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
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
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