Hmong Girls, Sa Pa, Vietnam

In the Summer of 2009, my travels took me to the hills of Sa Pa in North Vietnam. Unlike the rest of Vietnam’s smoldering Summer heat and pollution, Sa Pa is a refreshing escape, with a cool, fresh breeze and an average temperature of 15 degrees Celsius. Characterized by green rice paddies high up on the mountain-side, a midst the spray of the clouds, its like a heaven on earth.

Sa Pa is predominantly inhabited by the Hmong people, making up around 52 per cent of it population. Outside of Vietnam, the Hmong also have significant populations in China and Laos. Although Hmong society is traditionally rather patriarchal, there seems to have been a shift in female attitude in the mountains of Sa Pa. A possible cause of this change in mindset may be down to the daily interaction of the Hmong girls, who mostly work as tour guides, with Westerners. Not only does their English improve, but they also seem to be changing attitudes about the role of women in society. In the Hmong sisters bar, where many of the girls relax after work, and enjoy the company of foreigners, I played pool with some of them. When they played against male competitors, they seemed to enjoy beating them even more, as they jeered at their male opponents, whilst being more respectful to female ones. Even in Western society, we don’t often see women mocking and challenging men in sports, but the Hmong girls seemed intent on crushing whatever ego the men had. This could be their way of expressing their freedom outside of their home, where they may be expected to act in a more submissive way with men of their own tribe.

Whilst walking with a Hmong girl and two male trekking partners, the female guide expressed that I should not let men treat me in any way disrespectfully. She made it quite clear that she regarded women very highly and that they should be treated with respect. She said she wanted to study and go to university too, showing the ambition of Hmong girls to eventually leave Sa Pa. The level of English of the young Hmong girls was astounding, considering that they had only learnt it from tourists. As a fellow woman, I found my stay in Sa Pa very comfortable. Even male tourists there seemed to enjoy the feisty, energetic personalities of the Hmong girls, as a stark contrast to the stereotypical, quiet, shy Southeast Asian girls. I will leave you with these images of the beautiful landscapes and people of Sa Pa.

Please leave comments at the bottom of my blog on wordpress.

Advertisements

19 comments

  1. Can I just say what a relief to find someone that actually knows what they are talking about over the internet.

    You actually understand how to bring an issue to light and
    make it important. More and more people really need to read this
    and understand this side of the story. It’s surprising you’re not more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.

  2. Hey there! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after browsing through some of the
    post I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m definitely happy I found it and I’ll be book-marking
    and checking back frequently!

  3. Hey terrific blog! Does running a blog such as this take a massive amount work?
    I have absolutely no understanding of coding however I was hoping to
    start my own blog soon. Anyways, should you
    have any suggestions or techniques for new blog
    owners please share. I understand this is off topic but I simply had to ask.
    Thanks a lot!

  4. You really make it seem really easy with your presentation but I
    in finding this matter to be really one thing that I feel I would never understand.
    It sort of feels too complicated and extremely vast for me.
    I’m taking a look forward to your subsequent submit, I’ll attempt to get the cling of it!

  5. I’ve learn some just right stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how a lot effort you put to make this sort of excellent informative web site.

  6. Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I actually enjoyed reading it,
    you will be a great author.I will remember to bookmark your blog and will come back down the road.
    I want to encourage you to continue your great work, have a nice day!

  7. Unquestionably believe that which you stated. Your favorite
    justification appeared to be on the internet the simplest thing to be aware of.

    I say to you, I certainly get annoyed while people think about worries that
    they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side effect , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  8. Interesting post, really surprised how women in such a remote area can play pool so well… even women in UK aren`t that good at it. Fantastic photos !!

Leave a comment here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s