veth_youtube1.jpgNew York has a small Cambodian community. The Fordham and University Heights sections of the Bronx are home to about 2000 Khmer immigrants. One of the more recent immigrants is Ratana Veth, Cambodian actress and karaoke star. (Note: The Times refers to the her as Ratana Veth but her internet fans invariably call her Veth Ratana). Veth married Tek Vandy, owner of the Battambang II grocery store on East Kingsbridge Road, last year and moved to the Bronx in September.

During the week Veth helps her husband at the store. On weekends they hit the Khmer ethnic heritage festival circuit, visiting Cambodian communities in Long Beach, California, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Lowell, Mass. among others. Popular Cambodian actresses have moved to those cities, but Veth is the first to relocate to New York.

She prefers acting in movies based on traditional Khmer folk tales rather than taking on more racy modern roles. While younger Cambodians prefer American culture, her move to the Bronx has caused quite a stir amongst longer-term immigrants, who gather at the store to gossip, shop and meet the actress.

One popular DVD sold in the store is of Veth and Vandy's wedding. You can watch the cake cutting, (from which we got the photo above), the procession, and the hand-tying ceremony via YouTube. Another current favorite is "Queen of the Fish" in which she plays a mermaid.