Posted on January 23, 2008 at 10:54 AM
Just a funny concept from the get-go... a guided group of travel writers go hiking in the Australian outback!?! It references the reality of this likely common but absurd frame. It really captures how hiking is about thinking... or rather "time away." Exploring how travel says more about who we are as Westerners than about the local culture or place we are visiting. I love the grasping/searching for something feel of this piece, it puts me inside the experience. Great piece.
Posted on January 18, 2008 at 09:22 AM
The piece builds well with nice tempo in the conversation between Chandra and her mother. It softly raises to a lot of cultural questions about women's sexual roles Cambodia, being an immigrant in America and being a teenager in America.
I wish these questions were explored more deeply... BUT as a short piece, the mother/daughter moments convey a lot of what goes unsaid, how a new "culture" has become more significant than "family."
Posted on January 17, 2008 at 01:32 PM
The piece is inspiring, plus scary. Hearing the kids' voices puts a lump in throat. The voices of Natural Helpers say so much about the pain and strength of the community. Love the beginning!
Posted on December 17, 2007 at 11:52 AM
Extremely compelling while also not being shy of the political elements that affected him so personally. I particularly like his discussion of the people around him, his diet, his family back home, his emotions... yet I wished he emotionally engaged in his storytelling with what he called his "dark education" of his kidnapping. This was the most disturbing and engaging part and could have been flushed out more. I wish I had heard this excellent piece on my local public radio station (as well as on PRX)!
Posted on November 26, 2007 at 11:47 AM
I would love to hear this piece during the holidays! It develops with many compelling actions of a genuine Christmas experience. The sign and voicemail moments are quite memorable, as well as the visceral scene of cutting the tree. The narrator also took gentle pocks at himself, nice!
I did not like the beginning, too in my face, although I realize this an essay. While I agree with the sentiment towards Christmas, I would rather be shown through the narrative in another way. Cleaning-up the beginning would create a "stare at the radio piece" for me.
Posted on November 19, 2007 at 09:46 AM
I like the simplicity of this piece. The narration is read too repetitively but I am able to get past this limitation. I love the uncle's voice and the emotional honesty about his Obaltine obsession. The border crossing story is great. I am curious why he loves the product so much? Childhood memories? Family? TV ads? Addressing these background issues may have provided a narrative tie-in.
Posted on August 27, 2007 at 12:19 PM
Beautiful singing although quite difficult my ear to adjust to. Brings me to the place! Academic strikes a refreshing note...
Posted on August 27, 2007 at 07:46 AM
A vibrant poem with the odor of an unknown place. How wonderfully curious! Perfect for exploring social identities of a modern city, beyond the simply obvious challenges of multiculturalism. I would like to hear more of this type of piece on weekday NPR.
Posted on August 26, 2007 at 05:32 PM
Important topic! Lightening is quite common in Asia as well. I would have liked more social interactions to further explore the issue, maybe a discussion with young women considering or just starting to lighten. While the medical impact is serious, the piece doesn't hold a strong narrative thread.