Counting Down to Mr. Hyphen 2011: Rattana Yeang

November 3, 2011

Mr. Hyphen 2011 finalist Rattana Yeang.

We roll on with our Five Contestants, Five Days coverage of Mr. Hyphen 2011 (check out all of the contestant profiles thus far) with today's spotlight on finalist Rattana Yeang.

Rattana Yeang is a survivor and an agent of change.

His family came to the US after the American intervention that
made Cambodia one of the most heavily bombed regions in the world, and
the resulting genocide by the Khmer Rouge. It is this personal history
that drives him to work towards positive change in our community with,
in his own words, “compassion, a critical perspective, humility, love,
and more importantly, in collaboration with other like minded people.”

At Mr. Hyphen 2011, Rattana will represent the Southeast Asia Resource
Action Center
(SEARAC), where he currently serves as a board member.
SEARAC is a national organization that serves Cambodian, Laotian, and
Vietnamese Americans through advocacy, leadership development, and
capacity building and envisions a socially just and equitable society.

On API stereotypes, Rattana says, “In reality, not all Asian
Americans are high achievers in their educational or professional lives.
This assumption overlooks the fact that a lot of Southeast Asian
Americans are actually anything but a ‘model minority.’ For instance, Southeast Asian Americans are the least assimilated out of all immigrant groups in the
United States. They are linguistically isolated, live in poor
socio-economic communities, come from war torn countries that have
either changed or destroyed the traditional family unit, do not do well
in school or pursue degrees in higher education.”

Rattana, we can’t wait to learn more about you at Mr. Hyphen.

Mr. Hyphen 2011 is on Saturday, November 5, at the Brava! Theater in San Francisco. Click here for more info on the event and to get tickets.