By: Kathy Mouacheupao
Friday, October 7, 2011 – Minneapolis, MN The Center for Hmong Arts and Talent (CHAT) held the Fresh Traditions V Fashion Show (FTV) at the beautiful McNamara Alumni Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. FTV is an annual fashion show featuring all Hmong fashion designers and Asian models.
Each designer is given creative control over their collections, with one exception. Because there is little documentation as to why the unique palette of traditional Hmong fabrics were used, designers are challenged to make sense of the traditional fabrics in today’s contemporary world.
They are all required to design at least one full outfit using a combination of the 5 Hmong fabrics: black satin, black velvet, neon green chiffon, florescent pink chiffon and a royal blue satin.
As the doors opened at 6pm, the line at the entrance quickly filed out into the hallway and the room filled with excitement and curiosity for this year’s 5 featured designers. With only an hour left before the show, attendees were entertained by DJ Luchie’s music spinning in the background.
Originally published in 18XEEM, April 2008, Issue 04
Why are we here? What is the process of getting to medical school? What is it like to be a medical student? What does it take to become a doctor? These were some of the questions that Dr. Ia Kue helped answer and facilitate during a Future Doctors Gathering in her humble home for a group of eager students currently pursuing the medical field. “It’s a long, difficult, and sometimes lonely journey that takes a lot of dedication, sacrifice, and determination to get to.”
With this in mind, Dr. Kue, came up with a meeting to bring Hmong students from all over Michigan to discuss and share their experiences, in hopes of helping them get through this rigorous educational procedure. If there is anyone who has the most knowledge on what it is like struggling through medical school to attain a professional career, while juggling other cultural and social activities, only to make it out in the end, as successful and as enlightened as never before, it would be Dr. Kue.
Dr. Kue is the first female Hmong osteopathic medical student in the United States, the first female Hmong Family and Osteopathic Physician in Michigan and the first to open and manage her own clinic: Lifetime Family Care, PLLC. She is a pioneer in Hmong women leadership, not because of these numerous accomplishments, but because of her perseverance and determination in higher education and empowering youth to live their dreams. Some of the things she shared with us while we sat in her office were extremely heartwarming, and it showed through that she is a dedicated,hardworking and genuine person. Her gentle voice revealed that she was a caregiver, not just to her kids, but also to her patients, in always being compassionate and thoughtful about their well-being.
Originally published in 18XEEM, April 2008, Issue 04
Do your designs have any functions/unique aspects to it?
Hmong Reinvented is a fashion line that represents and bridges the gap between being Hmong and being American. In my designs I use Hmong embroidery with western silhouettes. I want to make wearing Hmong clothes fashionable. My motto is: Forget about the layers, the heavy money belts and bags. Keep it simple and chic.
How long does it take you to finish one piece?
Depending on how complicated the garment can get and how much time I have to work on it, it could take a few days up to a month.
Like any other language, the Hmong or Mong language, takes time to learn and get accustomed to. One of the most difficult things people have with learning the Hmong language, is the sound, because the spoken language is a tonal language, pronunciation makes a huge difference when you’re trying to say a word. The easiest thing about learning Hmong is, once you master the basics, writing and reading it is extremely easy. Some people spend only a few days learning how to read or write in Hmong, while learning how to pronounce it, can take months or years. Here are some great resources to start off with, if you’re interesting in learning more about the Hmong language.
Here are some simple but often overlooked things we are already doing to be more eco-friendly and have been doing for centuries. Others could really learn a few things from us on how to further prevent global warming.
1. Car pooling
Hmong people are known for riding in small cars with more passengers than seat belts. Can you just picture your entire family getting out of a Honda Civic?
2. Pack our own lunch in a bamboo container
Although this practice has been somewhat replaced with plastic containers, its important to note that the bamboo containers are a lot safer and culturally more appealing than plastic tupperware.
3. Park far away from destination and walk halfway there
Having a good sense of direction helps, and for Hmong people, it’s usually landmarks that are the giveaways for traveling (like that rock at the corner, or the tree stump on the side road). Who needs a gigantic paper map or a battery hungry gps system?
4. Fill up our own bottles with tap water
That’s what you call reusing!
5. Grow herbs, vegetables and fruits in our own backyard
Not only have our grandmas and ma’s been doing this, but we’ve sort of picked up on the trend…
6. Raise our own meat
If your neighbor has ever caught you trying to catch that chicken that escaped from its coop, then this applies to you! Just remember to keep them quiet and out of the neighbors bushes…
7. Prepare our own food from scratch
Killing your own cow emits less of a carbon footprint. Just uh, don’t do it in your backyard or basement (read more about the impact of eating red meat here).
8. Hunt for our own meet
It’s a fact, Hmong people love hunting for deer and fishing for fish because we get to cook it for ourself and our family later.
9. Pass down old clothing to younger siblings
This is nothing new people! That shirt your little brother is wearing was something you got 6 years ago and it’s perfectly ok.
10. Use old clothes as rags for cleaning up
No more reason for buying tissue and napkins if you use the rags laying around the house to clean up and washup.
By Mai Hlee Xiong, Editor-in-Chief, 18XEEM
Thank you for visiting 18XEEM.com. This article may come to some of you as a surprise.
You may have heard that in 2008 I was the victim of a cyber stalker who defamed me on the internet. After months of investigation, the Warren Police Department and the Macomb County Prosecutor determined through forensic evidence that the culprit behind this criminal activity is a man named Nhia Lee, who also goes by the name of “Tyler” or “Tong Chai”.
I have not taken steps to sue Mr. Lee or anyone in this matter. However, using my web knowledge I was able to help the Warren Police in their investigation to determine that Mr. Lee was hiding behind a computer, anonymously cyber stalking and harassing me. I have asked law enforcement to ensure that he be prosecuted and, if found guilty (UPDATE: On April 9, 2010 Nhia Lee was found guilty and is now a convicted felon), that he be punished to the fullest extent of the law for his actions. Nhia Lee is charged with one count of a two-year felony by the state of Michigan, in Macomb County, the cybercrime of “Unlawful Posting of a Message” case no 09-. Mr. Lee has publicly admitted to committing the malicious acts that constitute this crime. As of March, 2, 2009, he is released on bail for $15,000. He currently resides in Shelby Township, Michigan.
Nhia Lee has alleged that he was a beauty pageant “organizer” who was trying to do a good deed by posting on the internet a video compilation that included images of a video of a nude woman that he alleged was me, Mai Hlee Xiong. As a former Miss Lao Hmong – Wisconsin (2004-2005) [click here to read an article that I wrote for 18XEEM about my pageant experiences], such an allegation and widespread dissemination of derogatory material about me is very hurtful. Yet I have had no contact from any pageant officials, organizations, or individuals asking me or demanding that I be stripped of my crown, title, or prize. Nor have I accused any community group, organization or individual other than Mr. Lee of instigating and defaming me.
Nhia Lee has never been an “organizer” of any beauty pageant. He was once a male pageant contestant [where he actually got 2nd place and threatened to sue the judges for not making him the winner!], as well as an emcee in the singing competition portion of the Hmong Michigan New Year 2007. His sister, Nee Lee, won the crown of Miss Hmong Michigan pageant 2007 (I was the runner-up that year). In fact, Mr. Lee was heavily involved in promoting his sister’s participation in the pageant.
After the pageant ended, Mr. Lee began to cyber stalk me on different media channels including MySpace for several months prior to the actual criminal incident. He collected and took personal photos of me and information on my personal life and even posted video clips of me and other former pageant contestants performing in public venues on YouTube without our knowledge or permission. He then made immature comments about each of us and mocking our abilities. In addition, Mr. Lee anonymously created a false profile in order to become my MySpace friend, using a fake name and photo of someone named “Jeffrey”. He also used my own photos and profile information to create a false profile of me. He pretended to be me and messaged my real friends in inappropriate ways and requested to be friends with strangers as if he were me. I have logs and logs of consecutive days where he visited my MySpace page and my website, HleeX.com, daily, during normal and odd hours like 2, 3 in the morning (if you are visiting this website, you should know that your information has been logged and documented as well).
Since this terrible incident, I have received numerous Google searches such as “pornstar Hlee Xiong”, “Hlee XXXiong”. I am telling you personally now, that is not the person that I am. I do not portray myself as such, and this is an insult to my family and to me. I have retained numerous documents showing page views and hits coming from Mr. Lee’s home IP address in Shelby Township, and his specific MySpace ID to prove that it was him who was cyber stalking me and sending out harassing and malicious emails to me and others.
Mr. Lee used photos that he lifted from my MySpace page and hand crafted a slideshow compilation of me and my family to create a false impression and defame my reputation. He created a YouTube account “TheHmongTruth” and uploaded the slideshow with an accompanying song called “Apologize” by Timbaland and One Republic, suggesting in the chorus that it was “too late to apologize”. Mr. Lee then used an anonymous email account that he specifically created for the purpose of widespread posting of the defamatory material under the name “email@example.com”. He sent the material to multiple recipients who were close family, friends, and colleagues of me, including messages such as “Quit being a fake a$$ whore!” “pictahs” “uh oh….Wat ur excuse be now?” A friend of mine told this anonymous person to stop and reveal his true identity. Mr. Lee responded: “U is prolly a SlUt h3o like yo frend Mizz XXXiong! She aint no innocenT no mo huh? lol!”
Mr. Lee’s false and defamatory emails and postings were sent far and wide, to close family and friends of mine, to a pageant official, to dozens of Michigan State University students (where he attended school), as well as to several mailing lists that contain many more addresses. Finally, the material was then distributed virally on numerous discussion boards and online blogs by some recipients.
These materials were posted and sent throughout the same time my mother was still recovering from brain surgery at the hospital. During this time, my family and I were still grieving for my mother’s life while she fought to survive the effects of two aneurysms. And with Nhia Lee’s visual image and noise embedded in my mind, forever instilled in me, it made my life a living hell. I will never forget the chilling feeling that crossed my mind over this for as long as I live. I was frozen but shaken all at the same time. This experience is forever embedded into my mind and has caused me intense emotional upset.
I live my life by a moral standard, and that is to treat others the way you would expect them to treat you. I live my life to serve others and make others happy while putting my own happiness last. I am content, knowing that I can bring happiness to others. My success is my family’s success, and my success is shared in my community. Never have I had cruel intentions towards others. I am, the ‘girl with the smile, who always goes the extra mile’. I like to believe that there are good people in this world who strive to do good things. I used to believe that doing good things will yield good returns. And so I tried to do good things in my life for others. But now, I often wonder why bad things happen to good people?
A beloved uncle of mine once told me: “Use your intelligence to do good things in this world, not to do bad things to harm others”. And a famous Hmong saying goes, if Hmong do not love Hmong, who will love the Hmong? When I found out the truth from the Warren Police that it was a fellow Hmong American Nhia Lee who harassed and cyber-stalked me for months under the alias “TheHmongTruth” I was deeply hurt knowing that this cruel person came from my own community. I was always taught that we should stand together, support each other, and love each other, because ‘we are like one family’ and we stem from the same tree. There is no good reason why Nhia Lee would do what he did to me. I have never given him any reason to treat me in a hostile manner. There are no words to describe all the feelings that I have internally. Nhia Lee violated and invaded my privacy. He harmed the only family I have. My community has suffered greatly and felt betrayed by Nhia Lee and his family’s senseless acts and animosity.
Before I went to the police I asked Nhia Lee directly if he did it. I was willing to accept an apology if he would cease doing it. But he denied it, belittled me for it, and recruited his family in perpetrating his lie. Now that he has admitted to be the perpetrator behind TheHmongTruth@yahoo.com it is clear that he has brought the same onto his family and community.
As the victim of an awful cyber stalking crime, I have decided to come forward from here on out to let people know that they do not have to suffer cyber stalking silently and can fight back against online defamation by cowards who hide behind false identities on the internet. Companies like LifeLock help with deterring identity theft and the consequences that come with it. Because of the terrible experience that I went through and am still going through today, I have set up a resource website to help create awareness of the crime, and to provide a forum for people who use social networks such as Facebook, MySpace and YouTube to assist them in preventing cyber stalking.
So please visit WWW.QUITSTALKINGME.COM to find out more.