstrate the drama and playful aspect, translucent theme was the key factor in the design by the use of glazed partitions that divided the bathroom and closet causing a clear shadows of the property beyond the bathroom view.
"Because the master suite fills the whole attic, privacy isn't really a big issue," stated the designer in terms of the transparent-like theme.
Simple black and white colors were used to maintain an uncluttered and contemporary design. And the bathroom simply consisted of a black granite covered bathtub and mirrors to visually connect the space together.

Vannak Chhorm said...

A Victorian manor by Marshall Erb

"As with the rest of the property, the client wanted to come up with a reinterpretation of a Victorian mansion. The result is a master suite that incorporates every modern convenience within a historically referenced facade," said designer Marshall Erb.
Delivered by trustworthy construction in Cambodia construction materials, the designer opts marble as the main material palette in the ensuite bathroom design to complement the wanted aura.
"The herringbone pattern has the effect of visually expanding the room – also there are 17 corners within the bathroom, and the herringbone design allows you to turn corners without breaking the pattern."
"We wanted to maintain clean lines regardless of where you look, so a lot of the storage was integrated. The mirrored pilasters that flank the vanity have been used to house the usual bathroom accoutrements, while the towel closet has been built into the toilet compartment."

Chhunmeng KabKab said...

Minimizing with aesthetic by Jolie Korek

"The common thread through the home is a minimalist and crisp design," she says. "I prefer to work with two or three colors and two or three materials to create a classic and uncluttered feeling." said designer Jolie Korek of the featured bathroom.
Korek chose sandy-colored tone for the main motif of the design for the master bathroom. The traditional brickwork of the fireplace from the previous footprint design is still maintained. The shower wall and sink backsplash are decorated with mosaic glass tiles. The pebble-like riverrocks for floor offers a sense of maritime. The bathroom also includes a classical-looking freestanding bathtub to complete the haven.
"With the soft contours of the tub, dimmer switches and candlelight, this bathroom is a tranquil haven for relaxation." added the designer, as delivered by trustworthy construction in Cambodia construction materials.

vong dara said...

The Beautiful White Interior Design

This house has a beautiful interior design that can catch your attention and you want to stay here without bored.
Leading to furniture shop in Cambodia
construction materials stated, this house is such a contemporary that take on a Georgian terrace house, which stuns with its “cream, off-white and funky”.
One more thing this house displays an impressive contemporary white theme and elegantly adorned with crystal lighting.
As the designers, “the house is comprised of a very generously proportioned reception room, large formal dining room, and family room, cinema and pool room, all located on the lower three floors.
The entire first floor is occupied by the master suite, with the remaining two floors taken up by five further bedrooms. The client’s brief was simple.
The look had to be cream, off-white and funky. Layers of differing tones and textures allowed this simple directive to bear fruit in a cool, dramatic and elegant final scheme”.

worldjonh said...

The Elegant and Beautiful Giant House

This elegant and beautiful house is known as the property of the movies star Nicholas Cage, according to furniture shop in Cambodia construction materials stated.
By this way, this house is such the unusual properties scattered all around the world. One more thing, this house named Las Vegas takes over 14,00sqf; it is such a beautiful and wonderful for living.
Moreover, the house features seven bedrooms, a home theater, an impressive spa, an infinity pool, a 16 car garage and many more.
In addition, the interior of this extremely large building features intriguing art works ad luxurious furniture elements.
This house is really comfortable for large family not only a star, so you can enjoy with this model house.

Rima Mar said...

A homestead-styled kitchen design by Debra DeLorenzo

As successful furniture shop in Cambodia construction materials informed, designed by Debra DeLorenzo, the featured kitchen echoes its surrounding of a rural area with a ranch style sensation.
"The original kitchen was small, but had a pleasant garden outlook. The first thing we did was open up the space by removing a wall between it and the old family room," said DeLorenzo.
The theme is found in the painted cabinetry that hide away the main appliances to make the space look clutter-free. Finally, two butler’s sinks and the tapware finish the motif.
"This clean-lined interpretation of traditional country styles works well for all the family, and forms a welcoming hub to this large rural home," added the designer.

Thon Mey said...

The Extremely impressive Interior of Giant Building

This interior is such a highly modern and elegant one, which we rarely see in our life, leading to furniture shop in Phnom Penh construction materials
One more thing, its design features the stylish and art model with its staircase and beautiful colors scheme.
In addition, it also features the intriguing art works and luxurious furniture element to make its more contemporary and modern.
Furthermore, this interior is really special with its lighting arrangement and the stylish shape with some mixing wooden furniture.
Mention that, the interior is belonging to a giant house of seven bedrooms, a home theater, an impressive spa, a generous pool, a 16-car garage and more.

worldjonh said...

Sparkling presence by Nicola Cumming

According to reliable furniture shop in Phnom Penh construction materials
information, a makeover, the presented kitchen has an open plan to the living area and pool terrace and plays as both a food preparation and entertaining area in a gleaming glamour.
Designer Nicola Cumming installed a center stage island with a half-moon-shaped bar that features a patterned metal plinth in bronze, silver, and antique gold as well as a sparkling Avonite benchtop in Copper Canyon.
"We photographed the plinth and used the design as the basis for the colourbacked glass splashback," said Cumming. "In contrast, the cabinets have a neutral lacquer, with Corian Organics benchtops."

emratha bong said...

The Elegant Impressive House

It is a modern impressive interior design of the elegant house, leading to furniture shop in Cambodia
construction materials provided.
One more thing this interior is located at the ground floor of the house and it was decorated with any wooden furniture.
Moreover, the interior has been created to be a breathtaking place for the owners and guests with its wide space and fresh views outside the house.
Furthermore, the resultant massing was known as an imperfect, rough-hewn form recalling the natural isometric formation of mineral rock salt.
In addition the exterior composition was read as a single object, which reflects a dynamic fluid interior.
Indeed, glazing panels are detailed flush to the exterior surface, eliminating shadows which further inhibit a reading of the buildings scale

Liverpool said...

Making a splash

As successful furniture shop in Cambodia
construction materials informed, it is normal for a kitchen design to bend towards a neutral and subtle approach since most of the design is an integration part of a living space, hence, it needs to blend well with the rest of the design. However, making a bold visual statement in the design some time can provide a huge impact on the outcome as the featured kitchen portrays.
The kitchen features adventurous tone of cheery red cabinetry which is complemented by white benchtops and stainless steel appliances. Some parts of the wall are also in the lighter version of the color.
The tile-like ceiling offers interesting aspect while the modern pendant lights are also in colorful shade that accommodate the bold statement.

chamroeun messi said...

The Stylish Contemporary House

This house has been redesigned from garage into a very stylish contemporary house, according to furniture shop in Cambodia construction materials stated.
In addition, there is the distributed on two floors has connected by a sculptural staircase, the public and private spaces are linked through design and color palette.
Moreover, a bright, elegant downstairs living/dining/cooking area seems to be separated by a wide column pierced by a transparent fireplace, but the fluid spaces appear strongly connected.
Furthermore, the wooden floors of the house reflect in the wooden ceiling, displays the same longitudinal design, which seems to elongate rays of natural light come through glass doors and windows.