Wednesday, December 24, 2008

©SommerFilms, July 1, 2008
HUNTED LIKE ANIMALS filmmaker Rebecca Sommer released July 1, 2008 an eye-opening 8 minute long video titled:"THE SHAMEFUL TRUTH HOW LAOS TREATS REPATRIATED HMONG LAO REFUGEES"
To watch click here:

The video's purpose is to raise awareness on how communist Laos (LPDR) may treat those Hmong refugees forced back to Laos.

Thailand deported hundreds and hundreds of desperate Hmong Lao refugees back to Laos - many against their consent.
The international community has no access to those forcefully returned. In the past, if a journalist or diplomat was allowed to visit some of the returnees, they were surveilled by Lao officials, and the frightened Hmong Lao could not speak freely to them.
There is no data on how many are gone missing, and there is no record on their whereabouts.

June 2008, Thailand deported over 1600 refugees back to Laos. The operation came after a mass protest by thousands of Lao Hmong who broke out of the refugee camp in Phetchabun Province run by the Thai Army in a desperate attempt to walk towards Bangkok, to reach the UNHCR, who has been denied access to the refugees - by Thailand.

Hear what these Hmong Lao children endured, after they were forced back to Laos in 2005. The "Missing 26 children" made international headlines. Thailand forcefully deported 21 girls, 5 boys and one woman back to Laos December 2005. The children's parents remained in the refugee camp in Thailand - helpless and desperately waiting for their stolen children . The children's parents were Christians, and fled Laos to escape religious persecution. After persistent international pressure, Laos- all by a sudden- "found" 16 months later, in March 2007, 21 of the children, all of them girls, while the woman and 5 boys are still"missing".

And after you watched this video, take the time and WATCH the video which was released by LAOS to promote to the international media that the girls have been found, and were happy and well-treated, titled :"Handover 21 girls."

( In case the LPDR decides to remove their video after the release of "THE SHAMEFUL TRUTH...", you can contact for another link to the LPDR video.)


The Hmong hill tribe in Laos was recruited in 1961 by the CIA, to fight a "Secret War" against the Communists of North Vietnam. Their job was to try to block the Vietcong's supply route.

Known as the "Ho Chi Minh trail", it ran through Laos, along the border with Vietnam. More than 40,000 Hmong were killed in the fighting that followed.

When the US fled Saigon in 1975, Communists also seized control of Laos.

The Hmong, abandoned by the US, allegedly became the target of retaliation and persecution.

This marked the beginning of the mass exodus of Hmong refugees into Thailand, which eventually swelled to more than 300,000.

Known as the "Ho Chi Minh trail", it ran through Laos, along the border with Vietnam. More than 40,000 Hmong were killed in the fighting that followed.

When the US fled Saigon in 1975, Communists also seized control of Laos.

The Hmong, abandoned by the US, allegedly became the target of retaliation and persecution.

This marked the beginning of the mass exodus of Hmong refugees into Thailand, which eventually swelled to more than 300,000.

Al Jazeera's Tony Birtley trekked through the jungles of northern Laos to find this dwindling tribe, the first television journalist to do so.

YouTube Source


About 2,000 ethnic Hmong from Laos have agreed to return to return home after a mass breakout from a Thai detention centre. They marched out of the camp trying to bring attention to their claims for asylum. Some say they were offered $500 per family from the Los government to return home. That's the equivalent of half a year's wage in the impoverished nation. But 3,000 Hmong refuse to go back and they are demanding urgent help from the United Nations' refugees agency, Al Jazeera's Hannah Belcher reports.

centre. They marched out of the camp trying to bring attention to their claims for asylum.
Some say they were offered $500 per family from the Los government to trutn home. Thats the quivalent of half a year's wage in the impoevrished nation,.
But 3,000 Hmong refuse to go back and they are demanding urgent help from the United Nations' refugees agency, Al Jazeera's Hannah Belcher reports.


Textbook Update Could Give Hmong Youth Cultural Pride

Monday, December 15, 2008

Editor’s Note: A new California bill that would require that the refugee history of Southeast Asians be included in the next textbook curriculum update may have the side-effect of instilling cultural pride in young Hmong Americans. A vote for California Assembly Bill 2064 is a vote to help all children take pride in their cultural identity, writes NAM contributor Connie Vang. She is a freshman at California State University in Fresno, Calif.

FRESNO, Calif.—One day, while slipping through a crowd of students at a bus stop, I overheard someone say: “I don’t think Hmong people have a country. They decided to come to America to use up its resources; they aren’t even contributing to society. It’s so embarrassing.”

To hear this from a Hmong student around my age shocked me. It made me realize that the majority of people in this country, both Hmong and non-Hmong, especially youth, have no clue as to why Hmong people are here.

But, if Governor Schwarzenegger signs Assembly Bill 2064 into law this month, it could change that and increase the cultural knowledge of many high school students in California. A.B. 2064 would require that the war and refugee history of Southeast Asians be included in the next textbook curriculum update.

I was once in that situation, feeling like I didn’t care about my Hmong culture. As students, many of us believe that if we don’t learn something in school, it's not important enough to know or care about in the first place. We are taught that education is the key to success, so why would we question the school system? And if we do question what we’re learning, we’re given the quick answer: “It’s California standards.”

In school, I did not learn anything about my Hmong culture, so it made me think that being Hmong was not important. I tried my best to separate myself from Hmong people.

I didn't go to cultural events. I refused to speak Hmong. I even said I would never date or marry a Hmong person. I succeeded in separating myself from Hmong culture, but from sixth through ninth grade, my self-esteem lowered drastically.

It grew worse each year, along with my grades. I started fighting with my parents, about my grades and social life.

Then, before my sophomore year, my mother dragged me to volunteer for Hmong Voices, a youth video program with a goal to document stories of Hmong leaders and veterans. At first I didn't want to be there, but a friend encouraged me to stay and give my culture a chance.

After working with others and learning why Hmong people came here, I was changed forever. Hanging out at the movies, gossiping, and buying clothes was no longer important.

I wanted a fresh start. I started to try harder in school. One night, my parents caught me doing homework and stared at me in confusion. When, for the first time, I hung out with another Hmong girl, my mom took pictures. People laugh about it, but it was a huge step.

Now, it pains me to know I hurt my parents in the past. After hearing the tragic stories of how the Hmong arrived to America, I developed more respect for my parents.

Many young Hmong do not know about the Secret War. They do not know how their parents and elders ran through treacherous jungles and escaped Laos by crossing the Mekong River. They do not know that in Laos today, some Hmong are still hunted and tortured by the government.

A.B. 2064 could change that. It would require that all high school history textbooks in California include teaching what Southeast Asians provided to the Americans during the Vietnam War. In 2003, A.B. 78 was signed into law. It was similar to A.B. 2064, but it only encouraged history teachers to teach it, rather than requiring it.

When people don’t know their cultural history, they don't know a part of themselves. As a result, they may react negatively, even resenting their culture. After discovering my cultural history, I started educating others. Often, in my classes I ended up educating my teachers and classmates about the Hmong and how they helped in the Vietnam War. Afterwards, some non-Hmong students even came up to me and asked more questions.

No one seemed to know how the Hmong helped during the Vietnam War. It wasn't just in my American and world history classes, but also in my American government and Spanish classes. It came up during discussions on the Vietnam War, the economy, terrorism, and genocide.

Some students saw me as a terrorist after General Vang Pao was arrested in June 2007 on charges that he was trying to overthrow the Lao government. Other students assumed that Hmong people had no hardships and came to America from China or Mongolia, strictly for economic reasons. Most teachers didn't have a clue either as to why Hmong people were in America. But they were open to learning from me and having the class learn along.

Some Hmong students tell me A.B. 2064 won’t pass because Hmong people are a small percentage of the population and America does not care enough. I think they react this way because the Hmong have received little recognition.

There is more to the bill beyond Hmong people. A.B. 2064 will also include other Southeast Asians that allied with the Americans, such as the Lao, Mien, Cambodian and Vietnamese. I didn't even know that other ethnicities were recruited for the “Secret Army,” but I learned that through A.B. 2064. These other groups are just as important, and should also be recognized for their contribution and sacrifice during the Vietnam War.

I hope people will contact Governor Schwarzenegger's office and urge him to support A.B. 2064. I know it will help many students who are struggling to understand who they are. Not just Southeast Asian students, but anyone with that same resentment of their cultural history.

When we know our cultural history, we can feel proud about who we are. When we know the war and atrocities that happened to our cultures in the past, we can prevent it from happening in the future.



Eastwood recognizes Hmong immigrants with new film

Sunday, December 14, 2008

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Back in the early 1990s, Nick Schenk was working the night shift at a factory in Bloomington, Minn., packaging VHS tapes. It seemed like a lousy job at the time, but it would lead him to the biggest break of his career.

Many of his co-workers were Hmong , an Asian people from the mountainous regions of Southeast Asia and China who fled to the U.S. in the wake of the communist takeover of Laos in 1975. "We had a lot of time to talk," Schenk recalls. "They'd ask us stuff like, 'Why do you guys eat so much?' And we'd ask them things like, 'Why do you have the same first name as last name?'"

Schenk also learned deeper things about the Hmong, such as how they had sided with the U.S. in the Vietnam War , only to wind up in refugee camps, at the mercy of communist forces, when American troops pulled out. And he learned about how they came to the U.S. thinking they'd be seen as heroes, only to find nobody knew they existed. But that was as far as it went. When the job ended, the plight of the Hmong slipped to the back of his mind.

Years later, however, after Schenk found himself stuck trying to develop a story about a recently widowed Korean War vet who is embittered by the changes he sees in his neighborhood, he stumbled upon the idea of putting a Hmong family next door to his main character, setting up a clash of cultures. Schenk bounced the idea around with his brother's roommate, Dave Johannson, and by the mid-2000s, they had pounded out an outline for the story.

Insiders told him, "You can't write a movie with old people in it. It's not sellable." But through a friend, he was able to get the screenplay to Bill Gerber, a producer and former studio executive based at Warner Bros . Then, in late 2007, Gerber set up a meeting with Clint Eastwood and producer Rob Lorenz.

Eastwood was in the final weeks of shooting Universal's " Changeling ." Work on "Changeling" was on track to wrap in May, but then the actor-director planned to segue to " The Human Factor ," with Morgan Freeman starring as Nelson Mandela. Even if he liked Gerber's pitch, he was thoroughly committed for the next year or more.

Luckily for Schenk and Johannson, production on "Human Factor" was pushed back to early 2009, leaving Eastwood just enough time to squeeze in a summer shoot for " Gran Torino ," which opens in theaters on December 12.

Quite quickly, he announced that it would be his next project. Better still, despite having claimed he would no longer act, Eastwood now said he would play the lead role of Walt Kowalski, as well as direct.

"I've kinda been slowly withdrawing (from acting)," Eastwood acknowledges. "But every time I say I am not going to, somebody gives me a role. That's what happened with (2004's) "Million Dollar Baby,' and that was four years ago now. When 'Gran Torino' came along, it was a fun and challenging role, and it's an oddball story."

With Eastwood attached, the film rapidly got a greenlight from Warners . The studio suggested he consider shooting in Michigan, which had just enacted a generous tax rebate in an effort to lure film and TV productions to the state.

"The script was written for Minnesota , but it was well-suited to Michigan because Clint's character is a retired auto worker from a Ford plant," notes Lorenz. "So we went to the Midwest and looked around at a number of different locations in Minnesota, Chicago and Michigan. We brought back the pictures, and Clint chose Michigan," specifically the Detroit suburb Highland Park .

If finding the right location was easy, casting was a whole other matter, a task made more daunting by Eastwood's determination to cast actual Hmong . Casting director Ellen Chenoweth set up open casting calls in Detroit -- and in Fresno, Calif., and St. Paul, Minn., the cities with the nation's two largest Hmong communities. She also enlisted the help of various Hmong organizations.

In St. Paul, she found Bee Vang to fill the key role of Tao, a teenage boy who tries to steal Walt's prized 1972 Gran Torino, initiating an unlikely friendship; and in Detroit, she found Ahney Her to play Tao's older sister, Sue.

"When Rob and I sat down with them, it didn't seem like they totally grasped the enormity of what had happened," Gerber says. "They hadn't really seen that many of Clint's movies, so they weren't intimidated by his oeuvre."

Her, who had studied acting for a short time, had never been in a movie before, so she was understandably nervous when she showed up on the set in July. But Eastwood immediately put her at ease. Indeed, one of the surprising things about the star is how quickly he elicits a feeling of comfort in those who work with him.

"The first time I was going to shoot, he said, 'Be yourself and do what you have to do,'" Her recalls. "And it applied to all the scenes that I did."

Filming commenced in Highland Park in July. Even though most of the Hmong cast members had little or no acting experience, Eastwood stuck to his policy of no rehearsals. "Clint likes things to be fresh and spontaneous and not overly rehearsed, because then they become stale, particularly with someone who's new at it," Lorenz observes. "He doesn't want them to formulate specific performances that they will be unwilling to change, so he'd rather do it on the day."

Eastwood has a reputation for working swiftly, but on "Gran Torino," he outdid himself. With the action restricted largely to two neighboring houses, he was able to shoot most of the film in sequence and wrap principal photography two days shy of the scheduled 35 days.

The older Hmong on the set were deeply appreciative of his efforts. "I was sitting at lunch with Clint one day and I remember the Hmong extras coming up and saying to him how much they appreciated him making a movie that included their culture," Gerber recalls.

Whether that culture will draw a wide audience remains to be seen. But Warners ' decision to release "Torino" in awards season, just when Eastwood is also out with " Changeling ," bears similarities to two years ago, when " Letters From Iwo Jima " bowed just after " Flags of Our Fathers ." In the end, it was the smaller picture that had legs.

Much attention will be paid to Eastwood, who may finally stand a real chance of being recognized for his work as an actor, as well as director. But just as important, the movie will also draw attention to the plight of the Hmong.

"To (Eastwood's character) Walt, all Asians are the same," Schenk says. The Hmong just happened to be the prevalent Asian ethnic group living in the sort of community he envisioned Walt living in. "But I did my best to make sure everything was true to them, because I respect those people. And the Hmong people I talked to on the set say I nailed it pretty well."



Logo, Duce, & Pagnia Xiong

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Hmong Movement lyrics here!!!
I listen to Korean hip hop all the time. I don't even know the language. Never been a fan of Hmong music. When I was told to listen to Logo and Duce Khan. I fell in love with the lyrics! So meaningful!!! Maybe I'll do a translation next time. Funny thing is I should know Logo but it never clicked to me who he really was. My parents hang out with his parents! I know and talk to his sister and cousins, hahaha.

Logo and Duce performing "Mloog Zoo Zoo" in NC on 04/20/2008
For those who don't know NC has the most Hmong population in the Southeast.

The Hmong Movement Concert
Duce & Pagnia Xiong performing
"The Hmong Movement"
November 27, 2008 in NCV


Hmongs choose Burger King

Thursday, December 4, 2008

HOW do you market burgers after you've tried everything else?

Taste tests in Transylvania.Next week, Burger King kicks off a major ad campaign that involves a unique twist on the tried-and-true marketing technique of taste testing. The campaign is already generating controversy.

The No 2 burger-maker in the US asked farmers in the Transylvania region of Romania, the Hmong tribe of Thailand, and other folks in far-flung places to sample its Whopper alongside McDonald's Big Mac and declare the winner.

One ad, set to begin airing on Monday, features images of villagers in traditional garb choosing the Whopper over the Big Mac. A Transylvanian woman, an Inuit tribesman from the Icelandic tundra and others point and, in their native tongues, declare their preference for Burger King's flagship product.

"We travelled to find the most isolated people in the world ... the world's purest taste test," a voiceover says.

Burger King says it was trying to find "Whopper virgins", which is also the name of its campaign. "We wanted to see how the Whopper would perform in a world that didn't have ad or marketing awareness or any sentimental attachments" to either brand, said Russ Klein, president of global marketing, strategy and innovation at Burger King Holdings.

It didn't take long for the campaign to get flame-broiled by controversy, The Australian reports.

Teaser ads, which started running this week, showing snippets from the experiment, were criticised as tasteless and potentially exploitative.

A blogger on Walletpop wrote: "What might irk people is the concept that Burger King is taking its fat-laden fast food to people who aren't used to this stuff in their diets, who aren't usually subject to our crass commercials, and who probably don't really care too much."

Alan Siegel, chairman of Siegel & Gale, a branding firm, warned that the ads "could be interpreted as the crass part of America talking to the Third World".

Burger King said it approached the project with "extreme care". Mr Klein said: "The first order of business was to be certain that we conducted the filming with respect for the cultures and people involved in the test." Lo Neng Kiatoukaysy of the non-profit Hmong American Friendship Association in Milwaukee said she and a small group of Hmong she works with viewed and liked the teaser ads. Burger King said it hired a research firm to conduct the tests, and that the Whopper "was chosen by the participants more times than not". It declined to elaborate.,21985,24753546-663,00.html

Watch video below