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Death in Cambodia, Life in America

History Podcasts

A father-daughter podcast where I interview my father, Robert Chau, on exactly how he survived and escaped the Khmer Rouge aka 1970's Cambodian Genocide. We will follow along his journey on how a starving boy crawling out of Cambodia become a serial American entrepreneur. After 50 years, he deserves a chance to finally share his story.


United States


A father-daughter podcast where I interview my father, Robert Chau, on exactly how he survived and escaped the Khmer Rouge aka 1970's Cambodian Genocide. We will follow along his journey on how a starving boy crawling out of Cambodia become a serial American entrepreneur. After 50 years, he deserves a chance to finally share his story.



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Monica Sok - Author & Poet

Monica Sok, author of A Nail the Evening Hangs On, discusses her upbringing in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and her connection to her Cambodian heritage. She shares how her parents' silence about their refugee experiences and her own curiosity led her to explore her history and pursue poetry. Sok talks about her time studying abroad in Vietnam and Cambodia, which inspired her to commit to writing poetry. She discusses her writing process and the emotional journey of creating her book. Sok discusses the process of writing her book of poems and the responsibility she felt to carry the history of her community. She explains how she created personas in her poems to write about the experiences of her family and community from a safe distance. Sok also reflects on how writing the book has changed her and brought her closer to the Khmer community. She hopes that future generations will learn the importance of their history, remain critical, and continue to fight against empire. Supporting Monca’s Work: Website: Read Her Book: A Nail the Evening Hangs On


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Chris Parkhurst, Producer and Director of Elvis of Cambodia

Director and producer Chris Parkhurst discusses his documentary film 'Elvis of Cambodia' and his journey of exploring the music and legacy of Cambodian artist Sinn Sisamouth. The film beautifully blends the history of the Khmer Rouge with the healing power of Cambodian music. Chris shares how he fell in love with documentary filmmaking and Cambodia during his first visit in 2004. He talks about the challenges of making the film over a span of 10 years and the importance of honoring the family and the country in telling the story. The documentary film, 'Elvis of Cambodia,' explores the life and legacy of Cambodian musician Sinn Sisamouth and the impact of his music on the Cambodian people. The film highlights the resilience of the Cambodian culture and the role of music as a form of survival during the Khmer Rouge regime. It also follows the journey of Sin Setsochhata, Sinn Sisamouth's granddaughter, who becomes a successful Khmer musician. The film aims to bridge the gap between generations and promote healing and understanding of Cambodia's history. Parkhurts hopes that viewers, both Cambodian and non-Cambodian, will gain a deeper appreciation for Cambodian arts and culture. Links to Parkhurst’s Work:


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Anne Elizabeth Moore - Author, Journalist, and Cultural Critic

Anne Elizabeth Moore, author of Cambodian Grrrl, shares her experiences in Cambodia, teaching young women about self-publishing and cultural differences. She discusses the impact of the Khmer Rouge and the Chbab Srey on women's rights and freedom of speech. The conversation covers Moore’s experience teaching self-publishing to young women in Cambodia, the impact of the experience on her, the creation of her books, and the evolution of women's rights in Cambodia. It also delves into the complexities of writing about non-Western cultures and the unintended consequences of white saviorism. Anne’s Work + Social Platforms Website: Cambodian Grrrrl: Self-Publishing in Phnom Penh: New Girl Law: Drafting a Future for Cambodia: Instagram:


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Soreath Hok - A Multi-Media Journalist

Soreath Hok, a multimedia journalist, shares her journey in the media industry and her focus on reporting on Cambodian-American mental health issues. She discusses her upbringing as a 1.5 generation immigrant and her love for media from a young age. Soreath talks about her experience in college radio and how it led her to pursue a career in journalism. She highlights the importance of representation in the media and the support she has received for her reporting on Cambodian Americans. Soreath also discusses her fellowship at the USC Annenberg Center for Mental Health Journalism and the impact it had on her reporting. Soreath Hok's journalism work focuses on the mental health issues faced by Cambodian refugees and the second generation. She highlights the lack of resources and culturally sensitive care available to these communities. Through her reporting, she sheds light on the trauma and challenges experienced by Cambodian refugees and their descendants. Soreath's articles have been well-received and have won awards. She also explores her own family's story and the donut industry in her writing. Soreath's work is part of a larger movement to bring awareness and healing to the Cambodian American community. Additional Resources and Soreath's work: - - - Legacy of Mrs. Rosalynn Carter and impact on Cambodian refugees:


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Dr. Sophal Ear - Esteemed Academic and Writer

Dr. Sophal Ear, a Cambodian refugee, shares his journey from escaping the Khmer Rouge to becoming a successful academic and writer. He discusses his multifaceted work, including teaching, research, and consulting, and his passion for paying it forward and giving back. Dr. Ear reflects on the importance of educating the next generation about the Khmer Rouge and Cambodian history. He also shares his experiences growing up in France, the challenges of moving to America, and the impact of his mother's determination. Throughout his journey, Dr. Ear emphasizes the role of others in shaping his success and the importance of community. Sophal Ear shares his journey of choosing a different path from becoming a medical doctor to pursuing political science and economics. He discusses the complexities of development and the flaws in foreign assistance. He also talks about his experience writing about Western academic supporters of the Khmer Rouge and the challenges of publishing a book. He shares the inspiration behind his TED Talk and the creation of a documentary about his family's story of escape from the Khmer Rouge. He concludes with a message to the second generation of Cambodian Americans, emphasizing the importance of appreciating their parents' journey and taking responsibility for continuing the story.


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Dr. Patrick Heuveline - A Sociologist and Khmer Rouge Expert

Welcome back to Season 3 of Death in Cambodia, Life in America! We're starting season 3 off strong with a special guest: Dr. Patrick Heuveline. Dr. Heuveline is a sociologist and expert on the long-term consequences of the Khmer Rouge regime, discusses the effects of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. He explores topics such as the baby boom that occurred after the Khmer Rouge, the mental health effects on survivors and their children, and the transformation of family structures in post-Khmer Rouge Cambodia. Dr. Heuveline also touches on the comparison between the effects of the Khmer Rouge and other genocides, such as the Holocaust and the genocide in Rwanda. The conversation explores the process of healing and reconstruction in Cambodia after the Khmer Rouge regime. It discusses the challenges of conducting research in post-conflict settings and the need for comparative studies. The conversation also highlights the slow healing process at the population level, with younger generations indirectly experiencing the trauma through their interactions with the older generation. The conversation emphasizes the importance of documenting the history, promoting dialogue, and encouraging the diaspora to contribute to the country's development.


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Nick Coffill - Author of the book "Photography in Cambodia: 1866 to Present"

Nicholas Coffill's huge passion for live theatre, performances, and sharing a cultures history through photography and music - lead him to create one of the first ever fully developed photography books about Cambodia today. His book "Photography in Cambodia: 1866 to the Present" is one of the most beautiful coffee table books enriched with photography from ancient times, up until modern day Cambodia. His experience in museum curation allows this book to feel like you are walking through a "museum of photos" that tell the story of Cambodia's past. In this epsiode we discuss how Nick ended up in Cambodia, where did the origins of the book idea come from, and how this book has impacted the lives of Cambodians. You may find a copy of his book here: Nicholas Coffills Website:


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Catherine Filloux - Award Winning Playwright of the Only Cambodian-U.S. Rock Opera

For the past three decades, award-winning artist, playwright, and librettist Catherine Filloux has been traveling to conflict areas creating art that addresses human rights and U.S. complicity. Her plays and operas about Cambodia include: “Eyes of the Heart” and “Photographs from S-21” and she is the co-founder of Theatre Without Borders. “Where Elephants Weep” the only Cambodian-U.S. rock opera will air on Broadway on Demand from April 14 to 23, 2023, in time for the Cambodian New Year, with an accompanying conversation by Filloux and composer Sophy Him. Cambodian-U.S. rock opera WHERE ELEPHANTS WEEP available for free viewing on Broadway on Demand from April 14 to 23, 2023, in time for the Cambodian New Year. WATCH HERE!


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Myra Torcheux - A Cambodian Orphan in France

Myra Torcheux has her masters from The London School of Economics and aspires to change policies for children's rights. Much of her passion for this career is driven by her experience growing up in France as an adoptee. I mentioned via social media that I am passionate about highlighting stories that deserve more attention, one storyline being the great amount of orphans that came out of the Khmer Rouge. We brought Myra onto the podcast for her to share her experiences, her struggles with her identity, and more. Here is a summary of her dissertation to learn more!


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Sochanvimean Vannavuth Ph.D - How has the Khmer Rouge Effected this Generation?

I am popping out of retirement to introduce you to someone that I absolutely HAD to interview. Sochanvimean or as I call him Vimean , is a Cambodian Ph.D Psychologist at UCSB who is passionate about how the mental health and generational trauma is cultivated through traumatic expereinces such as the Khmer Rouge. We dig into Vimean's past growing up in Cambodia, and how his passion for offering more mental health services lead him to getting the education he has today. We talk about the following topics: Join us in an amazing discussion covering these topics with an educated licensed Cambodian therapist.


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Season Finale - Farewell to Robert

Robert and I share our last recording together as we close this chapter. We finalize the season by discussing what Robert has learned over the years, how he would have done things differently, and what he hopes everyone will takeaway from this podcast. We discuss topics like revenge, forgiveness, the legacy he hopes to leave behind, lessons of life and so much more. You can hear me tear up and cry towards the end and I realized this season was coming to a end. What a journey this has been. The future of this podcast will continue, but for Robert, it is time to say farewell <3 Thank you again to everyone who has listened religiously every Sunday. Please continue to follow us on social media to get the latest updates!


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A Final Message, From Me to You.



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Special Guest - Angela Wu aka The Sassy Asian Therapist

Today we bring on Angela Wu LMFT aka the Sassy Asian Therapist to bring on a professional light on what generational trauma is, and how we can cope with it as second generation asian Americans. We discuss this idea of trying to "fix" our parents as children of refugees, tactics to handle generational trauma, how we can start the conversation of healing with our parents and many more! Do not miss this episode. This is such a wonderful conversation for second generation Cambodian Americans.


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Special Guest - David Edsall Law

David and Robert met when they were both young and starting their their careers. While Robert was building his long train of shops up along highway 99, he met a nice lawyer from Camarillo, CA who was willing to help Robert on reading documents and any legal situations he was in. To this day, David is just a phone call away for any of Robert's legal issues. David has helped him navigate everything from signing on a new store, to maneuvering through the painful lawsuits that Robert has encountered. It was a blessing to have David on to talk about not only his experiences through the lawsuits, but also bring in a 3rd party perspective on what was happening, and what exactly went down with the fall of Golden Bake. Music By: Acerelio Chen


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S2 Epsiode 16: The Fall of Golden Bake

Robert discusses the lowest point in his life in America - when a family member and business partner who he trained from the ground up, stabbed him in the back and pushed him out of his own company. He talks about being depressed, angry, and turning to alcohol to release himself from the pain. Robert felt he spent his whole life working and sacrificing for this company, and only to have it be taken away by greed and jealousy was the twist he never ever expected. I hope that highlighting this story can help the second generation community do better for ourselves, and learn that the only way for us to move forward as a community is to uplift each other, not tear each other down. Music By: Acerelio Chen


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S2 Episode 15: The Growth of Golden Bake

Robert reflects on his past and the different obstacles he faced as he ran 4 different companies at once. We dive into topics like how people viewed him, jealousy, family perceptions and more. He recalls an instance where we attends a wedding where nobody actually knew who he was and he witnessed (and even joined in!) on the gossip about this mysterious man who ran Golden Bake. He remembers the great times, watching this company become the pride and joy of the Cambodian community. Robert then dives into the gigantic issue that he was faced with. Music by: Acerelio Chen


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S2 Episode 14: The Rise of Golden Bake

Robert continues to grow B&H in Northern California and ended up doing so well that he surpassed his Southern California counterpart. They had an agreement when they first decided to join together that Robert's territory was Northern California and his friend was Southern. However, the counterpart started getting jealous and crossing into Northern California territory. Robert let it drag on for 9 years until he eventually had to file a lawsuit. It was a sad time to feel like he has to be pushed to do such a thing within his own community. Robert also discusses his health sacrifices and surviving 2 strokes during this building process. Music By: Acerelio Chen


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S2 Episode 13: Crabs in a Bucket Mentality

Robert discusses the cultural downfalls of the Cambodian culture that he first realizes when he tries to grow his business. He notices that there is a lack of community and help when he comes to supporting their own Cambodian people, which we call "crabs in a bucket" mentality. Robert does his best to create this community and despite the pushback, continues to move forward and grow the business. Music By Acerelio Chen


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S2 Epsiode 12: The Beginning of B&H Bakery Distributors

Robert and I take it back to discuss how he went from a silent investor to running the Northern California division of B&H Bakery Distributors. Robert believes it was a great idea from the very beginning to supply his own community with the ingredients they needed to run their donut shops. After building the donut shops up along California, Robert already had the donut network he needed to kickstart the supply company. B&H Bakery Distributors being in Northern California while his family still in Southern California meant that he only spent 1 day a week at home. We discuss how his sacrifices and lack of family time has impacted his relationship with the family today. Music By: Acerelio Chen


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S2 Episode 11: Church's Fried Chicken and Winchell's Donuts

Robert continued on with his growth mindset and built donut shops until he hit South Lake Tahoe where he lost money due to renting the shops to owners with gambling problems. He then decided that he was going to tackle Church's Fried Chicken when he found out of an opportunity to take over their locations with the idea of potentially turning them into donut shops. Robert goes national with his dreams and even tries to strike a deal. We truly learn that Robert at this point in his life is willing to tackle any challenge that life throws his way. He also tried to tackle Yum Yum Donuts when they tried to sell their locations. We learn about the history of donut shops in California and why some of them may just be Yum Yum Donuts converted to Cambodian donut shops. Music By: Acerelio Chen