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BayonBayou w/Mani Podcast

BayonBayou w/Mani is VOA Khmer’s first podcast in English and its objective is to give voice to the Cambodian American experience. The podcast provides an open, conversational space for connecting, sharing experiences, and exploring new perspectives and possibilities to expand our understanding of ourselves, our communities, and where we fit in.

Season 1: Anti-Asian Hate, Being Cambodian and COVID-19

Seven Khmer Americans share their immigration and refugee pasts, racism stories,
as well as their roles and contributions to the United States of America.



Episode 1

A Writer's Take on Being Khmer in America

Sokunthary Svay
Literary artist and adjunct English professor
Queens, New York

A conversation with writer Sokunthary Svay about what it means to be Khmer, her experience with microaggression living in New York City, unpacking the model minority myth, and creating a new narrative for the next Khmer generation.

Episode 1: A Writer’s Take on Being Khmer in America
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0:00 0:45:41 0:00

Episode 2

Peacemaker from Genocide Survivor

Knight Sor
Conciliation specialist for U.S. Department of Justice
Seattle, Washington

A conversation with U.S. Department of Justice conciliator Knight Sor about hate crimes and hate groups, observing the effects of apartheid on Black South Africans, and reliving his experience in Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge concentration camp.

Episode 2: Peacemaker from Genocide Survivor
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0:00 0:55:33 0:00

Episode 3

Asian Americans Against COVID-19 Racism

Mike Keo
Founder of #IAmNotAVirus campaign
Connecticut, Massachusetts

A conversation with #IAmNotAVirus founder Mike Keo about standing up to COVID-era anti-Asian hate, advocating for Asian Americans studies legislation in Massachusetts, and partnering with different communities to fight racism.

Episode 3: Asian Americans Against COVID-19 Racism
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0:00 0:39:34 0:00

Episode 4

Joy, Gloom and Mental Health

Melinda Kuoch
Psychiatric social worker
Long Beach, California

A conversation with psychiatric social worker Melinda Kuoch about removing the stigma of mental illness, assisting homeless people, and growing up in a Cambodian community bubble in Long Beach.

Episode 4: Joy, Gloom and Mental Health
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0:00 0:40:48 0:00

Episode 5

Nursing the Afflicted and Facing Death

Mitch (Vannthath) Man
Intensive care unit nurse
Gainesville, Virginia

A conversation with intensive-care nurse Mitch (Vannthath) Man about the stress of being a frontline medic during the pandemic, experiencing bullying as a teen, and recollecting his time as an illegal refugee in Thailand before coming to America in 1989.

Episode 5: Nursing the Afflicted and Facing Death
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0:00 0:43:54 0:00

Episode 6

Silent No More

Randy Kim
Founder & host of The Bánh Mì Chronicles podcast
Chicago, Illinois

A conversation with podcaster Randy Kim about the struggle to find his queer identity and Khmer-Vietnamese community, challenging the status quo, and why sharing our Asian American stories will assert our place in the American narrative.

Episode 7

Tapping into Our Superpowers

Suely Saro
Councilwoman
Long Beach, California

A conversation with Long Beach Councilwoman Suely Saro about being the first Cambodian woman to represent the 6th District, where Cambodians make up the majority of residents, touching on deportation and education challenges faced by Khmer in America, and why finding one’s purpose is crucial to future success.

Episode 7: Tapping into Our Superpowers
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Episode 1 Teaser

What does it mean to be Khmer in America? Are Cambodian Americans part of the US’ model minority myth?

Episode 2 Teaser

What’s the difference between hate crimes and hate groups? What are some ways that we can better deal with conflicts?

Episode 3 Teaser

There’s a famous African proverb: “It takes a village to raise a child.” What does it take for you to stand up to social injustice?

Episode 4 Teaser

Even the mentally strong have been affected by COVID-19. Now, imagine that you’re homeless, alone, and without resources. What kind of challenges would you face?

Episode 5 Teaser

Who were your unsung heroes when the coronavirus hit the world in 2020? Are they doctors, nurses, first responders, teachers, food and grocery workers, and/or delivery workers?

Episode 6 Teaser

We all have stories to tell, but we don’t always share because we think they don’t matter. What’s your story? What have you gone through that you want others to learn from?

Episode 7 Teaser

Who’s the driver of your success? Is it luck, hard work, self-confidence, money, education, people you know, or is it having a plan and never giving up?

Podcast Host
Mani (Manilene Ek) is a multimedia producer, journalist, and program host for the Voice of America. She’s an Asian American, refugee, 1.5 Khmer Generation, and daughter to a single mother who survived Cambodia’s Khmer Rouge genocide that killed more than 1.7 million people. Mani’s driven to tell America’s stories through the eyes of the Cambodian American diaspora.

Podcast Credits
Host, writer & producer: Manilene Ek
Editors: Elizabeth Hughes, Manilene Ek, Chetra Chap, Chris Decherd
Graphic, video & web producer: Chetra Chap

A VOA Khmer Podcast Series

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