Kao Kalia Yang is the author of The Song Poet: A Memoir Of My Father, published by Metropolitan Books.
Thai men and women, smugglers, tried to buy us refugee children, sometimes with money and other times with bottles of fish sauce. To the world around me, I was one more of thousands, little girls with bangs cut straight across their brows, skinny arms and legs, living to die. I was perhaps, they thought, dispensable. My life in the crowded refugee camp could not have looked like much to outsiders. Few knew that in my father’s hold, on the currents of his songs, my world was rich with story, my future the happy ending we were walking toward.
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