Thai New Year

The Thai New Year (Thai: Songkran) is celebrated every year on April 13 to April 15. It is also celebrated in Laos (called Songkan in Lao), Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma where it is called Thingyan), and by ethnic Dai in Yunnan, China. Sri Lanka also celebrates a similar festival called Sinhalese and Tamil new year on the same dates. The date of the festival was originally set by astrological calculation, but it is now fixed. If these days fall on a weekend, the missed days off will be taken on the days immediately following (But Sri Lanka still uses an astrological calculation to set the dates and times based on the sun’s positional change and those dates and times are used to start the festival events). Continue Reading

Minnesota Hmong protest against BK “Whopper Virgin” campaign

Minnesotan Seng Vang is deeply offended by Burger King’s portrayal of Hmong people in its “Whopper Virgin” campaign. The offensive segment of the campaign featured Hmong people in Northern Thailand “simply as “tribesmen” who “don’t even have a word for burger,” Seng Vang wrote in a protest letter to Burger King. What do YOU think?Click on “comment” at the end of this article and tell us what you think. Or write an article and send it to We’d like to hear from you! Continue Reading

The lost children of Laos: Advocating for liberation of detained Hmong youth

Worn fabrics and remnants of personal belongings hang from the ceiling bars, impeding the flow of sunshine through tiny windows. The mixed, stagnating stench of food, urine, human waste, and unwashed bodies permeates the air of the cramped living space where people have to eat, toilet, and sleep. Small and fragile silhouettes peer through the light wondering what lies beyond the bars, guards, and locks. For hundreds, this is childhood. Instead of waking in a bed of their own, the children wake stiff and sore from a rough, blanketless night’s sleep. Continue Reading

The Hmong, Thailand and greed

Thailand has held 149 Hmong people, including men, women, and ninety children in a two-room cell for the past nine months with no access to the outside. Their only access to drinking, cooking, and bathing water is a single stall toilet. Having done nothing wrong, the Hmong have been designated as political refugees, a status that has been certified by the United Nations. While third nations have agreed to accept the refugees for relocation, on August 21, Thailand decided that it would not allow these asylum seekers to leave. On September 20, Thailand announced that it will force an additional 8,000 Hmong refugees back to communist Laos. Continue Reading