***This is not an objective article but subjective. There are no facts to support it, just my thoughts and opinions. Also the reviews on the books are also of my thoughts and understanding. Please do not use this as a source or judge everything to be accurate.
The pictures belong to their rightful owner. I do not own them.
So lately, I’ve been curious about the history of my people. This was something that have never appeared to matter to me. But as I’m becoming older and noticing all the different races and cultures and studying their history, it has sudden came to my mind that I have yet to study or even know of my history. Actually, I have come to be envious of others because of the countless knowledge and books on their history while mine provided none for me. As I have studied their culture, I have also envied their accomplishment and rich culture. What about mine? Did they accomplish as much as the others?
Actually at that moment when I realized I don’t know a lot of my history, I felt like a person who is having amnesia and is wanting to know their past. Thinking about Hmong history hurts my head because I can not recall anything.
The furthest I know about Hmong history is the Vietnam War or the Secret War. I know it because that’s why I am here in the United States. And because there are countless songs in Hmong about that year ,1975, where there was a Hmong genocide in Laos and when they had fled to Thailand. And another thing I know is that ‘Hmong people originated from China’. I know that because I’ve been fed that statement my whole life.
But thinking back to everything, I really don’t know. I felt lost. I felt like I did not belong anywhere. My Hmong people are spread all over the world. We most unlikely will never be able to reunite or see each other again. And that hurts me a lot.
Also, reality have hit me also. My Hmong culture is fading and the images are becoming more faint. My siblings and I don’t even speak that much Hmong anymore. Even now as I’m writing, it’s all in English. I can barely write in Hmong or read some things. I glad that I’m still able to speak and understand Hmong. That saddens me greatly.
But I’m actually grateful for this realization. Because I did take actions after this. I headed to the library to find books on Hmong. Sadly there were not much. I only found 2 books on the Hmong people, which I will be sharing my thoughts on today.
The first book that I read was: Hmong: History of a People by Keith Quincy.
Reading it, I’ve learned a few things. But I am not entirely sure that all the information are true. Because really, no one really knows anymore…
In the beginning of the book, it started off with Ch’ien Lung (aka Chinese Emperor Qianlong) revenge on the Hmong people. It talked about Sonom, who was a Hmong king, that rebelled against the Chinese emperor who had wanted to civilized the Hmong people. That first got me thinking to myself: We were rebels?
I was surprised that the book stated that some Hmong people were blond and blue eyes, just like the Caucasians. That was something I’ve never heard of. It stated that Hmong people might not have been Asians at all from the beginning but maybe ‘Caucasians’? And that they might be from Siberia instead.
Also, there were mentions of the rift between the Chinese and Hmong people. I briefly remembered one of my friend telling me that his grandma hates the Chinese and Thai people because they had treated the Hmong badly. I never really knew the details of why the Chinese and Hmong didn’t get along with each other back then. In fact, the only thing I knew was that the Chinese were treating the Hmong people poorly thus they (most) migrated south to Indochina.
I have also discover about the Hmong relations with the French people. That made some sense in my head because some Hmong people lived in France. But I have always wondered why it was France. It didn’t talk about other European countries, only France. It make sense now that that is the reason why some Hmong people will be in France. But what about Australia? I’m still curious about that.
Upon reaching the stories of Hmong leaders and the Vietnam War, I stopped reading the book. It just got less interesting I guess. But for the Secret (Vietnam) War, I’ve heard it so many times. I was getting sick of it I guess. If you want to know more, please do go read it.
I have learned many things, but I still don’t know what to believe. I need to read more, that’s all I know. (After more research, many people said that the book was not credible enough.) But it’s hard trying to find something so scarce and unknown to people. I don’t know who to believe anymore. It’s kinda like trying to find a needle in the hay.
I have kind of forgotten the other book I read. But it was more about the Hmong American and their early live and struggles in the U.S. It wasn’t really what I was looking for. It did talk a bit about the Hmong language, which I was interested in but that was it.
After reading these two books, my love for my culture grew (not that I’ve never loved it from the beginning) even more . I felt a sense of responsibility to protect and keep my culture. Sure, everything about my culture is not perfect but then again, it’s a part of my identity that I can’t deny. And after growing to love it more, I feel more love for myself also.
And these concludes my review on this topic. I hope to research more because I have yet to quench my thirst. I still have so much yet to know about my ancestors and their past. I don’t want to be left in the dark…