Chapter 11 explores the events that occurred after Lia was transported back to MCMC from the hospital in Fresno. At this point, Lia is in immense pain; she is responding physically to the medical staffs’ actions, but she has yet to display verbal understanding of her situation. The Lees and many of their close friends and relatives stayed by Lia’s side when she was at MCMC. Foua and Nao Kao decided that it would be in Lia’s best interest to come home with them. The doctors made it extremely clear that they thought this decision would speed up the rate in which Lia could die. Nonetheless, the Lees stuck to their decision. They believed that Lia could not get better, because the medical staff at MCMC were giving her too much medicine. While over-medication is a real thing, I believe that the doctors were doing their best to keep Lia alive; even though, they thought she would die soon. Nao Kao wanted Lia out of the hospital so badly, that he took Lia from her hospital bed and tried to escape with her. I could understand why he thought he had to take this type of extreme action. If you are from a culture that believes speaking of forthcoming death will inevitably speak it into existence, then it is only logical to take your daughter away from people that keep bringing it up. I see how this was very annoying and frustrating for the hospital staff, but I can also see the Hmong side of things in that situation. It is like they are speaking bad things into reality. At the end of the chapter, Lia does finally go home, but it is still unclear whether she does truly get better.
The next chapter explains what it was like for the Hmong people to migrate to the United States. Based on what is said in this chapter, it seems as though the Hmong got the short end of the stick in terms of preparation for coming to America and integrating into society. They were not given clear instructions on how to effectively live in America. Some had the ability to rely on their family that was already here, while others were not so lucky. Being born in America and knowing the nuances of the society and how things work is a privilege when you consider how extremely difficult it was for the Hmong refugees to get acclimated here. Even though the Hmong struggled to understand American society, they never swayed from their belief system. Their main reason for coming to America was to preserve their cultural ethnicity and they sought to achieve this goal by holding onto their language, values, and traditions. I think it is hard to come to America or any other country from your homeland and not try to assimilate. Assimilation is thrust upon people from another culture, because the thought is if you want to really belong to the new society you’re in, then you should be willing to give up your old beliefs. The Hmong fought against this idea and that in itself deserves respect.
One thought on “Chapters 13 and 14”
As you mentioned, the Hmong were not really helped in their transition to the United States. I thought this was especially disturbing since they had helped the US in war and were told they would receive compensation but instead were constantly disappointed during and after their migration. The book mentioned how some Americans treated the Hmong poorly because they thought the Hmong were receiving more than a fair share of welfare but in a way, the Hmong were war heroes and should have been treated as such.
Comments are closed.