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 keep watch over of the govt of Laos. individuals of the Mong tradition who had helped the U.S. primary Intelligence business enterprise of their quest to halt the unfold of Communism have been pressured to maneuver to the US 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 common. therefore, their oral customs are actually being slowly eroded and changed with a written culture. eager to carry directly to their cultural identification and proceed the traditions in their ancestors, the Mong nonetheless fight with the difficulty this alteration in literary notion has triggered. Compiled from quite a few interviews, this quantity explores the lives of thirteen Mong elders. With emphasis on their certain oral culture and cultural practices, the ebook discusses Mong rituals, tribal customs, non secular ideals and academic reviews. the focus of the paintings, in spite of the fact that, is the life-style the elders maintained whereas dwelling within the mountains of Laos. of their personal phrases, they describe their youth, groups, spiritual rituals and cultural traditions in addition to the continued fight of adjustment to their new native land. The paintings additionally delves into the Mong perceptions of industrialization and the generational clash that immersion right into a literate society has brought on. the writer himself is a member of the Mong tradition and brings a private standpoint to protecting the oral traditions of this targeted ethnicity. The paintings can also be listed.

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This tradition is still an everyday living experience and memory to the Mong elders. 3 Mong Society and Sociocultural Settings Mong society centers around a kinship system and operates through communal lifestyles. The Mong people establish strong alliances within the foundation of clan organizations. Clans function to unite, organize, support, and govern family and social positions. In this context, religious doctrine plays a very important role in balancing people’s selves with nature both physically and mentally.

If a Mong person is sick then possibly his/her spirit was being disturbed by the evil spirits living on the dead side (dlaab saab). A ritual must be performed to keep the evil spirits away from bothering this person’s spirit. We learned all these ritualistic chants, songs, and secret language by heart. We can perform anytime when someone asks us at any ceremony. There are so many chants and di›erent ceremonies. We have wedding chants, funeral chants, soul honoring chants, soul calling chants, household chants, shaman chants, healing chants, etc.

Ong (¡982) states that oral tradition has no such thing as residue or deposit like written words. According to Ong’s argument, a written tradition cannot be achieved without oral tradition. Ong (¡977) asserts, “the first age of writing is the age of scribes, writers of more or less orally conceived discourse” (p. 282). According to research and the Mong legends, the Mong believe strongly in their oral tradition and culture values. They do whatever they can to protect this culture. This is one reason why the Chinese and Mong have had a long history of conflict.

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