By Aihwa Ong
In her prior e-book, Flexible Citizenship, anthropologist Aihwa Ong wrote of elite Asians shuttling around the Pacific. This parallel examine tells the very diversified tale of "the different Asians" whose direction takes them from refugee camps to California's inner-city and high-tech enclaves. In Buddha Is Hiding we see those refugees turning into new citizen-subjects via a twin means of being-made and self-making, balancing spiritual salvation and entrepreneurial values as they undergo and undermine, soak up and deflect conflicting classes approximately welfare, paintings, medication, gender, parenting, and mass tradition. attempting to carry directly to the values of family members and residential tradition, Cambodian american citizens still frequently believe that "Buddha is hiding." Tracing the entangled paths of negative and wealthy Asians within the American country, Ong increases new questions on the shape and that means of citizenship in an period of globalization.
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Additional resources for Buddha Is Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, the New America (California Series in Public Anthropology)
Sixty seven the second one wave of Indochinese refugees, arriving after 1980, should be divided into normal teams: Cambodian and Laotian peasants who sought safe haven within the Thai border camps, and ethnic chinese language boat those who ﬂed Vietnam and have been held in transitority camps in different Southeast Asian nations. Like different refugees, Cambodians entered the rustic with an I-94 rfile that gave them the criminal correct to go into, stay, and paintings within the usa. With the rfile, they can practice for an adjustment in their felony prestige from refugees to everlasting citizens and, after many years, may perhaps practice to turn into electorate. yet they quickly came across that American citizenship concerned being framed by means of coverage, practices, and ideology in line with already current classiﬁcatory schemes that identiﬁed groupings when it comes to race, ethnicity, morality, and industry power. From the start, humans operating with the refugees considered Cambodians as much less most probably than the Vietnamese to realize monetary luck within the usa. Cambodian refugees arrived in the course of a time of higher nervousness over the ideological, future health, and fiscal threats represented by means of refugees not just from Southeast Asia, but in addition from Afghanistan and Ethiopia. a number of social “failures,” from welfare dependency to terrible functionality in faculties, have been attributed not just to their agrarian historical past and warfare stories, but in addition to an essentializing development (that is to claim, a deﬁnition in accordance with easy, unchanging average stipulations) of cultural distinction. In a convention that has been referred to as “surveillance-correction,” social scientists writing the refugee as a moral determine eighty five up refugee experiences supplied ethno-racial classiﬁcations for social staff and lecturers that made simplistic causal hyperlinks among purported cultural gains and employment capability. sixty eight therefore even supposing Vietnamese and Cambodian refugees got here out of a similar set of conﬂicts in keeping with American intervention in Southeast Asia, Cambodians have been explicitly differentiated from Vietnamese novices, in addition to from chinese language immigrants. In a report back to the Ofﬁce of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), students elaborated a “sociocultural” portrait of Cambodians (and Laotians) as extra “Indian” than “Chinese” within the “Indo-chinese” id (which was once itself a development of French imperialists). sixty nine This artifact drew on an anthropological build of “loosely established” society—a time period usually used to explain sure good points of Thailand, not like the extra rigidly geared up societies of East Asia—and misapplied it to Cambodian society. 70 Policymakers argued that Cambodians have been extra individualistic and extra vulnerable to position emotions and feelings above duties and to take advantage of americans as function types than have been the Vietnamese (who have been extra “Chinese”). seventy one there has been no connection with the prospective inﬂuence of the new a long time of struggle, social upheaval, and camp existence at the habit and attitudes of Cambodian refugees. yet such cultural essentialism grew to become got knowledge, and the view of Cambodians as having an “affectively orientated point of view” (in distinction to the Vietnamese) used to be shared through, between others, a public-health nurse I interviewed, who in comparison Cambodians to Hawaiians for his or her “love of kids” and “nonaggressive” habit (the Khmer Rouge notwithstanding).