Chapters 9 & 10

Chapter 9 discusses many events that occurred after Lia returned home. It first began by discussing the Hmong tradition of “neeb”. No matter your socioeconomic status, the Hmong always made time and money for this ceremony in which they sacrificed an animal and ate 98% of the meat at a celebration. I found it interesting how there have been various laws and efforts to try to end this tradition of animal sacrifice in other cultures. Many places made laws against sacrificing animals for the sake of cultural tradition. While some people believe that animal sacrifice is wrong and should be outlawed, many cultures see it as a central part of their cultural traditions.

While reading this part of the chapter, I immediately thought of high school. Every year in high school one of my friends invited me to her family “pig roast”. The morning of this event, the men in her extended family would come together and begin to roast a whole pig. Hours later family and friends would arrive and we would all sit down and eat the pig. I remember some of her family members eating the eyeballs and even the skin. There was no part of the pig that was not eaten. This Greek tradition reminded me much of the “neeb” celebration for the Hmong. While I may not have fully understood the meaning behind the cultural tradition, I saw how it important it was for my friend’s family and therefore respected their tradition.

I was sad to see that Lia’s condition continued to worsen once she got home. Even though she was regularly taking her medication, she continued to have seizures. What I found particularly alarming, as did Peggy, was how long the seizures were becoming. While I am not a doctor and do not know exactly what that means, it does not sound like Lia’s condition is improving in the slightest. For this reason, I understand why her parents were so frustrated by modern medicine. After all that they went through with Lia’s treatment for it not to work or improve her symptoms would be very defeating. I do not blame the Lees for retreating back to their cultural remedies.

Chapter 10, I have to admit, was a bit disappointing for me. While I enjoy reading about Hmong history and culture, I think that it causes the reader to lose sight of the Lee’s story. I found many of the anecdotes about the Vietnam War to be interesting and insightful, however I did not really see how it connected to Lia’s illness. I feel as though we have read so many chapters about Hmong history that I have a good enough basis to now follow the Lee family and their journey. I am invested and intrigued in Lia’s journey and want to see where it goes next.


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One thought on “Chapters 9 & 10

  1. I also found the neeb tradition really interesting, especially the information that no part of the animal is wasted in this sacrifice. In a way it was sadly amusing that Americans oppose this sacrifice that honors the animal and has no waste but consume meat that comes from factories where animals are abused and there is a ton of waste. To me, that seemed hypocritical.
    I like that you mentioned how you respected and joined in your friend’s cultural tradition despite not fully understanding it. I think that’s a good approach since many people fail to appreciate other cultures because they do not understand them. However, as you showed, one can participate and respect another culture’s tradition and gain knowledge along the way.

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