Asia Profile: Poet and Cambodian-American deportee Kosal Khiev | Connect Asia

Asia Profile: Poet and Cambodian-American deportee Kosal Khiev

Asia Profile: Poet and Cambodian-American deportee Kosal Khiev

Updated 28 February 2012, 17:25 AEDT

Tens of thousands of Cambodians fled the Khmer Rouge regime of the 1970s and ended up in refugee camps on the Thai border.

Some of those families were resettled in the United States and their children raised as Americans, often with little connection to their homeland.

A small number of young Cambodian-Americans find themselves in trouble with the law, drugs and gang violence mostly and their convictions earn them a one-way ticket to a country many have never known.

For many, it's the first time they realise they're not full citizens despite their parents being granted asylum and permanent residency.

More than 200 people have been deported to Cambodia under this scheme since it began in 2003 and an estimated 2,000 more await a similar fate.

In Phnom Penh, Radio Australia's Liam Cochrane met with one of these deportees, Kosal Khiev and spoke to him about his childhood alienation, his long stretch in tough US prisons, where he discovered the spoken word poetry that's helped him turn his life around.

Presenter:Liam Cochrane

Speaker: Kosal Khiev, Cambodian-American deportee and spoken word artist. To watch the video of Kosal performing, visit

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