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Excerpt from Oral History Interview with Ran Kong, November 25, 2000. Interview K-0269. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) See Entire Interview >>

Kong's values clash with those of her father

Those values of Kong's that could be described as more Western conflict with those of her father, Kong explains. For example, her father has "traditional" beliefs about the role of women, and would tend to give boys more freedom than girls. Her grandmother does not want Kong to work. The tension that sometimes springs from these differences of opinion might result from her elders' effort to recreate their former home in the United States, while Kong sees the United States as her home.

Citing this Excerpt

Oral History Interview with Ran Kong, November 25, 2000. Interview K-0269. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Full Text of the Excerpt

BARBARA LAU:
Do you think that sometimes the fact, as you say, that you're Cambodian but you're also American but your parents are really Cambodian —are there conflicts there?
RAN KONG:
Oh, definitely, lots of conflicts. For example, just in terms of , my father is very traditional, and he's also very religious. And so some of the things that he ideals and that he subscribes to, I totally don't agree with. Just in terms of, for example, something that we always have conflicts with each other is about, is the role of women. Not that he puts women down and he says that women are inferior or subservient. I a have a younger brother, and he's never encouraged my brother to get more of an education than me. And I actually have friends who are from cultures where their parents do show so much more bias towards the son than the daughter. My father is not like that at all. But at the same time just in terms of responsibilities, the woman or females have more responsibility to be good, to like remain within the boundaries of the culture and to not date and stuff, whereas the boys can overstep those boundaries and not get into trouble. [END OF TAPE 1, SIDE B] [TAPE 2, SIDE A] [START OF TAPE 2, SIDE A]
RAN KONG:
—in that respect, my father and I come into conflict, because I'm like, no, whoever oversteps the boundaries is equally as wrong, no matter what gender they are. And my father is like, well, not exactly. The son is a little bit all right, but the daughter is not all right at all. So in that terms, he shows bias for males. And I just don't agree with that. I think if you're wrong, you're wrong.
BARBARA LAU:
What about with your grandma?
RAN KONG:
My grandmother?
BARBARA LAU:
Do you guys find that because you're a little more American sometimes there's—
RAN KONG:
Yes. Well, just in terms of— my grandmother, she's so funny. She's like, well, after you finish college don't go anywhere. Stay at home and work. And you don't have to go to school anymore, because if I go to school I'll be away from home again. So she's in that fact—it's not even traditional or a traditional idea maybe, but just the fact that she wants all of her grandchildren to be near her, to stay with her. Whereas for me, I guess the lure of higher education, I guess, prompts me to consider other alternatives than just staying at home, and getting an education here. I'll maybe want to go to school far away, or find a job away from home, you know?
BARBARA LAU:
Do you consider North Carolina your home?
RAN KONG:
Yes. This is the only home I've ever known. I don't remember my first four years over in Thailand. I wasn't even born in Cambodian. I was born in Kao-I-Dang. I probably have one or two memories from there. But so far as I know, this is home for me.
BARBARA LAU:
Do you think your parents think that?
RAN KONG:
No.
BARBARA LAU:
What's home for hem?
RAN KONG:
Home for them was what they left behind, cause that was where they spent their childhood and the majority of their lives were spent over there, so they remember it very vividly. And for them, they were— I don't know if I can say happier over there, but it's different. It's different being here than being over in your own country where everybody is like you. And so for them I think that's always like their true home.