After researching the Hmong culture, I learned several interesting facts about their culture, ceremonial practices, and their views on death and dying of a loved one. Many people in the Hmong culture believe in multiple souls that reincarnate. Although for this to occur, these individuals believe that an honored deceased member must have a proper burial to enter the spirit world in a positive way. Funerals in the Hmong culture last for many days, and the more revered the deceased is the longer the funeral may be. Animal sacrifice is a common ritual performed at a Hmong funeral and the animal is used to provide food for the people attending the funeral (Purnell, 2014, p. 246).
As I listened to the Riverbend scenario I thought of my own cultural competence and how at one time I knew very little of the Hmong culture. Working in a city where Asians make up only 3% of the population, this is a population I knew little about. I have learned that most Hmong are from the mountainous region of Laos, and are granted preferred refugee status by the U.S. (Cobb, 2010). From 2000 to 2010 the number of Hmong grew 40%, there are currently 260,073 Hmong people living primarily in California, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. Even though the Hmong people seem to be prospering after thirty years in the U.S., there are still challenges with communication, understanding of cultural beliefs, and use of traditional medical practices (United States Census Bureau, 2013)
In the book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman explores the cultural collision between the Hmong Lee family and their American doctors. Along with the culture clash, the social stigma against the Hmong family brings to light a lot of the systematic, moral, and ethical issues that can arise in our healthcare. Ultimately, the combination of the cultural clash in medical perspectives, the underlying social stigma, the inadequate treatment, and the miscommunication hindered the proper diagnosis and recovery of led to the demise of the Hmong child. However, many of the problems could have been easily avoided or resolved with more patience, objectivity, and most importantly, cultural competence. Cross-cultural methods and approaches should be taken to accommodate for the diverse patient population in our communities.
This report was commissioned by The Asian Education Foundation, to analyse the growing number of Asian texts being produced. This report will asses Family life, Resilience and the issue of Racism. Asian tests have had a large increase from the publishing of Anh Do’s autobiography, The Happiest Refugee.
During the Vietnam War, another war broke out known as the Laotian Civil War. An organization and communist political movement called “Pathet Lao” from North Vietnam was trying to overthrow the Royal Lao Government. While this was happening the CIA recruited the Hmong led by general Vang Pao, (who were an ancient hill-tribe from the mountains of Laos) as a secret alliance, to help aid the Royal Lao Government. (Batson, 1991, “Birth of Pathet Lao” Para. 16) The United States and Hmongs involvement in this are now what is known as the Secret War, for it was kept a secret by the United States government. Eventually, the Royal Lao Government was taken over by Pathet Lao. The Secret War ended the same war as the Vietnamese War in 1975 but the continuation
The case of Lia Lee can be used holistically to showcase the negative effects which a culture and language barrier can produce between doctor and patient. It can reveal how communication and cultural sensitivity can aid in medical practice. Nevertheless, Lia’s case also shows the need for doctors and healthcare practitioners to learn more of about a culture so that treatment may be administered smoothly and without complete comprehension of the patient and their
Over the progression of the book the view points and relationships between the Lees and the doctors develops slightly. The medical staff was not prepared with a translator or a cultural understanding of the Hmong and how their beliefs would not match up with their medical practices. “Not only do the Hmong fail resoundingly to improve the payer mix- more than eighty percent are on Medi-Cal- but they have proved even more costly than other indigent patients, because they generally require more time and attention, and because there are so many of them that MCMC has to hire bilingual staff members to mediate between patients and providers” (Fadiman 25). This theme in the story was immensely eye opening for all of the cultural gaps that exist throughout the United States. The solution to this problem is for both sides standing on opposite sides of the gap to take the time to bridge the gap together. In order for this to work both cultures need to first build the relationships and establish a sense of trust between each other. Then, they need to be empathetic towards each other. In this case it is not where you are sympathetic for someone who does not understand the new culture around them, but you put yourself in their shoes and try to understand the difficult circumstances that are in front of them to help close the gap and not make it
In the novel, Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri, nine distinct stories are told that depict families or people of Indian descent who experience different situations and circumstances that affect their lives. Many themes arise throughout the stories, but one that is prevalent through two specific stories, Mrs.Sen’s and Interpreter of Maladies, is the idea of cultural assimilation. Mrs.Sen’s and Interpreter of Maladies both portray the idea of cultural assimilation, but in different ways. Mrs.Sen’s is an example of a woman who resisted cultural assimilation in order to preserve her Indian heritage, while Interpreter of Maladies is a story that depicts a family who have fallen victim to cultural assimilation, thus losing a sense of connection to their Indian roots and being conformed into American culture. Lahiri uses the recurring motif of physical objects and actions to illustrate the various effects cultural assimilation has on certain people. Ultimately, Lahiri suggests the idea that American culture plays an influential role in shaping one’s physical and cultural beliefs, but it is possible to avoid being assimilated through self-determination and resistance.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall is a novel based on the clash of two cultures---the Hmong culture and the American culture. A little Hmong girl is diagnosed with epilepsy which her parents believe is caused by spirits. Because of this belief, they try to cure her illness not with western medication but their own Hmong ways. There is a huge misunderstanding between the parents and the doctors that Anne Fadiman explores. Anne Fadiman provides readers with a vivid, detailed history of the Hmong in Laos to their involvement in the Vietnam War to their struggles in America that explains this clash. On the other hand, she also explains why Americans see and felt the way they did about the Hmong culture particularly the doctors. One shortcoming
Even though people have no direct connection with one another, they could find similarities and differences within each other by observing individual’s life. In the memoir, The Red-Headed Hawaiian by Chris McKinney and Rudy Puana, a life of Rudy has been described from his childhood to his adulthood. The journey of Rudy Puana starts with cultural identity and ends in cultural identity, in which Hawaiian and haole culture became obstacles as well as solutions to his problem. Throughout Rudy’s educational period, he experienced mistreatment, hardship, and recoveries from the undesirable conditions. His life is especially different from other life as well as from my life. Indeed, the majority of what I found was differences. However, Rudy and I experienced similar obstacles that define each identity.
The Hmong people have a long history of searching for a homeland. They are among the oldest societies in Asia, yet very few know about them. As they have an oral culture, it is hard to determine certain aspects of their history, like their origin. However, comparing their religious viewpoints to others, they seemed to have originated from Chaldea, a region located near present-day Iraq. They then migrated to Asia, and the majority of the Hmong population resided in China near the Yellow and Yangtze Rivers and are credited as some of the first people to grow rice.
Throughout the story, there were endless occurrences where the Hmong’s values clashed with the Americans. To start, the Lee’s thought that if a dab gave Lia her illness their family would be able to treat Lia to get her speaking again. But, the Lee’s thought that since Lia got sick in America that they have “…done this to her, and our medicine cannot fix that” (p. 258). Again, the Hmong value their ethnic medicine due to the ancestor’s progressive, trusted therapy techniques, and therefore utilized their treatments without hesitation. This clashes with the westerner’s medicine because they solemnly use supplementary therapies that are consistent with Hmong medicine. I feel like there were many misunderstandings about the purpose of the medicinal
Anne Fadiman’s professional background is that of the Hmong lifestyle with its cultures against the entire American culture. In his background, there is miscommunication resulting from the refusal of the give medical dosages and other medicines due to the misunderstandings and mistrust. According to Barnsteiner , (p.71), there is also the inability of the US doctors to treat those people deeply rooted in the Hmong culture and they are also unable to learn that culture in the most helpful. Hmong is a refugee family in the US and that is where Ann Fadiman comes from. They come from provinces such as Laos and Sainyabuli which have tried to interact with the healthcare system in California and Merced. The interaction with the healthcare system
During the Vietnam War several Hmong’s relocated to America as political refugees. There was an enormous culture shock from both the Hmong and Americans and misunderstandings due to language barrier. Struggling to adapt to a new society with different norms the Hmong were highly underestimated. The author’s encounter with the Hmong patients were very heart felt, she grew especially close to the Lee family whose daughter had been diagnosed with a disease with radically different meanings for Western physicians. The Hmong had viewed epilepsy as state of being not necessarily psychological defect or even series of events. “Their seizures are thought to be evidence that they have the power to perceive things other people cannot see, as well as facilitating their entry into trances, a prerequisite for their journeys into the realm of the unseen” (Fadiman 21). Known as the quag dab peg ‘when you fall the spirit catches you’ are said to be the “most treasured possessions a person can have” (Fadiman 22). Which was considered to be a calling to become a host of a healing spirit. The author kept up to date through Lee’s tragic experience with translation complications, inequality and culture shock. Little did she know that she would be witnessing a “collision” as one doctor called it. Both sides would be wounded, but neither seemed to know the occurrence that led to the accident or how to avoid another
The Woman Warrior is a “memoir of a girlhood among ghosts” in which Maxine Hong Kingston recounts her experiences as a second generation immigrant. She tells the story of her childhood by intertwining Chinese talk-story and personal experience, filling in the gaps in her memory with assumptions. The Woman Warrior dismantles the archetype of the typical mother-daughter relationship by suggesting that diaspora redefines archetypes by combining conflicting societal norms.