Wednesday, January 1, 2014


My second day in Thailand was filled with excitement. To my surprise, Bangkok is quite large in size. Although I was not able to find any Hmong Thai, I was able to see how many Thai people conduct themselves in public. Unlike the Americans, I noticed that Thai people had a much slower pace when it came to walking in public. As I head to Chiang Mai, I know that I am one step closer to my goal of meeting some Hmong Thai people and one step closer to my people, the Hmong.

In the beautiful city of Chiang Mai (New City), there is much to see and much to do and on my second day I was able to get one step closer to answering my question on the similarities and differences of  the Hmong Thai and Hmong Americans. Before I begin, I would like to share something about myself and why I am haunted by this question......  

Growing up in the small town of Syracuse, New York, I wondered about who I was and where I belong in the world a question my parents often asked themselves. We were not Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, or many of the other common Asian groups but for some reason we were clumped together. With no land, no country, and no way to define who the Hmong were, we considered ourselves the "lost people". To this day, identity is a huge concern for the Hmong as many of them struggle to redefine themselves in regards to their new country. 

......... In the Sunday market of Chiang Mai, I found my a Hmong Thai lady selling hand-crafted goods with traditional Hmong patterns on her goods. I was hesitant to talk to her in Hmong but my desire to find the answers I seek took over. Before I knew it, we were talking in our native tongue. We smiled during our conversation as we talked about our similarities and differences often noting the differences in our accents. Meeting this lady reminded me of home and the struggles and challenges my parents faced in America trying to start over and conforming to the dominant culture in order to survive. With one step closer to answering my personal question, I slowly piece the puzzle pieces together...

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