Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Week 5: Gender

This week’s theme is about gender.  The article is about the experiences of by Iu-Mien women refugees in Laos, Thailand and the United States. They had to face acculturation problems and had to adapt to the new ways of living. Like many other refugees, Iu-Mien woman had to start their new lives at the bottom of the social ladder.  The article states that “Instead of enjoying the vast wealth of this nation that many Iu-Mien refugees have heard about during their times in the refugee camps, they were confronted with isolation, discrimination, and prejudice during their resettlement process.” Not only they have to face against discrimination from the “outside”, they have to face internal conflict within the family. Many Asian women, including Iu-Mien women only stay home at do housework in their home country. Coming to the U.S, they acknowledge that a single source of income would not be sufficient to provide for the whole family. Therefore, they have to go out to look for jobs. However,the idea of women going out is against Asian culture norm. Thus, their husbands do not like that. Some of the husbands even abuse them. Hence, it takes much patience for women to overcome traumatic issues. To conclude, the role of refugee women is more than a wife when they come to the U.S.
I think the presenters gave us an image about the experiences of Iu-Mien women refugees. The study itself is too small because there are only ten participants. The participants are Iu-Mien women refugees in age from 30- 50. However, I think the experiences of those ten people pretty much reflect the concept of Iu-Mien women, and also many Asian American women who came to the United States as refugees. They all had to go through all hardships. 
 The article “Modernity and My Mum” by Kim Huynh amazed me. She addresses some Vietnamese tales that I have heard of, but never read. In the story of Luu Binh and Duong Le, I first thought that Duong Le was a bad guy because he did not help his best friend out. However, proved that he was the best friend ever by letting his wife Chau Long encouraged Luu Binh to study and became a mandarin. Chau long is a Vietnamese-girl role model. She was loyal to her husband by listening to his suggestions. I think she has the four virtues of the Vietnamese role model: Cong Dung Ngon Hanh.
The famous Lady Trieu and the two Trung sisters in Vietnamese history are example of strong Vienamese women. However, they mean more than that. They are examples of the grudge of the Vientnamese to Chinese. Vietnam has a long history of China invasion for almost a thousand years.  Chinese kept coming to Vietnam and took whatever they can. The hatred against Chinese made even the Vietnamese women had to come out to the battlefield. Although they lose and died later, their sacrifices were not useless. Their sacrifices represented the immoral of Chinese. Lady Trieu and the two Trung sisters also represented loyalty of many Vietnamese people. 
 Question:  Do the experiences of Iu-Mien women represent the whole South East Asian women experiences in general?

Trieu Nguyen

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