One of my main objective coming to Thailand was to learn about the different cultures in Thailand. Since I am Hmong and was also born in a Thai refugee camp, I really interested in the Hmong culture here in Thailand. I want to see how different are the Hmong here compare to the Hmong in America. Before coming, I thought that that are very traditional and still do everything the same old fashion way.
By going to the Hmong village, I realized that their daily lives are very different from ours. They still do traditional things such as farming, sewing, hand-laundry, and playing spinning top. Not only that, I realized that they still wear their traditional Hmong clothes every day. I found this to be very interesting because modern Hmong people don’t usually wear Hmong clothes. We usually wear Hmong clothes for special occasion like Hmong New Year and wedding only.
Another thing that I realized about the Hmong people in Thailand is that they are losing their language. Since they have excess to education and getting a higher education outside of their village, they started to use Thai language more and more. And because they are surrounded by native speaking Thai, they don’t usually use their native language. From what I see today, there are many Hmong people who struggle to speak Hmong. For example, the Hmong sister who explained to us about the process of making thread struggle to use her Hmong because she doesn’t use it that much. Not only that, I also saw some children in the street communicate through Thai instead of Hmong. I’m very surprise how they can keep their traditional going but not their language.
Overall, I think it was a very good opportunity to get to see the culture difference between Hmong in America and in Thailand. Coming in, I was expecting to meet Hmong people who are super traditional and know Hmong very well. Even though I was wrong, I understand that things can’t always be the same. Like the Hmong in America, we also to struggle to keep our language going because of the education system and society. We have no choice but to use English to communicate and fit in with the society. Just like the Hmong people who are in Thailand, they have no choice but to learn how to speak Thai to communicate with Thai people.