Ty Lam oral history interview and transcript
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This recording and transcript form part of a collection of oral history interviews conducted by the Chao Center for Asian Studies at Rice University. This collection includes audio recordings and transcripts of interviews with Asian Americans native to or living in Houston.
Ty Lam was born in Kampot, Cambodia in 1974. He was born during a time of unrest and grew up during the time of the Khmer Rouge. He lost two brothers, a father, and a sister. However, the rest of his family was able to leave Cambodia in 1979, heading to refugee camps in Thailand and the Philippines before further immigrating to the US. One brother was able to immigrate first to Denver, Colorado and the rest of the family rejoined him in Colorado. Lam grew up and went to elementary, middle, and high school in Colorado. He had no English background prior to immigration, but picked it up quickly. As a kid, he enjoyed sports, especially basketball and tennis. He got his first job cleaning dishes at a restaurant afterschool, but later worked during the summers cleaning high schools and working at an amusement park. He attended Colorado Mountain College where he got a degree in Photography. He was inspired to pursue photography because of his desire to travel. After graduation, he worked in film labs and developing photos for a photographer in Aspen. He later worked at a glamour shop in a mall and after that at a camera store, which he subsequently took over. His other siblings have moved all over the US from Colorado. Lam previously was helping his brother with a liquor store in New Jersey and a year ago moved to Houston to help his sister with a donut shop. He associates with Colorado and had to adjust to living in Houston. He is currently working at B&B Donuts.