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About The Asian reporter. (Portland, Or.) 1991-current | View Entire Issue (Jan. 15, 2018)
January 15, 2018
THE ASIAN REPORTER n Page 7
Despondent Seattle teen
found a future through film
By Ryan Blethen
The Seattle Times
VENERABLE VETERAN. Bataan Death March survivor Ramon
Regalado reminisces at his home in El Cerrito, California, in this file photo
taken April 6, 2017. Regalado died December 16 in El Cerrito, California,
said Cecilia I. Gaerlan, executive director of the Bataan Legacy Historical
Society, which has fought to honor Regalado and others. (AP Photo/Eric
Survivor of World War II
Bataan Death March
dies at age 100
By Janie Har
The Associated Press
AN FRANCISCO — A San Francisco Bay Area
man who survived the infamous 1942 Bataan
Death March and symbolized the thousands of
unheralded Filipinos who fought alongside American
forces during World War II has died. He was 100 years old.
Ramon Regalado died December 16 in El Cerrito,
California, said Cecilia I. Gaerlan, executive director of
the Bataan Legacy Historical Society, which has fought to
honor Regalado and others. She did not have a cause of
“He really embodied the qualities of the greatest
generation and love for country,” she said.
Regalado was born in 1917 in the Philippines. He was a
machine gun operator with the Philippine Scouts under
U.S. Army Forces when troops were forced to surrender in
1942 to the Japanese after a gruelling three-month battle.
The prisoners were forced to march some 65 miles to a
camp. Many died during the Bataan Death March, killed
by Japanese soldiers or simply unable to make the trek.
The majority of the troops were Filipino.
Regalado survived and slipped away with two others —
all of them sick with malaria. They encountered a farmer
who cared for them, but only Regalado lived.
Afterward, he joined a guerrilla resistance movement
against the Japanese and later moved to the San Fran-
cisco Bay Area to work as a civilian for the U.S. military.
In his later years, he gave countless interviews to
promote the wartime heroics of Filipinos, who were
promised benefits and U.S. citizenship but saw those
promises disappear after the war ended.
More than 250,000 Filipino soldiers served with U.S.
troops in World War II, including more than 57,000 who
The veterans have won back some concessions, in-
cluding lump-sum payments as part of the 2009 economic
In an October ceremony in Washington, D.C., re-
maining Filipino veterans of World War II were awarded
the coveted Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s
highest civilian award.
Gaerlan said Regalado did not make the trip due to poor
health, but he received his medal in December in an
intensive care unit in Richmond, California.
He is survived by his wife Marcelina, five children, and
World Bank predicts solid
3.1 percent global growth in 2018
By Martin Crutsingr
The Associated Press
ASHINGTON — The World Bank predicts the
global economy will grow 3.1 percent this year,
which would be its best showing in seven years.
The United States, the world’s largest economy, is
expected to receive a boost from the $1.5 trillion tax-cut
package congress approved in December.
The World Bank upgraded its global growth forecast for
2018 by a 0.3 percentage point from the projection it made
in June. It is also forecasting solid growth of 3.0 percent in
2019 and 2.9 percent in 2020, after similar 3.0 percent
expansion in 2017.
The U.S. economy will grow 2.5 percent this year, the
World Bank now predicts, up a 0.3 percentage point from
its June estimate. Its forecast shows U.S. growth slowing
Continued on page 15
EATTLE (AP) — When Vannady Keo left his
mother’s Kent home after his freshman year of
high school to live with his father in Seattle, he
could not have foreseen the importance of the decision.
As a freshman at Kentlake High School, Keo was
struggling with depression, not doing well at school, and
at odds with his Cambodia-born parents.
“I was just a typical American kid. My parents wanted
me to have Cambodian roots, so those were some things
we argued about,” Keo said. “In school, I always had a lot
of friends. I would always try and hide my depression by
hanging out with them, being the cool kid, the class
Moving in with his father was an attempt at a fresh
start, even if Keo wasn’t sure how it would play out. That
new beginning happened shortly after the start of his
sophomore year at Franklin High School. Keo received a
pass to leave class and report to Room 205. He thought he
was in trouble, given his academic effort up to that point.
Keo wasn’t in trouble. He was about to be saved. The
then-15-year-old found a group of other students sitting in
a circle with Joseph Mills who runs the Southeast Asian
Young Men’s group (SEAYM) at the Asian Counseling and
Referral Service (ACRS). He wasn’t sure what he was
getting into, but decided to take a seat and listen. He was
amazed to find other teenagers struggling with the same
issues he grappled with: isolation, depression, and a
disconnect with their immigrant and refugee parents.
“I was like, ‘Wow, I thought I was the only one.’ I just
decided to open up that one day, and I opened up and told
them my problems; we were just conversing about it and I
don’t know, it was really enlightening, and it made me feel
not so alone.”
The shift from despondent teenager to a focused young
man was gradual, but the catalyst was his first encounter
with Mills and SEAYM.
Mills started the group to help Southeast Asian middle-
and high-school kids from refugee or immigrant families,
a group that struggles with school more than others. In
2016, 79 percent of Washington high-school students
graduated compared with 68 percent for Pacific Islanders,
according to the state’s Office of Superintendent of Public
The documentary Model Minority Stereotype, made by
SEAYM, points out that the dropout rate for Southeast
Asians is higher than it is for other Asians, with 35
percent of Cambodians and 29 percent of Vietnamese
leaving school before gaining a high-school diploma.
The program, which has been run out of ACRS for a
decade, uses documentary filmmaking to teach life skills
and build a connection to families, cultures, and
community. The documentaries created by group
members explore alcohol and drug use, racism, and the
gap between parents and their children.
Mills runs outreach programs at numerous area
schools, such as Franklin, Cleveland, and Rainier Beach
high schools, as well as a number of Seattle’s South-End
middle schools. The group meets after school, often at
ACRS in Seattle.
ACRS has a broad mission that began 45 years ago in
the basement of Blaine Memorial United Methodist
Church on Beacon Hill to serve Asian Americans and
Pacific Islanders. As the agency grew, it bumped around
from Beacon Hill to the Chinatown-International District
before finding its home a decade ago in Rainier Valley.
The services offered go beyond what is suggested by the
ACRS name. The agency offers programs for all ages,
including job training, helping immigrants gain
citizenship, health and wellness, and even getting people
registered to vote.
Immigrants and refugees of any nationality and
ethnicity are welcomed. More than 40 languages are
spoken by the staff. If a person comes through the doors
speaking a language nobody at ACRS speaks, they will
contract with an interpreter.
ACRS and SEAYM’s influence on Keo has changed the
trajectory of his life. Once school seemed like a waste of
time and was only useful for people who want to become
doctors or engineers, Keo said. Those professions didn’t
interest him and were out of reach because of his poor
grades. SEAYM help him realize his “full potential” and
understand that an education was important for his
This hit home after a documentary about marijuana use
he was part of won a grand prize at a drug-prevention
conference. The prize carried with it a trip to Washington,
Being in the nation’s capital, meeting U.S. senators
SAVED BY SEAYM. Vannady Keo, left center, sprinkles powdered
sugar like the viral “Salt Bae” meme for a laugh while working as part of
the afterschool program at the Asian Counseling and Referral Service in
the Rainier Valley, in Washington. Helping create gingerbread houses are
(L-R) Bryan Phung, 12, Gordon Huang, 13, and Ivan Thich, 13. (Bettina
Hansen/The Seattle Times via AP)
Patty Murray, Bernie Sanders, and Elizabeth Warren,
ignited something in Keo. Where once he didn’t consider
his future, he now saw a path. He is now working toward
his two-year degree at Seattle Central College, with plans
to transfer to the University of Washington and
eventually get into politics.
The subject he did well in throughout high school was
government and political science. His government teacher
even said he wouldn’t be surprised if Keo became a senator
or a representative someday.
“For me, I don’t want to make some random company
money for the rest of my life. I want to put something into
the world,” Keo said, when talking about his future.
ACRS has become more than a place that helped Keo
when he needed it. It is now his employer. He works 20
hours a week in an afterschool program for middle-school
Mills said that Keo has taken full advantage of all that
“What’s been fun with him is how he has taken to some
of our afterschool programs to pursue his interests,” Mills
On a recent afternoon, Keo and another ACRS employee
tried to corral about 15 middle-schoolers while making
gingerbread houses. Half of the ACRS gym was filled with
round tables topped with bags of candy and an assortment
of mostly completed gingerbread houses. The final
product wasn’t as important as the camaraderie,
laughter, and flying powdered sugar.
Keo describes his work in the afterschool program as
being a builder of relationships.
“I get close with them. To have someone to talk to. To be
the person that I needed when I was in bad shape,” he
said. “These kids also have parents who are also refugees
and immigrants, so sometimes at home wouldn’t be the
most fun. They can come here where they can participate
with other middle-school students who have similar
problems and build gingerbread houses.”
None of this — helping kids like him, looking toward a
future in public service, having a good relationship with
his parents — would have been possible had Keo not gone
to Room 205 when asked.
“All these new experiences were literally spilling out of
ACRS and just because I got one random pass one day to
come join the group.”
Albina Community Bank
Part of the Beneﬁ cial State family
Chapter: to be Named
We are merging with our partner bank,
for on the
Learn more: beneficialstate.com/newchapter
See our press release at www.albinabank.com
Help us find a cure.
Equal Opportunity Lender
Equal Housing Lender
TALKING STORY IN
Polo’s “Talking Story”
column will return soon.