© 2022 New England Public Media

FCC public inspection files:
WGBYWFCRWNNZWNNUWNNZ-FMWNNI

For assistance accessing our public files, please contact hello@nepm.org or call 413-781-2801.
NEPM Header Banner
PBS. NPR. Local Perspective.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Journalist Putsata Reang shares an immigrant daughter's story in 'Ma and Me'

In this April 12, 1975 file photo, U.S. Marines provide cover during Operation Eagle Pull as Americans and Cambodians board Marine helicopters in Phnom Penh during the final U.S. pullout of Cambodia. (AP Photo/File)
In this April 12, 1975 file photo, U.S. Marines provide cover during Operation Eagle Pull as Americans and Cambodians board Marine helicopters in Phnom Penh during the final U.S. pullout of Cambodia. (AP Photo/File)

Putsata Reang’s mother fled Cambodia in 1975.

Reang was an infant desperately clinging to life. Her mother held her daughter as she fought to escape Cambodia’s killing fields and survived, creating a new life in America.

“She wanted to be on that reality show Survivor, because she was getting frustrated watching the stupid Americans not know how to make a fire, or catch fish or even know how to make their own hut,” she says. “She’s like, I know how to do all that because that was my life!”

Reang was a loyal daughter, grateful for her immigrant mother’s strength and sacrifices. Until one day:

“The breach between my mom and I happened the moment I told her I was getting married and that the person I was married was a woman.”

That breach forced a reckoning:

“This was so important for me to really look at this question about debts that we owe and specifically debts we owe to the people who gave us life and the people, in my case, who saved our lives.”

Today, On Point: Duty, devotion and freedom. An immigrant daughter’s story.

Guest

Putsata Reang, journalist and author. She teaches memoir writing at the University of Washington School of Professional & Continuing Education. Author of the new book Ma and Me. (@putsata)

Book Excerpt

Excerpt from ‘Ma and Me’ by Putsata Reang. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.