Buddha Is Hiding: Refugees, Citizenship, the New America (California Series in Public Anthropology)

By Aihwa Ong

Fleeing the murderous Pol Pot regime, Cambodian refugees arrive in the USA as right away the sufferers and the heroes of America's misadventures in Southeast Asia; and their encounters with American citizenship are contradictory to boot. carrier companies, bureaucrats, and employers exhort them to be self-reliant, individualistic, and unfastened, at the same time the method and the tradition constrain them inside phrases of ethnicity, race, and sophistication. Buddha Is Hiding tells the tale of Cambodian americans experiencing American citizenship from the bottom-up. in keeping with vast fieldwork in Oakland and San Francisco, the examine places a human face on how American institutions—of healthiness, welfare, legislation, police, church, and industry—affect minority electorate as they negotiate American tradition and re-interpret the yank dream.

In her previous e-book, Flexible Citizenship, anthropologist Aihwa Ong wrote of elite Asians shuttling around the Pacific. This parallel research tells the very assorted 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 technique of being-made and self-making, balancing spiritual salvation and entrepreneurial values as they suffer and undermine, take up and deflect conflicting classes approximately welfare, paintings, drugs, gender, parenting, and mass tradition. attempting to carry directly to the values of kin and residential tradition, Cambodian americans still usually consider that "Buddha is hiding." Tracing the entangled paths of bad and wealthy Asians within the American country, Ong increases new questions about the shape and that means of citizenship in an period of globalization.

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You could see that this inhibition and circumspection 108 governing via freedom of the ego is the expression of an specific devotion to mourning which leaves not anything over for different reasons or for different pursuits. it truly is purely simply because we all know so good easy methods to clarify it that this perspective does appear to us to be pathological. fifty three I had the feel that aside from getting drugs for daily aches and pains, the Cambodian girls saved their very own advice approximately their sorrows. one in all Eam’s sufferers used to be Mrs. Tech (introduced in bankruptcy 1), a widow in her fifties who had had hypertension and belly difficulties for a very long time. She suffered from dizziness, and felt vulnerable more often than not. after we met, she used to be sitting at the mat in her lounge, displaying me a shoebox of medication bottles: “The drugs I obtained from there's strong and it occasionally relieves the headache. . . . He attempts to make the entire girls who've psychological difficulties chuffed. yet i believe much. [He] informed me to ignore the earlier and never to imagine much. yet how am i able to omit? ” She informed me the tale of wasting her husband and sons within the struggle. “I have felt sorrowful and ill when you consider that. ” within the usa, she reconnected with one of many sons; the opposite had died on the Battambang medical institution the place she had left them. Such thoughts have been the connecting tissue to her prior, and her ongoing grief. Her Buddhist religion could be defined as a “deathlife” philosophy during which recognition of affliction and loss of life was once an ethical of lifestyles. fifty four Biomedical therapy sought to blot out her stories, in order that she might be free of the shadow of dying and take part extra totally in her followed kingdom. yet even though she wanted drugs, Mrs. Tech resisted the scientific dislodging of her earlier existence and what remained of her cultural self. either the refugee hospital, with its conflicting pursuits of conversing medication, and the mental-health sanatorium, with its judgment of what constituted basic mourning and applicable reminiscence, supplied the type of therapy that allowed very restricted possibilities for the telling of reports in a whole and uncensored demeanour. total, in view that American clinical settings “constrain Khmer in expressing their very own culture,” fifty five Cambodian girls sought catharsis via conversing of prior traumas in simple terms within the presence of sympathetic kinfolk and pals, whose group supplied the cultural context for the adventure of soreness and therapeutic. conventional Cambodian cures have been group actions, lowering social isolation and strengthening social bonds. This collective method of ache and therapeutic used to be not like the Western biomedical and psychiatric specialise in the afflicted person, however it used to be nominally inspired by means of physicians, who quite simply stated the bounds in their time, assets, and talent to heal the spiritually sick. however, inside hospital partitions biomedical practitioners sought merely the facts of what they defined because the fact of specific stipulations, and distrusted any element of the patient’s adventure that will let an alteration of the connection medical professionals have refugee medication 109 with psychiatric common sense.

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