There is never a perfect daughter in any one’s family. No one is ever 100% perfect. In the Hmong culture, if you’re a girl there are many ways for people to say that you’re not the perfect daughter, including your own parents. In fact, your parents often…
Honestly, I don’t have the perfect body; in fact, my body is way out of the term “beautiful” that I’m actually obese. However, how do one define “beautiful body”? For many years, society has depict the beautiful body of young woman and girls as slender,…
For the past couple of years I have had some friends/cousins that have participated in the Hmong Beauty Pageants during the Hmong New Year, in which is celebrated world wide where there are Hmong. However, I always noticed something each time I watched…
If you have been put in a situation like me before then you’ll probably understand me. I have lots of friends who are an only child and they envy me for having siblings and lots of first cousins (in which in my culture are also considered my own siblings…
**Please note this post is not written offend anyone intentionally. This post will be about the difference between Green Hmong and Hmong Leng, and will include an old folklore that my parents, grandparents, and older relatives of many White Hmong (Hmong…
~ Yo-Yo Ma, Cellist” —
This is one of my favorite quote from cellist Yo-Yo Ma. I think that it is a meaningful quote because sometimes we all get lost a little bit and we need to stop and think about what we are doing and what we are supposed to do. I don’t know if this is just me, but most of the time when I am out with my friends. I see a lot of things that aren’t supposed to be the way they are. For example, one day I went grocery shopping with some friends at Walmart and this one lady who looks like she is no older with me, needed an extra five cents. She also had two kids with her, but no body was willingly to give her the extra five cents. Finally, my friends and I started to look for five cents in our “not so thick” wallet. Luckily, there was five of us and we all had at pennies.
That night when we went home we talked about what happen at Walmart with our cottage mates and parents on the phone. It just then happen to hit me that the girl was White and the people she was asking was also her own ethnic. However, at the end it was two Asians, one Black, and two Hispanics that helped her. In times like this where jobs are going abroad and people getting laid off, we all need to help each other no matter who we are because one day it may be us who needs the extra five cents.
In addition, earlier the day before shopping my friends and I were talking about our own lives and where we are going to be in the next five years. Obviously, I have no idea where I’m going to be in the next five years because I haven’t gave much thought about it, but neither did my friends. So there, we were just talking about how sometimes life can be meaningless. However, life is meaningless sometimes we just need to go out once in a while and learn from the world itself.
What does it mean to have a name?
What does it mean to have an identity of who you are?
What does it mean to hold onto your traditional name?
Some ages ago I remember a friend asking me “If you’re Hmong, then you should have a Hmong a name. Why do you have an American name? Why don’t you tell us your Hmong name when I asked? Are you ashamed of your Hmong name”? I don’t have an American name, but in the above questions she was asking me about some other Hmong students who have American names. It’s not that they don’t have Hmong names, they do but like she said so even they won’t tell what their Hmong names are. In my family, only one of my uncle (he’s the youngest on my dad’s side) registered all of his children’s birth certificate with an American name.
When his oldest daughter started to attend schools, she had my kindergarten teacher. The teacher didn’t know who she was at first; however, another kindergarten teacher came looking for me in class. My youngest sister also had started kindergarten and right away all the teachers knew who her sisters and brother was, since we look alike. When I saw Rosemary (my cousin) I told Ms. Harwell (the teacher) that she’s mine cousin. She replied that she didn’t know and thought that Rosemary didn’t have any older siblings/cousins. Apparently, there was no way for any body to tell that we were cousins since my uncle’s kids resemble my aunt, except for a two. I still remember Ms. Harwell asking me what her Hmong name was. I replied Mai Nhia and she said that it was a beautiful name that should be known.
When a graduate student May Chung was doing her research she asks me how I feel about some Hmong students having American names. I didn’t really have an answer for her then because I didn’t want to sound to bias. Honestly, if I ever have children I wouldn’t trade their Hmong names for American names. I want their names to identify who they are. Just like my friend Cassie once mention, “The moment I saw your name tag on that door. I knew that you were a special type of Asian just by your last name.” By “special type” she meant another group of Asians that she has never heard of or met before, and she was right. When she came up to talk to me, I was surprised how she didn’t ask the original question “So are you Chinese”? Instead, we talk a little bit about school and then she asks “Where are your parents from” that’s when I went into all the details.
One thing that I like about my Hmong name is that it let other people to know about my identification and it also makes them curious to know more about myself and my culture. One thing that I find funny is when they mispronounced my name, for example when I first went to the eye doctor, but then all they all got it right after the first time. There isn’t a reason why I don’t like my own Hmong name, but then I do know of some friends who are a little bit embarrassed of the name their parents gave them. It’s just like how some Koreans are embarrassed of their names’ meaning.
However, if I were to answer Brittany (my friend) and May’s question. I would tell them “It has nothing to do with shame or embarrassment. However, it is the fact of becoming an American. Some parents may be afraid of their child being made fun of or discriminated due to their given traditional names.”
It’s the last days of class (well depending on where you attend university LOL). So bring it on exams, the challenge is on!!
Good Luck on your exams :)
Friends Laughing Loudly
Homework and Teachers Plenty
Smiles and Warm Faces