Tuesday, October 24, 2017

June Calender writes

Other Mothers

In a Hmong village in Thailand 
a large spotted sow settled beside 
a path. Stumbling, running from the bushes 
ten or twelve piglets rushed at her. 
She lay unmoving as the little ones 
loudly squeaked, grabbed a teat 
suckled like vacuum pumps, 
constantly jostling one another 
never still and content like their mother 
as her eyes drifted closed, an animal 
smile on her face.
Image result for suckling pigs paintings

1 comment:

  1. The Hmong are believed to have been the original inhabitants of the Huang He (“Yellow River”) valley in China. They regard Zhuolu in northwestern Hebei to be their birthplace and Chiyou as their ancestor; a bull-headed man, he had a bronze head with metal foreheads, 4 eyes, and 6 arms who defeated Yandi (the Flame Emperor, the emperor of the south). Yandi was then defeated by his half-brother Huangdi (the Yellow Emperor), who amalgamated the two tribes into the Yanhuang, the founders of Chinese culture, and began a 10-year war against Chiyou. During the battle of Zhuolu, Chiyou obscured the sunlight by breathing out a thick fog, but after 4 days Huangdi managed to find his way out of the fog by inventing a chariot that always pointed south. Then Chiyou called on Feng Bo, a wind god, and Yu Shi, a rain god, to create a fierce storm, but Huangdi’s daughter Nüba, the drought demon, descended from heaven and cleared the battlefield, leading to Chiyou’s defeat and death. After his death it rained blood, and his people were forced to live in the mountains. In the 1st century the Hmong and other southern tribes were designated as Miao; the term was revived during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), with the connotation of "barbarian" and referred to the indigenous people of the southwestern frontier who refused to submit to imperial rule. In the 18th and 19th centuries, targeted for genocide because they resisted humiliation, oppression, and enslavement, many Hmong fled and settled in southeast Asia, becoming known as “Mèo” in Vietnam, “Maew” in Laos and Thailand, and “Mun lu-myo” in Burma; these became regarded as derogatory terms by the Hmong. In the early 1960s, partially as a result of the North Vietnamese invasion of Laos, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency's Special Activities Division began to recruit, train, and lead the Laotian Hmong against them. After the Pathet Lao victory in Laos in 1975, about 30% of them fled the Communist regime there; many settled in Thailand, becoming one of the ethnic groups in the north and west referred to as Chao Khao (“Hill Tribes”), a term that came into official use in the 1960s. Even before the exodus of the 1970s the Hmong were the largest non-Buddhist group in Thailand and have since grown to some 152,000 people. Traditionally the hill/valley dichotomy in the area reflected the fact that the Thais occupied the more fertile intermontane basins and the valleys, while the less powerful groups lived in the less rich higher altitudes; this division was often also characterized by a master/serf relationship. In 2013 the “Bangkok Post” claimed that the various Chao Khao were “treated as outsiders—criminals even, since most live in protected forests. Viewed as national security threats, hundreds of thousands of them are refused citizenship although many are natives to the land." Nevertheless, among the Chao Khao, the Hmong are becoming well integrated into Thai society as well as being among the most successful.


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