Wednesday, July 30, 2008

By Joe Davy
Published Tuesday, July 01, 2008
Hmong "refugees" or "economic migrants"? Let the Thai and Lao governments decide?

For the first two years (2004-2006), the Lao government adamantly denied that the influx of Hmong refugees arriving at Huay Nam Khao camp in Thailand had originated from Laos . Repeated attempts by the Thai government to get cooperation from the Lao side to deport this fast growing population met with continuing resistance and denial from the Lao government claiming that these Hmong were not Lao citizens.

It was during this period, on December 5, 2005, that the Thai side deported a group of some 27 Hmong Christians due to the fact that they had wandered outside the designated grounds of the camp. The group included a woman pastor Zoua Yang along with 5 boys and 21 girls, all in their teens.

The Lao government continued to deny that the group was ever deported to Laos , but finally under immense international pressure and negative news coverage produced the 21 girls some 16 months later, releasing them from prison.

About 12-13 of these girls later re-escaped to Thailand and re-united with their families, telling them of their 16 months in jail. I had personally talked with three of the girls who claimed to have been beaten and sexually molested during their first two months of detainment. They claimed that the Christian pastor and five boys were separated from them and taken to another jail. To this day, the Lao government continues to deny having any knowledge of them.

One former diplomat had later learned that the Lao government’s reason for secretly detaining the group was due to suspicions that they were operating a "Christian missionary cell".
June 22, 2008 deportations - some were forced

Among the group of 837 Hmong deported from Huay Nam Khao camp on June 22, 2008, were the mothers of two of these girls. Both Xiong Mee Lee and Ma Thao were reportedly forcibly deported by Thai authorities (along with other leaders of the protest), after confronting the Thais with their fears of returning to Laos, due to what happened to their daughters when the Thai forcibly deported them back in December 2005.

Ma Thao also has two sons that belonged to the group of five boys who remain secretly detained in a Lao prison somewhere in northern Laos . I have also received an unconfirmed report claiming that the Lao government will be putting Ma Thao on trial for her leadership activities in Huay Nam Khao camp.

Hmong refugees being discriminated against due to Thai and Lao government relations
It is totally appalling that the Thai government continues to single out and target the entire Hmong refugee population, even those with recent war wounds and UNHCR refugee status, as being "economic migrants".

It seems quite obvious to me that the reason behind this blind policy is the Thai government’s former involvement in training these Hmong and their ancestors to fight the Lao communists some 40 years ago. Even after the Lao communists took control of the country the Thai military continued to support and supply arms to the Hmong resistance up until the early 1990s.

Now, the Thais are trying to turn a blind eye to this entire population and label them all as "economic migrants" in favor of good relations with Laos .

If the international community (particularly the UNHCR and foreign diplomatic missions) and news media don’t begin scrutinizing and protesting this flawed policy in a much more vocal way, the Thai and Lao governments will continue to make a mockery of international refugee law and get away with these deportations.

Joe Davy
Hmong Advocate
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Hmong Today


Hmong Marriage

Saturday, July 26, 2008

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In Hmong culture, it isn’t acceptable to marry a person with the same clan name. A Hmong marriage implies an agreement between two clans and it is an important goal for most Hmong men and women. Traditionally, an unmarried woman was considered a disgrace because the family would miss out on establishing social relationships with other clans. Unlike in Laos, North American Hmong males often wait till they graduate from high school or college to marry; however, Hmong girls continue to marry in their middle teens. A Hmong marriage celebrates community and is practiced as closely as possible to the ways of the ancestors in China while also adjusting to the new options available here in North America.

There are two types of wedding rituals in Hmong culture. One is the regular wedding (the “tshoob tog qws”), and the other is the wedding by request or influence of family and relatives (“the tshoob zawj”).

There is a total of thirteen participants in the Hmong marriage. There are two wedding negotiators from each side (mej koob) who act as the messengers of the wedding. Obviously, the bride and groom are part of the wedding! But they are not the center of attention. The groom‘s role is more demanding than the bride’s simply because Hmong tradition demands that he take his oath of love in front of the bride’s parents and relatives.

The bridesmaid and the best man are present. The bridesmaid’s task is to stay with the bride for two reasons. First, to make sure that the bride doesn’t try reconnecting with any ex-boyfriends; second, to make sure that the bride’s mother doesn’t try to change her daughter’s feelings. The best man is often the assistant in the wedding ritual.

Two parents, one from each side, are in attendance. And usually, the distant brother or uncle of the bride’s father and the older brother or distant relative of the groom’s father are chosen to represent and act for the parents. Next in line are two brothers by relation. Their roles are to welcome the groom and if they do not fulfill their roles, there will be penalties. Lastly, one elder is present whose responsibility is to oversee the Hmong marriage ceremony.

The Hmong marriage ceremony:Upon arrival of the marriage negotiators at the bride’s house, conversation is initiated with the parents. The four “mej koob” get acquainted with each other and begin to establish a mutual friendship prior to the wedding. The last step before the actual wedding is to negotiate the dowry price.

The parents of the bride have the option to prepare the wedding feast themselves or to give the task to the groom’s side of the family. Here, the groom’s mej koob will ask the bride’s mej koob if they would like a green pig (money) or a white pig (an actual pig). Traditionally, in Laos, the pig must be male and of a certain size. It is sacrificed in honour of the wedding celebration. During the feast, many toasts are made and this process can take up to five hours.

After the wedding, the groom’s parents put together a feast for the people who were involved in the wedding. In the Hmong culture, the parents thank each individual by giving them a small amount of money as a token of appreciation.



Being Hmong

Friday, July 25, 2008

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The Start

The ancestors of the Hmong dated back about 5000 years ago. The Hmongs lived along the lower reaches of the Yellow River in China. There was a time where the Hmongs controlled a region of China. War and persecution broken out against the Hmong people and they were focused out to another country or to be enslave by the Chinese. The Hmongs traveled to the mountains of Laos. From there, they lived in peace for many years until the Vietnam War.

Many families were separated or killed during the process of the war. American came to aid so that Laos does not become a Communist country. After years of fighting with the Americans, the Americans left Laos and Laos became a Communist country. Since the Hmonsg helped the Americans, they had to leave Laos or there will be punishments. Approximately 30,000 or more Hmongs were killed in the Vietnam War. It was a depressing period because many wives became widows, many children became orphans, and many that were killed became lost souls in Laos. The only way to escape was to cross the Mekong River to Thailand.

From Thailand, many lost families were reunited, if they were lucky. The Hmongs were put into concentration camps and had to await for a sponsor from the United States to adopt them. The Hmongs knew that American was where they can live free. This was how the first group of Hmongs came to America.

The word Hmong means free people. The Hmongs wanted to be free and able to do whatever they may without getting punished or in trouble. For this reason, the Hmongs migrated from China to Laos for freedom. Then came the war and the war took their freedom away. Afterward, the Hmongs came to America for a better life. There are many Hmongs living in the States now. There is a greater population in California, Minnesota, North Carolina, and Wisconsin. In California, there are more Hmongs in Merced, Fresno, and Sacramento. The University of California Davis has more Hmong students than any university in California. Hmong boys and girls had different roles. Being a Hmong girl means waking up early and help prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner. It also means cleaning up and taking care of the parents or elders. A Hmong boy does nothing but take responsibility for the family's actions and help set up ceremonies and parties. The Hmong people are very traditional. We have very strong family morals and values.

The Hmong culture is very elaborated. There are different ceremonies for different events. In the culture, there is the Hmong wedding, funerals, and rituals. These are kept scared to the Hmongs.

Wedding ceremony

A Hmong wedding is long process. If a Hmong boy wants to marry a Hmong girl, the boy must pay a dowry to her parents. He must ask permission to marry her. He must come to her house and ask for her hand in marriage. Sometimes, this does not happened at all. The reasons are because the couple ran away together or the daughter was kidnapped. The boy can kidnapped the daughter and she will be focus to marry him. Then the boy will call his uncles and relatives to prepare a negotiation meeting. The meeting will be about how much the parents are willing to sell their daughter to the boy. If the young girl is educated, the dowry may be ten thousand. If she is not educated, she may be worth five grand. If she is pregnant, her dowry may be lower because she got pregnant before she got married to the boy. After the negotiation meeting, the families will start the preparation for the wedding. The party will start at the girl's house. The girl's relatives will make the new brother in law drink alot of alcohol. While this is occurring, the girl's mom dresses her up in traditional Hmong clothing. After that, the daughter will join her husband and they will drink together. The party is over when it is time to say goodbye to the daughter and new brother in law. This time is so sad because the mom is letting go of her baby and the daughter is letting go of her youth. The young lady and man are dressed up in the traditional Hmong clothes. The party may stop at the daughter's house but there is more partying at the son's house. His relatives are waiting for him to bring home his new bride. It is really exciting because the families are celebrating a new beginning. This is what goes on in a Hmong wedding ceremony.


During Hmong funerals, it is longer than wedding ceremonies. When a elder dies, the funeral lasts for three days. If a young baby or adult passed away, the funeral is one to to days long. The reason is because the babies or young adults did not get to live their lives to the fullness. So, their spirits can travel fast to be reincarnate into another human being, again. A elder's funeral deals with the family sacrificing cows, pigs, and chickens. The amount of cows, pigs, and chickens killed will indicate how wealthy he or she will become in their next life. Also, it tells the dead person how much his or her family loved him or her. The dead person is dressed in traditional dead clothing. On the first day there will be mourning for the dead. The family will gather around the body and cried out because they miss the friend. The second day will continued like the first day but at night the spirit will be released to start their journey of the dead. They will travel and meet many old friends and their parents. Afterward, they travel to the end to be reborn.


Traditional Hmong rituals are very important to the family. Hmongs have these rituals to stay healthier and happy. For example, if a adult is sick and there is no reason why this person is sick. The parents or relatives will call a shaman to seek answers from the ancestors. The shaman will travel to the dead world and ask why the person on Earth is sick. The shaman will dress in his traditional shaman clothes and start to be in a trance. He will start to shake and say scared words to the dead. The dead will hear it and send his spirit to go speak with them. The dead will tell him why this person is sick and the shaman will deliver the answer to the family. A shaman can be a man or woman, but the person must be chosen or selected by the ancestors. There are other rituals than the calling of the spirits. When a woman gives birth to a new baby, the family will call the spirits to let them know that their baby is here. Another ceremony is when the couple has given birth to their first baby, the spirits will give them elder names and they will no longer use their young names. One of the last ceremonies are when the family is celebrating for the new year. The family will kill a chicken and feed it to the ancestors. The family will wish for better health and wealth. These are the rituals that occurs in the Hmong culture.



Laotian Hmong immigrants honour CIA 'secret war' pilot

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More than 600 people paid their respects yesterday to captain David Harold Kouba, an Iowa man whose dangerous life led him from crop-dusting in Mississippi and Australia to flying missions from 1968 to 1975 during the Central Intelligence Agency's "secret war" in Laos.
It was Kouba who flew general Vang Pao, the CIA's top Hmong leader, out of the agency's embattled headquarters at Long Cheng. A program distributed with services explained:"On May 14, 1975, among few of the remaining American civilian pilots in south-east Asia, Kouba and chopper pilot Jack Knotts flew the last 'up-country' special assignment to evacuate Jerry Daniels (Hog), who was a CIA case officer, and major general Vang Pao."

The written program cited words it said were apparently from Kouba in his log book: "Arrived at Long Chieng [the spelling is different] at dawn to evacuate general Vang Pao and head customer 'Hog'. All was in turmoil. Danang, Vietnam, all over. Meos [tribes people] were beginning to mob aircraft. We took off at 10:47, and this ended the Secret CIA base of Long Chieng, Laos."
Kouba died of cancer peacefully at home in Las Vegas on April 24.

The Sunday service in the Clovis Memorial Building attracted Kouba's family from Iowa, hundreds of Hmong families living in the San Joaquin Valley, military and, at least one speaker hinted, possibly unidentified CIA agents.

The memorial was organized by Thua Va of Sacramento, California. He drew on contacts in Sacramento, Fresno and Oroville, and chose to hold the observance in the Fresno area because Kouba had stopped in town last year to reacquaint himself with community people he had helped.

Thua Va had hoped that general Vang Pao, 78, would attend, but said his health prevented it.
Much of the service was spoken in Hmong, but former American fliers who supported the Hmong cause with supplies and other services spoke of their memories in English.

John Lear, who worked with Kouba in Laos, called him "my special friend".

"When they put us here on earth, there's only one thing to do: live our lives without hate and with integrity, and Dave Kouba did that," Lear said.

Comments reflected the murky combat during war in Laos.

Kouba grew up in Iowa, graduated from high school there and got his pilot's license during a year at Texas Christian College. He left college, crop-dusted then hired on with Continental Air Services, Inc (CASI).

Kathy Sankey and Rick Langguth, Kouba's half-brother and half-sister, travelled from Iowa to attend the Hmong community's homage to Kouba. Sankey, who was 11 years younger than Kouba, said in an interview that she, like most Americans, had known little about his exploits during the secret war. He returned to Iowa in 2004, but her account Sunday was still sketchy. This was, after all, a secret war.

"We didn't know he was in the secret war," she said. "We were aware he was dropping food and supplies for the people."

Sankey said her brother always had been adventurous. She looked at the predominantly Hmong assembly and said, "The Hmong people were his second family. He watched over them, there and here. He made sure specific Hmong people got out safe."
Langguth's comments reflected the intrigue and the lack of most Americans' knowledge about the secret war:

"We went in and recruited these people to help us. They are brave, courageous. We promised them we would take care of them, but we left them high and dry," he said in an interview.
Langguth said more Americans need to know how Hmong-Americans became Americans. The American government needs to do more to assist Hmong people, whom the United States recruited into its wars. Hmong fighters helped American pilots and fought to sever the Ho Chi Minh trail leading fighters and supplies from North Vietnam into South Vietnam.

Blong Xiong, Fresno city council president, said the occasion offered opportunity to remember that thousands of Hmong still suffer in refugee camps. He commended legislation introduced by assembly member Juan Arambula to assure that the south-east Asian story, including the secret war in Laos, continues to be told, "at least in California".



July 22nd is Hmong Day??

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

OSHKOSH-Chancellor Wells was presented an official copy of the Congressional Record proclaiming National Lao-Hmong Recognition Day in appreciation for the university's efforts in supporting the Lao/Hmong American Coalition.

The primary purpose of the Coalition is to represent the Lao-Hmong Special Guerrilla Units (SGU) veterans, their families and former spouses/widows of deceased Lao-Hmong SGU veterans.

"This is a stepping stone for the Hmong people," said Anne Vang of Oshkosh, a sophomore majoring in education and mother of seven who presented Chancellor Wells with the framed document.

On July 22nd 1995 in Golden, Colo., the first U.S. official tribute was conducted to formally acknowledge the Lao-Hmong SGU veterans as America's staunchest and most loyal allies. Known as America's "Secret Army," they were publicly recognized for their personal sacrifices and heroic contributions on behalf of the United States during the Vietnam War.

The Lao-Hmong protected United States personnel, guarded United States Air Force radar installations, gathered critical intelligence about enemy operations, and undertook rescue missions to save the lives of downed United States pilots. More than 35,000 of the Lao-Hmong lost their lives defending the democratic way of life, and many more were seriously injured and disabled.The Congressional Resolution which unanimously passed the House of Representatives on Nov. 13, 2001 and then passed the Senate without objection on Dec. 10, 2001, designates July 22 as National Lao-Hmong Recognition Day.

Vang was selected by the Lao-Hmong American Coalition to be present at the proclamation ceremony for the congressional record held last spring in Washington D.C. Her trip was paid by the university."I told everyone, 'I represent the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and women in higher education,'" Vang said. "To really define what an American is, you really have to visit D.C. Forever, I will owe my gratitude to the University for sending me there."

News Release #10-CONTACT: Dr. Hal Strough, Director of Athletic Training Education (920) 424-1298, E-mail:
New Major in Athletic Training Being Offered
OSHKOSH-A new major in Athletic Training has been approved by the Board of Regents and is being offered at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh.
"There is a shortage of athletic trainers who have four-year college degrees," said Dr. Margaret Genisio, Assistant Vice Chancellor. "We have the resources to offer a program for athletic trainers which is like none other in this region."
The major in Athletic Training began in the Athletic Training Education program as a Sports Medicine/Athletic Training minor in 1977. An emphasis in Athletic Training with a Physical Education Major was later approved in January 2000.
Forty alumna of the Athletic Training Education program are certified by the National Athletic Trainers Association and employed throughout the Fox Valley region by UW Oshkosh, Marian College, Sports Acceleration, Fox Valley Physical Therapy and Wellness, Theda Care, Affinity, and Aurora Health Care.
The program is led by five certified Athletic Trainers with 10 Affiliated Site and three Allied Site partnerships under the direction of Hal Strough, PhD., LAT/ATC. Green Bay Packers Team Physician, Dr. Patrick McKenzie, is the Orthopedic Consultant for the program.
Sixteen students are currently enrolled in the program, including the inaugural winner of the Wisconsin Athletic Trainers' Association Founding Father's Leadership Scholarship.
The Athletic Department also has implemented a Strength and Conditioning minor to prepare students to become Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialists.

News Release #10-CONTACT: FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/Oct. 11, 2002

Faculty and Staff Receive Awards for Outstanding Achievement
OSHKOSH-Awards have been given to 18 UW Oshkosh faculty and staff for outstanding contributions and achievement.

The Endowment for Excellence recognizes and supports the research efforts of UW Oshkosh's exemplary scholars. The professorships were instituted with contributions from community sponsors. In 2002, four faculty members received the award.

Associate Professor of Religious Studies Kathleen E. Corley received the Thrivent Financial for Lutherans Professorship. Corley is on the cutting edge of scholarship in the field of New Testament studies and recognized by many as one of the most promising scholars in her field. Her new book, "Women and the Historical Jesus: Feminist Myths of Christian Origins" is being published by Polebridge Press this month. Corley earned a B.A. from Westmont College, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Claremont Graduate School. She is a native of Merced, Calif., and a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Catholic Biblical Association.

Professor of Special Education Craig R. Fiedler received the Oshkosh B'Gosh Professorship. Fiedler has held many leadership roles at the College and University levels, as well as in local, state and professional organizations. The author of two books that have been critically acclaimed, Fiedler is also the co-editor of a cross-disciplinary journal that addresses disability policy, law and ethical issues. Fiedler received B.S. and M.S.E. degrees from UW-La Crosse, J.D. from UW-Madison, and a Ph.D. from the University of Kansas.Associate Professor of English Marguerite H. Helmers received the Alberta Kimball Foundation Professorship.

As one of the editors for the national publication Writing Program Administration, her insights into issues of writing instruction influence hundreds of teachers at the college level each year. Helmers received a B.A. from UW-Eau Claire, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from UW-Milwaukee. She is a native of Wauwatosa, Wisc., and a member of the Wisconsin Society Daughters of the American Revolution.Ava L. McCall, professor in Education and Human Services, received the EAA/C.R. Meyer Professorship. She places a high value on intellectual development within the context of fostering diversity. She has also enhanced the intellectual climate of the University and increased its reputation through her collaborative research projects with area educators and her engagement with her community. McCall received a B.S. from Taylor University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Indiana University. She is a native of Washington, Ind.

The John McNaughton Rosebush Professorship recognizes UW Oshkosh faculty members for teaching and professional excellence. The University conferred the professorships on three faculty members in 2002.Professor of English Paul J. Klemp was one of those recognized with the professorship. Klemp has committed his career to the practice of teaching and research as complementary activities. His company is sought out for his stimulating, witty talk about literature, film, seventeenth-century sermons, Milton, and rock and roll. Klemp received his B.A. from SUNY Brockport, and both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Toronto.

The University also conferred the Rosebush Professorship on Frances H. Rauscher, associate professor of psychology. Following a successful career as a concert cellist, Rauscher distinguished herself as a leading psychologist for her work on the relationship between music and spatial intelligence. Her work has convinced skeptics that "the Mozart effect is genuine" and piano sonatas can give a short-term boost in brainpower. Rauscher earned a B.M. in cello performance from The Julliard School and a B.A. in psychology from Columbia University, where she also earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in psychology.

Professor of religion and environmental studies, Bron R. Taylor was the other recipient of the Rosebush Professorship. Taylor was the founding president of a citizen environmental group, the Wolf-Fox-Winnebago Riverkeeper, which seeks to improve aquatic ecosystems in Northeastern Wisconsin. He has also served in a number of statewide capacities including the University's first representative to the Wisconsin Institute for the Study of War, Peace and Global Cooperation.Recipients of the Distinguished Teaching Award have been selected on the basis of teaching excellence, service, and professional and scholarly growth. In 2002, three faculty members were honored with the award.

Alfred T. Kisubi has taught courses such as Social Issues and Human Services, Human Behavior and Human Services. He also wrote a highly acclaimed book of poetry, "Time Winds," and volunteers regularly at community centers such as the Oshkosh Senior Center and Father Carr's Place. Kisubi earned a B.A. from Makerere University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

John Koker teaches math classes for educators such as Problem Solving for Teachers, Modern Algebra for Elementary/Middle School Programs and Geometry for Teachers. "He must help students learn mathematics and he must help them learn about teaching," wrote one of his nominators. He received a B.A. from St. Norbert College, an M.S. from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. from UW-Milwaukee.

A passion for teaching and genuine concern for her students have made senior lecturer of chemistry Sandra K. Neuendorf an outstanding teacher. Her introductory chemistry lectures are crafted so that students can grasp the very complex material. Colleagues praise her problem-solving workshop for general chemistry students. Neuendorf earned a B.S. in secondary education and Ph.D. in biochemistry from UW Madison. She is a resident of Mayville, Wisc., and the daughter of Lloyd (deceased) and Dorothy Spriggle, long-time residents of Bay City, Wisc. Her mother currently lives in Red Wing, Minn.

Baron Perlman, professor of psychology, is renowned for his ability to make even a large classroom setting seem stimulating, enthusiastic, and personal. He also edits a column called "Teaching Tips" published in American Psychological Society Observer. These columns were collected in a book, "Lessons Learned," the best-selling book published to date by the American Psychological Society. Perlman earned a B.A. in psychology from Lawrence University, an M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Michigan State University. He served in Vietnam in the U.S. Army.

Jane B. Wypiszynski, academic staff instructor in the Communication Department, has taught Business and Professional Speaking, Communication in Contemporary Society, Fundamentals of Communication, Interpersonal Communication and Interviewing at UW Oshkosh since fall 1990. She is also active in the Center for New Learning program and works with typically older adult returning students. She received a B.S. and M.A. from Ball State University. She is a native of New Richmond, Wis.The Outstanding Service Award recognizes excellence of service that touches each member of the University community. In 2002, three staff members received the award.As Director of Academic Computing Laura J. Knaapen is in charge of the entire University's computer system, including six computer labs with its 500 computers. She has also been involved in the development of Internet courses for the College of Business. She is a native of Sturgeon Bay, Wisc.Susan Neitzel provided much of the vision and leadership for the University's Center for Community Partnerships (CCP), a unique enterprise that allows UW Oshkosh to work with Wisconsin communities, organizations and businesses for a stronger and better region and state.

Saroj Thekkanath is Director of UW Oshkosh's Student Support Services which serves about 300 first generation, low-income and/or disabled students a year. The high retention rate (81 percent last year) of SSS participants attests to her success. In 2001 she received the UW System Women of Color Excellence Award.The University's newest award, the Outstanding Performance Award, offers recognition to members of the classified staff whose activities, accomplishments, and service are most deserving of acknowledgment by the University.
One of the three recipients of this year's award is Barbara J. Nemeth, who currently serves as College of Education and Human Services graduation examiner in the Registration Office. She has been a major player in bringing the Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS) to the University which faculty and advisors rely on when meeting with their advisees. Joan C. Ratchman serves as program assistant in the Department of Military Science. Whether working with technically challenging issues in the national Army ROTC cadet Web-based management system, creating complex cadet records, or dealing with a wide variety of student issues, Ratchman gladly does whatever is necessary to ensure that students and staff receive maximum support.Roberta (Bobbi) W. Reepsdorf currently serves as senior information systems resource technician in the Training and User Support Office. She has a special knack for transferring the knowledge she has to others.

News Release #11-2602CONTACT: Richard Kalinoski, (920) 424-0937FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE/Nov. 26, 2002

UW Oshkosh Production of Macbeth Airs on Titan TV
OSHKOSH- Oshkosh cable Channel 2-Titan TV will air UW Oshkosh's theatre production of Macbeth on Dec. 2, 4, 9, 10, and 11 from 8 to 10 p.m. The play was recorded in the Frederic March Theatre during one of the November performances by Empyre Productions of Oshkosh.Macbeth has long been considered one of Shakespeare's finest tragedies. It follows the rise of a young military leader who becomes consumed by the need for power and fame, which eventually leads to his down fall. Like other tragic characters, his fate is foretold leading him to believe he is invincible. This belief causes him and those closest to him to overestimate their own power and safety. These tragic flaws bring about his eventual demise. This timeless theme is as relevant today as it was 400 years ago.


What's up with known Hmong people on tv with with last name Song?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Go Hmong people! Song is a common Korean last name. However, these two Hmong people (confirmed) are representing on tv! Yah, don't get fooled by the last name. Many Song's are really Xiong's. Hmong people have last name as Song and Cha too. Both which can be Korean. Even my Khmer hubby's last name is Kim, which is more familiar with Korean but it's Khmer!

Brenda Song

Most famous as "London" on Suite Life of Zack and Cody on Disney Channel. However, she appeared in films when she was younger such as Like Mike, Leave It to Beaver, A Cinderella Story, etc.

Lor "Blao" Song

Small screen presense but first Hmong to represent on Randy Jackson's America's Next Best Dance Crew on MTV from the group - Phresh Select


Thailand: Australia To Accept 20 Hmong Refugees From Thai Camp Of 8,000: Foreign Minister

2008-07-05 13:11

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Australia will accept 20 ethnic Hmong asylum-seekers from Laos from a group of about 8,000 living in a Thai refugee camp, the Australian foreign minister said.

"Australia stands ready willing and able to take the small number of Hmong people assessed as being eligible for protection in Australia," Foreign Minister Stephen Smith told reporters at a joint press conference Friday (4 July) with his Thai counterpart, Noppadon Pattama.

Noppadon said Thailand would not forcibly repatriate the 8,000 Hmong refugees at the camp in Phetchabun province in the north. Many of the Hmong say they fear persecution on political grounds if they return to their communist homeland.

More than 800 Hmong were repatriated in June, and the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees expressed concern some were sent against their will.

Many Hmong fought on the side of a pro-U.S. Laotian government in the 1960s and '70s before the communist takeover of their country in 1975.

More than 300,000 Laotians, mostly Hmong, fled to Thailand after the takeover. Most were resettled in third countries, particularly the U.S., although several thousand were voluntarily repatriated to Laos.

Many lingered in Thai refugee camps. In May 2005, the last official major camp in Thailand was closed, and in what was supposed to be the final big movement of Hmong refugees, some 15,000 were relocated to the United States.

But thousands more slipped through the cracks, joining an unofficial refugee settlement alongside a Thai Hmong community in Phetchabun, 185 miles (300 kilometers) north of the capital, Bangkok. (AP)



Laos: Re-orientation of Hmong Returnees Necessary

Sunday, July 20, 2008
Hmong returnees, June 22, 2008

Laos: Re-orientation of Hmong Returnees Necessary
By Dara Baccam 01/07/2008

The spokesman for the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yong Chanthalangsy, says the re-orientation of the Hmong refugees repatriated from Thailand is necessary and a routine process, adding that the returnees must be taught the policies and guidelines of the party and state as well as the rules of the locality where they will be resettled, so as to facilitate their adjustment to their new environments.

The spokesman says re-orientation sessions are conducted regularly for every returning group by high-ranking party and state officials of Hmong origin, so that the returnees will understand better the information that is being disseminated to them.
Burned down Hmong shelters at Huay Nam Khao camp

Meanwhile, Thai military officials say the situation at Ban Huay Nam Khao detention camp in
Petchabun province has returned to normalcy. The refugees who had been protesting at the entrance of the camp have gone back inside and have been allowed to build new shelters to replace the ones that were destroyed in a fire in May.

Thai officials are said to be preparing to deport another group of Hmongs from Ban Huay Nam Khao. They are reportedly gathering names of those who would volunteer to go back, while trying to convince the unwilling ones to change their mind by telling them that they have no chance of resettling in a third country, and that their only option is to return to Laos.



Clint Eastwood movie with Hmong people

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Based on character breakdowns, it's apparently a coming-of-age drama about the unlikely friendship that forms between an old, disgruntled Korean War vet (Eastwood, presumably), who cherishes his titular muscle car, and the troubled young Hmong teen who tries to steal the car to impress a street gang. Here are detailed descriptions of the characters:

Feature Film
Warner Brothers

Producer: Clint Eastwood, Rob Lorenz, Bill Gerber
Director: Clint Eastwood
[TAO VANG LOR] A 15-19 year old Hmong (Southeast Asian) boy, Tao is slight, with long hair and long lashes, but he is very good looking, like an Asian Johnny Depp. His father is dead, and he lives in the house next door to Walt, a house full of women who disrespect him because he has no inner strength and resilience. A boy who would rather be a bookworm and be left alone, he's pressured to join his cousin's street gang, and he's brutally humiliated when he tries to steal Walt's Gran Torino. Intent on making amends to Walt, who has been befriended by his sister Sue, Tao works for Walt around the house for two weeks - and in the process, earns a smidgen of respect from Walt for his stoicism. Very protective of his family, and desperately in need of a male role model, Tao is pleasantly surprised when his odd friend pays him back for his labor - by helping Tao get both a job and a girlfriend. When Sue is raped by a pack of Hmong punks, Tao wants to get revenge - but Walt decides to carry that burden himself alone. HMONG LANGUAGE SKILLS A PLUS... LEAD (6)

[SUE] Tao's younger sister, 15 - 19, Sue is smarter than her brother when it comes to social skills and emotional IQ. A charmer, expert at using her communication skills to build bridges, Sue is contemptuous of local gang recruiters, Spider and Smokie - but she views Walt with wary interest. All too aware that her brother could use a masculine influence in his life to teach him the basics, Sue gently nudges Walt and Tao together, hoping for the best, and quite pleased when Tao acquires both a father figure and a few much-needed callouses. But when the local gang decides to punish Walt for his aggressive insolence by kidnapping Sue and raping her, she fears that the two strong men in her life will die avenging her honor. HMONG LANGUAGE SKILLS A PLUS... LEAD (16)

[F Ashley and Josh. Treated with contempt by his father, who regards Mitch and his family as yuppie scum, Mitch returns the favor and then some, ducking his dad's rare calls and not realizing that when Walt asserts that everything at home is "fine," that he's a bald-faced liar. He shuts Walt out of his life completely after Walt refuses to go into a home...LEAD (1)

[PHONG] The grandmother of Tao and Sue, Phong speaks only in her native language of Hmong. Utterly contemptuous of Tao because he's bullied by the women in the house, Phong has an active, blistering hatred for Walt, the “stupid, hairy white man” who lives next door. A woman who chews betel juice and spits at Walt whenever he comes into view, Phong is outraged when Sue invites him to the house. Protective of her grandchildren in spite of her caustic manner (which precisely mirrors Walt's), she knows something is drastically wrong when Walt asks her to care for his ancient dog. MUST SPEAK HMONG...LEAD (9)

[SMOKIE] The 18 - 20 year old leader of a local gang of Hmong teenagers, Smokie intervenes when he sees Tao being bullied by some black kids, and tries to talk Tao into joining the gang. But Tao's initiation (stealing Walt's Gran Torino) is a botched disaster, and he's furious when Tao backs out of the gang. Believing he's being disrespected, Smokie is intent on punishing both Walt and Tao, and he begins a war of nerves that quickly escalates. When he opts to strafe Tao's home and rape his sister Sue, it's a declaration of war that Walt intends to answer alone...LEAD (14)

[VU] The mother of Tao and Sue, this 40s - 50s Asian woman speaks only in her native language of Hmong. She is profoundly grateful to Walt from intervening when her son is threatened by Smokie. MUST SPEAK HMONG... several scenes (27)

[KOR SHUE] This old Hmong man is a shaman, who only speaks in his native language of Hmong, and who asks to give a reading of Walt's character. His reading is painfully close to the bone. MUST SPEAK HMONG...1 speech & 1 line, 1 scene (49)

STORY LINE: Walt Kowalski is a widower, a grumpy, tough-minded, borderline-hateful, unhappy man who can't get along with either his kids or his neighbors, a Korean War veteran whose prize possession is a 1972 Gran Torino he keeps in cherry condition. Drawn against his will into the lives of the Hmong family that lives next door to him, Walt grows increasingly fond of TAO and his sister SUE, and takes steps to protect them from the gangs that foul his neighborhood with their strutting presence...



Hmong culture in Sheboygan, WI, USA

Friday, July 18, 2008

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Hmong costumes from the Southern China hills

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Dress used in Thailand where many of the Hmong spent years before coming to America

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Thai costumes

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dance with baskets

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Green Hmong costume

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Mother and daughter

Hmong in all parts of the world share a common tonal language. Each spoken syllable has a pitch, similar to a musical note, which indicates the meaning of the word. The Hmong language contains seven tones. In written form, the last letter of a word is not pronounced, but indicates the tone. For example, the syllable mi can be pronounced in different tones to produce a variety of words, such as mib (sweet), mij (noodle), mis (woman’s breast), and miv (cat). European and American missionaries developed a written form of the Hmong language in the mid-1900s. Many variations of the Hmong language have developed in widely separated local communities.

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White Hmong Costumes


Within Hmong society, subgroups speak slightly different versions of the Hmong language. The largest subgroups are White Hmong, Red Hmong, Blue or Green Hmong, and Striped Hmong. A traditional Hmong story tells how these subgroups originated from a strategy devised by a Chinese emperor to divide the Hmong people. The emperor ordered Hmong villages to adopt different styles of dress, hoping that over time they would begin to think of themselves as different peoples. Although the Hmong never lost their shared cultural identity, subgroups did develop small differences in language and in customs, such as weddings and funeral ceremonies.

Today the women of each subgroup wear distinctive traditional clothing. White Hmong women wear plain, white skirts. The skirts of Blue or Green Hmong women are highly decorated with needlework. Striped Hmong women wear shirts with blue and black stripes encircling their long sleeves. Differences in men’s clothing are less notable. The traditional Hmong men’s costume consists of a black tunic and black wide-legged trousers. However, many Hmong men have now adopted Western clothing styles. Prior to the 20th century, Asian Hmong women made most of the clothing for their families from hemp. They made their own dyes from vegetables and other plants and learned numerous needlework techniques to create paj ntaub (flower cloth).

Clans, which consist of extended family members, also play an important role in Hmong society. Hmong custom forbids members of the same clan from marrying each other. A Hmong bride joins the clan of her husband. Marriage is seen as the union of two families, and clan leaders usually negotiate marriage contracts between the families.

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Striped Hmong Costume
(striped sleeves with back flap on headwear)


Hmong spiritual beliefs combine ancestor worship and animism, the belief that all things have spirits. Hmong women decorate clothes with embroidered symbols and patterns to attract friendly spirits and ward off unfriendly ones. Shamans serve as spiritual advisors and healers. They erect altars in homes and place shrines in fields and along trails. Shamans also perform ceremonies and prescribe remedies for some illnesses, which are thought to be caused by evil spirits.

In the early 1900s, Christian missionaries began visiting Hmong villages throughout China and Southeast Asia. Although they studied Hmong culture and developed the written form of the Hmong language, these missionaries made few converts. However, since the Vietnam War, a substantial number of Hmong living in refugee camps and the United States have converted to Christianity.

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Green Hmong Costume
(Very colorful skirts)


In China and Southeast Asia, Hmong practice swidden agriculture, a farming method that involves cutting and burning a forested area to clear fields for crops. Hmong farmers plant rice, corn, cucumbers, melons, yams, eggplant, onions, beans, sugarcane, and various herbs and spices. Men and boys hunt to bring in extra food. Village blacksmiths make all the necessary tools.

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Green Hmong Costumes
(males have pantaloon trousers with distinctive head wear)


Most scholars believe the Hmong migrated to southeastern China from central Asia approximately 5000 years ago. In the early 1800s, thousands of Hmong left China and settled high in the mountains of Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar (Burma), and Thailand. In 1893 many of these Hmong settlements were incorporated into French Indochina, a French colony encompassing Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. With French encouragement, many Hmong turned to opium cultivation during World War II (1939-1945). When Japan invaded French Indochina in 1940, Hmong militias, under the leadership of Toby Ly Foung, aided the French. After the Japanese surrender in 1945, the Viet Minh, a Vietnamese nationalist group, resisted the restoration of French rule in Vietnam. Some Hmong sided with the French and others joined the nationalist forces. On May 8, 1954, the Viet Minh overwhelmed the French army in the Battle of Dien Bien Phu.

Following the French defeat, negotiations held in Geneva, Switzerland, resulted in the division of Vietnam into northern and southern zones. The United States gradually entered the conflict as allies of the new South Vietnamese government. In North Vietnam, the Viet Minh set up a Communist regime and attempted to reunify the country. As the Vietnam War erupted and spread into neighboring Laos, agents of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) recruited Hmong to fight against the Communists. Under the leadership of Vang Pao, a Hmong officer in the Lao military, the Hmong waged guerrilla warfare against the Communists in Laos and Vietnam from 1961 to 1975. Hmong soldiers monitored and attacked enemy supply lines, rescued downed American pilots, and ambushed Communist soldiers. They also guarded radar installations in northern Laos used to guide American bombers over Laos and North Vietnam. At the war’s peak, Vang Pao commanded a force of nearly 30,000 men. The whole operation remained secret because it violated an agreement guaranteeing the neutrality of Laos that was signed by the United States and 13 other countries in 1961.

In 1975 the United States withdrew its forces from all of Southeast Asia. Hundreds of thousands of Hmong, fearing revenge from the victorious Communist governments of Vietnam and Laos, fled to Thailand. There, Hmong families crowded into crude refugee camps, often without adequate supplies of food and water. Although the United Nations (UN) and international relief agencies brought supplies and services to the camps, many refugees died from disease in the first few years.

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Vietnamese Hmong Costumes


Between 1975 and 1994, more than 110,000 Hmong refugees resettled in the United States. Churches, nonprofit agencies, and families in at least 32 states sponsored refugees. Sponsors oriented the Hmong to their new communities, helped them to find homes, and provided financial assistance. The U.S. Department of State tried to spread the refugees out across the country to minimize the impact on any one region. However, once within the United States, Hmong families relocated to reunite their families and clans. The largest Hmong-American populations now reside in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Because Hmong tend to have large families, these communities have grown rapidly.

Hmong families have faced considerable challenges in adapting to American life. Lack of English language fluency, education, and job skills have forced many to rely on public assistance. Some have successfully started small businesses, such as grocery stores and restaurants. Hmong women have earned money selling their colorful needlework. Many young Hmong-Americans, raised in the United States, have enjoyed greater success in the job market than their immigrant parents.

Like other immigrant groups, the Hmong have formed self-help associations in their communities. Lao Family Community, Inc. and Hmong Mutual Assistance Associations help new arrivals make the transition to American life. They offer translation and interpretation services, language and cultural orientation classes, food pantries, and housing and employment programs. These organizations also serve as community centers, offering opportunities for the surrounding non-Hmong population to learn about the Hmong. They offer frequent workshops and sponsor annual New Year festivals that are open to the general public.

Text Contributed By: Timothy M. Pfaff for Microsoft ENCARTA
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Thailand Hmong Costumes


Thursday, July 17, 2008

I like to browse Amazon since I love to read. Please take a look at these books and it's summaries. I plan to get them all. I love reading about Indian I have to read about my own people.

The following are just a few...

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Tragic Mountains: The Hmong, the Americans, and the Secret Wars for Laos,

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I Begin My Life All Over: The Hmong and the American Immigrant Experience
Hmong - History of a People

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Shadow War: The CIA's Secret War In Laos

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Covert Ops: The CIA's Secret War In Laos

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Shooting at the Moon: The Story of America's Clandestine War in Laos

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Harvesting Pa Chay's Wheat: The Hmong and America's Secret War in Laos

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Hmong Means Free Pb

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Tangled Threads: A Hmong Girl's Story

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Dia's Story Cloth

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Bamboo Among the Oaks: Contemporary Writing by Hmong Americans
The Whispering Cloth: A Refugee's Story


Learn more about Hmong people

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

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Looking through my old e-mails that I sent out about Hmong people, I came across this website.