The first paragraph of Chapter 13 answered my questions from the last blog post! I was so excited to see this and it got me excited to continue reading. In the minds of the Lee family, they were running to what they thought would be a better life so in their mind, it was worth it. They did not know at the time the struggles they would face in the future.
Chapter 13 then discusses Lia’s final days in the hospital. Lia is comatose and clearly going to die soon. I thought the Hmong tradition of dressing up the dying was a very peaceful and good tradition. I thought it was also interesting though that the Lee’s were very upset that the doctors had told them that Lia was going to die. Their culture found it disrespectful for the doctors to admit this because it was as if they were giving up. I understand this point but found it almost counterintuitive that they would then put her in “funeral” clothes while she was still alive. Through all of the troubles of getting Lia home and attempts to break out, I am glad that they were able to bring her home.
I thought Chapter 14 related to our class the most out of any chapter of this book thus far. It really illuminated how disadvantaged the Hmong are in the American culture and how forcing them to assimilate can affect their health. We have discussed in our class multiple times about the topic of the melting point. I think this chapter was a perfect example of why a melting pot may not be the best thing. When coming to America, the Hmong would receive pamphlets explaining to them how to fit into american culture and what to do so that they do not stand out. Instead of Americans accepting the Hmong and the traditions they bring, they were shut out and told to be as much like Americans as possible. I cannot imagine being a refugee coming to this country and being ostracized and outcasted. Personally, when I meet someone from a different culture I ask them a lot of questions about where they come from (maybe too many) and I find that each person I meet always teaches me something new. I went to a high school where we celebrated every religious holiday whether it be Easter or Eid. We were encouraged to learn about cultures other than our own and I think it was extremely beneficial. Why have people blend into your culture when they may have something new to bring to the table?