Ambassador Sichan Siv's talk and Q&A about his book, Golden Bones, at the Texas Tech University International Cultural Center - September 9, 2008
Introduced by Ambassador Tibor Ngay of the Texas Tech University International Cultural Center, Ambassador Sichan Siv discusses his life and experiences, and his book Golden Bones: An Extraordinary Journey from Hell in Cambodia to a New Life in America. Ambassador Siv first introduces his wife Martha, of Pampa, Texas. He then discusses where the title of Golden Bones came from. In Cambodia, a person who is very blessed and lucky is called a person of Golden Bones. In 1992 Ambassador Siv was sent to Cambodia as part of a US delegation. He visited his father's home village, where the villagers, who knew his story, told him he was a person of Golden Bones. He then talks about chapter 13 of his book, titled “Texas,” and how heaven and earth come together in Texas. This is followed by how he helped arrange for the Dali Lama to meet with President Bush in 1991, and by a story of how he introduced the White House Mess director to Cambodian food. He then discusses United States and China relations in 1991, and China's favored nation trade status, following the Tiananmen Square protests and the Dali Lama's visit with the President . He next discusses Asian American Awareness Month, and how in 1991 they held an event in California. When George Bush was elected, Ambassador Siv was sent to the United Nations as one of the US's five ambassadors, where he was in charge of humanitarian rights, human rights, natural disasters, and voting in the general assembly, where he never lost a vote. He talks about the history of the United Nations and its importance, and how he was given the honor to address the general assembly on behalf of the United States for the UN's 60th anniversary. This is followed by a question and answer session, including questions on: the persecution of ethnic minorities; our policies towards Burma (Myanmar); the economic situation in Cambodia, and the approval rating of the United States in Cambodia (thanks in part to Radio Free Asia); the rise of Pol Pot; landmines (Ambassador Siv recounts how when he escaped, he was watching for landmines, but not for booby-traps. He fell into a punji-stick trap, but survived because he was taller than the average Cambodian, so he was wounded in the leg instead of the chest); US efforts concerning Sudan and Darfur and Cuba; if Khmer Rouge members will be brought to trial; what can students do to help with human rights issues; and his opinion on human rights organizations. He then discusses how the United States does not trade votes with other countries in the U.N. Ambassador Siv closes out his talk by describing why he ends his book with the words "this is a beautiful country."
Ambassador Sichan Siv's talk and Q&A about his book, Golden Bones, at the Texas Tech University International Cultural Center, 09 September 2008, Vietnam Center Collection, The Vietnam Center and Archive, Texas Tech University. Accessed 23 May. 2013. <http://www.vietnam.ttu.edu/virtualarchive/items.php?item=999VI2539>.