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US-Cambodians Volunteer Voices to Radio

With time off from factories, companies, non-government agencies and US government offices, a number of US-Cambodians in Lowell, Mass., volunteer for a Khmer-language radio program.

The volunteers at Samleng Kolbot Khmer sacrifice their personal free time to seek positive news about history, culture, tradition and politics, in a program for Cambodian expatriates in the Massachusetts town.

"They spend their own pocket money looking for news," said Laing Sidney, founder of the program and a program director at the Lowell Community Health Center. "Some news we take from VOA, RFA, Koh Santepheap or other news agencies. We do not depend on one news agency."

Established in June 1999, the four-hour program comes on each Sunday at 1 pm. Five members of the team work on separate programs that cover a wide variety of topics. It grew from a 30-minute show, but Laing Sidney said there were no plans to expand further.

'The old Cambodia people here are 100 percent listening to the Samleng Kolbot Khmer," Laing Sidney said. "Some young people who like to listen to pop songs or some other political and social information also listen to this program. But there are not so many young Cambodian-Americans who were born here that listen to this program.”

Sieng Sak, who programs education and history spots for the show, said the team cooperated well to bring information to Cambodians in Lowell.

"We always keep in touch with each other to learn about the negative and positive results from listeners, and then we find the way to solve them," he said.

Kai Pahim, who creates programs important to the elderly, said he was always looking for documents on Buddhism to educate listeners.