Hmong is a very special tradition that can be funny or sad.
So imagine never using a toilet before and that you had to go outside on a tree every time you had to go [to the bathroom]. Then coming to America seeing a strange appliance and someone tells you that you actually have to go on it. When you finally pluck up the nerves to go, they tell you that you have to drain the water. You wouldn’t know how to, so you think he means you have to get a bucket and take all the water out. Then you see the water going around and around in circles. Ahhh, it’s going to suck me in. That’s what you are thinking as you are running away. Also, the man that tells you to do all this is weird, as he doesn’t have brown eyes and black hair like everyone else you’ve ever met. Nope, he’s a monster with yellow hair and, well, blue eyes. Then, you think he’s trying to suck you into his world and turn you into a monster like him.
Back in Laos, they had to wash their feet before they go to sleep. So, they thought it was for washing their feet, so they put their feet in it. The sister yelled and said this is not how you are supposed to do it. You have to pee in it.
I didn’t think there are many Hmong comedians, if any. But after I saw this video, I thought differently.
It is just as funny to be Hmong as it is to be American.
Tou Ger questioned his father, “What is America?” His father replied, “It’s in the clouds. We take a metal bird up and there’s America.”
Then, his sister showed him the sofa. That was “cool.” They bounced up and down. They saw the TV next. Wow, they thought. Then they noticed the fridge.
She scolded them, and told them about the bathroom [in the house]. They walked in [to the bathroom]. “Where’s the tree?” they asked.
Tou Ger ran to his house and told his mom about the giant [the missionary] and his mother said, “Keep away, they bite.”
When he want to school, he saw that everybody liked to skip, and he thought everyone walked weird.
Before, I kind of thought that the Hmong only did things like funerals and qeej playing. I now know that they have their own sense of humor, just like every culture.
It was funny when [his dad] said, “Don’t go closer, or they’ll bite you, son.”
I understand Hmong culture differently, because Tou Ger Xiong made me feel a little braver.
Just because the Hmong have gone through and endured crossing dangerous rivers, fires, war, and hard times…doesn’t mean they’re just going to say “I’m done…I’ll never laugh or run in fields or help in golden fields of rice, again…” No! The Hmong say, “I’ve gone through a lot. But that can’t stop me from farming, gardening, having fun, etc. I’m going to make the best of it.”
Back in Laos, people went barefoot. The rule was to wash your feet before you go to bed. So, when Tou and his brother saw the big white bowl, they didn’t immediately realize what it was. “Oh, look! A special bowl to wash your feet in! Press the handle and your feet get cleaned.”