Southeast Asia

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.

September 11th, 2010  |  By Round Earth Media


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


November 6th, 2009  |  By Round Earth Media

Bomb Hunters in Laos

The mother of nine year old Hamm who was killed when a cluster bomb exploded.

The mother of 9-year-old Hamm. The boy was killed when a cluster bomb exploded. | All photos by Mary Stucky

The world economic crisis caused a steep drop in the price of metal but that hasn’t stopped a strange and extremely dangerous enterprise in the jungles of Laos. Every day kids and adults trek into the forest looking for scrap metal they can sell for cash. They find fine gauge steel – bombs — or pieces of them — left over from the Vietnam War. Many of these bombs never exploded. Mary Stucky reports from Laos on this deadly business.


November 4th, 2009  |  By Round Earth Media

Crossing East

The Chinese Teahouse restaurant in Plymouth, MN.  |  Photo: Mary Stucky

The Chinese Teahouse restaurant in Plymouth, MN. | Photo by Mary Stucky

Mary Stucky is proud to have been a contributing producer to this Peabody award-winning documentary series about the history of Asian-American immigration to the United States.


May 2nd, 2009  |  By Round Earth Media

What’s Cooking? Dosas

Eating the Dosas

Rashmi and Kabir Sharma eating Dosas in their apartment just north of Delhi. | All Photos by Mary Stucky

Dosas are a a sort of thin crepe wrapped around a filling — often potatoes — as popular in India as pancakes here. Savory. Crispy. Eaten all day long. Making the perfect dosa starts days before it’s eaten.


May 1st, 2009  |  By Round Earth Media

The Profile of a Ragpicker in India


Lekh Ram weighing newspapers at his shop in Ambala, India. | Photo by Michael Beebe

Throughout the world it’s sometimes surprising to find people still doing jobs that disappeared in wealthy countries centuries ago. One example: rag pickers. Men, women and even children who pick through trash, looking for items of value.

Today there are still millions of rag pickers in India. Only the lowest caste people do what is obviously an unpleasant and demeaning job. But Mary Stucky met a rag picker in Ambala Cantt, a city north of Delhi, who does this job with dignity and hopes to give his children a better future.


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