A conversation with a H’Mong lady in Sapa, Vietnam


Today I talked to the female tour guide in Sapa and she told me about the marriage culture in her tribe.So her lover has to take a bottle of alcohol to her house and asks for permission to marry her. If her father drinks the alcohol that he brought here, then it’s a yes.

Then the man has to return to his house to prepare gifts for the woman’s parents, which includes, 15kg of chicken, 80kg of pig, 100 US dollar (at that time) and so on before marrying her. Then after three days of preparing there comes their wedding day. All the residents in the village will come and celebrate–EAT!!!–for a whole day long. Then the bride will go home to see her parent-in-law. She told me that she felt really shy and awkward to call her parent-in-law “father” and “mother” and she got homesick after a few days staying in a new home. Though she couldn’t just go home like that, she had to save money and buy something before returning home. That’s the culture.

I asked her if there was one man with multiple wives in her village now she said, yes. Each wife has a house in order to decrease arguments that are deprived from jealousy. Men often search for younger women after the older ones have children and lost their charming bodies like before. Sad patriarchy.

And there are many people divorced on these days. Some re-marry a China man for the purpose of financial support. Understandable. In fact it happens in everywhere.

Then I asked her what is regarded as “handsome” in her tribe. She said, long legs and straight. I asked her to point it to me if she saw one and I asked what kind of face structure is regarded as handsome. She answered, Korean men in the movies are handsome! I smiled.

But at last, it’s not about having a Korean face or long legs but a good, good heart, she said.

“There’s no use if he only has a good face. If he has a good heart, his good heart will make him handsome.”

That’s totally right.

A cold heart makes you handsome.

A warm heart makes you smile attractively.

A good heart makes you a human.

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1 Comment

  1. Sad story.
    In my point of view, patriarchy in our civilization is the rule over women, like for example the division of labor with the final purpose that led women to a premeditated domestication.
    But I still have hope in the good hearts that remain…

    Liked by 1 person

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