Guam to California. Lesson #2: What is Hmong?

 

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Ka (in traditional Hmong outfit) and her husband, Anthony, on their Wedding Day (Oct 17, 2009.)

My first encounter with this word was when I was standing in line at my local bank in Florin Rd, cashing my very first paycheck since moving to Sacramento, California. The guy behind me gave me a sly smile and asked me if I was Hmong. Hmong? I had no clue what he meant and said, “No.”

My second encounter with the word was during training at my then new job. We were given scenarios and the word Hmong was written on the booklet. Again…I had no clue what it meant, but from the context, I gathered that it was an ethnicity or a nationality.

So I went home to my aunt and uncle’s house…and I asked them, “what is Hmong?” And they just flat out laughed at me. Some help they were. They were very unclear on describing it to me, but basically said they are short people, like myself , that moved to Sacramento from Vietnam and other places, because they didn’t have their own country.

Thankfully, a year or so later, I met Ka, who is Hmong. She worked at the same building as I did. We became fast friends and she enlightened me with her culture and her language. I asked her a few questions a few months ago, for this blog post, and these are her replies:

S: What is Hmong?

K: Hmong are a people without a country. After the Secret War ended, hundreds of thousands were accepted as refugees to America, France and Australia, just to name a few countries.

She then quoted a website called: ethonologue.org that states millions are still living in Southern China.

S: How would you describe the culture?

K: It’s a culture that cherishes family and heritage. They are a people who resist assimilation and yet are pleasant, amicable and humble.

S: Where did your ancestors come from?

K: Originally from China.

S: How would you describe the language?

K: Hmong is a macro language and have many micro languages under it. These micro languages are designated by color usually because of the color of their clothing. Hmong is a mono-syllabic language. (So interesting…isn’t it?!-Sharon)

S: How would you compare an ancient Hmong to a modern day Hmong?

K: The Hmong in America seem to have influence over the world wide Hmong populous. Through entertainment, internet and social media they connect to the rest of the Hmong around the globe and are changing the way those ones think and see the world around them. Most of those changes seem to be for the worse and not the better. Many are getting divorced, having extramarital affairs and children out of wedlock. Things which, just a few years ago, would have been unheard of. There are some parts of the world where the Hmong have not been ‘contaminated’ with this modern age, and they live quiet and humble lives; probably like the ancient Hmong.

 

I had the pleasure of attending a Hmong meeting once before…and was very lost. However, I did appreciate the enthusiasm that many learners put into the learning the language. At that time, they were studying the My book of bible stories for their Congregation Bible Study. They were limited in the books they can use since not a lot of the publications were translated in Hmong. Also, their songbook had less pages compared to our regular song book. Now, they have the Remote Translation Office for Hmong in South Sacramento, and Ka is currently one of the translators there.

How glad I am to come to know a new culture, a new person, and a new language… that shows Jehovah definitely does not discriminate nor hold back any of His blessings.

 

 

 

Elevator Pitch

An elevator pitchelevator speech or elevator statement is a short summary used to quickly and simply define a process, product, service, organization, or event and its value proposition.[1]

The name ‘elevator pitch’ reflects the idea that it should be possible to deliver the summary in the time span of an elevator ride, or approximately thirty seconds to two minutes and is widely credited to Ilene Rosenzweig and Michael Caruso (while he was editor for Vanity Fair) for its origin.[2][3] The term itself comes from a scenario of an accidental meeting with someone important in the elevator. If the conversation inside the elevator in those few seconds is interesting and value adding, the conversation will either continue after the elevator ride, or end in exchange of business cards or a scheduled meeting.” (Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elevator_pitch)

 

I’ve heard of this long before..but never-ever thought of formulating one. And, as I contemplate about it, an elevator pitch is useful for everyday life. For instance, in a group setting…where random people are just talking about themselves and what they’ve accomplished…where you’d like to leave a mark or somewhat a memorable impression of yourself…its good to have a well-prepared, compelling, yet brief commentary. Something that will linger in their minds…and leave a pleasant memory of you and the words you just spoke.

Or When you get that chance encounter with that guy or gal you’ve been crushing on…what do you say?

Or when you meet that famous person…do you just shriek and ask, “can I take a picture?” or would you rather have something to say that has more meaning? I would choose the latter.

Here are some pitches I’ve conjured up:

If I somehow ran into Casey Neistat (one famous dude and entrepreneur), I would say: “Hi! I’m Sharon. Good to see you in person than thru a screen. My first vid of yours is ‘Free Business Class Upgrade, everytime.’ But since you’ve been vlogging daily you have definitely increased my vocabulary. I learn new words from you regularly…most recently the word ‘amiable.’ Tell Candice she rocks and hugs to Owen and Francine.”

If I were in a forum and I had to introduce myself…it would sound something like this: “Hi! I’m Sharon and i’ve done many scary things in my life.. like jumping out of a plane or traversing a foreign country on my own…but, somehow, this moment right here…talking to all of you, is also quite scary. However, the importance is to conquer that fear…just do it and don’t think too much about it …and ride it like a bull.”

What’s your elevator pitch? I’d like to know.