Yes, that’s me! The Atypical Asian. At least that’s what I feel.
Oh you know, the usual Asians out there; great education, elegant, the model minority.
Yeah, that’s not me. I often find myself contemplating and overthinking how come I’m not like my counterparts. Why do I think or feel so differently? Am I a bad Asian, or to be more descriptive, am I a bad Hmong?
The Hmong ladies I know are well off, as in they’re highly educated. They’re known throughout the community by their standards and of their bloodline. They, unlike me, can live both worlds very articulately and most seem to have the same views.
I’m just too open-minded I guess, I always take a second to fit myself in one’s shoes, often listen just to try and understand. I can’t do drama and prefer to leave when it’s about to happen. I don’t need the recognition most thrive off of.
I attend a lot of events, events for open discussion. This past summer there was one in particular that made me question myself, “How come I don’t feel that way?”
This question has come up a lot recently.
So during an open discussion, there was an ask from the audience to the speaker why or what do you think causes “Hmong” women to be higher or overachievers when it comes to education. If education is such a great asset, when does the community start accepting women as part of the leaders? How do we shift the clan leaders to accept the opinions or voices of women?
One little voice from the audience interrupts and says,
“To me, education was my “out”, it was my freedom. To know that one day I will have a job and no longer will have to be the sole caregiver of my younger siblings. Going away and being at college was my out.”
Yes, education is great, I don’t deny that one bit! The more to you if you’re able to get yourself that degree. Education is your freedom and is your right.
I was never one to be able to learn from a mainstream school setting. I couldn’t handle to sit in a classroom or read the lecture we were supposed to. I sucked at school! It’s just not for me, I’m very aware of this. I recall going to school for nursing (hope none of the professors see this) and never once did I read the textbooks. At the end of the semester, they were still brand new.
Waste of money, absolutely! I learned by just listening. I show up, listened, took notes when they said, this will be on your test I highlighted the notes. I surprisingly passed each course.
Until I can find something that works for me, I’ll just continue self-teaching myself like how I have been doing. I contemplate on going back to school one day, I just don’t know what for yet.
The model minority, in essence at least where I’m from, the model citizen. So we’re raised alike, we agree on a lot of things, but never will I ever do politics! I have many political friends. When I say many, I’m not exaggerating. I just know when to not say anything. I don’t go into the conversation about a certain party or issue when it is brought up. Sure, I’ll sit there and listen, but don’t ask me to join in and agree because you’re loud. Again, open-minded!
“Yes, she is nice and has good intentions, but at the end of the day you know she wants something out of it. They all do!”
Wow! (jaw drop) Let me be very clear, I don’t care what color your skin is, what party you’re with, show kindness and I like you.
That’s all that matters. Is it wrong that I would prefer a true connection rather than just gaining a vote? I think people tend to think that all “Hmongs” in this area are alike and stick together. Yes, we do stick together but we’re allowed to have differences too just like you. I am not the model minority.
Asians are all about family and food. Okay, there is some truth to this but with consequences definitely. The amount of debt one can put themselves into is unbelievable. Always over catering making sure there’s enough if the unexpected guest happens to unexpectedly come over. Asians have the mentality of if I help you, you’ll help me. More like an eye for an eye. If I help you, you owe me.
This is something that is said in Hmong but for this purpose, will be translated.
“We must help them so in the future they will be there to help us if we’re ever in trouble.”
Little do you know, we have to pay dues to them to help. It’s like a little organization all it’s own. Joining a club, paying yearly fees. Whatever happened to just being family, or you know, doing things wholeheartedly and expecting nothing out of it?
So what you’re saying is if I pitch in to provide food to everyone to events I don’t even attend, you’ll help me in the future? You need money to have events which I don’t ever get invited to, and you’ll help me?
Yeah, I’m the Atypical Asian. I won’t judge you on your status even though everyone else will continue to do so with me. Whatever material you show off does not mean anything to me. I love being Hmong, my type of Asian. I’m a bit unusual and that’s okay with me.