Friday, June 22, 2007

Hmong: Generation Gap

The article characterizes how the arrest of a famous Hmong general has outraged many individuals of the Hmong community. Vang Pao has a strong history of assisting American forces against communism during the Vietnam War. It is the dream of many Hmongs to return to a more democratic Laos, as characterized by Pao before his arrest. However, there does not seem to be a strong consensus within the Hmong community in regards to returning to "back home" to Laos.

What stands out the most (to me at least) is the apparent discrepancy between the older and younger generations. Many Asian American youths can probably relate to the fact that many individuals of the older generation (parents, grandparents, etc.) have at one time talked about returning to their motherland to live out the rest of their lives. It is truly understandable to feel such a strong attachment to one's motherland, a true home for many. However, those of the younger generations are more than likely to consider America their true home or motherland. As proud as I am to be an Indian American, I see myself spending the rest of my life in America (the country I consider my homeland) rather than India (the nation of my family's ancestral lines).

Individuals who are born and raised in America can proudly identify themselves as Asian Americans without feeling pressured that such pride must go hand-in-hand with one day returning to one's roots. It is possible to be proud of being both Asian and American but in varying degrees. It is evident that there are some individuals of the younger generation who would love to live in Asia due to their strong cultural attachment (possibly due to their being born there or frequent visiting), but as the article characterizes, it is evident that a strong number of younger individuals are becoming more attached to the American lifestyle and consider America more of a home for them than where their bloodline would lead them otherwise.

How individuals characterize themselves in regards to cultural identity is up to them: There is no right or wrong way to identify oneself but as long as Asians and Asian Americans realize that common cutural bond that unites them and in turn, embraces it, then what is important to this cultural community cannot be lost: it still exists in a constantly changing form as it is passed from one generation to the next. It is our duty as Asian Americans to ensure that the younger generations are aware of the rich history and honor that comes with being Asian American in today's ever changing society. In other words, pass the torch so that this legacy continues to remain strong no matter what the environment or situation is.

1 comment:

ng2000 said...

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