The Price of a Hmong Daughter

DISCLAIMERS:

1. Read this with a light heart.
2. Don’t get offended. Remember #1.
3. Yes, I support Hmong women.
4. If my choice and how I react to this 18 Clan Council National Conference is different from yours, it doesn’t mean I don’t care about how these “Hmong Laws” can affect our community, especially knowing that many people still adhere to them.
5. It is okay to have a little laugh about depressing situations.

Tiffany Vang (the one who brought us this) brought us another article that sent people into a rage in the last two days. Tiffany attended the 1st Hmong 18 National Conference in Minnesota this past weekend and wrote about her experience. It got blasted into the Facebook portal and the reactions were strong, especially from Hmong women.

One particular part of the article didn’t sit well with some people and they expressed their anger toward the Council’s choice of the number “$600″. In her article, Tiffany wrote about one situation in which a member in the audience questioned the Council:

“How did you price it at $600? How did you quantify that amount for the bridal price?” said Bao Lee, one of the only youth participants of the conference.

Surprisingly, the Culture Chair said to her: “If you don’t know how we came up with that, then go and ask your mother and father.”

Some people read the words “$600″ and “bridal price” and assumed that the Council reduced the bridal price to $600.00. The context behind Bao Lee’s quote was not fully there so many people reacted negatively to it, not to say people didn’t already react negatively toward the bridal price.

CLARIFICATION: The $600 figure in the quotation in the article refers to the ncaug tsiag. Ncaug tsiag is the money to pay for the cow for the bride’s funeral once the bride passes away. The bride price is set for $5,000.

Voting on the bride price policy, drafted by H18C, has been postponed to a future date, which has not been set.
The Hmong bridal price set by the 18 Clan Council is still at $5,000. My parents didn’t give away my sisters for $5,000. They were given away for much more. We are rebels.
In Tiffany’s article, she asked:

“…how did H18C quantify bridal prices? How exactly do you find the price? What do you measure?”

I want to know too. This picture was passed around on Facebook and I don’t know the origin of it (sorry) but it seem to be from a package of documents that people at the conference received. I do not understand their rules here. Not mention money? What does that mean? I understand the $5,000 highlighted in the box is the bridal price for the woman and everything else are added during the wedding. This is probably the list of expense for the Groom’s side. Hey, I don’t know. I am learning too!

hmongprices1

Credit: Someone’s Facebook. I can’t recall where I got it from.

So to answer Tiffany’s question: “what do you measure?” regarding the price of each woman, I came up with this list. This is my list based on the general ideas of characteristics that constitute a “good Hmong girl” and a “bad Hmong girl” (and other ridiculous reasons that CAN be possible. Who knows? Who doesn’t like purple sticky rice?). These are not real numbers, I just came up with them from the thin air. DISCLAIMER: DO NOT TAKE THIS AS “FACTS”. I don’t want anyone angry by pulling things out of context. I think we had enough of that for one day.

hmongprices2

© Jaunehana

I have red hair. Oops, my value just dropped $75.00. I feel like my bridal price tag is like the Stock Market. On my good days, the price goes up. On my bad days, the price goes down. If I didn’t greet the guest, the price drop a few dollars. If I cook rice on the slow cooker for a traditional event, my price drop like 10%.

Note: the term “bridal price” and “dowry” are not interchangeable. Even though Asian Dad used the word “dowry” to describe the practice. The issue right now is not with the dowry but the bridal price.

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