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Old 05-15-2012, 08:00 PM
 
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I'm curious to know if anyone is familiar with the Hmong people and their culture.

Do you know anyone who is not Hmong but can read, write and speak the language? I know a lot of Mormons are able to speak the language, but the purpose is usually to convert the Hmong people into Mormonism. I know a few of my friends are married to Caucasian men, but they aren't able to speak the language either.

Also, I'm interests in hearing your experience(s) with the Hmong people whether they are good or bad.
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Old 05-15-2012, 08:35 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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There are a lot of them in St. Paul as well as the Minneapolis suburbs.

They came as refugees, I believe, at least the first wave of them, in the 1970's and 1980's.
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Old 05-16-2012, 11:46 AM
 
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The Movie "Gran Torino" by and starring Mr. Clint Eastwood deals with Hmong immigrants. They seem similar to Vietnamese and Thai people for the most part.
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Old 05-16-2012, 12:07 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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There was a high rate of suicide among the Hmong in the first generation to come to the US, because they couldn't adjust to the culture, such a radical change for them. They were given visas to the US because of their involvement in the Vietnam War. Hopefully their doing better now....?
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Old 05-16-2012, 07:58 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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I was fortunate enough to see how the Hmong of northern Vietnam live. I think about 700,000 or so live there, making it the second largest population outside China, where they are known as the 'Miao' ethnic minority group. Significant populations are also found in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.

The Hmong are among many of the hill tribes found in northern Vietnam. I was in Sapa, the most 'touristy' part of the hill tribes region, northwest of Hanoi close to the Chinese border. Most live in villages in the valleys between the mountains, cultivating rice on terraced fields, raising pigs, chickens, growing corn and vegetables. They live a semi-traditional life...our guide was wonderful, very friendly...first night I stayed with a Hmong family...their abode was quite simple, fashioned of stone and wood...very hospitable, even though there was a language barrier, had a great dinner, where they plied me with shots of rice wine! After about eight or so I retired to a mattress on the top level.

The next day the rest of my group left so it was just me and my guide...the scenery there is pretty spectacular, she showed me her house...She's 21, was married at 16 and already has two children. She never attended school because she had to work on the farm, and had never been to Hanoi, about 400 km away. At the end I gave her a fairly generous tip.

The Hmong in Vietnam I think have a bit more freedom to live their lifestyle than those in China, and maintain a distinct and proud culture. There are different groups of Hmong there - Red, Black, Flower Hmong etc, which can be identified by their dress...Like many areas frequented by tourists, they do begin to see you as a source of income, we were constantly badgered to buy things, and on one occasion three different Hmong women competed among themselves trying to sell me the same product. Little girls would follow you for what seemed like forever repeating the cry 'you buy from me?' By the end I had bought far more than I had intended too. Still, it was probably one of the highlights of my trip to Vietnam!
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:05 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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I think most Hmong in Vietnam at least are bi-lingual. My guide was. I'm sure some Vietnamese people who lived in Sapa or Lao Cai might have also spoken Hmong or one of the Hmong languages, I'm not sure how many there are or the different dialects. My guide was actually Christian, some missionaries had been in the area. She said some Hmong did leave the villages, some went to the city, some married Vietnamese or even foreigners.
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Old 05-16-2012, 08:31 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
There are a lot of them in St. Paul as well as the Minneapolis suburbs.

They came as refugees, I believe, at least the first wave of them, in the 1970's and 1980's.
I'm from that area so I know what you are talking about.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hadrett32 View Post
The Movie "Gran Torino" by and starring Mr. Clint Eastwood deals with Hmong immigrants. They seem similar to Vietnamese and Thai people for the most part.
Haven't seen the movie yet...What did you think?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
There was a high rate of suicide among the Hmong in the first generation to come to the US, because they couldn't adjust to the culture, such a radical change for them. They were given visas to the US because of their involvement in the Vietnam War. Hopefully their doing better now....?
I didn't know that. My mom is still traditional in some ways, but she is a little modern as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I was fortunate enough to see how the Hmong of northern Vietnam live. I think about 700,000 or so live there, making it the second largest population outside China, where they are known as the 'Miao' ethnic minority group. Significant populations are also found in Thailand, Laos and Myanmar.

The Hmong are among many of the hill tribes found in northern Vietnam. I was in Sapa, the most 'touristy' part of the hill tribes region, northwest of Hanoi close to the Chinese border. Most live in villages in the valleys between the mountains, cultivating rice on terraced fields, raising pigs, chickens, growing corn and vegetables. They live a semi-traditional life...our guide was wonderful, very friendly...first night I stayed with a Hmong family...their abode was quite simple, fashioned of stone and wood...very hospitable, even though there was a language barrier, had a great dinner, where they plied me with shots of rice wine! After about eight or so I retired to a mattress on the top level.

The next day the rest of my group left so it was just me and my guide...the scenery there is pretty spectacular, she showed me her house...She's 21, was married at 16 and already has two children. She never attended school because she had to work on the farm, and had never been to Hanoi, about 400 km away. At the end I gave her a fairly generous tip.

The Hmong in Vietnam I think have a bit more freedom to live their lifestyle than those in China, and maintain a distinct and proud culture. There are different groups of Hmong there - Red, Black, Flower Hmong etc, which can be identified by their dress...Like many areas frequented by tourists, they do begin to see you as a source of income, we were constantly badgered to buy things, and on one occasion three different Hmong women competed among themselves trying to sell me the same product. Little girls would follow you for what seemed like forever repeating the cry 'you buy from me?' By the end I had bought far more than I had intended too. Still, it was probably one of the highlights of my trip to Vietnam!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I think most Hmong in Vietnam at least are bi-lingual. My guide was. I'm sure some Vietnamese people who lived in Sapa or Lao Cai might have also spoken Hmong or one of the Hmong languages, I'm not sure how many there are or the different dialects. My guide was actually Christian, some missionaries had been in the area. She said some Hmong did leave the villages, some went to the city, some married Vietnamese or even foreigners.
What a very interesting trip that you had. It is true that you can identify our dialects by the color of our dress.

What did you think of rice wine? My family and I eat it once in a while. Have you tried sweet pork?

I think Hmong in Asia are more bi-lingual or trilingual than Hmong in America. A student I tutored in Thailand speaks 1 1/2 language (Thai and a little Hmong) but she is learning 3 (Chinese, English and Hmong (even though she's Hmong she's not speak it that well)). I'm planning to learn my 3rd language only.
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Old 05-16-2012, 09:11 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianRice View Post
I'm from that area so I know what you are talking about.



Haven't seen the movie yet...What did you think?



I didn't know that. My mom is still traditional in some ways, but she is a little modern as well.





What a very interesting trip that you had. It is true that you can identify our dialects by the color of our dress.

What did you think of rice wine? My family and I eat it once in a while. Have you tried sweet pork?

I think Hmong in Asia are more bi-lingual or trilingual than Hmong in America. A student I tutored in Thailand speaks 1 1/2 language (Thai and a little Hmong) but she is learning 3 (Chinese, English and Hmong (even though she's Hmong she's not speak it that well)). I'm planning to learn my 3rd language only.
Yes, nowadays taking a trip to Sapa for the natural beauty and cultural experience is almost a requirement for those travelling in the north of Vietnam. My parents went there a few years before me. If you ever go to Vietnam, a definite must.

I don't mind rice wine (although it was a bit tough to eat it with chopsticks, lol, just kidding with you) although I'm not a big fan of alcohol in general. I've also had Korean 'Soju' and sake. I wish I could remember what I ate at the dinner, but it was very tasty...similar to the Vietnamese food I had. I think pork is a pretty big part of their diet as there were piggies everywhere!

Definitely...my guide's English was impressive. In fact the Hmong there often could speak more English than the average Vietnamese (who speak about no English) due to the many tourists who visited. On the second day of the tour our guide - actually more like what seemed like the whole village! - took us to the school where her kids went and all the kids greeted us with a hello, I think they were even learning some basic English there!

I do wonder if there is any cross-cultural exchange between Hmong communities in the various countries they inhabit. The Hmong around Sapa co-exist with other tribal groups, like the Tzai, and I think they get along quite peacefully in general. I didn't get to see market day, which is one weekends, but the local markets in Sapa had all manner of interesting things to see.
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Old 05-17-2012, 07:06 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Yes, nowadays taking a trip to Sapa for the natural beauty and cultural experience is almost a requirement for those travelling in the north of Vietnam. My parents went there a few years before me. If you ever go to Vietnam, a definite must.

I don't mind rice wine (although it was a bit tough to eat it with chopsticks, lol, just kidding with you) although I'm not a big fan of alcohol in general. I've also had Korean 'Soju' and sake. I wish I could remember what I ate at the dinner, but it was very tasty...similar to the Vietnamese food I had. I think pork is a pretty big part of their diet as there were piggies everywhere!

Definitely...my guide's English was impressive. In fact the Hmong there often could speak more English than the average Vietnamese (who speak about no English) due to the many tourists who visited. On the second day of the tour our guide - actually more like what seemed like the whole village! - took us to the school where her kids went and all the kids greeted us with a hello, I think they were even learning some basic English there!

I do wonder if there is any cross-cultural exchange between Hmong communities in the various countries they inhabit. The Hmong around Sapa co-exist with other tribal groups, like the Tzai, and I think they get along quite peacefully in general. I didn't get to see market day, which is one weekends, but the local markets in Sapa had all manner of interesting things to see.
It's also interesting because my mom watches a lot of Hmong videos, and there was this video where she was telling me that Hmong-Laotian are better at speaking English than Hmong-Thai. Hmong-Thai are shy and it does stop them from learning English. I got to know some ladies in Thailand and they knew and understand but couldn't speak. They don't practice as much as others.

I'm not sure if they do but I bet they have to-somehow-when it comes to business.
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Old 06-06-2012, 10:13 AM
 
1 posts, read 3,111 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AsianRice View Post
I'm curious to know if anyone is familiar with the Hmong people and their culture.

Do you know anyone who is not Hmong but can read, write and speak the language? I know a lot of Mormons are able to speak the language, but the purpose is usually to convert the Hmong people into Mormonism. I know a few of my friends are married to Caucasian men, but they aren't able to speak the language either.

Also, I'm interests in hearing your experience(s) with the Hmong people whether they are good or bad.
No one seemed to have answered your second question about: non-Hmong other than mormons being able to speak the Hmong language.

As you mentioned, Mormons are the main ones I know of who are fluent in Hmong. There is a black guy and a black girl on youtube who can sing fluently in Hmong, but they don't appear to necessarily speak Hmong. A friend of mine has a cousin who has a black friend that speaks Hmong fluently, she learned from the cousin's grandma. The only other example I can think of, is that, when I was in Japan, I met a Japanese Professor who taught the Hmong language to Japanese citizens. The Japanese Professor lived with the Hmong of Thailand for many years during the 70s, 80s and learned Hmong by living with them. Most of the people who were trying to learn Hmong from the Professor, did business in Laos, Vietnam and Thailand.

Considering the Hmong people aren't a powerful nation with land and resources of our own, there really isn't a practical need for others to learn the Hmong language. Whereas Mandarin would obviously be more useful for folks.
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