The Mong Oral Tradition: Cultural Memory in the Absence of by Yer J. Thao

By Yer J. Thao

In 1975, after years of fight, Communists seized regulate of the govt. of Laos. individuals of the Mong tradition who had helped the U.S. important Intelligence business enterprise of their quest to halt the unfold of Communism have been pressured to maneuver to the USA as political refugees. The Mong, with their robust tradition of oral traditions and ideology, have been plunged right into a multicultural society the place the written observe used to be regular. for this reason, their oral customs are actually being slowly eroded and changed with a written culture. desirous to carry directly to their cultural id and proceed the traditions in their ancestors, the Mong nonetheless fight with the trouble this alteration in literary belief has prompted. Compiled from a variety of interviews, this quantity explores the lives of thirteen Mong elders. With emphasis on their exact oral culture and cultural practices, the ebook discusses Mong rituals, tribal customs, non secular ideals and academic stories. the main target of the paintings, in spite of the fact that, is the life-style the elders maintained whereas residing within the mountains of Laos. of their personal phrases, they describe their adolescence, groups, non secular rituals and cultural traditions in addition to the continued fight of adjustment to their new place of origin. The paintings additionally delves into the Mong perceptions of industrialization and the generational clash that immersion right into a literate society has triggered. the writer himself is a member of the Mong tradition and brings a private viewpoint to protecting the oral traditions of this certain ethnicity. The paintings can be listed.

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The research shows that the Malay people face tremendous tensions in the process of shifting from an oral to a written culture. Vansina (¡985) asserts that oral tradition is a part of the information that helps us to reconstruct our past. Without oral tradition we could not understand what happened in our past history. Finnegan (¡992) states clearly that oral tradition, oral literature, oral narrative, oral testimony, and the like are the characteristics of orality. Ong (¡982) argues along the same lines that the center of orality must be a person who is totally unfamiliar with writing.

No more mention is made of the “Miao” as such. Instead we were told about the 2. The Mong Oral Tradition and Cultural Practices 23 “Man,” term which in fact designates all the “non-Chinese” populations. We must wait till the ¡0th cent, to find again mention of the “Miao,” and it first seem to refer really to our “3 Miao” of previous times. But then to complicate things still more, between the ¡7th and ¡8th cent. this same Miao word took a broader sense in its turn to include all the non-Chinese populations of the South — West, our Miao being the most well known of them.

The Chinese referred to Miao as a kind of plant that shoots out of the soil in the field. This plant is di‡cult to kill in China. Because the term “Miao” had a negative connotation in the late ¡960s to early ¡970s, the term “Mong” was used to replace it. ’ The tribe itself, however, uses the ethnic name Mong to which a descriptive term is added to designate the particular branch of the Mong group” (pp. 9–¡0). Elder Nhia Cha Yang, who had lived in Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand, recalled that the Mong people always called themselves Mong.

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