Love, for as long as we can remember, has always been a major part of all of us and all that we do. Love yourself, love your neighbor, love your work and lastly love conquers all. But what if love couldn't conquer all? What if love wasn't the answer? Unfortunately, this happens more often than most think.
On May 5, 2015 we sat down on a scalding hot bench, along the Schuykill river with Lynn and Tom. After breaking the awkward silence and exchanging pleasantries we delved into a discussion about their lives. Surprisingly, the couple was more than willing to tell their stories and to have them heard. It almost seemed as if they were waiting for the oppurtunity to talk about their experiences.
The stories below are first hand accounts of two young people's experiences with culture, religon, and love. None of their storries have been tampered with to add effect. Enjoy!
Love, Culturally Divided
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Created by: Antionette Hiller and Bryanna Jones
I’m from Cambodia. I moved here when I was younger. I really don’t know why but my mom told me it was because the government and the law enforcement, everything here is much better than how it is in Cambodia. It’s much safer. To take a guess, I came her when I was about 5 or 6, 5 yeah.
I remember a lot of street foods a lot of crowded places more pollution, I can say. It was very hot , not desert like. The roads were not done. It was only dirt and rocks. Well for one there are a lot of bugs, but I don’t remember really eating it. There’s like beef sticks, anything, what ever you want. I liked anything because I was a kid.
" I liked anything because I was a kid."
We lived well I had a house that was bigger than the one I have now because my grandparents did a lot of business. I was pretty young then so I lived a pretty good life per say compared to my cousin who lived in the country I noticed their life was much harder. They had to do more work at a really young age, they didn’t have much of a childhood. I don’t know too much about it because I didn’t experience it but now looking back at it. I guess everything was fine, just more spacey.
Hello, I came from Bangladesh when i was about 11 years old the reason I moved here was because first my education. America’s education is way better than Bangladesh's. And secondly the government is really corrupted back in Bangladesh. For example, if you get into a fight or an argument with someone wealthy or well known. You can get into trouble if you don’t have the money to bail yourself out. I mean they’re going to get in trouble, but because of their money or dad or parents and the society they have the chance to get out. It’s kind of like money over everything.
"The system is not equal for everyone..."
The system is not equal for everyone and their’s a lot of stealing, a lot of burning down buildings a lot of bad things that happen in Bangladesh. I’m 17 years old right now.
I lived in an apartment so we all had buildings, we had buildings that were owned by us. Our housing was just like America’s housing. In the slums the water quality is terrible. There are a bunch of bugs in it, there’s street food and there are bugs crawling all over the street food. So we weren’t allowed to eat it with out permission
I was one of the highest class back at home my grandpa was a politician. And after my dad moved here, he stayed here 12 years before I moved here. Of course he sent money that’s why we got that higher class
What We Remember
Well, one incident happened to me one of my cousins died two years ago from a motor cycle accident. It was not an accident because it was a murder that was done. The police department wouldn’t take our case because my family is democrat and the other person was republican. So the police did not take our case and we really could not dig down into the murder case, but we knew who murdered him. That’s what it’s like back there you don’t have justice. Like if their were two people out fighting in the street they’ll see which party you represent then they’ll determine wether or not they want to take your case.
I lived in the city so far from the village, I didn’t see a lot of corruption. On the news I was able to see that there were a lot of bank robberies and other bad things happening all the time. And prostitution is so prominent that the police can not stop it even though [most of] the girls work in garmet factories. There demand is so high even the government can not stop it.
I’m not from there, but for me from my own country it’s kind of like it’s not legal, but it’s something he police look over because it’s out of their hands and out of the governments hands. And it becomes a norm. Ya know you realize it’s their and then it’s just there. And no one can really help it there’s not even enough money to change anything or fund it or help the people that are in that situation.
"And no one can really help it. There’s not even enough money to change anything or fund it or help the people that are in that situation."
It’s all about the money of course the person who run the prostitution of cousre pays the police department to look over it. That’s one reason why pregnancy rates are growing and there’s more population right now there’s more people than there’s actual land.
I'm buddist, we don't really practice it but we do go to the temple for Chinese New Year and show respect but it's not really practiced.The religion doesn't really ask you to pray or do different things. It just asks you to be free spirited and do good things.
From what I know Buddism came to be because there was this prince who went or never had any problems in his life, no stress. He left his wife and kid. One day, he never been outside his castle, when he went out, he saw that all the people were suffering in the kingdom, he decided to go find enlightenment.
For me, I don't know if I really worship the way I should. But my family and I stay in the temple for a couple of hours. A monk is what we cal l our religsious leader. Monks can only be men, women can be monks but they aren't called monks. They're A monk is a person who chooses to give up their "freedom of life" but give up stuff allows them to reach their enlightenment,such as their sex life or not looking at a woman. At the temple, they would tie strings on the hand that's blessed after they pray and a monk wouldn't touch you if you're a girl. Women always have to be covered up. While different people wear skirts and stuff, it's not allowed in Cambodia because they find it disrespectful because monks can't see those things.The biggest part about being a monk is being pure, in a way. It's more of like giving up sexualness and there's certain times you can eat and certain times you can't. There's a lot of rules to it.
When you become a monk, you don't really have a family. The family you used to have is no longer your family. From a Chinese perspective, you shave your head and eyebrows, no hair and who ever the family is is no longer their family. They're erased. They only live for enlightenment.
"They only live for enlightenment."
You may have heard of the saying that all Muslims aren't terrorist but all terrorist are Muslims. I wouldn't blame you for thinking like that, but instead I would show you these are not what they are suppose to do, it's their mentality, their persona thing. If you fight, you are not Muslim. Protesting against it would make it worse. Muslims made it bad on themselves. The U.S. isn't understanding. If they really wanted to get to the bottom of things they’d sit,have a talk with them, see who they really are.
"Real Muslims just follow the Qur'an."
I would say it's from my country and mom's view, she kept me in her house. She kept me around good people. It built a struct for me to become a Muslim. It makes you believe on the future. My religion is closely related on my culture.
The authorities are held to high standards, if you find yourself in their presence, you either tilt your head, or if their sitting in a chair, you sit on the floor. Overall, family is very important as well as staying with the culture. Any type of rebelling is out of the question.
"Overall, family is very important as well as staying with the culture. Any type of rebelling is out of the question."
Being Islam, you feed the poor, give money to the poor as well as eating goats etc. There's a lot of scarifing done too. When giving money to the poor, depending on how much money you have, depicts how much you give.
Being Buddhist, our traditions are surrounded around the Chinese New Year. Visiting old family graves, which aren't just tumbstones but are "houses". Cermeonies are even celebrated.
When it comes to my family being against others, it's mostly based off of cultural reasons. When most people marry outside of the country, it normally ends in divorce, so they just don't want the same to happen. Lynn's mom, however, has no problem with me. My dad has been here for 12 years and in that time. Throughout all of the moving around, neither one of us has ever been separated from our mothers. With this, we both also have the closest bond with out mothers. Dads aren't as easy yo understand us and what we do.
"When it comes to my family being against others, it's mostly based off of cultural reasons."