Accessibility links

In California City, Residents Hope for a Change of Fortune

  • Sophinarath Cheang
  • VOA Khmer

SAN BERNARDINO, CALIFORNIA - Many of California’s 100,000 Cambodians welcomed the Year of the Snake this weekend. That includes the city of San Bernandino, east of Los Angeles.

The city has struggled financially since the 2008 crisis. And many here are hoping now for a prosperous New Year.

Thousands of Cambodians now live in this city, which filed for bankruptcy last year.

This year, as they celebrated with music and food and water fights at the Wat Bodhisovannaram temple, many said they would look forward to a change for the better.

“I’m praying for San Bernadino to be able to stand up for educating the young and the city’s people and their daily lives,” said Phan Vichea, a resident of nearby Highland.

“We always hope for something,” said Yan Sovann, of San Bernadino, as music blared and children ran around blowing bubbles, playing in a nearby fountain, or sharing sips from fresh coconuts. “Like money to support our families and children. When we have money, we can do anything we want.”

Regardless of their current fortune, residents for now are celebrating, in a city with more spirit than money.

“I want to wish health and happiness and to everyone!” said Honey Cheoun, laughing and smiling as she sold T-shirts and water pistols to the crowd. “All the world!”