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This edition: September 2017

Episode Details

Original tape date: August 11, 2017.

First aired: September 5, 2017.

Asian American Life kicks off the new season featuring in-depth stories on history, arts and inspirational Asian American leaders.
There’s plenty of jazz institutions in major U.S. cities, but did you know that jazz has a long history in Asia as well?  Reporter Paul Lin traces the roots of jazz and how jazz-inspired musicians in Asia made their way to the U.S.A to become recording stars.

In 2005, Monica Singh was a victim of an acid attack in New Delhi, India.  After nearly fifty reconstruction surgeries and a series of traumatic experiences, she is pursing her dream of working in the fashion industry and has graced the catwalk during New York’s fashion week. Today, she is speaking out against gender-based violence and is using fashion to empower survivors.  Reporter Tinabeth Pina shares Monica Singh’s inspirational and courageous story. 

In the 1980’s, more than one million South Asian victims of war and genocide were granted asylum, and were resettled in the United States.  It was the largest refugee resettlement program in our country’s history.  Many Cambodians came to the Bronx at time when most people were leaving.  Their story is told in the book “Unsettled: Cambodian Refugees in the New York City Hyperghetto.” Host Ernabel Demillo interviews the author of the book, Eric Tang, and a former Cambodian refugee and founder of Mekong NYC, Chhaya Chhoum.

For more than 30 years, Abacus Federal Savings Bank has been a place where New York’s Chinatown residents could obtain loans to buy their first home or start their first business. But this small family owned bank that helped immigrants to achieve their American dream recently endured its own nightmare in the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008.  The story of Abacus is the subject of a Frontline documentary, and reporter Kyung Yoon spoke with the family members of Abacus about their battle for justice.

Guest List

Chhaya Chhoum Executive Director, Mekong NYC

Kiyoshi Kitagawa Jazz Bassist

Fritz Schenker Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in Ethnomusicology, Washington University in St. Louis

Monica Singh Co-Founder & President, Mahendra Singh Foundation

Jill Sung CEO, Abacus Federal Savings Bank

Thomas Sung Founder, Abacus Federal Savings Bank

Vera Sung Director, Abacus Federal Savings Bank

Eric Tang, PhD. Associate Professor & Author, University of Texas at Austin

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