Sunday, February 12, 2006

Life after the Super Bowl


Back to photography after watching women's beach volleyball and the Super Bowl? Not on your sorry piss ass life. Let's talk about other more INTERESTING things happening in the world wide world. Since it's Valentine's tomorrow, let's talk about flowers, shall we?

The United States started granting refugee status for the almost 15,000 Hmong refugees staying illegally at the Wat Tham Krabong in the province of Saraburi, Thailand. A registration process started February 2004 at the refugee camp, which squats on land owned by the Wat (Thai for temple).

In a statement issued by the U.S. State Department in December 2003, the U.S. will open a refugee resettlement programme for the Hmong who had been told by Thai authorities that they are no longer welcome to stay.

During the Vietnam War, the Hmong were recruited and trained by the C.I.A. to form a secret army to fight the communists. When the Pathet Lao took over the country in 1975,thousands fled to neighbouring Thailand.

In the 1990s, a Buddhist monk offered the Hmong refuge into the Wat after efforts by the Thai government to repatriate them back into neighbouring Laos. The temple is actually a rehabilitation centre for drug addicts.

The Thai government became intolerant of the camp. The Thai military took control of the temple and made it a restricted area after they accused it of harbouring drug traffickers and members of the Hmong resistance movement waging a guerrilla war against the Lao government. Coils of razor wire ring the camp. The Thai army controls entry and exit to and from the camp.

Most of the younger generation of Hmong have been living in the camp all their lives and are eager to relocate to the United States. More likely to end up in Saint Paul, Minnesota where the largest Hmong population live. The elderly, however, are more reluctant.

The Hmong sustain themselves in the camp by making and selling silver craft, knives, farm tools and embroidery, most of which are exported to the United States. Others who have managed to get work permits work outside the camps in factories and in farms.

Most have relatives living in the U.S., but are concerned about 'being a burden' to their new host families as they fear they will have no source of income and will not find work when they resettle. Very few are skilled apart from farming and silver/blacksmithing. Fewer speak English.

The Hmong is reported to have the highest male suicide rate among the ethnic minorities living in the U.S.

and those fucking flowers? they're on the wall at the oarhouse right now.

jose enrique soriano

'flowers of the philippines' - a refreshing exhibit of colourful images of philippine flowers by jose enrique soriano, now showing at the oarhouse. bring butterflies.

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