Share
twitterlinkedinfacebook
Image 1 of 1
tinytoones.cambodia_06.jpg
11/15/2008--Phnom Penh, Cambodia..Tuy Sobil, 31, leads a Tiny Toones evening practice session in Phnom Penh's  Toul Tom Pong neighborhood...The Tiny Toones break dancing troupe was founded by Tuy Sobil, a.k.a. "KK", a 31 yr old Cambodian and former gang member from Long Beach,  CA, who was deported from the United States in 2004.  Working out of the Toul Tom Pong neighborhood in Phnom Penh, the Tiny Toone's house runs a drop-in center  and community center for at-risk youth in Phnom Penh. Dance classes, as well as English lessons are offered at the center. The former gang member is Tuy Sobil, 30, who goes by the street name K.K. The boys are Cambodian street children he has taken under his wing as he teaches them the art he brought with him, break dancing, as well as his hard lessons in life..K.K. is not here because he wants to be. He is one of 189 Cambodians who have been banished from the United States in the past six years under a law that mandates deportations for noncitizens who commit felonies. Hundreds more are on a waiting list for deportation. Like most of the others, K.K. is a noncitizen only by a technicality. He was not an illegal immigrant. He was a refugee from Cambodia?s Khmer Rouge ?killing fields? who found a haven in the United States in 1980..He was an infant when he arrived. In fact, he was born in a refugee camp in Thailand and had never seen Cambodia before he was deported. But K.K.?s parents were simple farmers who failed to complete the citizenship process when they arrived..Like some children of poor immigrants, K.K. drifted to the streets, where he became a member of the Crips gang and a champion break dancer. It was only after he was convicted of armed robbery at 18 that he discovered that he was not a citizen...©2008  Stuart Isett. All rights reserved.