Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Deported, disoriented, forgotten

I can remember when I was first living in Cambodia, I encountered my first "returnee" in a internet cafe. I could hear someone speaking Cambodian like I would (see this Khmenglish video for a laugh), but acting as if he should be understood better.

As I chatted with him, I was interested to hear about his own culture shock as he was ethnically Cambodia, but culturally American. I like to call these Cambodian-Americans "Khmericans". He grew up Cambodian in the US, but didn't fit in Cambodia. He could barely speak Khmer, and had a very hard time relating to relatives that never left the mother land.

One step further, can you imagine if you were deported for criminal behavior having never lived in your "home country," but suddenly waking up to find that you're on an 18-hour flight because the country you grew up in suddenly decides that it's politically correct to crack down on "illegals."

According to the Phnom Penh Post article of this same title:
...advocates in the US familiar with the issue of Cambodian deportations are quick to point to a shift in enforcement strategy on the part of the Obama administration as the cause. “I think it has to do with the [2012 presidential] campaign,” says Jacqueline Dan, staff attorney with the Asian Pacific American Legal Centre in Los Angeles.

Dan says that amidst escalating criticism from immigrant rights groups in the US regarding heightened deportations, the Obama Administration has expressly shifted its priorities to removing individuals with criminal records, as revealed in an ICE memo leaked last June. This move aimed to appease critics while at the same time positioning the administration to look tough on immigration enforcement, she explains.
This may not be popular to believe, but I doubt it's far from the truth.

The reality is, that organizations like RISC in Phnom Penh, need more support. They are doing as much as they can to respond to the increasing influx and return of Khmericans to Cambodia, but their budget is getting smaller while at the same time the number of returnees is getting larger.

No matter what your opinion is about the past crimes of these Khmericans resulting in their deportation, help is needed to reach out when they want to change their lives for the better.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

This is a letter written to a friend of mine from her mentor. I feel so inspired by it, that I want to share it with you.
I’m sitting on an airplane thinking about what the best performers and most successful people do to continually outperform everyone around them.

As we enter what I hope will be the single best year of your life yet, I’ve come up with 35 Tips that I invite you to concentrate on. Share these tips, reflect on then, post them where you can see them - and allow them to infuse your mindset:

  1. Remember that the quality of your life is determined by the quality of your thoughts.
  2. Keep the promises you make to others - and to yourself.
  3. The project that most scares you is the project you need to do first.
  4. Small daily improvements are the key to staggering long-term results.
  5. Stop being busy being busy. This New Year, clean out the distractions from your work+life and devote to a monomaniacal focus on the few things that matter.
  6. Read “The War of Art”.
  7. Watch “The Fighter”.
  8. In a world where technology is causing some of us to forget how to act human, become the politest person you know.
  9. Remember that all great ideas were first ridiculed.
  10. Remember that critics are dreamers gone scared.
  11. Be “Apple-Like” in your obsession with getting the details right.
  12. Take 60 minutes every weekend to craft a blueprint for the coming seven days. As Saul Bellow once said: “A plan relieves you of the torment of choice.”
  13. Release your need to be liked this New Year. You can’t be a visionary if you long to be liked.
  14. Disrupt or be disrupted.
  15. Hire a personal trainer to get you into the best shape of your life. Superstars focus on the value they receive versus the cost of the service.
  16. Give your teammates, customers and family one of the greatest gifts of all: the gift of your attention (and presence).
  17. Every morning ask yourself: “How may I best serve the most people?”
  18. Every night ask yourself: “What 5 good things happened to me this day?”
  19. Don’t waste your most valuable hours (the morning) doing low value work.
  20. Leave every project you touch at work better than you found it.
  21. Your job is not just to work. Your job is to leave a trail of leaders behind you.
  22. A job is not “just a job”. Every job is a gorgeous vehicle to express your gifts and talents - and to model exceptionalism for all around you.
  23. Fears unfaced become your limits.
  24. Get up at 5 am and take 60 minutes to prepare your mind, body, emotions and spirit to be remarkable during the hours that follow. Being a superstar is not the domain of the gifted but the prepared.
  25. Write love letters to your family.
  26. Smile at strangers.
  27. Drink more water.
  28. Keep a journal. Your life’s story is worth recording.
  29. Do more than you’re paid to do and do work that leaves your teammates breathless.
  30. Leave your ego at the door every morning.
  31. Set 5 daily goals every morning. These small wins will lead to nearly 2000 little victories by the end of the year.
  32. Say “please” and “thank you”.
  33. Remember the secret to happiness is doing work that matters and being an instrument of service.
  34. Don’t be the richest person in the graveyard. Health is wealth.
  35. Life’s short. The greatest risk is risk-less living. And settling for average.
I genuinely wish you the best year of your life.
I want this year to be better than last year. 2011 was ho-hum. I had some major life changes in the relationship categories, but it was also a time to let go of unecessary baggage that weighed me down. I am now freer to do and achieve what I desire.

Here goes to a bright and optimistic 2012!

By the way, I love even numbers.