All posts filed under: Reader Stories

To My Brother Keon

Dear Keon, Today, I am finding the strength to write this so that I may honor your life. I knew you only as my dearest brother, my Irish Twin. You lived your life through your convictions and didn’t care what anyone thought of you. I had no idea, the extent in which your writing impacted the Asian American community. I remembered how excited you were to start blogging and discussing political and social issues. You felt underrepresented as a Laotian American male. You spoke for our community for years, flying under the radar, without them ever knowing it was you. Getting credit was never important to you but I want people to know who you were. You started out as a troubled Lao teenager, who turned his life around to become an outspoken activist, writer, and teacher. I wish I could’ve gone to your graduation when you received your Master’s degree in Teaching. You left this world too soon. You are with the angels now. There was so much you had to offer to the world. …

Submitted Story: Bouakham is dead

Bouakham is dead. She was born on 10th October 1960 and died on 29th February 2016:  55 years old.  She died less than one month after this photograph was taken. Look at the photo. You may be able to see that her right arm is wasted.  You cannot see that her right hand is locked in a fixed position.  That happened due to some set of circumstances that I have never been able to fathom, in the early-mid-1980s, whilst she was attending the National Rehabilitation Centre in Vientiane.  When this photo was taken she was already in later stages of kidney failure and her limbs were swollen due to fluid retention.  So her right arm, does not look as it normally did. You can see that she used crutches (only one in view).  That was because she did not have legs.  Well, her legs, below the knee, were amputated and she had prostheses. Of the four limbs with which she was born, only one remained in full and proper functioning. When she was 8 years …