Tri-Thien Nguyen Lam
I thought the presentations about Hmong culture were really informational and beneficial. I really enjoyed the presentations even though the first one was very long. I knew most of the people Brenda interviewed for her presentation and I heard perspectives about Shamanism that I didn’t know about. I also didn’t know how serious Hmong people took to Americans portraying Shamanism in the media and how incorrect. I know that I would also feel offended when media portrays all Vietnamese people as the bad people with guns and that they’re all communists. Maybe what media can do is to hire real hmong people and have them edit the script and props and things like that so that it can entertain as much of the audience and be realistic as possible. I felt bad in one of the interviews where my friend Lay was being interviewed because I was one of the people in that room that spoke loud during the interview and I could have stopped my friends from speaking so loud but I didn’t. I also learned more about Shamanism during the presentation like how some people may think Shamanism does not make people Hmong and how there are regulations that prevent Hmong people from practicing their religion. I agree that the religion is dying just like Buddhism as people become more interested in being an individual and not believe in anything spiritually and focus on what is concrete and real like medicine and science. For myself, I do want to practice Buddhism even though many of my friends do not practice it and maybe someday I would want to go a couple times a month. I remember when I had Hmong neighbors on my street and they would have a lot of rituals and bring shamans to their house and hear chickens crowing but then my neighbors complained about the animals and so the Hmong family had to move. I’m glad that in Davis, there is a huge amount of Hmong students who are happy to help out their community and seeing Hmong people gives me the opportunity to learn more about their culture and think about life at a different perspective. I also didn’t know that some Shamans are corrupt with money that Shamans are just working as a job instead of what they should do as a Shaman and not cost families thousands to perform rituals. I think some Buddhist monks do that too and it’s really sad to see how much of an impact money makes to make people who help the community do it for the money like some doctors. I also thought the conversion from Shamanism to Christianity was interesting too because I do notice that there are Hmong people with different religions in my school and speak the same language but they just have different traditions. I guess it’s just the fact that Christianity was something new and wonderful to Hmong people that they converted and I wonder if there are any Hmong people who are Christian who wish they believe in Shamanism because of how cultural and traditional the “religion” is.
Boon and Mai Moua’s presentation on the youth of Hmong children was really informative too. It taught me views that I think most Asian people have on discipline and tradition and how the youth is definitely drifting away from their culture after being exposed to the American media. The media creates this individualism that causes children to be adventurous and unbounded by family with their decisions. I’m not sure if it’s a good or bad thing for children to be more independent but the loss of culture is definitely something to be sad about. Overall, I enjoyed both presentations and helped me understand Hmong culture even more.