008: Maws Maws Day

In this episode we have a lot to catch up on! We talk about the death of Prince, the #starringjohncho phenomena and Sandy’s love for John Cho, movie rumors, Hmong American Day, lots of Hmong people getting caught returning to the U.S. with illegal drugs, the Dylan Yang case, the big Zaub Qaub reveal, takeaways from the International Hmong Conference on Hmong Studies, our Mother’s Day survey results, and the funny and crazy shit our mothers and mother figures have said to us about sex.

Below is the list of links for those who want to learn more about the stuff we mentioned and talked about.

#starringjohncho-
http://starringjohncho.com/ 

Hmong American Day-
http://www.tcdailyplanet.net/hmong-minnesotans-celebrate-first-annual-hmong-american-day-st-paul_2/
https://www.facebook.com/HmongAmericanDayMN/

Dylan Yang-
To Be Both Midwestern and Hmong
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/wausau-wisconsin-southeast-asia-hmong/485291/

Zaub Qaub-
https://web.archive.org/web/20160329063638/http://www.zaubqaub.com/2016/03/zq-writers-revealed/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fMgclZRl2hk

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Any questions or comments, you can leave it in our comment box below or send us an email at: hashtag.hoochim@gmail.com

 

Illustration for this episode was made by co-host Paj Huab Hawj.

 

TRANSCRIPT

Sandy Oh: Hello. Welcome to Hoochim. We are 4 Hmong girls that likes to talk about things that matters, such as–

All: Everything.

SO: And we are your hosts. My name is Sandy.

Mim Xyooj: This is Mee.

Paj Huab Hawj: Hi, I’m Pa. Today is our uh it’s episode 8. You know Mother’s Day was May 8th. Was it May 8th?

MX: It was last Sunday.

SO: Yes. Last Sunday.

MX: Whichever day that was.

PHH: This episode is our uh Mother’s Day episode.

MX: And unfortunately Linda could not record with us today because she is in the Philippines.

PHH: Well doing what? Living out her hashtag wanderlust dream?

MX: Yes.

PHH: Aww, lucky. I hope we, we’re sending Linda warm thoughts and we’re hoping that she’s having fun and hoping that she’s not thinking about us. So what’s been going on? It’s been so long since we’ve all shelled out a podcast episode. What’s going on in your life? I wanna know. Mee? Sandy?

SO: Well, curr–right now I am drinking Southern Comfort over ice because life’s been stressful.

MX: I have to say–We don’t really have to talk about this… but Prince died.

PHH: Oh, yeah, I know.

SO: That’s right.

MX: I mean, a while ago but it’s funny how you don’t think how much impact people have in your life until they pass away.

SO: Yeah.

PHH: Especially like people who don’t even know you exist.

SO: Mm-hm.

MX: Right? (Laughs)

SO: Absolutely.

PHH: I wasn’t as sad… Well, actually I wasn’t sad at all when David Bowie died.

SO: Yeah, I didn’t care for him.

PHH: You know I knew that he was like a iconic figure within the like American culture but I was actually really sad when Prince died. I remember driving home and hearing on the radio that he died. Felt really sad. Uhm, really said that he died.

SO: I know. So did I. I felt really sad. I didn’t really care for him but yeah I was like you too I didn’t realize how impacted I was until I read the article that he passed away.

PHH: Well, Sandy, I’m also drinking a glass of red wine. I think it’s uh Malbec that I’m drinking and it’s called drinking the grapes from the Mendoza (ice clinking in glass) region… the Mendoza grapes.

SO: Well since I’m drinking Southern Comfort I hope that in the future Southern Comfort will sponsor us.

PHH: Yeah. I hope that you get some southern comfort.

SO: Absolutely. I like to be comforted by the southerners. That was pretty lame. (Laughs)

MX: I’m surprised, Pa, that you’re drinking Malbec. I thought you were drinking Moscato.

SO: I know. That’s like the Hmong girl choice of wine!

MX: Are you trying to be unique?

PHH: No, I’m trying to be… I’m trying to cultured myself, okay?

SO: Am I going to see you over at Lake Calhoun more often now?

PHH: I am all about the Uptown. Calhoun Square. Hello. My place. Chino Latino. You know. Hello. My place. I got to Seven. 508.

SO: That’s downtown now.

PHH: I drink wine. I no longer drink sex on the beach.

MX: (laughs)

SO: (ice clinks in glass) Dude. Sex on the beach. That’s… oh my God, I haven’t drank in forever. Since I was fricken 21. That was the to go drink.

PHH: Yeah, guys. Don’t be basic.

SO: (laughs) Hmong basic.

PHH: Yeah, let’s uh let’s jump right in. Things are happening within the uh news world. Can we talk about John Cho? I mean…

SO: Oh my God, I love him so much. Dude like I had a fucking dream about him. But I kept calling him like David Kim or some shit but anyways. Yeah, no, I had like a dream about him about how much I really wanted him to be an actor but yet I kept calling him a different name for some fucking reason. No, he’s great. I love him. I love everything that he’s in. And I’m so upset that everything that he’s in that I love gets cancelled. Dude, like seriously, he was in FlashForward. Now people probably don’t know that show because like it was a long time ago. I just loved it. And because his wife was Gabrielle Union, my doppelganger. Well… she’s older than me so you know I’m her doppelganger. Whatever. She and him were together. I’m like oh my god…

PHH: Gabrielle Union looks like you.

SO: Seriously, I think so. I mean granted she’s a little prettier and taller…

PHH: She looks like you.

SO: Yeah.

PHH: You don’t look like her. She looks like you.

SO: (laughs) Well she’s born before me so I look like her. But anyways. Yeah, no. When FlashForward came and I saw that John Cho was like hooked up with Gabrielle Union I was like, wow. Like this is the reason I’m watching it. Because I want them to–to like be together. And hash out all the like racial issues and all of the politics and stuff but you know but you know she saw him die because it’s flashforward into the future but she still stuck with her man.

PHH: Yeah, that’s true love.

SO: That’s like #relationshipgoals. Because to be honest with you if I saw my husband dying–in the future my husband dying, I would put a bunch of life insurance on him and wait until his ass dies and get paid out.

PHH: I think that if I had a superhero talent that would be my talent. And like I could figure out like… I could see the future and all the people dying or like about to die I’d like (unintelligible).

SO: Yeah, exactly. #lifegoals.

MX: Okay, so… so #starringjohncho was a hashtag movement on twitter, I mean it currently is. It started like a couple of weeks ago and I think partly it was or maybe all of it I’m not sure, was a response to how Asian roles in… in different movies kept getting remade or like white women were being hired to play these Asian roles. And so part of #starringjohncho came out of that, why can’t Asian people or John Cho, why can’t we have parts that have been traditionally Asian or cast as Asian… why can’t they be Asian people who fill these roles?

SO: Yeah, seriously. I really think it’s our time. It’s Asian people’s time to get awesome roles in Hollywood. You know thank you to those people of color who paved the way for us, like I really feel that it’s time. I think we, now we have like social media and folks being educated about… being educated in seeing how fucked up it is to have a white woman playing traditionally Asian roles and then freakin Hollywood saying that they’re going to CGI her fuckin face to look more Asian. I mean that’s just straight fucked up and having one of the dude tan himself to look more Asian, I’m like give me a motherfuckin break. Just hire a fuckin Asian person.

PHH: Yeah, so I… I wonder if there’s been research that’s been done about about people of color who are going to the movie theaters and who are seeing these films right. And I wish that there was some sort of research that… And I know that there are movies that are made to target certain groups of folks but I can’t speak on the whole Hmong population but I know that for myself, I regularly watch movies and I will spend anywhere… you know movie tickets are what ten dollars a person. And you know I see like on a bad month I see four movies a month. That’s like 80 dollars for two people a month that I’m spending on these tickets. And I just wish that Hollywood would really pay more attention to folks of color and…

SO: And their buying power?

PHH: Right. And their buying power. And to see that movie theater isn’t just it just isn’t just visited by white folks and that there are folks of color that come to the movie theater and you know, we get really excited when we see ourselves in the movie theaters right. You know for instance the Batman versus uh Superman. That Hmong girl had one tenths–

MX: Line?

PHH: Yeah! One line. The whole Hmong community like it felt like…

MX: Were talking about it.

SO: Yup.

PHH: Yes! Any everybody and their mother went out and watched it and for the 10 second role, right. And we were like so proud about it. You know we talked about it on Facebook and we congratulated her and you know she was this like star in our community you know. Like this 10 second role. I just wish that Hollywood would pay more attention to that.

SO: Exactly. Yeah.

MX: You know I.. maybe I…

PHH: Maybe Hollywood is paying attention because General Vang Pao… I hear that uh you know there’s gonna be a uh General Vang Pao bio coming out.

MX: Okay, before we get into that I hate to be a pessimist but I do believe that people do see the numbers and see that having people of color in major roles in these major movies… that they do bring out people of color buying power. So they see these numbers and they see that people do come out to see the movies but you have to wonder, are they pushing an agenda?

SO: Yeah. I agree. Cause like there are studies done on each different people of color’s buying power in the United States.

MX: Right.

[00:10:00]

SO: And so yeah.

MX: They know this. They see this.

SO: Mm-hm.

MX: Are they pushing their own agenda?

SO: Exactly. I mean, think about like K-Pop and the Hallyu wave. Everybody from like a white girl to a little Black and Latino girl.. all South America is in love with K-Pop and yet Hollywood don’t see that Asian males and Asian females in lead roles won’t sell when Korea’s making like billions of dollars in like freakin’ people coming to see their country… of tourism and of their pop culture. So like that right there like blows my mind. Like I just don’t get it. I mean Nickelodeon did like a K-Pop based children’s show but the controversy on that is that all the Asian girls there… and they’re both they’re biracial as well as a full Asian girls on that show but their romantic interests are always white guys. And so that was the controversy of that Nickelodeon t.v. show. Even though it starred three Asian girls–two biracial and one full, but their love interests were like white dudes.

PHH: I mean I think at the end of the day right, these top executives, these Hollywood executives, they don’t represent the masses right. They’re just like white guys.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: Who have a tried and true way of making things that… a certain ingredient or a certain formula together and it works and that’s like the formula that they’re sticking to and that they don’t wanna change right. And I think that you know like it’s just so interesting like #starringjohncho like you think about him as the lead and like it’s like hard for like Americans to see Asians leads but in other countries Asians have been like… in South Korea and in China and in Japan like Asians are leads. They’re selling movies and they’re making movies. You know here we have some really great Asian actors and actresses and they could sell millions and millions of dollars and movies but we will never know that because Hollywood…

SO: Don’t wanna try it out.

PHH: White executives are not going to.. that’s like not something they’re willing to invest in and that’s really a shame.

SO: Mm-hm. The one thing is like even casting an Asian to like larger t.v. shows and movies is like… I’m like stop playing up the tropes. Can you just give this person a real fucking like human storyline and not try to play up like the stereotypes?

PHH: Like that all Asians are either doctors?

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: Or really bad at English?

SO: Yeah. Exactly.

MX: Or they run a restaurant?

SO: Yeah.

MX: Or they can’t drive.

SO: Yeah. Or you know fuckin nail salons.

MX: You know Pa. Okay, about that General Vang Pao movie or the movie that will have a General Vang Pao character in there…

PHH: Yeah.

MX: I am very looking forward to having them announce which white person they will play General Vang Pao in the movie.

PHH: And how they will CGI his face?

SO: (laughs)

MX: (unintelligible) yes. Can you tell us more about this movie?

PHH: So, okay, so this is all rumor. And this is the thing that I’ve seen on my newsfeed because I do know a few people who are part of these conversations. They are a couple of quote unquote very important Hmong men who are in conversations with this guy named David Henry, the actor. Something that he’s really known in is uh let’s see what did he play…

SO: He played the older brother in Wizards of Waverly Hill on Disney.

PHH: Yes. And he was also in How I Met Your Mother… But I think the main thing that he but then again I may be giving him more credit than whatevs. But he’s been coming into the Twin Cities you know and meeting with very important Hmong men… you know been eating at Destiny’s Cafe… and so he’s in talks with these uh Hmong men in regards to like uh writing a script for uh for a play for General Vang Pao… a biopic about General Vang Pao and there is a Hmong man in our community has the largest General Vang Pao collection in the…

MX: What does that mean? The largest General Vang Pao collection.

PHH: I don’t know. He told us once that he had the largest General Vang Pao collection. I think that he like knows everything about General Vang Pao… he probably has a picture of General Vang Pao on his night stand that he looks at every night before he goes to sleep. I don’t know. He just… yeah, so I know that he’s like written two books on General Vang Pao. He’s published them himself. So anyways. So he’s in talks with this David Henry guy and some other uh Hollywood folks with regards to making a movie about the life of General Vang Pao. I have some sources that have told me that you know as what we were discussing in regards to earlier with General Vang Pao and Hmong people and Asians… you know that Hollywood doesn’t think that a movie about Hmong people is going to sell you know so they’re making a movie about you know one of the CIA agents and that General Vang Pao is… he’s going to be a supporting role in that or like a supporting storyline right. The storyline isn’t going to be about this Hmong guy or General Vang Pao at all. The story is actually about this white guy and he seeks out General Vang Pao and you know General Vang Pao sort of… the storyline of General Vang Pao is a supporting storyline to this white guy’s story. If that makes any sense.

SO: Oh, so pretty much what… what you’re saying is that General Vang Pao is playing a supporting role to this white guy. So that’s pretty much his life. Because General Vang Pao has always been a supporting role to the American government.

[00:16:00]

PHH: Absolutely, right. That’s like the real life of General Vang Pao. So you think about things that have had some sort of Hmong storyline about like Gran Torino. The storyline was never about Hmong people. It was about this racist white guy and you know he lived next door to these Hmong people right? So like… and the story is about this white guy and these Hmong people are just playing supporting roles right.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: And I think like the General Vang Pao movie is going to very much be like this. Now I might be wrong. And you never know. Like, but you never know. Things could change. You know that’s the source that I got. So David Henry has been coming to the Twin Cities. There are Hmong folks here that have approached other key Hmong figures in our community, Hmong people that have money in our community and have been asking Hmong people uh Hmong individuals to support the movie. You know they want this to be a million dollar blockbuster. You know they think it’s going to be a very important movie… maybe the most important movie of our generation is what’s being thrown around and that this movie is going to put us on the map right. As if like we’re not on the map already. Like that this movie is going to bring us out of the stone age.

SO: All this talking about Hmong people being in movies… you know if I was Brenda Song I would be really pissed…

PHH: I know.

SO: Because I’ve been around… Like if I was Brenda Song I would say, I’ve been around for ages and no one has reached… I mean, granted, probably… I don’t really associate myself with my community. But Brenda Song has been in Disney and like promoted her culture. You know she’s–she’s spoken Hmong on Regis and Kelly when Regis was still there.

PHH: Uh-huh.

SO: You know so… I mean granted she said that our language was close to French. You know, whatever. But the thing is you know we’re so proud for that one girl to have that one line in that Superman versus Batman movie… but Brenda Song played Mark Zuckerberg’s like girlfriend slash future wife in that one movie about Facebook.

PHH: Yeah, nobody cared.

SO: Yeah, no one cared. No one from the Hmong community cared that home girl was in a major movie.

PHH: Yeah, I find that to be really interesting like the way like how the value that we place on individuals… certain individuals over other individuals you know.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: I don’t know. I’m not going to hold my breath for this movie but you know I know that there have been certain Hmong actors that have been that these Hmong men that these important Hmong men have sort of contacted and are connecting with to play General Vang Pao at various stages of his life. For instance, like uh Doua Moua, you know. There was that huge controversy a few uh…

SO: Months ago.

PHH: A few months back when he was… you know when he happily announced that somebody had contacted him and wanted him to play the young version of General Vang Pao. And General Vang Pao’s son came out and threatened him and told him that if he did that then they were going to sue him and whatnot right. There was that. (unintelligible) And then I’m also like the thing I find fascinating too is like how… like how these Hmong men are selling like selling out our culture and like how they’re not seen as like selling out you know. I don’t know like… who preach… like who goes on these really like long tangents about the importance of preserving and telling our own story are willing to like sell our story to the highest bidder. And willing to let the highest bidder like modify and change our history to their benefit and they’re completely okay with that you know. Like I just think that that’s like really fascinating.

[00:20:08]

SO: All I have to say is fuck those guys. Like fuck em. They come into these spaces like… I know who you’re talking about but I aint gonna say that person’s name. They come into these spaces and fuckin preach and preach and preach. Get pissed when they don’t get invited. Get pissed when they’re not a part of certain conversation about a certain event but yet here they are fucking selling and commodifying our fucking culture. Like you said, to the highest bidder.

MX: I have to say that this is the reason why Hmong people don’t have a country.

SO: Exactly. You know I want a street named after me but I can’t have that anymore.

PHH: So guys… so the project is called project one (unintelligible). That’s what it’s called. That’s the General Vang Pao project. One (unintelligible).

MX: There isn’t a title yet I suppose.

PHH: Yeah, cause there isn’t a title yet. And that’s what they’re like going around and saying. Yeah, so they have like they’ve asked folks to give money you know (unintelligible) like ten thousand dollars you know to support…

SO: Oh…

MX: I wonder if they’re approaching these people to become investors in the movie in the traditional white people way. Or if they are approaching people to donate…

SO: Mm-hm.

MX: Money…

SO: Exactly.

PHH: So…

MX: In the traditional Hmong way.

PHH: Yeah. I think it’s uh I think it’s a bit of both. And I am positive that it’s a bit of both right. So, like, I know that they’re asking older Hmong folks to give and support because I think that there’s still a large group of older Hmong men and women who are still very supportive of General Vang Pao and wants to see the legacy of General Vang Pao played out in…

MX: Mutilated? They wanna see the legacy of General Vang Pao mutilated by white people?

PHH: Yes. Right. Like that’s the the reality. They do. And they will give whatever they can to see that that happens. And I know that that’s the angle that they’re going at it too right. This is your chance to be a part of the history. Or like to make history. And I think that there are younger folks who have money and they’re asking younger folks to invest. And then talking about a return on their investment. So I think it’s happening…

SO: Uhm. I just wanna know. Are they going to release who has given money so that we can go to those people and ask them for money for our wonderful podcast.

PHH: Fingers crossed.

SO: I think they should call… Firstly the title of their movie should be called Hmong American Day.

PHH: Which was yesterday. May 14th.

SO: I actually did not know that.

PHH: Happy belated Hmong American Day guys.

SO: (sings folk) Niam yais… Txiv leem tub…

PHH: (sings folk) Los tas no… (talks) Okay, I wanna know why May 14th such a significant day in Hmong American lives. So you know where I’m gonna go? I’m gonna go to my man L-P-X.

SO: Did you ask him.

PHH: Hold on guys. I’m on Facebook right now.

MX: Is that the first… the first… I don’t know. Like when Hmong people arrived as permanent citizens… no, not permanent citizens. As permanent residents of the United States. Was it May 14th?

SO: Or is it because they just went… uhm, which day is free in May? Cause May is uh Asian American month, that we should pick to become Hmong Day?

PHH: I don’t know.

SO: Since we like February 14th let’s do May 14th.

MX: Because I think the end of April in 1975 was the official end to the Vietnam War or the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War so…

PHH: Do you think that (unintelligible) 14th was the day that Hmong people came to the United States as…

MX: As permanent residents? I don’t know. That’s what I’m ask–that’s what I’m asking. I guess I don’t know.

SO: I feel like doing this. (sings)

PHH: Yeah, guys, I’m sorry. But I’m going to go to the Hmong American Day Wikipedia page.

SO: (laughs)

PHH: Okay, so… Hmong American Day, May 14th, honors the contribution of Hmong people to America and to celebrate…

MX: Okay, I am reading a Twin Cities Daily Planet article and it says the date was chosen because May 14, 1975 was the day that General Vang Pao fled Laos and made the United States and Minnesota the home to hundreds of thousands of Hmong.

SO: (sings)

PHH: Okay, so that’s the day they fled Laos. Okay.

MX: Was the day that he fled Laos to the United States.

PHH: So. Okay. So it was the day that he came to America. Cool. Well, I’m on the GoFundMe page for Hmong American Day and it says that in 1975, May 14th marked the first day of the Hmong people’s mass migration out of Laos and the beginning of the Hmong American dias–diaspora. So, uh… happy Hmong American day guys.

SO: I’ve never felt so proud to be Hmong.

PHH: Well, you know, this makes everything so much better because then you know I don’t have to celebrate the fourth of July. I can celebrate May 14th.

SO: Yeah, I’m gonna say, fuck July fourth.

PHH: Uh, did you guys go to the river gala yesterday? Did you guys go to any of the Hmong events?

SO: Girl I didn’t even know May 14th was Hmong American Day until today. So, which means I did not go.

MX: Sandy, you weren’t paying attention because it was all over Facebook.

SO: Really?

MX: All over Facebook.

[26:00]

SO: Yeah, so like that’s the thing. Is that I have a majority of my friends are Hmong yet somehow I did not see any of that on my newsfeed. Are people blocking me from seeing all of this? Like or is uh Facebook’s algorithm deliberately not showing these things to me because I have not responded to it favorably.

PHH: Well, it could also be Sandy that your name is not of Hmong origins.

SO: But my last name is of Hmong origins.

PHH: No, it’s of Chinese origins.

SO: Oh yeah. Okay.

PHH: I’m pretty sure… I’m pretty sure if there was like a Chinese Day… a Chinese American Day it would probably be all over your feed because of the algorithm.

SO: (laughs) That’s true. That’s true. That’s true. I do see a lot of Chinese New Year stuff.

MX: I do have to say that I didn’t see a lot of good things about Hmong people on my Facebook feed lately.

SO: Mm-hm.

MX: I’ve just been seeing a lot of bad things. Like for example the Hmong women who are getting caught at the airports from when they return from Laos. They are getting caught with drugs.

SO: (makes singing noises and talks) America.

PHH: Yeah.

SO: (laughs)

PHH: I’ve been seeing a lot of that too and you know it’s funny I’ve been having these conversations with my mom and dad because you know my parents are like on top of that. My parents, as you may or may not know, now have a Facebook account that they check regularly. Like when I say regularly they check like they check it every hour. My dad will literally sit there all day and play every video that is on his feed.

SO: I’m so proud of him.

PHH: And so I’ve been having these conversations with my parents and apparently like, you know Hmong people bringing opium into the United States is like a big… it’s not new, right.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: It’s definitely not new, but…

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: More and more people are getting caught and that is because of the way that they’re concealing their opium. So my mom was telling me that what they’re doing is that they’re drying their opium and they’re grounding them up and putting them into tea bags. They’re bringing in pounds and pounds of quote unquote green tea into the United States and that’s how they’re getting caught. But you know (unintelligible). Yeah. And like and like how the people getting caught, this isn’t their first time. They’ve been doing it like many many times before. For instance, there was a Hmong lady that was caught by herself a while back who lived in Walnut Grove and my mom… she’s like, she’s like a grandma of ours… we all know Hmong people right, so… they’re also interconnected and interrelated and they’re also related to us and she’s one of our grandma… My mom said that she like she does it all the time and this year she’s been to Laos three four times already and this was like her fourth time going to Laos. And uh it so happens that she was caught this time.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: Uh, yeah. I mean like it’s happening a lot more and maybe it’s like always been happening but we’ve just probably never knew.

MX: It’s just probably never been in the news.

PHH: Right.

SO: Well, I… The thing is it’s been in the news but I think it’s been in the news before Facebook before social media. Because like I remember like very young in Rhode Island this woman getting caught (unintelligible) because she carried a liquid… not liquid form but she soaked her clothes in the opium somehow and folks were able–they would sniff it out and figure out that you know she was carrying these like soaky clothes with her.

PHH: That’s also very popular too… soaking your clothes in opium.

[00:30:00]

SO: Mm-hm. So it’s just like… I feel like it’s just social media that we’re able to know about these things.

PHH: Absolutely. And you know in the in the rate in which people are sharing in the Hmong groups… I think that is one that is why it may feel like it’s starting to become prevalent in the Hmong community too because like people are sharing. In other bad news, Hmong bad news…

SO: Wow. We sounds just like the Am–the current American media where we only report on the bad of people of color.

PHH: Guys! We talked about Hmong American Day. (laughs)

SO: (laughs)

PHH: We talked about the General Vang Pao movie which is also a great (unintelligible).

SO: That celebrated a horrible time in our life.

MX: That was the plus column. Not we’re talking about things in the minus column.

PHH: Yeah. Yeah. The minus column. So I mean have you guys uh have you guys been keeping up with the news, the Dylan Yang case in Wausau? You guys know much about that?

SO: Yes. Currently, I know that his lawyer… his parents have gotten rid of the original lawyer and hired a new lawyer. Uh and then the old lawyer was trying to say that he did it because he was incompetent.

PHH: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.

SO: So I… I guess we can… I don’t know if Pa, Mee… you guys know if you guys can explain to our listeners what the Dylan Yang case is about.

PHH: Do you… do you…

MX: I don’t know too much about it actually…

SO: Okay.

MX: So if Pa you know…

PHH: Okay so uh the very, very short version is… so Dylan Yang was, he’s been convicted of murdering this boy who came over to his house to beat him up over some Facebook comments. A lady brought him over and some of his friends over to his house where he was at… where he was living and they got into a fight and Dylan took a Hmong knife… or a knife and stabbed him and he died subsequently after that. Uhm, the lady that brought him over pleaded guilty and got away with probation while he went on trial and was convicted of murder. And he, he hasn’t been sentenced yet but he could… yeah, so he was uh tried as an adult. Just to go back a little bit he’s like 15 when this happened now he’s 16.

SO: This is in Wisconsin.

PHH: This is in Wisconsin. In Wausau. And he was… he was tried as an adult and he was convicted and he could potentially face 60 years in prison. Right, that’s the max that could happen. And uh because his sentencing trial has not been… so will be coming up, will be coming up in July I believe… the Hmong community sort of have uh young and old Hmong folks have gathered and have been protesting and talking to each other having these community town halls and have been been encouraging each other to write to the prosecutor… the prosecution’s office, the attorney general, and the judge presiding over this case and you know asking them for leniency. So that’s what’s been happening…

MX: So they’re asking for leniency because Dylan was at home…

PHH: Right.

MX: And these people came to his house to basically attack him.

PHH: Right, right.

SO: Yes.

MX: So are they saying it’s self defense?

PHH: Yeah, so they’re saying that it’s self defense. And then they’re also saying that you know he’s endured years of bullying. He’s been bullied by these people and that so that’s like the main argument right… that like he was defending himself. This happened at his house. They came and attacked him. And he was defending himself. And then also the boy that died with the party that came over to his house brought over a BB gun and shot at him and his friends and so he did not know if that was a real gun or not and that he was defending himself. That’s like the angle that the Hmong community is going at. So what’s happening in the town hall uh maybe a month ago… that took place, his family came out and his family gave sort of an update. And in this update they said that Dylan Yang’s attorney has not been getting back to them and they’ve tried to contact the attorney and that they have called the attorney, left voicemails, have gone over to the attorney’s office and then also recently have gone to the attorney’s home address. And the attorney has not returned their phone calls, you know pretty much the attorney has been ineffective. And that they’ve paid the attorney in full and so you know very as recent as recently as maybe a couple of days ago there was uh an article that came out that said the family has hired a new attorney to oversee the uh Dylan…

SO: Case.

[00:35:16]

PHH: Case. And that the Wausau Daily interviewed the old attorney and the old attorney said that he had been… you know that he he still strongly believes that Dylan is innocent and that he hopes that the new lawyer will uh file for a ineffective assistant. Which pretty much means that like his Dylan Yang’s original lawyer was ineffective because he wasn’t there and that what that lawyer was doing was making sure that when the new lawyer files for this thing that there are that there are documents that said he said he was you know ineffective right. So, yeah so that’s what’s currently what’s going on. But there are you know there are a lot of folks who are making arguments online on Facebook you know within the like Facebook groups that that do come up on my feed that you know there are people saying, look like you know he got what he deserved he’s going to go to jail, this is what happens what are you going to do. And there are people that are saying no actually we should come together as a community, we can change things, right. So there’s like figures in our community that are leading these causes… I don’t know I don’t for me I’m just like uh I’m just reading things I’m reading conversations. I’m like actively a part of any groups and I haven’t attended any of these meetings or town hall meetings you know but uh I’ve been hearing people talk. That’s really sad though but uh about like what’s going on with
This kid.

SO: Mm-mh. I’m like you too. I read about it. Uh, I’ve been trying to stay on top of it. But other than that I haven’t like actually actively gone out and really been part of these conversations at these town halls… town hall meetings. I just feel like… I mean it’s Wisconsin and I don’t think that anything good is gonna come out of it. I mean…

MX: It’s Wisconsin.

SO: It’s Wisconsin. Yeah, there’s nothing to say except that it’s Wisconsin and Wisconsin’s crazy you know and nobody no person of color stands a chance in that fricken state.

MX: Yeah.

PHH: Yeah, I mean this brings this brings back memories of Chai Vang right.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: When he shot and killed those six white hunters. You know like he did it you know just how fucked up that was and how very little people cared and paid attention to it and it was only like after the fact that there was like a little momentum in regards to like seeing… there was like a documentary that came out.

SO: Yeah.

PHH: I remember uh going seeing this documentary and then having people go, oh, like oh this makes me so mad like what can I do like what difference can I make. It’s like oh okay well…

SO: It’s already too late.

PHH: You know like yeah, I don’t know. I think that the case against Dylan the facts are, these kids came to him, they brought a gun and they shot at him, and they fought him and he fought them and he went back into the house and he brought out a knife and he stabbed one of the guys right. You could legally make a case that said you know he was defending himself. You know and…

MX: (unintelligible)

PHH: What?

MX: What if he was white?

PHH: Right, right. If Dylan was a white guy of course…

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: Of course. You know it’s really sad too because the lady that brought these kids over was an adult. Like she was the only adult in this case. And she got away with probation.

SO: Yeah, she was the parent of one of the kids.

PHH: You know that just shows you how ficked up Wisconsin is (unintelligible).

SO: Yeah.

PHH: Yeah it’s really fucked up. I do. I wish him nothing but the best and I had time I wish I had more time to uh yeah I mean I care but I don’t know…

SO: This…

PHH: I don’t know.

SO: Yeah.

PHH: Moving on. Moving on. Did you have you guys seen the latest news from Zaub Qaub? Do you guys know who the writers are?

MX: Yeah. So if our listeners are not familiar with Zaub Qaub. Zaub Qaub is a news website that kind of sometimes like a parody… would you say it’s a parody…

[00:40:02]

PHH: Everything they write is a parody. Everything they write is the truth.

SO: It’s almost like The Onion.

MX: Yeah.

PHH: But it’s like the truth Onion.

SO: Like if The Onion was the truth it would be Zaub Qaub.

PHH: Yeah (unintelligible).

MX: (unintelligible) a website that has these really awesome articles on there and I think a couple of months ago they published an article that revealed who all the writers were. And I think there are four or five people who are listed in this article. And wow. I mean I was… I was super surprised. I don’t know if any of you were surprised or if any of you had an inkling of who these people were who were behind this website.

PHH: Can we, can we, okay can we go and like talk about the pen names they give and who they were actually…

SO: Yes.

PHH: Who they really were. There’s Qos Xyooj right. That’s how you say it Q-O-S.

SO: Sure.

MX: Qos Xyooj. Yes.

PHH: There’s Qos Xyooj is Doua Moua. You know Doua Moua that Hmong actor in Gran Torino…

SO: Yeah, his name is spider.

PHH: (unintelligible)

SO: Fir-fir-first of all I have a question. How do you say spider in Hmong? And why would he name himself spider?

PHH: Maybe spider in Hmong is qos.

SO: (laughs)

MX: No, qos is… qos is like a potato.

PHH: Oh, okay. Or then what’s a (makes noises)?

SO: Oh, that’s the sound you make when you have sex.

PHH: (laughs)

SO: (laughs)

MX: (laughs)

PHH: You guys. You guys. Back on track. Moving on. Sparrow. Sparrow is one of the pen names of one of the writers and that was Kao Kalia. I mean…

SO: Yeah, that blew my mind. I was like holy shit.

PHH: That to me was one of the biggest surprise here.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: Right like I was surprised like wow. I mean I knew that Sparrow was like a really great prolific writer because all the articles she’s written was really really spot on and really great and really poetic and really flowery you know used a lot of metaphor. I was completely blown away by she revealed herself as Kao Kalia.

SO: Yeah. I mean to be very very honest I actually enjoy her articles on Zaub Qaub better than her actual books. Like that’s amazing.

PHH: Okay so there’s another guy. Leek Basil was Elvis Thao. Was Elvis Thao. Who’s Elvis Thao?

SO: No one knows. Let’s move on. (laughs)

PHH: (laughs)

MX: (laughs) (unintelligible) writer who is Zaub Qaub himself who is….

PHH: Yes. I guess Zaub Qaub is a really person and uh I mean Zaub Qaub is a real person but Zaub Qaub is Touger Xiong. I mean who would’ve thunk that Zaub Qaub could be (unintelligible) Touger Xiong right.

SO: I didn’t even know Touger Xiong knew how to write.

MX: So the article was written by Zaub Qaub and I have to read his bio. It’s so awesome.

PHH: Okay read his bio.

SO: Read it please.

MX: They say he still holds the Midwest record for growing the largest cucumber but he can modestly claim it’s really not that big as he tucks it into his pant leg.

SO: (laughs)

MX: Zaub Qaub is dedicated (laughs). Okay. Zaub Qaub is dedicated to feeding the world with veggies from his garden. You can find him at farmers markets looking for the freshest leaves to toss his salad.

SO: (laughs)

PHH: (laughs)

SO: That sounds like Touger Xiong.

PHH: Wait, but I feel like Touger is much funnier on Zaub Qaub than in person.

SO: I agree.

MX: Maybe they save their best material for the website.

SO: (laughs) True. True.

PHH: That’s true. I mean you know because he is a diversity trainer he has to sort of save himself and uh you know I really appreciate that uh this side of him and that this side uh Zaub Qaub… there’s the zaub side right the zaub side then there’s the zaub qaub fermenting for a really long time. You know I…

SO: In his pant leg.

PHH: Yeah. In between his pant leg. I appreciate him.

MX: I… I appreciate that it’s not all about respectability politics, especially with the website that they’re actually showing us their true selves.

[00:45:00]

PHH: Yeah. Yeah. Zaub Qaub writes about everything right. I mean they even write about why Hmong people don’t have a country.

SO: Yeah. I think that was a really informative… informative article.

PHH: Yeah.

SO: It speaks to many truths.

PHH: I go to them for news… I mean I don’t go anywhere else.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: (unintelligible) really unbiased you know. And they go at it from all sorts of angles.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: That’s uh… to me that’s uh…

SO: Like if Fox News was unbiased they’d be Zaub Qaub.

PHH: That’s true.

MX: The only bad thing about them is that they don’t write frequently enough.

PHH: Yeah.

MX: I get that this is a side thing for them. I mean this podcast is a side thing for us too. But I would like to you know read more stuff from Zaub Qaub.

PHH: Yeah, yeah, yeah. I agree. So uh Zaub Qaub if you’re… you’re hearing this… please do write more frequently. You know I do really like the fact that you know you’re uh letting your cucumber ferment between your legs. You wanna feed the Hmong (unintelligible)… whatever. I take it anyway you want me to take it.

SO: Same. I’d eat that fermented pickle.

MX: I would also say that we’d like to have them on our podcast.

PHH: Yes.

SO: Yes. It’d be so fun.

MX: If you’d like to be on the podcast. Uh like us on our website, Facebook and our Twitter.

PHH: In case you don’t know, Zaub Qaub, and for anyone listening… you can tweet us at the word hashtag underscore hoochim. You can Facebook us at uh the hashtag sign hoochim H-O-O-C-H-I-M. So please do contact us.

SO: Please. I want that fermented pickle.

PHH: To segway the fermented pickle can we talk about the uh Hmong international conference that took place in April?

SO: Yeah, there were plenty of fermented pickles there.

PHH: Mee I know that you signed up but couldn’t go?

MX: No, I could not go.

PHH: However, Sandy and I went (makes singing noises).

SO: (makes singing noises) We did go. We did go. And, and it was so enlightening that I didn’t learn anything.

PHH: Yeah.

SO: So…

PHH: I feel like I wanted to learn… but it was really hard.

SO: It was extremely hard.

MX: So I… I heard that there was a great panel during lunch.

SO: Oh, absolutely.

PHH: Oh my god.

SO: So much fermented pickle. Seriously. They were fermenting as we sat there.

PHH: Yeah. So there was uh… the Hmong international conference I think what was it the eighth or the ninth or… you guys remember what number it was?

SO: It was sometime in April. Early April.

PHH: Okay. Yeah, so it’s uh… no, late April.

SO: Oh.

PHH: So it was in April and it was hosted by Concordia and uh…

MX: I don’t think it was April 30th because April 30th was just two weeks ago.

PHH: Oh. Whoa. March 30th?

SO: Hold on. Let me look it up (tapping on keyboard).

MX: I vaguely remember…

PHH: But whatever it happened.

SO: Oh. It was in March.

PHH: It was in March? March 30th right?

SO: My bad. It was uh yeah, it was March 18th through 19th.

PHH: Yeah, so it happened and uh Sandy and I went and we went to some panel discussions and uhm… there was like a really like you said a really interesting lunch panel discussion. You know so just to give you a little background on what the Hmong international conference is, it happens annually…

SO: Uh biannual.

PHH: Biannually?

SO: Yeah, biannually. Mm-hm.

PHH: Oh really? Oh, okay.

SO: Yeah.

PHH: So Concordia hosts the Hmong international conference and it’s (unintelligible) the guy that…

SO: Runs it.

PHH: Yeah, he’s like the one that coordinates it andis the head and whatever. So. Do you guys know what’s uh (unintelligible) for this year was?

SO: Well. The thing is that…

MX: Speaking of the head. Aren’t Hmong men the head?

PHH: Yes (laughs).

SO: Yeah (laughs).

MX: (laughs) It’s fitting that they would be the head. But anyways.

SO: Uh, even though I went I forget what was the theme.

PHH: I’m gonna… I’m gonna…

SO: Maybe because I’m like half drunk.

PHH: So it was the sixth annual international conference on Hmong studies. Okay. So that’s uh… that was the…

SO: The thing for it. Yeah, so it’s basically just a bunch of scholars coming together to uh introduce their work around Hmong people, or Hmong studies.

[00:49:51]

PHH: Yeah there was yes, there was that and there was like that came together and then just to give you guys a little background right before that there was that killing… the Hmong guy that stabbed his wife that killed his wife and that tried stabbing himself and didn’t die. That happened like a day prior to that too and so and so like you know there was this like this (unintelligible) old Hmong you know very important Hmong men from our community decided that they were going to come together. You know I don’t know for whatever reason like why the hell Leepao would like allow well I guess I do know why… but like why somebody would allow these men to come and to like talk about like you know gender based violence and to say stuff like… uh, Sandy what was some of the things they said? Oh, yeah, if your husband wants to go out and cheat on you then one way to prevent that from happening is lose weight and look good.

SO: Yup.

PHH: (unintelligible) that they wanted, that they said. They said oh it’s perfectly okay for a Hmong man to go overseas and do this just as long as they don’t bring back their wives… uh, they don’t bring back wives… their new wives.

SO: Yeah.

PHH: They don’t ruin their families here in the United States. You know so like too allow this conversation to take place was so infuriating. Like I remember…

MX: Right, well… it seems like they weren’t just talking about violence. They were perpetuating violence. They were…

SO: Absolutely.

MX: They were making the space a violent space for women.

PHH: Of course. Of course.

SO: Yeah. Absolutely.

PHH: And it was like so upsetting. And like even more so to have I mean I don’t know like… to have an institution like Concordia like and then to have that institution not be mindful of the people that were there right and impressionable young folks that were there. They don’t think about this. Sandy and I were… we’re still young but we’re not in college anymore… we’re not so impressionable.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: There were hundreds of really impressionable young folks there and they sat through this, they listened and you know like an institution like uh Concordia and I think that like somebody like Leepao Xiong you know he has the ability to affect the a bunch of really impressionable young Hmong folks and I think that he completely failed by bringing older Hmong men to come and talk about the state of Hmong like abusive Hmong marriages and to have them come and to have them say, look, like we acknowledge that these things are happening but uh…

SO: But deal with it.

PHH: And you know basically they were saying there’s nothing we can do like… you know uh… it’s like up to you people to decide what you want to do but there’s nothing we can do right. And these are men who are leaders in our community, who are part of the 18 clan council, who are a part of these like who are the folks that are making Hmong rules for Hmong people to go by. And they’re practically saying that it was like okay and uh there’s nothing that they can do.

SO: Yup. Exactly. Oh, what I was gonna say was like yeah not only that allowing a bunch of men to have a conversation about a very sensitive topic in our community and majority of the audience there were women and again like Mee said it was really perpetuating that violence. But Leepao Xiong who hosted this didn’t even moderate, didn’t even tell those men, didn’t even try to control those men from saying the ridiculousness that was coming out of their mouth. And no other men in the audience told them to shut the fuck up and that that was wrong.

PHH: Right. And also on that panel there were no…

SO: Woman.

PHH: No Hmong women.

SO: Yeah. No Hmong women’s voices.

PHH: Right. I mean I think like having the month to sit and think about it, to let it permeate in our head, for us to like really reflect back. I mean I think that that panel is the state in which Hmong people are currently in. And that’s a weird way right. I think about how… like how we address uh like domestic violence in our community and how we are addressing trans international like abusive marriages in our community. I wonder why we are allowing men to speak for us and why is it that they are always having to speak for us like I think about that.

SO: Absolutely.

[00:55:00]

PHH: Frequently. I think about folks like ManForward and like how the conversation always is always centered around fucking men.

SO: Absolutely.

PHH: Like always centered around men and it’s like never… men are always saying to each other like oh these women are your sister, your brother, your sisters and your daughters and your mothers… like why do they need to so that? Why can’t they just say like these are human beings and why do they need to know that these people that or that Hmong women are like that they’re somehow connected to us in order for us to like to see them as human beings.

SO: Exactly. And another thing is like, not only are like men having these conversations for us and not only are men like speaking for us but Building Our Future is run by women and they are perpetuating that conversation. They’re allowing ManForward a platform to have this conversation about this very women topic. Very human right topic but not focusing on the victims and the issues that are happening in our community from both sides, instead they’re having it from a very singular view and these women are again allowing these men that power, that platform.

MX: So would you say that the conversation that was had at the international Hmong conference, that is very… would you say that is a very different conversation than what ManForward or what Building Our Future… their conversations are?

SO: Well, I mean Building Our Future and ManForward did host a panel of men talking about abusive international marriages. It’s pretty much the same concept is that we need to hear the side of the men because we’re already hearing enough from the women; we need to hear from the men and what we can do about it. And there’s nothing to be done because nothing is said. No one’s being that great moderator to have that conversation and they just let these men go wild with what they have to say and nothing gets done. A lot of feelings get hurt. A lot of violence get inflicted and that’s it. It’s the same exact format that… uh, so what Leepao Xiong did was the same exact format that BoF and ManForward has conducted before: panel of men talking about women’s issues but yet hurting women in the process and not taking ownership and not seeing that flaw. And L-P and Leepao Xiong did the same thing with a panel of men saying some crazy things and hurting and inflicting violence on the women that were in that place… in that space. Because you know Pheng Thao uh the leader of ManForward, Pheng Thao, was there and he didn’t say anything, he didn’t… no one said anything. You know. Like I wanted to say something but there were so many people already asking wanting to say and there was limited time… The funny thing is that they’re really good at moderating when time ends but not really good at moderating what people are fucking saying.

PHH: I mean it was just like really interesting and really disappointing, more so disappointing than interesting…

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: (unintelligible) men talk about like how it’s not all men’s fault, that it’s our that it’s like the women’s fault and like you know we see our husbands are straying away and we need to like make them come back to us. You know like again like sort of perpetuating this idea that men have no accountability, men are never at fault, and that men are never in control of their own selves and their own bodies and their own minds and that somebody always needs to control them and to lead them back. I mean I’m so sick and tired of that. I’m so sick and tired of that angle. It’s just like fucking give me a fucking break.

SO: Yeah. Absolutely. And then before that uh me and Pa were in this uh panel. It wasn’t a panel but a workshop. Pheng Thao was there. And they kept talking about how culture makes women raise their son a certain way. And culture makes women raise their daughter a certain way. So that’s why there’s a divide because the women are raising their kids this way. And not really addressing the fact that men creates this culture and forces these women to perpetuate this culture that they have created.

PHH: Right.

SO: There’s nothing said nothing was said about that and then Pheng Thao goes and say that you know we need to think about the sons because the younger son needs to take on the parents and then they get burdened la-da-da-da. And I’m like then why you telling us that? We have no fucking control. You…

PHH: And also…

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: Right. And then also they were like the majority of that conversation was sort of pitting like women against men too right.

SO: Yup. Mm-hm.

PHH: Or that there needs to be like this competition between us.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: And that Hmong men are falling behind and that’s the reason why Hmong women are going out of the circle of Hmong men for mates it’s because they’re falling behind and that Hmong men need to catch up and that so like… In essence really pitting against each other and saying that we need to compete with each other to get ahead. And I just… I don’t know… I just think that that’s like the wrong conversation to have and that’s like the wrong thing to tell impressionable young Hmong kids.

[01:00:16]

MX: This is really disappointing.

SO: Yeah.

MX: I… You know I really wanted to go to the conference but unfortunately I couldn’t go. And then I was really glad that I didn’t go.

SO: Yeah. It’s a good thing you didn’t go. It was like not good. The food wasn’t good. Like it was just so upsetting.

PHH: Oh yeah there was that.

SO: We had these sandwiches. I mean what the fuck was that?

PHH: But I did however buy a really awesome… I spent $50 and I bought a Hmong tapestry thing that was mounted and framed. That was worth it. Completely worth it.

SO: Oh, I also wanted to point out some highlights about the conference really quick.

PHH: Highlights.

SO: So, so the highlight is uhm there was a man who basically showed off that he killed a legal… that he illegally poached endangered animals and posted it up and yet no one said anything to him. Uh…

PHH: Oh that was… oh he was that guy that told uhm that said that field work is hard.

SO: Yeah.

PHH: By his account it’s very hard. You know how hard it is to go out to the jungles of Laos and to hunt these… you know uh…

SO: Endangered animals. I don’t know why motherfucker aint arrested yet but anyways. On the same panel that we talked about Pheng Thao being at it. Uhm, so these women were also not only pitting men against women but uh also U.S. women against everybody… all the women from the different country… the third world countries… and saying that oh our girls in Laos, our girls in Vietnam, isn’t as educated as you girls. And I’m like okay you need to understand that our government makes it illegal for us not to have secondary education so we need to be educated because it’s illegal for us not to be educated from K to 12. Like in your country, policies, your government doesn’t allow that or doesn’t give that same kind of interest in the minority groups then you need to make that change. And if you need to make that change you need that money or like some sort of movement and you want us to help you, we will do that for you but we don’t know policies and the government rule in your country so you cannot pin first world environment to third world environment. So I felt that was really strange for them to always pin it against U.S. government girls against other girls without really seeing that our system here allows us to be this way.

MX: (unintelligible) take into account the different contexts of (unintelligible)

SO: Yeah. Exactly. And because everybody was then oh you’re right. I’m so privileged. I’m like yeah, yes, yes. You are privileged. But you can’t go over there and start putting in western ideals into this small community when you have the government, their government to you know deal with.

PHH: We also have this idea too right that like because we are… we have like western (unintelligible) by the west, that they would be so much more progressive if they were educated by the west. And that like we go over there and (unintelligible) we need to instill some of our western ideology in them and we can save them. Yeah, I just think that that way of thinking or like uh that we are teaching becomes really problematic.

SO: Mm-hm. Yeah, so I feel like even that conversation needs to change.

MX: Who says that we need to change them?

SO: Mm-hm.

MX: You know… I’m sure they are fully capable of saving themselves if they feel they need to be saved.

SO: Exactly.

MX: Right?

PHH: Yeah.

SO: Mm-hm. Yeah. Because it’s just like you want me to go into your country and then help you with all of this. I hope you understand that the struggles you’re going through I can easily ignore because I get to go back. I get to go back to my first world comfy bedroom while your girls are struggling. And that’s not the way you want that kind of connection to happen. It’s for me to come in and show you all these great things and now you… it’s just basically saying I get to say the F word to my elder and be okay with it. If you go over there and say the F word to your elders you lose your house, you lose stability, you lose money… everything else. So like that context is not being talked about and yet they want this western ideal, this western education, this western way of living over there when it’s kind of impossible because of the sys–the structure of the system is over there.

PHH: So guys… moving on. Moving on. It’s the mother’s day uh… episode. Did you guys celebrate mother’s day?

SO: I didn’t.

PHH: Did you celebrate your mothers?

SO: I did not.

PHH: Mee, did you?

MX: I did not either. No, unfortunately. I did talk to my mom though but that’s about it.

[01:05:00]

PHH: I will say that I didn’t either but I feel really bad but I feel like my mom went… my mom went gardening… my mom was at the farm all day and my sister and I did buy my mom a mother’s day present. But I feel like… I don’t know. I feel like I celebrate my mom all the time.

MX: I agree.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: You know I give her (unintelligible) and I feel like last Sunday wasn’t really any different than any other day…

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: But I think that maybe my mom might have been a little sad because other mothers were treated out to buffets and (unintelligible) and…

SO: Lobster meals.

PHH: Yeah, lobster meals and my mom got nothing. She might be sad. I don’t know, I’ll make it up to her. Whatevs. But I did, I did celebrate mother’s day with my mom. Mee, I’m guessing you were far away?

MX: Yes, so I don’t live in the same city that my parents live in and so it’s quite a distance to get to them and I didn’t go.

PHH: Yeah, so… seems like the three of us didn’t celebrate mother’s day. Which I think is alright since mother has been commercialized for a really long time and I think that we celebrate them all the time and we don’t need a special day to celebrate you know to like acknowledge them because we do that year round regardless.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: Uhm, but with that said… I mean… do you talk about sex with your mom?

SO: Yeah.

PHH: Or…

SO: So before we start talking about that… we actually sent earlier before we started recording our podcast a short survey… questionnaire… to our listeners. Uh we don’t know how many listeners we have but we sent it out and six… six wonderful people responded.

PHH: Whoo-hoo.

SO: To… to our uhm survey and so we have some… some stuff that can guide our conversation about having that taboo topic about sex with our mothers or mother figures.

PHH: So I feel like six is pretty much the whole (unintelligible).

SO: Pretty much.

MX: (unintelligible) we’ve always talked about how we have many listeners who are not Hmong and…

SO: That’s right.

MX: This survey is specifically targeted towards our Hmong audience so that six people actually answered, that’s awesome. At least we (unintelligible).

SO: Yeah.

PHH: I’m happy that at least… I’m happy that there is not just the three of or the four of us that listen to our podcast but two other people listen to our podcast.

SO: (laughs)

PHH: Uh, but Sandy, can you give us some data…

SO: Yeah, absolutely.

PHH: The survey and so maybe that can frame the our the conversation about…

SO: Mm-hm. So we have like four or five questions. First question is, do you talk about sex with… in any way at home with your mother or mother figure and overwhelmingly, over 60 percent said no. They don’t have that conversation with their mother or mother figures. And uh the second question is, does your mother/mother figure give any safe sex advice and advice on sexual pleasure. And again, majority of the folks said no. So… and then our third question is, did your mother/mother figure share any Hmong sex stories about the old countries or days. And again, over half of the population… uh, the responses said that… 75% said no. Yeah. And then uh, the last questions we told them to write in uhm their answer. So three folks decided to write in and the question is, name one of the most interesting sex advice or story your mother/mother figure told you or you overheard. So the first uh answer was, jelly and child birth. This person didn’t go into detail. And the second response said, Hmong people be hooking up in the dead of night and trying to do it as quietly as they can without waking up the whole house. This was back in the old country where we had homes made out of bamboos and reed pipes. The third response is, I overheard my mom and her friends talking about big slongs versus little slongs. I busted out laughing and I’m guessing they heard me so they stopped.

PHH: (laughs) Nice.

SO: So…

PHH: So…

SO: I guess we can ask, we can ask each other these same questions and see if you know our answers are pretty much… is the same as theirs.

PHH: Yeah.

SO: Well I’m gonna say this right now. So I do have sex conversations with my mother. It’s usually a forced kind of conversation.

PHH: And I will say that my mom and I had never had sex… have never had sex talk. I mean she… I hear her having sex talk with other old Hmong ladies and then I get to be a part of that conversation too at that point. But her and I have never sat down and had a conversation about sex. So. Yeah. Ever.

[01:10:20]

MX: Very similar to you, Pa. My mom and I, we don’t have that type of (unintelligible) or talk about sex at all actually. And while Pa you said that your mom will talk about it with other women, my mom will not talk about it with other women. So.

SO: Hm. Interesting.

PHH: Yeah.

SO: Yeah, I’ve never heard my mom talk about sex with other women, not in spaces that I’ve heard of. I mean I assume that she does but I’m not there to hear it. But I did, my sister and I, we did take my mom a pure pleasure party where she got to taste you know other lube and all that stuff and yeah.

PHH: How did your mom like… what was her reaction?

SO: She was like, well she tasted the stuff. And she was just kind of grossed out but she stuck through the whole thing. And then uh… and then my sisters and I started talking about dildos and pleasure and my mom was just really grossed out by it. Then I posed the question, either I go either I have an illegitimate child or do you want me to fuck myself with a fake dick. Which one will you choose?

PHH: And she said?

SO: And then she said, ew, I’m not gonna answer that. And then (laughs) and then I showed her my dildo and then she’s like, ew I can’t believe you put that in you. So…

PHH: (laughs) Sandy, I love you so much.

SO: (laughs)

PHH: So in… in graduate school I uh took a bunch of pictures with naked men. And I made a book.

SO: Mm.

PHH: And I brought it home. And I uh showed it to my mom just to see what she would say and…

SO: Mm.

PHH: She freaked out and literally saw… like opened the book, saw one page, and like freaked out and in her loud like whisper she told me to burn the book and to dispose of the photographs. Never let anybody ever see them ever again (unintelligible) so uh that was the extent of a sex…

SO: Encounter.

PHH: Quote unquote conversation that we had.

SO: Oh, wow.

PHH: I don’t know. Like you know so like what about sex advice that you guys have you guys ever got maybe not from your mom but from a mother figure? From an aunt or a grandma or you know uh have you guys ever gotten any sex advice?

SO: No. So I would fit in with the uh the majority of the uh responses that we got. No, never. It was always like us talking at them about sex and about like pleasure and all that stuff but it’s never them returning it to me.

PHH: Yeah, so it’s always really interesting right? Only… like the ladies get together when they’re like cooking and stuff you know for parties… When they get together and they’re either rolling eggrolls or they’re cutting cucumbers is when they start talking about sex. And the references that they make. I feel like they’re talking about sex all the time but they do it in such uh metaphoric ways that if you don’t listen to it carefully we miss out on it really fast uh we miss out on a lot. You know like for instance at a funeral uh like a couple of months back we were making the sesame balls and…

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: They were like rolling sesame balls and they were talking about how big sesame balls are and like referencing their partner’s balls and like I caught on a little bit but I was just like, ew that’s so gross. But really funny you know. So I think I feel like for me that’s only, it’s only when they all get together that they have these like sex talk. There wasn’t like uh… I haven’t gotten any sex advice but I did hear some really good sex advice with regards to getting pregnant and I don’t know if this is true or not… and this may not be true or not… but apparently if you give a guy a blowjob and swallow you are more likely to get pregnant.

SO: Oh, wow.

MX: I wonder if that’s medically proven and I would love to read that research.

SO: (laughs)

PHH: (laughs)

[01:15:00]

SO: It’s so funny. You know how like you’re uhm, you get advice about how to get pregnant? Well I keep, I overhear a lot of advice on how to get rid of your baby.

PHH: (laughs)

SO: So… so then my grandma, my aunt, and my mother would talk about different pills and different ways of–of getting an abortion instead of going to a hos–instead of going to a doctor.

MX: A self-induced abortion?

SO: Yup. Mm-hm. So they have a lot of conversation about ways about how to self-induce an abortion instead of going to the doctor.

MX: My conversations with women, my mother or mother figures in my family… I have to say that a lot of the women in my life, they’re older like my mom is older, she’s like almost 70 now. And so, so a lot of the advice that they give is basically warning against pregnancy right. So it’s a lot of, don’t have sex. If you have sex and get pregnant, you better know who the father is so that you can trap him into marrying you. If you have sex and get pregnant and cannot trap or catch whatever the word is uhm the father into marrying you, there are dire, dire con–consequences. For example, in Laos, if that ever happened, then a father had a right to kill his daughter.

PHH: Wow.

MX: Yeah.

PHH: Yeah. I mean speaking about sex in Laos uhm you know like my mom like tells these stories about how… you know like she doesn’t like talk about sex per se but she does the way she tells her story leads one to… to imagine that sex takes place in fields you know and when couples are walking to and from the garden. I know that sex wasn’t this new thing that just happened post 1975 right. That like people were having sex… (laughs) I mean just like Hmong women… we now know guys that’s it’s proven that Hmong women existed before 1975.

SO: Mm-hm.

MX: Are there stories…

PHH: What?

MX: Is it documented that Hmong women existed pre 1975?

PHH: I mean they must have, they must have, they must have.

SO: (laughs)

MX: There is one funny story that my older sister shared with me. One of her co-workers shared with her that back in… I don’t know if it was in Thailand or if it was in Laos and when they were younger and when this woman would have boyfriends and they would meet to have sex. She said something like they would go to these mountains and then they would have sex that nyom tuag tas na.

PHH: (laughs)

SO: (laughs)

MX: I mean I… I was… (laughs). So what that roughly translates to is that, that the grass would be dead.

SO: (laughs)

PHH: (laughs)

MX: And I was confused like why would the (laughs) why would like the nyom tuag tas. Like, why would that happen? And my sister’s like, hello, they be rolling around and…

PHH: (laughs)

SO: (laughs)

MX: On the grass.

SO: Funny story. Like similar to that. So my mom was telling me how like she was talking to my aunt, which is my dad’s sister and how my dad’s sister was saying that, oh you know, oh she was sick during the night and she goes, oh kuv aib niag npaws aib niag npaws[1] mus xa[2] haib li heev lawm xwb os. And like mind you her son, her son’s name is Npawg[3] too and when my mom said that to me I was like, ew why would she fuck her son.

PHH: (laughs)

SO: And then like… and my mom goes, no… npaws na. Npaws as in you have like sweaty… you sweat. And she has two round of like sweat night, sweaty sleep.

PHH: Oh, nws ua npaws.

SO: Yeah, nws ua npaws. And she goes, aib niag npaws xa kuv haib li heev. And then I just thought to myself well her son’s name is Npawg. And I’m like why would she and her son be doing it? And then like my mom had to explain it. Oh, that just sounds wrong. But it’s all good.

PHH: Sandy, I love you and your mom. (laughs)

[01:20:00]

SO: Seriously. Dude. Seriously. If you had a cousin named Npawg and your aunt says aib niag npaws xab kuv haib li heev and I’m like… wouldn’t you think you and your son are doing it?

PHH: You know Ya has a friend name Aim[4] os. (laughs)

SO: (laughs) Poor kid.

PHH: I told Ya nobody…

SO: Poor kid.

PHH: Nobody believes us. I tell people that Ya has a friend named Aim.

MX: No, I have an uncle who you just reminded me now who uhm his nickname when we were younger was Aim. And so we would call him Iv Aim[5]. (laughs)

SO: (laughs)

PHH: (laughs) God, yeah.

SO: No I grew up with a kid uh in Rhode Island and his name was like Loupao. Lub paum[6].

PHH: (laughs)

SO: Because his sisters and them… he had an older sister who called him lub paum. And then everybody started calling him lub paum so his name became lub paum.

PHH: (laughs) You know it’s really funny because I remember distinctly the first time I ever heard about sex. And so I remember being in health class and watching this video about how babies are made.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: And being really really confused and I remember coming home and uh at that time we had this phauj[7] that lived with us. And I asked peb tus phaujI was like, phauj, you know kuv mus kawm ntawv na es uh lawv hais tias uh poj niam thiab txiv neej sib ua tau na es puas yog na[8]. And, have you ever done that? I remember that’s what I asked her distinctly. And I remember her turning to me and going, tsov tom es, es koj xav tias koj txiv lawv yug li cas na[9]? (laughs)

SO: (laughs)

PHH: I was like, what. And she’s like, how do you think your dad and them were made? Of course I’ve had sex. And I was like I just remember being so shocked that she would say that and that was like true. And I just remember I had that very vivid memory of her saying that and that is something I always remember when I think about like when we have sex conversations. But yeah, you know I don’t know I don’t think our generation of us and our parents like really do talk about sex. You know or the importance of having protected sex or you know the conversation is always, don’t have sex because you’re gonna koj muaj me nyuam tsaub[10]and then nobody’s gonna marry you anymore.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: You’re gonna get kicked out of the house. Those were always like the conversations that come out of sex talk.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: You know it’s never like how to have sex safely.

SO: Exactly.

MX: Or never even… you know when you think about it I think we can say safely that people don’t talk to their daughters about sex.

PHH: No.

SO: Mm-hm.

MX: So… so a lot of times women are in the dark and…

SO: Yes.

MX: They learn about sex in school because they… they teach about that in school.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: Yeah.

SO: Exactly. The only thing that started this whole like mother’s day conversation was this I was listening to this podcast and they talked about this new trend in Asia… about like hot moms. You know if you have kids you must maintain a certain look and so you have to hot and so… and so they have these hot mom hashtag and like hot mom like even reality t.v. show in China like about hot moms. How hot is your mom. And so I wanna talk about that added pressure of mothers… not only are you a child bearer and you give birth to children and you take care of them and have these types of sexual… these type of sex conversations with your daughters in order for them to navigate the uhm complexities of society… but also you need to maintain your look in order to have society love you because now you’re hot. And so…

PHH: Just to go back to… Sorry.

SO: No, no. I was talking about the layers and the, the added pressure for moms to not only look good and be a good mother as well.

PHH: Again like this goes back to that conversation that we had about the thing that happened at the Hmong international conference right. And men going oh like if men cheat on you because you are not like how you used to be right… you’re not hot.

SO: Yeah.

PHH: I mean, I just ugh I hate that.

[01:25:00]

PHH: I hate that there’s like… it’s not like enough for us to bear like these men’s children but then like we also have to maintain a certain appearance for these men.

SO: Mm-hm.

PHH: And then like you know we have to be mothers and we have to be providers for our kids but also we have to be like we also have to maintain ourselves and take care of our bodies because there’s always that added pressure of you know making sure that you look good because that’s the only way right…

SO: To keep your husband.

PHH: Your husband.

SO: Mm-hm. I mean so I feel like because of that added pressure maybe a lot of them are not getting married and then these women they’re now called leftover women.

MX: Well, then what would you call me?

SO: (laughs)

PHH: (laughs)

SO: Sheng nu ren[11].

PHH: Should we…

SO: We should wrap it.

PHH: Swim out of this. (laughs)

SO: Let’s swim ourself out through Pa’s juices and we hope that you enjoyed our mother’s day podcast. We talked about a lot of things. Again you are listening to #hoochim. And then just to repeat what we said in the middle of our… Our social media. You can tweet us at hashtag_hoochim. You can Facebook us and message us at #hoochim. Or you can send us an email at hashtag dot hoochim at gmail dot com. And… and that’s a wrap.

(Outro)

SO: Damn this Southern Comfort is making me hot. I’m about to like get drunk.

MX: I have to say that for myself giving up men was very easy.

PHH: I mean I love my Hmong men.

SO: You know I don’t wanna leave Hmong men behind and date other… other not Hmong men.

Translations of Hmong words and phrases in episode:

[1] Npaws = “fever”

[2] Xa = “transport, deliver, send”. The word is also used as a vulgar way of saying “have sex” and this is why Sandy was confused.

[3] Npawg = an informal way of saying “friend” or in this case the word is also a name.

[4] Aim = a vulger word for saying “have sex”

[5] Iv Aim = Younger Hmong children will sometimes drop consonants when they talk so this should actually be “txiv aim”. “Txiv” may either mean “dad” or in this case paternal “uncle”.

[6] Lub paum = “vagina”

[7] Phauj = paternal “aunt”

[8] kuv mus kawm ntawv na es uh lawv hais tias uh poj niam thiab txiv neej sib ua tau na es puas yog na = something along the lines of “I went to school and they said women and men can have sex and is this true”

[9] tsov tom es, es koj xav tias koj txiv lawv yug li cas na = something along the lines of “how do you think your dad and them were born”

[10] koj muaj menyuam tsaub = “you will have a bastard (child born outside of marriage)”

[11] sheng nu ren (mandarin chinese language) = “leftover women”

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