Hmong in Thailand. :)


Being in Thailand has put a lot of things in perspective for me. Back in Minnesota, going to a predominately white university, I have always felt like minority. Like I was always the one getting the shorter end of the stick. Then I come here and I realize how ignorant and privileged I am to live in a country where I have to drive 20 minutes to school and still complain about how bad traffic was on highway 94. How privileged I am to have air conditioning in every building that I walk into even though it is only 80 degrees outside.

Everyday here the sun is hot and the air is humid. Now I can finally understand why my mother has the heat turned on when it’s 70 degrees back at home. After being in the United States for over 30 years, she still hasn’t adjusted to the cold of Minnesota. Visiting the Hmong village was definitely my biggest wake up call.  Things are so much different than the Hmong movies that I have seen. Both girls and boys have access to education and agriculture is so much more advanced than I had even considered. Furthermore, I was surprised to learn that only about 10 out of 200 families still followed the traditional Hmong practice of Shamanism. I thought that the conversion of religion was only a trend in the United States, but apparently that did not stand to be true.


Although so many things surprised me, I can say that I have never felt so proud of my Hmong heritage. Seeing the spinning tops, shooting the cross bow, and riding the kart down the hill really helped me embrace my Hmongness. Especially hitting the coconut on my first try! I had always known that those were genuine Hmong traditions but had never had the chance to actually do it. It made me feel like I could relate to my parents childhood. Walking around the village, getting caught in the muddy rain, and playing with the village children made me feel so at home. These are my people. This is my community. And I am their person.

Love from Thailand,

Maiv 🙂

4 thoughts on “Hmong in Thailand. :)”

  1. I loved your post! It was a cool experience as a non Hmong students on this trip to see you all interact at the Hmong village. It was nice to have you all be the interpreters. I could tell how proud you all were of your heritage and the overall experience there. I thought the land and the people were so beautiful and simplistic in their own way.

  2. Can I also say that I LOVE your post as well!? Reading your post and reflecting on the Hmong village experience made me truly appreciate who I am, Hmong. Growing up my parents never watched the Hmong movies or spoke to me about their history and past, and I would always assume that their story was the same as the rest of the stories I’ve heard about the Hmong people and how they came to America. I wished I had a closer tie to my culture and my language being born and raised in America. However, I learned from this experience that I DO know my culture and my language speaking the native Hmong villagers here. I hope to go back home and ask my parents one day how life was like in Thailand, and truly understand and embrace my culture even more, because that is the only way we can all form relations and co-exist together as a community.

  3. I can relate to your reaction and your response so well! I’ve never felt so privileged before in my whole life. I grew up in a low income family and never really knew what being privileged was until I stepped foot into the Hmong village that we visited. It was very eye opening to see what I have compared to them. I was very surprised to see many of the kids in the village when they should’ve been in school. At one point I thought that all children are required to go to school but that was in America only.

    I was also very surprised hearing that most Hmong families had converted to Christianity. I would think that most of them would still follow old tradition and stay shamans but I was wrong to judge. I am glad that I asked that question because now it makes me curious about who exposed them to Jesus and how they came to believe.

  4. Mai, the adroit way you have of threading in your experiences at home with your chronicling of your time in the Hmong village is wonderful. It is an honor to be a witness to/a part of this experience with you.

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