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#1
maixiong_vg

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    Nyob zoo txais tos sawv daws los ua phooj ywg :)

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Hli no tsis muaj neeg n nominate Kuv rov Nominate tus niam laus tus Kao Kalia Yang no ua Hmongza Star of April.

Xav kom muaj writors coob coob thiaj muaj sib pab khaws tau yam zoo uas yog hmoob tej hmoob tug hmoob txuj hmoob ci khaws tseg rau tej hluas rau yav tom ntej tau kawm.

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Kao Kalia Yang (born 1980), aka Kao Kaliya Yang, is a Hmong writer and author of The Latehomecomer: A Hmong Family Memoir from Coffee House Press. Her work has appeared in the Paj Ntaub Voice Hmong Literary Journal and numerous other publications. She wrote the lyric documentary, The Place Where We Were Born. She currently resides in Minnesota.

Kao Kalia Yang was Born in Ban Vinai refugee camp in December, 1980, Yang came to Minnesota in the summer of 1987, along with her parents and older sister Der. Yang says that the move to America was necessary for her parents. Her mother suffered six miscarriages after giving birth to her, and with no male heir, her father was being pressured to find a second wife. He even took his younger daughter on trips with him to visit eligible women in the camp. For Yang's parents, leaving Ban Vinai was not only about finding opportunity for their two daughters, but also rescuing themselves from family and cultural pressure.

Yang says that while her sister mastered the English language quickly, she struggled for many years, finally discovering that her gift lay not in the spoken, but in the written word. Yang credits her older sister Der, with awakening an interest within her: "[E]verything was a Chinese movie in her head. So she would read Jack and the Beanstalk...[and] it became a Chinese drama. So in my head it was never Jack and the Beanstalk; it wasn't even Jack, it was a Chinese drama, flying around. That beanstalk wasn't a beanstalk, it was a mountain, and he was going to get this beautiful flower that would make his ailing mother live for a hundred years. And this is the kind of introduction I had to books." Yang also credits her 9th grade English teacher, Mrs. Gallatin, with recognizing and encouraging her talents. Upon graduation from Harding High School in St. Paul, MN, she attended Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, though she was by no means certain of her future plans when she began her college career.


Education
Yang graduated from Carlerton Collage with a Bachelor degree in American Studies, Women's and Gender Studies, and Cross-cultural Studies. Yang received her Master's of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction Writing from Columbia University in New York City.

She has taught in numerous positions across the US. Beginning at age 12, Yang taught English as a second language to adult refugees. As a student, Yang privately tutored students, and taught creative nonfiction writing workshops to professionals, including professors from Rutgers University and New York University. Yang has also taught the fundamentals of writing to students at Concordia University in St. Paul and courses in composition at St. Catherine University. She is currently visiting organizations and institutions all over the US on writing.


Awards and Recognition
Kao Kalia Yang has been a recipient of the Page Scholarship by the Page Education Foundation for demonstrated leadership, academic achievement, and community commitment. She has received the Gilman International Award for international spirit and the practice of diplomacy and the Freeman in Asia Scholarship toward the study of international and intra-national models of development. Yang also received Columbia University's School of the Arts Dean's Fellowship for the merit and reaches of her work and also received the Paul and Daisy Soros Fellowship for exceptional leadership, originality and the potential to change the landscape of American society. She is the 2008 recipient of the Spirit of Carleton College Award, and in 2009 The Latehomecomer won Minnesota Book Awards for memoir/creative nonfiction as well as the Reader's Choice Award--the first book to ever win two awards.

Yang was selected as one of few U.S. student delegates to attend the 26th International Achievement Summit. She is also the winner of the Lantern Books 2005 essay contest. Her book has become the best-selling title in Coffee House Press history.

A community activist, Yang is also an entrepreneur, co-founding Words Wanted, one of the first professional Hmong writing services in the United States.

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Kuv hnov me me hais tias Nkauj Kab Lia yuav npaj ib co paj huam (poems)
rau tom ntej no nawb. Let's sit back and see her poems when it comes out. :D


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sis maiv, after koj read phau book ko tag koj xav li cas xwb? puas kam sau me me Reflection qhia txog thiab seb koj nyeem es koj ho pom li cas?

also, puas muaj leej twg nyeem thiab? nej ho xav li cas thiab? nej ho pom li cas thiab?

Edited by NkAuJ hMoOb WeStOn, 14 April 2010 - 06:27 PM.


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after read this book, what did you guys think of it?  have any of you been though the same think kalia's family did?

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    Nyob zoo txais tos sawv daws los ua phooj ywg :)

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View PostNkauj Pag Npaim, on 14 April 2010 - 06:26 PM, said:

sis maiv, after koj read phau book ko tag koj xav li cas xwb? puas kam sau me me Reflection qhia txog thiab seb koj nyeem es koj ho pom li cas?

also, puas muaj leej twg nyeem thiab? nej ho xav li cas thiab? nej ho pom li cas thiab?


Txhov txim kuv tsis tau teb koj os, tsis tau los hauv no li sub,

Sis kuv tsis tau nyeem phaum ntawv os tsuas nyeem me me introdution xwb, Vim nrhiav tsis tau phau ntawv tim peb no. Sis Tiam sis kuv hnov kuv txiv piav peb lub neej khiav los tim ub los raug kev txom nyem heev thiab twb yuav luag tsis dim txoj siab, ib txhia kwv tij ploj tuag tag, tsis hais raug tua los sis tuag tshaib,....i can feel the pain, los txog rau peb kev spend live nyob rau hauv Camp Vinai for years kuv xav tias Sis Kao los yuav muaj not too different feeling rau peb cov loj hlob hauv camp thiab vim peb muaj life experience sib txawv tsis ntau.

Hos koj puas tau nyeem thaib os Koj ho muaj reflection li cas thiab os Sis

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    Nyob zoo txais tos sawv daws los ua phooj ywg :)

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View PostGuest, on 18 May 2010 - 03:28 PM, said:

after read this book, what did you guys think of it? have any of you been though the same think kalia's family did?

What about you sis? have you read it?
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View Postmaixiong_vg, on 22 May 2010 - 08:55 PM, said:

What about you sis? have you read it?
no i haven't. i would like to.

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View Postmaixiong_vg, on 22 May 2010 - 08:53 PM, said:


Txhov txim kuv tsis tau teb koj os, tsis tau los hauv no li sub,

Sis kuv tsis tau nyeem phaum ntawv os tsuas nyeem me me introdution xwb, Vim nrhiav tsis tau phau ntawv tim peb no. Sis Tiam sis kuv hnov kuv txiv piav peb lub neej khiav los tim ub los raug kev txom nyem heev thiab twb yuav luag tsis dim txoj siab, ib txhia kwv tij ploj tuag tag, tsis hais raug tua los sis tuag tshaib,....i can feel the pain, los txog rau peb kev spend live nyob rau hauv Camp Vinai for years kuv xav tias Sis Kao los yuav muaj not too different feeling rau peb cov loj hlob hauv camp thiab vim peb muaj life experience sib txawv tsis ntau.

Hos koj puas tau nyeem thaib os Koj ho muaj reflection li cas thiab os Sis


sis, kuv nyeem mas. Tsis ua li cas li os. Khoom los mam los peb tham uasi xwb os nawb......

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View PostGuest, on 18 May 2010 - 03:28 PM, said:

after read this book, what did you guys think of it? have any of you been though the same think kalia's family did?

Here is my reflection... We each might see it different way.

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Reflection of the LateHomeComer


Before I read the book “The LateHomeComer”, I was already thinking what the book was going to be about. I knew that the book was all about Kao Kalia Yang’s life, but I never knew that the book would be so emotive, heartbreaking and unforgettable. Before I read it, I took a look at the cover and noticed some Hmong people in a bus and some Hmong people with some of their luggage. So then, I knew right a way that some of them were going to America. The picture on that book cover reminded me of when I was about 7 years old and my family was going to Phanat-Nikhom. I didn’t know what she was going to write about in the book, until I turned to the very first page and began to read through the paragraphs.

When I read through the first chapter, Kalia was talking about how young boys, at age 10-12 years old, would have to carry on the generations to replace their fathers as being a soldier to serve their country. In my opinion, it was really touching, because as I was reading, I imagined that if my child was 10 or perhaps even 12 years old, I would never ever let him/her go to the battlefield to fight. I heard many stories about young boys going to war, but I never imagined that boys, who go out to war, would be that young. I heard from my dad that he had to replace his father, but at that time, he was already 14 years old. In the United States, the law says that you have to be 18 to go out to war and fight for the country. I felt so miserable for all those innocent boys who had to take people’s lives at such a youthful age and protect their families and lands while still a juvenile.

When she spoke about her mother giving birth to her older sister Dawb, her father wasn’t there to help with labor and her grandma had to be the one to lend a hand. It was painful and hurtful to me to read of what was happening at that time. Kalia’s father didn’t even get the chance to see his own daughter because he was serving in the army at that time. Kalia’s mother thought that her father passed away. As I continued reading, Kalia’s mother didn’t know if her father was alive or not. Also Kalia’s father didn’t have a clue that her mother was giving birth to her older sister Dawb. This happened to a lot of our Hmong people during the Vietnam War. I heard stories that the husband went to war, and the wife was pregnant without the husband knowing. So when the husband finally came back from war, he just saw kids that were 1 or 2 years old which surprised the father. Some father doesn’t even come back, so then the children’s didn’t even get to see their father’s face even once.

When Kalia talked about airplanes that scattered awful rain, and people who were fading because of the frightful drizzle, it made me think that Hmong citizens were treated just like any other worthless and useless animals and that they thought the people are weak minded and can’t stand up for themselves. I heard a story from my mother that this happened twice in their village too. After the chemical release from the airplanes, a couple days later, the villagers saw some yellow drops on the green leaves and children began to experience an unknown disease. The children began to somehow experience a disease that made their stomach bigger and bigger, which lead to their deaths. Adults started to have diarrhea and continued going to the bathroom until they passed away. Each time the airplane flew by and sprayed chemical gas over whichever village happened to be nearby, then more than half of the people would eventually pass away of some unknown disease.

When Kalia stated that they were scared and were traveling in the dark from place to place, they had to walk backwards to hide their footprints so that the Laotians and Vietnamese soldiers didn’t know where the people were headed. I cannot imagine how scary it was to hide from their enemies. Also, they walked barefooted on the ground for numerous days and various weeks without food and without water, they had to eat whatever they can get and drink a little from the rain. I cannot imagine how they could survive that cruelty. I asked my parents why Hmong people traveled during night time. They say that the Vietnamese and Laotians slept at night time so that is the only way and time to escape. It was distressing when I heard that most Hmong people traveled during night time just to escape the cruel fate of being tortured and being used as bait or something other than bait. You may never know what you might bump into or step on at night time. Also you may never know what kind of creature you might encounter like some tigers, leopards or even elephants.

It was sad how Kalia stated that their family was poor, so they couldn’t pay money for the fisherman to take them across the Mekong River. Everyone in her family didn’t know how to swim except her father. It was really hard for them because they didn’t know how to swim. Her father had to cut some bamboo and tie it around the family and assist them across the Mekong River. The situation was life and death, because, if he slipped the family unit would flow along with him and pass away together. I heard that crossing the Mekong River wasn’t as easy as people may think. Many people passed away in the Mekong River because sometimes, during an escape moment across the Mekong River, the leader who lead his people will accidentally slip or have leg cramps that caused him to drown and drag the other people who didn’t know how to swim to their deaths.

When they got to Thailand, they heard that her Uncle and his family were sent back to Laos, which made me afraid. I heard that whoever got sent back, it would be a life and death situation. A chance of surviving would be very small. Lots of Hmong people get captured by Laotians and Vietnamese and they ended up being brutally killed in action. It was a good thing that Kalia’s family members didn’t get killed and made it to Thailand. I heard that some of my relatives got sent back and were harshly executed too. It has been 30 years, and no body has ever really gotten a clue of where and what had happened to all those captured relatives that got sent back. All we heard was that they were either killed or missing.

When Kalia said that they went to register at the camp, they had to guess their birthday. That problem had happened to many families, not just her family. Most families guessed their birthdates in May, June, March and January. Even my parent’s birthdates were guessed and may be fake birthdays. Some families chose the same month but different dates and different years. Some families choose same month and date, but different years. My uncle’s family chose the month of January but different days and years. In my family, my mother, father, and grandparents all chose June 6th, but different years. It was a good thing I was born in Ban VI Nai Refugee Camp, and I didn’t have to guess my birth date. If you think it through, it’s amusing, yet so saddening to not identify what day and month you were born.

It was agonizing that their family didn’t have a place to sleep or rest. Kalia’s family slept out in the open for a week. Every one of their family members slept on the hard ground and on mats which was laid out in the open for them. To me, Kalia’s family suffered many obstacles along the way and they’ve been through a lot. People who went through this pain understand what it’s like. Others might think that’s really funny. But that is wrong. It’s really sad, frightening and a real pain to sacrifice everyone and everything you had before. Both my parents and grandparents had been through it and they stated to me that they don’t want to face that situation again in the future. Others who have their own lands and a place to live think and treat people who doesn’t have any shelter like any animals who get stepped on and viewed like trash.

When Kalia mentioned the soy bean drink that was brought by a big truck like the kind you see carrying oil, that scene reminded me of the old days of when I was still in Thailand. At that time I was only 6-7 years old and we were in line to get the soybean drink. Some people got in line twice and others perhaps 3 or 4 times. Little kids were extremely hungry and were waiting for anything that contained sweetness. I’ve been there and I know how it feels like to be in line to drink soybean liquid. People in the United States are lucky enough to get milk and have all those junk foods and eat anything they want to eat, unlike the Hmong citizens who were suffering in the refugee camps without anything much to eat or drink. People in other countries like the U.S.A had everything they needed and wanted.

It was sad when I was reading and Kalia declared. “We were stuck in a country that did not want us. There was dysentery from the bad food and water.” What Kalia stated was a true, not false. It was so horrible to put us Hmong people in a dry region so that they can’t do any farming or have anything to help the families. Hmong citizens didn’t get to drink good water. They had to dig a hole down in the ground to obtain water. They had no places to farm. All the Hmong did was waiting for the UN to give them little food per week to feed their whole family. The Hmong were like prisoners who can’t do whatever they pleased. “Hmong men and women were beaten, raped, and killed when they ventured too far from their safety of their families and friends”, stated Kalia. Thai people detested Hmong people and ostracized them, so they executed whichever Hmong person was alone. Two of my family members were murdered by Thai people just because they went too far from the camp to look for wood to build a temporary fire. It seems to me that numerous other people in other countries that the Hmong settled in also didn’t accept and welcome any of the Hmong with open arms. I know that this is still happening every day.

When her grandmother said that she didn’t want to come to the United States, because she didn’t want anybody to cut her body when she died was because of the Hmong traditions. In the Hmong culture, we never interfere with a dead person’s body after they pass away. We leave everything the way it was. But, in other cultures, in the United States, they cut the dead body to clean everything out. I am a Hmong, so my grandparents say and think the same thing. My grandparents say the same statement Kalia’s grandmother had. My father had to fight with their ideas for over 5 years. At the very end, my father decided to leave my grandparents behind, same thing that happened to Kalia’s grandmother. My father was the youngest son, just like Kalia’s father was the youngest son of his family. For the Hmong culture, it is hard to make a decision if you are the youngest son of the family. It’s not like other cultures; if you are over 18, you get to do whatever you want and please. I can see how hard it was for Kalia’s father to leave their grandma behind.

After her mother gave birth to Kalia, her mother suffered six miscarriages. Her parents didn’t have a son, so then some of the family members (Kalia’s relatives) suggested to the father to go and find a second wife. Her father began to search for a second wife. He even told Kalia to go with him and find any available woman for a next wife. I know how hurtful it is for our Hmong people to not have a son in the family. Maybe for other cultures, it doesn’t really matter. But I see that in our Hmong culture, the men/husbands want the son to carry on their last name. I know how hurt Kalia’s mother was when her husband was looking for a second wife. My elder sister also went through the same problem. They had been married for 13 years and her husband was told by some of his relatives to go and find another wife to have a son just like what Kalia’s father encountered. Being a Hmong woman sometimes you will have to put up with something you don’t want to endure. I know that in other cultures, if husbands and wives cannot live together, then they will just separate at the very moment. For our Hmong women, most of the time we will have to bear things that we don’t want to and go through with it even though we dislike the idea. Very sad!

Before coming to the U.S.A, it’s true that you have to take many exams like physical or other exams. You have to meet all the requirements before entering the U.S.A. Lucky for Kalia, her first test she passed while her older sister Dawb failed the test because of the pink eye she had. The testers said that their family won’t be able to go to U.S.A if they don’t do something about the pink eye Dawb had. When Kalia said that her sister Dawb didn’t make it and failed the test, her father came up with an idea and told Kalia to go and replace Dawb’s for the next test coming up. Kalia went and took the test to replace Dawb and passed because Dawb and she looked so much alike, so the tester couldn’t tell the difference between the two sisters. I can see that Kalia’s family was desperate to go to the U.S.A, so they tried with all their effort to get to the U.S.A, which was leaving the door open for them and the rest of the Hmong people.

When Kalia and her family got to America, instead of Americans waving hi and greeting them, they held up their middle finger and said for them to go where they REALLY belong. It was sad because it was like the other races were not very accepting. They shouldn’t say and do whatever they pleased to the new Hmong Americans. Kalia’s family wasn’t the only family that was treated like that when they first arrived; my family was also hated by other Americans too. About 3-4 years ago, my dad took my brand new Tundra for his hunting adventure. Four American men shot my car. My back seat window was all broken into pieces. The cost was at least $800 to fix that one damaged window. My dad did not say much because he doesn’t know much English. Two years ago, my father also went hunting at Nine Mile area that is close to Rib Mountain. Two American guys told him that he didn’t belong there and told him to go back to his country, they were yelling at him, but he didn’t care. He said “This is a free country. This land is not actually your land or property either. I hunted here since 1998.” The two men didn’t care, so they stuck up their middle finger at my father and then distanced themselves from my father, raised their gun to the sky and began shooting.

My younger sister went to school at Weston Elementary in Schofield, and in art class, an American girl named Lori, all of a sudden just asked my younger sister where she was born. My younger sister said that she was born in the U.S.A, but Lori didn’t believe it, so then she told my younger sister that she looked like some of the new Hmong immigrants. The American girl kept telling my younger sister to go back to where she REALLY belonged, but my sister said that she was REALLY born in the U.S.A and nowhere else. At that time, my sister was still young and didn’t know anything, so she asked the girl “Where were you born?” The girl said that she was also born in the U.S.A. My younger sister then said then what was the point of going to where she really belonged when she was born in the U.S.A herself. The U.S.A was also her home, it was a free country. My sister told that girl that she was born here in the U.S.A, and that her home and family was all here. The girl told my younger sister to go home to wherever she REALLY belonged. After school, my sister would come home to our house and stay with us, because that was where she fits in.

I know that some people are really discriminated against. They not just use bad words or tell us Hmong people to go back home, but they also call us names and do physical things like damage our own properties, or set some of our things on fire or do other things. They even name call us “Honda” and “Toyota”, because most of the Hmong people drive those types of cars. Two years ago, my dad brought my brother a nice blue ‘Honda’ motorcycle (Ninja) for $14,000. It was in winter when my brother rented a place for his motorcycle to be in. The place had two other motorcycles that were owned by two American guys. One day, they both took their motorcycle out and set a fire on my brother’s motorcycle; the whole thing was burned except the engine area. The landlord called my brother and pretended that he didn’t know anything. At that time, there was no insurance for the motorcycle because it was winter time and he wasn’t riding on it either. So we couldn’t say anything much because we didn’t have enough money to hire a lawyer on our own.

When Kalia said that she went to school and there was a Hmong girl that spoke English very well. The Hmong girl and she didn’t talk to each other, but they didn’t hate each other. This is still going on because a person that doesn’t know how to speak English well, feels like they don’t fit in with the people that know how to speak English. Students that know how to speak English well don’t want to talk with the ESL students because they don’t want to explain and repeat things over and over again. No matter how much the people, who don’t know much English, try they won’t really be able to say it smoothly like the people that were born in the U.S.A. For example, I have been in the U.S.A, since I was 7 years old. And now, if I talk to people, sometime, they won’t really understand me. I understand others but occasionally, when I talk, some people won’t understand what I’m trying to say. From time to time, it makes me embarrassed because I, at times, have to repeat myself several times.

When Kalia’s father took her shopping with him, he asked her to go and ask a shop helper if there were any more of an item that was not on the shelf. It was hard for her, because she was just a little kid who translated for the adults which that isn’t the way it is, but there was no other alternative for the situation. A lot of Hmong parents suffered that in the past and sometimes even today they still do. No matter how hard they try, they cannot ask or say anything to make the shop helper understand. Several people understand, but even if they don’t understand, they listen carefully. Others, if they don’t understand, then they just laugh at you and walk away.

Dawb, Kalia’s elder sister had to help put out a résumé to help her mother find a job. At that time, she was just a fifth grader but doing a grownup’s job. For most of the Hmong Kids, they help parents write letters and help translate for their parents to understand when making phone calls to whomever their parents want to call. I’ve seen a lot of Hmong children, between the ages of 10-18 years old do that for their parents, even myself. I had to take care of all my parents’ applications and bills. I’ve been doing that ever since I was 11-12 years old and even do it now. I continue doing this job; even though I’m out of the house, living separately from my family. It is so hard for the Hmong people because all they know how to do is write Hmong and talk in the Hmong language. Other cultures think that it is inappropriate for a little kid to translate, but sometimes we can’t help it.

In summary, Kalia and her family had to go through all sorts of obstacles to get to America. They had suffered all sorts of nightmares that their family encountered. But now, they are in America, so they don’t need to worry about any Vietnamese or any Laotians chasing them and killing them. But, they face discrimination, not just them; everyone in the world does because I believe that this will continue for I don't know many more generations. I believe that Kao Kalia Yang’s family will lead a happy and wealthy life in the U.S.A!

After reading this book, I shared it with my family and friends. I also shared my opinion on how touching and heartbreaking this book was. I think that I am not the only one that feels the painfulness of what Kalia and her whole family was going through. I think all her explanations and the well described and detailed book, touched people’s hearts. Whoever read this book, he/she will realize the hardship and gloominess the Hmong peoples had to face and go through.

Edited by Nkauj Pag Npaim, 24 May 2010 - 08:36 AM.
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    Nyob zoo txais tos sawv daws los ua phooj ywg :)

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View PostNkauj Pag Npaim, on 24 May 2010 - 06:24 AM, said:

Reflection of the LateHomeComer


Before I read the book “The LateHomeComer”, I was already thinking what the book was going to be about. I knew that the book was all about Kao Kalia Yang’s life, but I never knew that the book would be so emotive, heartbreaking and unforgettable. Before I read it, I took a look at the cover and noticed some Hmong people in a bus and some Hmong people with some of their luggage. So then, I knew right a way that some of them were going to America. The picture on that book cover reminded me of when I was about 7 years old and my family was going to Phanat-Nikhom. I didn’t know what she was going to write about in the book, until I turned to the very first page and began to read through the paragraphs.

When I read through the first chapter, Kalia was talking about how young boys, at age 10-12 years old, would have to carry on the generations to replace their fathers as being a soldier to serve their country. In my opinion, it was really touching, because as I was reading, I imagined that if my child was 10 or perhaps even 12 years old, I would never ever let him/her go to the battlefield to fight. I heard many stories about young boys going to war, but I never imagined that boys, who go out to war, would be that young. I heard from my dad that he had to replace his father, but at that time, he was already 14 years old. In the United States, the law says that you have to be 18 to go out to war and fight for the country. I felt so miserable for all those innocent boys who had to take people’s lives at such a youthful age and protect their families and lands while still a juvenile.

When she spoke about her mother giving birth to her older sister Dawb, her father wasn’t there to help with labor and her grandma had to be the one to lend a hand. It was painful and hurtful to me to read of what was happening at that time. Kalia’s father didn’t even get the chance to see his own daughter because he was serving in the army at that time. Kalia’s mother thought that her father passed away. As I continued reading, Kalia’s mother didn’t know if her father was alive or not. Also Kalia’s father didn’t have a clue that her mother was giving birth to her older sister Dawb. This happened to a lot of our Hmong people during the Vietnam War. I heard stories that the husband went to war, and the wife was pregnant without the husband knowing. So when the husband finally came back from war, he just saw kids that were 1 or 2 years old which surprised the father. Some father doesn’t even come back, so then the children’s didn’t even get to see their father’s face even once.

When Kalia talked about airplanes that scattered awful rain, and people who were fading because of the frightful drizzle, it made me think that Hmong citizens were treated just like any other worthless and useless animals and that they thought the people are weak minded and can’t stand up for themselves. I heard a story from my mother that this happened twice in their village too. After the chemical release from the airplanes, a couple days later, the villagers saw some yellow drops on the green leaves and children began to experience an unknown disease. The children began to somehow experience a disease that made their stomach bigger and bigger, which lead to their deaths. Adults started to have diarrhea and continued going to the bathroom until they passed away. Each time the airplane flew by and sprayed chemical gas over whichever village happened to be nearby, then more than half of the people would eventually pass away of some unknown disease.

When Kalia stated that they were scared and were traveling in the dark from place to place, they had to walk backwards to hide their footprints so that the Laotians and Vietnamese soldiers didn’t know where the people were headed. I cannot imagine how scary it was to hide from their enemies. Also, they walked barefooted on the ground for numerous days and various weeks without food and without water, they had to eat whatever they can get and drink a little from the rain. I cannot imagine how they could survive that cruelty. I asked my parents why Hmong people traveled during night time. They say that the Vietnamese and Laotians slept at night time so that is the only way and time to escape. It was distressing when I heard that most Hmong people traveled during night time just to escape the cruel fate of being tortured and being used as bait or something other than bait. You may never know what you might bump into or step on at night time. Also you may never know what kind of creature you might encounter like some tigers, leopards or even elephants.

It was sad how Kalia stated that their family was poor, so they couldn’t pay money for the fisherman to take them across the Mekong River. Everyone in her family didn’t know how to swim except her father. It was really hard for them because they didn’t know how to swim. Her father had to cut some bamboo and tie it around the family and assist them across the Mekong River. The situation was life and death, because, if he slipped the family unit would flow along with him and pass away together. I heard that crossing the Mekong River wasn’t as easy as people may think. Many people passed away in the Mekong River because sometimes, during an escape moment across the Mekong River, the leader who lead his people will accidentally slip or have leg cramps that caused him to drown and drag the other people who didn’t know how to swim to their deaths.

When they got to Thailand, they heard that her Uncle and his family were sent back to Laos, which made me afraid. I heard that whoever got sent back, it would be a life and death situation. A chance of surviving would be very small. Lots of Hmong people get captured by Laotians and Vietnamese and they ended up being brutally killed in action. It was a good thing that Kalia’s family members didn’t get killed and made it to Thailand. I heard that some of my relatives got sent back and were harshly executed too. It has been 30 years, and no body has ever really gotten a clue of where and what had happened to all those captured relatives that got sent back. All we heard was that they were either killed or missing.

When Kalia said that they went to register at the camp, they had to guess their birthday. That problem had happened to many families, not just her family. Most families guessed their birthdates in May, June, March and January. Even my parent’s birthdates were guessed and may be fake birthdays. Some families chose the same month but different dates and different years. Some families choose same month and date, but different years. My uncle’s family chose the month of January but different days and years. In my family, my mother, father, and grandparents all chose June 6th, but different years. It was a good thing I was born in Ban VI Nai Refugee Camp, and I didn’t have to guess my birth date. If you think it through, it’s amusing, yet so saddening to not identify what day and month you were born.

It was agonizing that their family didn’t have a place to sleep or rest. Kalia’s family slept out in the open for a week. Every one of their family members slept on the hard ground and on mats which was laid out in the open for them. To me, Kalia’s family suffered many obstacles along the way and they’ve been through a lot. People who went through this pain understand what it’s like. Others might think that’s really funny. But that is wrong. It’s really sad, frightening and a real pain to sacrifice everyone and everything you had before. Both my parents and grandparents had been through it and they stated to me that they don’t want to face that situation again in the future. Others who have their own lands and a place to live think and treat people who doesn’t have any shelter like any animals who get stepped on and viewed like trash.

When Kalia mentioned the soy bean drink that was brought by a big truck like the kind you see carrying oil, that scene reminded me of the old days of when I was still in Thailand. At that time I was only 6-7 years old and we were in line to get the soybean drink. Some people got in line twice and others perhaps 3 or 4 times. Little kids were extremely hungry and were waiting for anything that contained sweetness. I’ve been there and I know how it feels like to be in line to drink soybean liquid. People in the United States are lucky enough to get milk and have all those junk foods and eat anything they want to eat, unlike the Hmong citizens who were suffering in the refugee camps without anything much to eat or drink. People in other countries like the U.S.A had everything they needed and wanted.

It was sad when I was reading and Kalia declared. “We were stuck in a country that did not want us. There was dysentery from the bad food and water.” What Kalia stated was a true, not false. It was so horrible to put us Hmong people in a dry region so that they can’t do any farming or have anything to help the families. Hmong citizens didn’t get to drink good water. They had to dig a hole down in the ground to obtain water. They had no places to farm. All the Hmong did was waiting for the UN to give them little food per week to feed their whole family. The Hmong were like prisoners who can’t do whatever they pleased. “Hmong men and women were beaten, raped, and killed when they ventured too far from their safety of their families and friends”, stated Kalia. Thai people detested Hmong people and ostracized them, so they executed whichever Hmong person was alone. Two of my family members were murdered by Thai people just because they went too far from the camp to look for wood to build a temporary fire. It seems to me that numerous other people in other countries that the Hmong settled in also didn’t accept and welcome any of the Hmong with open arms. I know that this is still happening every day.

When her grandmother said that she didn’t want to come to the United States, because she didn’t want anybody to cut her body when she died was because of the Hmong traditions. In the Hmong culture, we never interfere with a dead person’s body after they pass away. We leave everything the way it was. But, in other cultures, in the United States, they cut the dead body to clean everything out. I am a Hmong, so my grandparents say and think the same thing. My grandparents say the same statement Kalia’s grandmother had. My father had to fight with their ideas for over 5 years. At the very end, my father decided to leave my grandparents behind, same thing that happened to Kalia’s grandmother. My father was the youngest son, just like Kalia’s father was the youngest son of his family. For the Hmong culture, it is hard to make a decision if you are the youngest son of the family. It’s not like other cultures; if you are over 18, you get to do whatever you want and please. I can see how hard it was for Kalia’s father to leave their grandma behind.

After her mother gave birth to Kalia, her mother suffered six miscarriages. Her parents didn’t have a son, so then some of the family members (Kalia’s relatives) suggested to the father to go and find a second wife. Her father began to search for a second wife. He even told Kalia to go with him and find any available woman for a next wife. I know how hurtful it is for our Hmong people to not have a son in the family. Maybe for other cultures, it doesn’t really matter. But I see that in our Hmong culture, the men/husbands want the son to carry on their last name. I know how hurt Kalia’s mother was when her husband was looking for a second wife. My elder sister also went through the same problem. They had been married for 13 years and her husband was told by some of his relatives to go and find another wife to have a son just like what Kalia’s father encountered. Being a Hmong woman sometimes you will have to put up with something you don’t want to endure. I know that in other cultures, if husbands and wives cannot live together, then they will just separate at the very moment. For our Hmong women, most of the time we will have to bear things that we don’t want to and go through with it even though we dislike the idea. Very sad!

Before coming to the U.S.A, it’s true that you have to take many exams like physical or other exams. You have to meet all the requirements before entering the U.S.A. Lucky for Kalia, her first test she passed while her older sister Dawb failed the test because of the pink eye she had. The testers said that their family won’t be able to go to U.S.A if they don’t do something about the pink eye Dawb had. When Kalia said that her sister Dawb didn’t make it and failed the test, her father came up with an idea and told Kalia to go and replace Dawb’s for the next test coming up. Kalia went and took the test to replace Dawb and passed because Dawb and she looked so much alike, so the tester couldn’t tell the difference between the two sisters. I can see that Kalia’s family was desperate to go to the U.S.A, so they tried with all their effort to get to the U.S.A, which was leaving the door open for them and the rest of the Hmong people.

When Kalia and her family got to America, instead of Americans waving hi and greeting them, they held up their middle finger and said for them to go where they REALLY belong. It was sad because it was like the other races were not very accepting. They shouldn’t say and do whatever they pleased to the new Hmong Americans. Kalia’s family wasn’t the only family that was treated like that when they first arrived; my family was also hated by other Americans too. About 3-4 years ago, my dad took my brand new Tundra for his hunting adventure. Four American men shot my car. My back seat window was all broken into pieces. The cost was at least $800 to fix that one damaged window. My dad did not say much because he doesn’t know much English. Two years ago, my father also went hunting at Nine Mile area that is close to Rib Mountain. Two American guys told him that he didn’t belong there and told him to go back to his country, they were yelling at him, but he didn’t care. He said “This is a free country. This land is not actually your land or property either. I hunted here since 1998.” The two men didn’t care, so they stuck up their middle finger at my father and then distanced themselves from my father, raised their gun to the sky and began shooting.

My younger sister went to school at Weston Elementary in Schofield, and in art class, an American girl named Lori, all of a sudden just asked my younger sister where she was born. My younger sister said that she was born in the U.S.A, but Lori didn’t believe it, so then she told my younger sister that she looked like some of the new Hmong immigrants. The American girl kept telling my younger sister to go back to where she REALLY belonged, but my sister said that she was REALLY born in the U.S.A and nowhere else. At that time, my sister was still young and didn’t know anything, so she asked the girl “Where were you born?” The girl said that she was also born in the U.S.A. My younger sister then said then what was the point of going to where she really belonged when she was born in the U.S.A herself. The U.S.A was also her home, it was a free country. My sister told that girl that she was born here in the U.S.A, and that her home and family was all here. The girl told my younger sister to go home to wherever she REALLY belonged. After school, my sister would come home to our house and stay with us, because that was where she fits in.

I know that some people are really discriminated against. They not just use bad words or tell us Hmong people to go back home, but they also call us names and do physical things like damage our own properties, or set some of our things on fire or do other things. They even name call us “Honda” and “Toyota”, because most of the Hmong people drive those types of cars. Two years ago, my dad brought my brother a nice blue ‘Honda’ motorcycle (Ninja) for $14,000. It was in winter when my brother rented a place for his motorcycle to be in. The place had two other motorcycles that were owned by two American guys. One day, they both took their motorcycle out and set a fire on my brother’s motorcycle; the whole thing was burned except the engine area. The landlord called my brother and pretended that he didn’t know anything. At that time, there was no insurance for the motorcycle because it was winter time and he wasn’t riding on it either. So we couldn’t say anything much because we didn’t have enough money to hire a lawyer on our own.

When Kalia said that she went to school and there was a Hmong girl that spoke English very well. The Hmong girl and she didn’t talk to each other, but they didn’t hate each other. This is still going on because a person that doesn’t know how to speak English well, feels like they don’t fit in with the people that know how to speak English. Students that know how to speak English well don’t want to talk with the ESL students because they don’t want to explain and repeat things over and over again. No matter how much the people, who don’t know much English, try they won’t really be able to say it smoothly like the people that were born in the U.S.A. For example, I have been in the U.S.A, since I was 7 years old. And now, if I talk to people, sometime, they won’t really understand me. I understand others but occasionally, when I talk, some people won’t understand what I’m trying to say. From time to time, it makes me embarrassed because I, at times, have to repeat myself several times.

When Kalia’s father took her shopping with him, he asked her to go and ask a shop helper if there were any more of an item that was not on the shelf. It was hard for her, because she was just a little kid who translated for the adults which that isn’t the way it is, but there was no other alternative for the situation. A lot of Hmong parents suffered that in the past and sometimes even today they still do. No matter how hard they try, they cannot ask or say anything to make the shop helper understand. Several people understand, but even if they don’t understand, they listen carefully. Others, if they don’t understand, then they just laugh at you and walk away.

Dawb, Kalia’s elder sister had to help put out a résumé to help her mother find a job. At that time, she was just a fifth grader but doing a grownup’s job. For most of the Hmong Kids, they help parents write letters and help translate for their parents to understand when making phone calls to whomever their parents want to call. I’ve seen a lot of Hmong children, between the ages of 10-18 years old do that for their parents, even myself. I had to take care of all my parents’ applications and bills. I’ve been doing that ever since I was 11-12 years old and even do it now. I continue doing this job; even though I’m out of the house, living separately from my family. It is so hard for the Hmong people because all they know how to do is write Hmong and talk in the Hmong language. Other cultures think that it is inappropriate for a little kid to translate, but sometimes we can’t help it.

In summary, Kalia and her family had to go through all sorts of obstacles to get to America. They had suffered all sorts of nightmares that their family encountered. But now, they are in America, so they don’t need to worry about any Vietnamese or any Laotians chasing them and killing them. But, they face discrimination, not just them; everyone in the world does because I believe that this will continue for I know many generations. I believe that Kao Kalia Yang’s family will lead a happy and wealthy life in the U.S.A!

After reading this book, I shared it with my family and friends. I also shared my opinion on how touching and heartbreaking this book was. I think that I am not the only one that feels the painfulness of what Kalia and her whole family was going through. I think all her explanations and the well described and detailed book, touched people’s hearts. Whoever read this book, he/she will realize the hardship and gloominess the Hmong peoples had to face and go through.


Thanks for sharing your reflation Sis.

I have not read such long writing for ages :) However it worth reading :)

While i read it the image of the history my father told me coming along, There were so much the same story and some part are even worse.

My father also went on being a soldier, my mother gave birth to my second sister and brother alone. Unfortunately my grand-mother is only a step grand-mother, she never loved my father so neither my mother and the children. My mother have to help herself during giving bird, and did all the hard work in the house alone. my oldest sister was only 3 year old and was the only one that gave my mother a hand in some easy work.

During escaped to Thailand my father is the only one that carry food and finding food for a day and nigth way back. Sometimes they run out of food and water for days, they got water from the Climber all night long it just enough for cooking in the morning. They most ate Mov kuam, qos ncoom and every thing that eatable. The babies were force to drink Opium drug by the head leader in other to keep quiet and some died :(
I also lost one brother and one sister during the escaped :(

Well, yim piav kua muag yuav tawm li ces li no xwb mas
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Sis, lub neej qub qab ces muab xav ces tsis hais leej twg li os. Kuv muaj civ family member uas raug txhaus yeeb es coj los txog Thaib teb es tuag lawm twb tsis pom siav thiab. Zoo qhov kuv niam thiab kuv txiv lawv yug kuv hauv Vibnais xwb kuv tsis tau been though txoj kev zoo li ntawv. Tiam sis mas kuv txiv tus kwv los mag txhaus yeeb tuag hos kuv niam hlob (puj laug) ob tug me nyuam los raug txhais yeeb ces los txog tim sab thaib teb ces xyov nws twb tuag nws thaum twg lawm xwb thiab no. Muab hais los tusiab kawg li thiab hos.....

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View PostNas Ej Internet, on 24 May 2010 - 07:31 PM, said:

Sis, lub neej qub qab ces muab xav ces tsis hais leej twg li os. Kuv muaj civ family member uas raug txhaus yeeb es coj los txog Thaib teb es tuag lawm twb tsis pom siav thiab. Zoo qhov kuv niam thiab kuv txiv lawv yug kuv hauv Vibnais xwb kuv tsis tau been though txoj kev zoo li ntawv. Tiam sis mas kuv txiv tus kwv los mag txhaus yeeb tuag hos kuv niam hlob (puj laug) ob tug me nyuam los raug txhais yeeb ces los txog tim sab thaib teb ces xyov nws twb tuag nws thaum twg lawm xwb thiab no. Muab hais los tusiab kawg li thiab hos.....


Leej muam Nas Ej thiab leej muam Maiv

Lub caij ntawv muab xav mas tu siab kawg li txom nyem los kuj txom ua luaj thaum sawv daws los txog rau Roob kub hnyiab uas yuav hla los mus rau roob phaj tsum mus hla dej naj khoom mus rau thaib teb ntawv kuv txiv yeej saib taw qaib muab ob tug qaib los saib tus mus thiab tus los luas nyab laj seb tus twg zoo, muab xyuas tus los luam nyab laj zoo hos tus mus rau thaib teb tsis zoo yog li thiaj txiav txim los luas nyab laj lawm tij laug thiaj nyob rau Ntuj qub qab niaj hnub no.
Yog los mus hla dej ces kawg mag txhaus yeeb li neb hais tsis li ces me nyuam quaj luag yuav hnov .
Txoj niag kev khiav tsov  r.og no mas muab xav mas tu siab kawg li os.

Niam thiab Txiv zoo puav tam Lub ntuj
Mloog Niam thiab Txiv qhuab thiaj tsheej ib cuab
Ua neeg siab zoo thiaj tau ntuj ntoo nyob mus muaj hmoo
Ua neeg siab loj thiaj muaj kev ntoj nyob mus muaj noj
Txij nkawm txawj sib zam lub neej thiaj tsis plam
Txij nkawm txawj sib yoog lub neej thiaj zoo
Yoog tus neeg thoob tsib thiaj paub pib
Yoog tus neeg tsib xwm thiaj muaj chaw tws
Nyob Luag ntuj yoog Luag txuj thiaj tsim nuj
Nyob Luag Av mloog Luag kav lub neej thiaj tshav


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View PostNas Ej Internet, on 24 May 2010 - 07:31 PM, said:

Sis, lub neej qub qab ces muab xav ces tsis hais leej twg li os. Kuv muaj civ family member uas raug txhaus yeeb es coj los txog Thaib teb es tuag lawm twb tsis pom siav thiab. Zoo qhov kuv niam thiab kuv txiv lawv yug kuv hauv Vibnais xwb kuv tsis tau been though txoj kev zoo li ntawv. Tiam sis mas kuv txiv tus kwv los mag txhaus yeeb tuag hos kuv niam hlob (puj laug) ob tug me nyuam los raug txhais yeeb ces los txog tim sab thaib teb ces xyov nws twb tuag nws thaum twg lawm xwb thiab no. Muab hais los tusiab kawg li thiab hos.....


kuv twb muab kuv tus tub hlob txhaus2 yeeb yuav luag tuag, zoo rau qhov los caijxyoob ibhmos hla
dej Najkhoom ces dej txi.as2 ces los tshwm tim thaibteb ces Thaib thiaj coj mus hoomaum ces muab kuv
tso tau ibhnab ntshav rau kuv tus tub thiab nws thiaj ciaj hos.  thiab kuv tsevneeg los tuag tas rau lub
roob Phajtsum, tamsis no kuv thiaj tu siab nrho tsis mus tsuj Av nplog li lawm..

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maixiong_vg

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    Nyob zoo txais tos sawv daws los ua phooj ywg :)

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View PostNas Ej Internet, on 24 May 2010 - 07:31 PM, said:

Sis, lub neej qub qab ces muab xav ces tsis hais leej twg li os. Kuv muaj civ family member uas raug txhaus yeeb es coj los txog Thaib teb es tuag lawm twb tsis pom siav thiab. Zoo qhov kuv niam thiab kuv txiv lawv yug kuv hauv Vibnais xwb kuv tsis tau been though txoj kev zoo li ntawv. Tiam sis mas kuv txiv tus kwv los mag txhaus yeeb tuag hos kuv niam hlob (puj laug) ob tug me nyuam los raug txhais yeeb ces los txog tim sab thaib teb ces xyov nws twb tuag nws thaum twg lawm xwb thiab no. Muab hais los tusiab kawg li thiab hos.....

Thov txim tsis tau los teb koj os Sister
Sis peb cov tom qab no yeej tsis paub txog lawv tej kev txom nyem uas me tub me nyuam niam txiv poj yawm thiab kwv tij sawv daws khiav tuag khiav tuag yuav luag tsis tshwm siav. thaum tswm tau tim thaib no lawm tseem raug thaib ntawm ntug dej khuj nyiaj keev thiab phom tas li thiab. pib lub neej ob peb zaug li. txawm li cas los dhau lawm yuav muaj zoo mus lawm xwb.
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maixiong_vg

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    Nyob zoo txais tos sawv daws los ua phooj ywg :)

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View PostHmoob ntuj qub qab, on 03 April 2011 - 09:47 PM, said:

Leej muam Nas Ej thiab leej muam Maiv

Lub caij ntawv muab xav mas tu siab kawg li txom nyem los kuj txom ua luaj thaum sawv daws los txog rau Roob kub hnyiab uas yuav hla los mus rau roob phaj tsum mus hla dej naj khoom mus rau thaib teb ntawv kuv txiv yeej saib taw qaib muab ob tug qaib los saib tus mus thiab tus los luas nyab laj seb tus twg zoo, muab xyuas tus los luam nyab laj zoo hos tus mus rau thaib teb tsis zoo yog li thiaj txiav txim los luas nyab laj lawm tij laug thiaj nyob rau Ntuj qub qab niaj hnub no.
Yog los mus hla dej ces kawg mag txhaus yeeb li neb hais tsis li ces me nyuam quaj luag yuav hnov .
Txoj niag kev khiav tsov r.og no mas muab xav mas tu siab kawg li os.


Tijlaug nrog koj tsev neeg zoo siab uas nej tig rov mus thawj nyab laj thiab lawv tsis ua li cas rau nej, os. peb muaj ib co kwv tij uas tig rov mus thawj nyab laj tiam sis nyab laj muab tua tuag tas lawm thian xwb, thiaj ua ib siab ha dej rau thaib los tseem muaj ib co raug tua thaum tab tom hla dej thiab peb ib tug hlog tsev neeg tuag tas tshuav ib tug tub poob rau tim ko twb nrhiav tsis tau txog niaj hnub no, niam qhuav hnov xov xwb thiab tiam sis tsis meej thiab xyov kuv txiv lawv puas yuav sib nco tau lawm thiab.
Cov tuag uas yog muab txhaum yeeb ntawd coob kawg li, zoo siab uas koj dim ntawm txoj kev txhaum yeeb no thiab os :D
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maixiong_vg

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    Nyob zoo txais tos sawv daws los ua phooj ywg :)

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View PostFather Nature, on 04 April 2011 - 08:10 AM, said:

kuv twb muab kuv tus tub hlob txhaus2 yeeb yuav luag tuag, zoo rau qhov los caijxyoob ibhmos hla
dej Najkhoom ces dej txi.as2 ces los tshwm tim thaibteb ces Thaib thiaj coj mus hoomaum ces muab kuv
tso tau ibhnab ntshav rau kuv tus tub thiab nws thiaj ciaj hos. thiab kuv tsevneeg los tuag tas rau lub
roob Phajtsum, tamsis no kuv thiaj tu siab nrho tsis mus tsuj Av nplog li lawm..

zoo siab koj los qhia koj kev tu siab rau peb thiabos tijlaug.

Tijlaug nrog koj zoo siab uas tseem rov tau tus tub hlob dim los. coob tug uas yeej tu siab li koj hais uas tsis xav rov mus tsuj Av nplog lawm tiam sis kuj tseem muaj ib co thiab uas swm lub teb chaws nplog heev uas tseem xav rov mus siv lub neej li qub thaum ub thiab. Ntawm kuv tus kheej nyob twg los tau tsuav muaj kev kaj siab xwb.
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