Audio Recording of Interview
Dee shares his story, partly by way of a translator, about his experience moving from Burma to Thailand fleeing war and ultimately to the States with refugee status in hopes of educational opportunities and a better life for his children. While being in the United States, Priki elaborates on his religious beliefs in Buddhism and how he imparts this knowledge on his children so that they remember this aspect of their identity.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
Narrator: Priki Dee
Location: Priki Dee’s house
Summary: Dee shares his story, partly by way of a translator, about his experience moving from Burma to Thailand fleeing war and ultimately to the States with refugee status in hopes of educational opportunities and a better life for his children. While being in the United States, Priki elaborates on his religious beliefs in Buddhism and how he imparts this knowledge on his children so that they remember this aspect of their identity.
Topics: Religious practice, place of worship, cultural adjustment, war, family, faith, immigration process, language, education, future, gratitude
Section 1: (00:00-11:46)
War, immigration process, family- Talks about being forced to move from Burma after Burmese soldiers told him he could not stay in his home because of too much war in 1992 and 1993. He initially moved to another big village in Burma, but ultimately recounts moving to Thailand and living in a refugee camp. During his time in the camp, he prayed to go to America for a better life for his children, who were born in Thailand, and ultimately moved to Utica in 2009.
Cultural adjustment, language- Notes how the most difficult aspect of coming to America existed in the language barrier since no one in his immediate family understood English when they came
Gratitude- Shares how welcomed he felt in the comfortable small area of Utica, and how his family knew people in America who helped them and now feeling very free in the States compared to life in Thailand and Burma
Section 2: (11:47-19:24)
Family - Talks about having family in various parts of the United States including his brother in Omaha, his cousin in Texas, his uncle in Chicago, and another relative in Colorado.
Religious practice, place of worship- Recounts that the Tabernacle Church helped him in adjusting to life in the States through providing clothing. While Priki did not belong to a specific faith tradition prior to being in the States, he came to practice Buddhism and ultimately built and painted a temple in Utica with other Buddhists. Notes his belief that each person should have a religion that they can practice, and he and his children learn Buddhist law from a monk.
Section 3: (19:24-32:31)
Family, education, future- Talks about his daughter planning to study something aside from medicine, but ultimately convincing her to pursue pre-medical studies so that she can be successful and make money. Talks about his son being fascinated by airplanes from a young age and now majoring in aviation. Shares his pride for his children and hopes for their future success.
Cultural adjustment- Notes the legal system in America and having to follow certain laws, but maintaining a commitment to his family’s culture and traditions so that they do not forget their history with customs like wrist-tying.
Gratitude- Speaks about his belief that being a refugee means being in a better place.