Sai Kham Line
Audio Recording of Interview
Sai Kham Line discusses fleeing Burma due to civil war as well as the difficult years he spent in Thailand and Malaysia. He eventually comes to the US where he starts a family and attends college, though the US holds its own difficulties for him.
Other interviews of this person can be found below:
This interview was recorded in two parts, so you may hear sudden shifts in conversation as a result. The second part begins at 18:02.
Narrator: Sai Kham Line
Summary: Sai Kham Line discusses fleeing Burma due to civil war as well as the difficult years he spent in Thailand and Malaysia. He eventually comes to the US where he starts a family and attends college, though the US holds its own difficulties for him.
Topics: Conditions back home, war, conflict journey, employment, cultural adjustment, language, immigration process, return visit, family, education, discrimination, adjustment, religion, places of worship, future
Section 1: (00:00-5:04)
Conditions back home, war- Originally came to the US in 2012 from Burma (Myanmar) and said that his country had a lot of civil war. Talks about ethnic groups in the country (with different languages, religions, and cultures) and the sixty years of war. Talks about how Burmese army treats his people differently. He could no longer stay there.
Conflict journey - Crossed into Thailand (flew there) and stayed for 2 years, then went to Malaysia for 7 years. Talks about differences between Thailand and Malaysia, decided it was better to apply to go to the US from Malaysia. Says Thailand was cheaper, Malaysia was expensive. Both were not really safe for him. Didn’t have a passport or documents, could have been arrested by police.
Section 2: (5:05-7:13)
Employment, conflict journey - Got a job in Thailand working on a farm, but it didn’t pay much money. Worked in a restaurant in Malaysia. Bad working conditions, had to work overtime 12 hours and not much money. Left Burma young without his family, only with one friend. His friend is now in Missouri and came to US before him from Malaysia. Says process was not the same.
Section 3: (7:14-11:07)
Cultural adjustment, language - Said that when he arrived to the US, no one understood his English though he could understand their English. Talks about how the English in Malaysia is mixed with Malaysian. He tried to understand other people here, but they did not try to understand him.
Conflict journey, immigration process- Came to Malaysia on a plane with 40 other refugee people, including his friend from Myanmar. Resettlement organization was called UNACA in Malaysia. He himself was resettled in NJ, but it was different for others.
Section 4: (11:08-14:49)
Employment - Started working in the US after two months, at Walmart. Received a working permit and everything after two months.
Family, Education - Met his wife in Malaysia. She came to the US before him, and they married in the US. In Malaysia, they had just been friends. From the same country but not from the same state in Myanmar. Quit Walmart and went back to school, studied ESL, got an Associates’ Degree in graphic design. Has two children now, and wife is working. Takes care of his children and sometimes works part-time at a restaurant.
Employment, discrimination, education- Talks about life in NJ as being tough, hard to find a good job coming from a different background and having an accent.
Section 5: (14:50-18:02)
Return visit - In 2018, went back with his wife and children for about two months to see his family in Myanmar. They also visited Thailand.
Adjustment, discrimination - Problems he faces are trying to get a better job, to make a business, to get his children in school, communication, etc. At this point, the interviewer cuts off our narrator.
Section 6: (00:00-3:07)
Religion, places of worship, family - He is Buddhist, mentions that 80% of Burma is Buddhist. Didn’t face issues in relation to religion in the US, talks about freedom of religion. Mentions that there are not a lot of Buddhist temples in relation to places of worship such as churches. Sometimes, he and his family go to the temples for ceremonies. His family was all born Buddhist and so they continue being Buddhist.
Section 7: (3:10-6:11)
Future- Plans to stay in the US, mentions the danger in his country. When he went back to visit his family, had to stay only in the city to be away from war. Wants to get a good job and support his family.