Asia

June 9th, 2012  |  By Mary Stucky

What does it mean to be an American?

Sara Mansfield Taber is out to answer this question in her powerful, provocative and insightful new memoir, Born Under an Assumed Name.   The daughter of a CIA agent, Taber composes her family’s haunting story, stroke by exquisitely beautiful stroke. This vibrant family portrait of love and heart-ache reveals much about America—our passion, confusion, contradictions, and especially, the tragedy we bring upon the world despite our very best intentions.

For those of you in the Twin Cities, Sara Mansfield Taber will be reading from her book this coming Sunday, June 17th at 4:00 p.m. at Common Good Books (corner of Snelling and Grand in St. Paul).    Check out her national reading schedule here.

Listen to an interview with Sara Mansfield Taber on NPR

Taber’s blog on non-fiction and memoir writing

From the preface:

I was born under an assumed name.

It was in Kamakura that my parents first went under. “Mr. Brown,” a colleague, met them at the Tokyo airport after the endless flights from Washington. As he was driving them the forty miles to Kamakura near the coast he asked them to select a surname. Once they arrived at their new home, nestled into a mountain slope beneath an ancient, three-story high Buddha, they settled into their new identity…

October 25th, 2011  |  By Round Earth Media

A Bias for Boys

In India, aborting a fetus based on its sex is illegal, but the practice is common due to a societal preference for boys. Up to 12 million abortions have occurred as a result of sex selection. Reporter Hanna Ingber Win gains unusual insight into this quiet practice and its implication for one family near Mumbai.
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October 20th, 2011  |  By Round Earth Media

Culion Island: Coming Back to Life

Hilarion Guia, former resident of Culion Island and now its first mayor. | Photo: Katherine Jack

Culion is a beautiful and remote tropical island in the western Philippines — but it is an island with a dark history. It was once the world’s largest colony for people with leprosy. At its peak, Culion Island was home to 16,000 patients. But today, as Mary Stucky reports, this place that was once called the land of the living dead, has undergone a remarkable transformation.
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September 11th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

Plear

For Kunrath Lam, the most special occasion for eating plear - this Cambodian beef salad - came after the murderous Khmer Rouge was finally driven out of power. | Photo by Mary Stucky

When Kunrath Lam was just a little girl she endured one of the most brutal regimes the world has ever known. Nearly 2 million Cambodians died during the reign of the Communist Khmer Rouge in the 1970s. Kunrath Lam and her parents somehow managed to survive – though her childhood was one of intense deprivation. Lam used to dream of the delicious meals her grandmother had prepared for her in happier times. Lam’s absolute favorite– plear salad. Now, in the new country she calls home, Lam makes plear for customers at her restaurant in St. Paul, Minnesota. Mary Stucky paid her a visit. Her story appeared in World Vision Report.
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May 22nd, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

In Search of Shovels

Roger Rumpf and Jacqui Chagnon on their porch overlooking the Mekong River. | Mary Stucky

Per capita, Laos is the most bombed country on earth. For nine years, every day, around the clock, the United States rained bombs down on much of the country. The bombing was intended to stop Communist supply routes running through Laos into Vietnam. Many of those bombs, called cluster bombs, are about the size of a tennis ball and never exploded. So years after the war ended, the bombs were still claiming lives every day.
On a recent trip to Laos, reporter Mary Stucky met an American couple who worked to stop that death toll by buying up shovels.
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May 13th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

GLOBAL HIT: Alexandra Bounxouei

Alexandra Bounxouei - the Lao Princess of Pop - isn't your typical pop star. | Photo by Mary Stucky

You could call Alexandra Bounxouei the Britney Spears of Laos – she’s young and vivacious, with a legion of devoted fans around the world. But she’s also a classically trained violinist. Mary Stucky has the story of the Lao Princess of Pop.
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March 20th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

Jhai Computers

School children in Laos use computers donated by the Jhai Foundation. | Photo by Michael Beebe

School children in Laos work on computers donated by the Jhai Foundation. | Photo by Michael Beebe

Back in 1966 Lee Thorn was a young American serviceman in the Vietnam War. His assignment: loading bombs onto planes bound for Laos, a small country west of Vietnam. The bombing was meant to stop supplies that America’s North Vietnamese enemy was bringing through Laos to Vietnam. Countless Laotian civilians died in the bombing and for years Lee Thorn was tormented by those deaths – until he went back to Laos and found a way to help people there. Mary Stucky reports from the village of Champasak, in southern Laos.
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March 4th, 2010  |  By Mary Stucky

The Girls of Janata Vasahat BY LYNETTE LAMB

front of busFrom Pune, India, here is Lynette Lamb, a Minneapolis editor and writer (she’s the blond at the far right in the photo). Many of us wonder what we can do to help alleviate some of the suffering and tragedy in the world. The importance of this began revealing itself to Lamb when she and her husband adopted two daughters from China. Here’s Lynette to explain what she was doing with those adorable girls in India:

As I was walking through a park one hot day last week in Pune, India, I spotted three flawless purple water lilies blooming in an algae-choked pond. There could be no more perfect metaphor for the ASHA girls of Pune’s Janata Vasahat community.

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February 1st, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media

The Taste of Freedom

Rodwan Nakshabandi became well-known for his cooking in a refugee camp before opening his St. Paul restaurant. | Photo by JoAnn Verburg

Rodwan Nakshabandi | © JoAnn Verburg

These five restaurateurs survived war, genocide, and long journeys to bring their native cuisine to the Twin Cities.

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November 6th, 2009  |  By Round Earth Media

Mekong Dams

The Mekong River flows through 6 countries. | Photo by Mary Stucky

The Mekong River flows through six countries. | Photo by Mary Stucky

In the United States, Canada and Europe, some old hydroelectric dams are being torn down, rejected as environmentally destructive or too expensive to repair or replace. But that’s not the case in parts of the developing world, including Southeast Asia. There dams are being built along the biologically rich Mekong River and its tributaries. In just one small country, Laos, seven large dams are currently under construction, and over 50 more are on the drawing board.  Some see this as a major threat to biodiversity.

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