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US-Cambodians Watch as Obama Takes Office

Americans watched Barrack Obama become the 44th president of the United States last week, and some of them said they had new hopes for the US economy, as well as national and global security.

Jeffrey Sdoeung, a Cambodian-American from the state of Rhode Island, said he traveled for 10 hours in the bitter cold to watch the Jan. 20 inauguration.

"Our country is facing difficulty now, including money and jobs," he said. "It is all very difficult, but after I heard Obama's speech, I have a lot of hope, because now we have one wonderful president, who can help people and other countries around the world."

Sdoeung said he was attending his first inauguration and was surprised to find millions of people from across America gathered on the National Mall in front of the US Capitol building.

"I have never seen as many people as this," he said. "On the morning of Inauguration Day, I traveled from my friend's house in DC by Metro train to the National Mall…and I saw so many people filling the train, it was amazing."

Grant Quinn, another Cambodian-American, from Washington, had not traveled as far as Sdoeung, but he said he too had more confidence in the US economy after hearing Obama's speech.

"Now the American people have lost a lot of jobs, but I think that Obama has his own program to provide more jobs to people," he said.

He had not attended the inaugurations of former president George W. Bush, he said.

"When I was young, I went to see the inaugurations of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Sr., and Bill Clinton," he said. "But I did not go to see George W. Bush's inauguration, because I didn't like him."

Vutha Chinn, who lives in Philadelphia, said he felt happy on behalf of Khmer refugees who had come to a land of opportunity and were now able to participate in events such as the inauguration.

"I am very grateful to be able to participate in and applaud Obama's inauguration and support his success in becoming American's president," he said.