thaoworra Profile picture
Feb 11 9 tweets 3 min read
I sometimes wonder about what it means for Lao and Hmong American writers to aspire to prominent US writing programs given the relationship of the CIA to the Secret War in Laos that pushed us into diaspora.…
An earlier article on the subject, but I find it noticeable that we don't really see to many of us trying to find a way to evaluate and critique the issue this creates for us, and the prose and poetry many were herded towards.…
The question of course would also apply to Hollywood approaches to covering the Secret War in film someday.…
I don't think there's an easy answer. Lao & Hmong writers already face such an uphill battle being encouraged to follow a literary path in diaspora with few of the 270,000+ of us even close to a full career as writers. So we have to "take" what we can get, reach for "anything"?
How can we ask the emerging body of writers to interrogate whether or not a given institution is supported by other bodies that might later weaponize our work against our former homeland or in some other interest. The few who are daring to write already often just want to create.
Close to 50 years in the US, it is difficult to find Lao & Hmong writers who will risk being seen as an "ungrateful refugee" and challenge the serious violation of international law, even when they're citizens (or even, because they ARE citizens.)
I worry under constructs of toxic capitalism, some writers may be afraid of losing a tenure track, a book deal, a streaming series or just an invite to a fancy dinner. Yet the critical voices are necessary in order to fully exercise our freedom of speech while we still have it
As someone who's lived more of my life in the US than in Laos, I can see the good in America even as we have the responsibility to engage with its problems openly and fairly. I get it, artists have to eat, but our true work isn't about making $$$ but culture shift.
As artists in diaspora, the best part of our journey, our best work will come from what we make without eyeing "profits" measured in American dollars or our ability to hustle til burnout to the amusement of institutions too myopic to appreciate what we REALLY bring to the table.

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More from @thaoworra

Feb 13
#BobaFett was NEVER Space Punisher. He was the best of a Space Apple Dumpling Gang who lucked out shipping an ice cube who STILL managed to dump him in the Sarlacc on a space backwater. The Empire HATED Space Rasputin's disintegration-prone flunky contractor "scum." WATCH AGAIN
The Empire just overran Hoth but remember how many AT-ATs, AT-STs & Star Destroyers got taken out doing it, which probably made GREAT reporting to Palpatine who wants Vader to update him. Yeah, it's NOT great but the Empire was short handed in the zone. Enter the bounty hunters.

2 trigger-happy droids, 2 aliens (one apparently a clairvoyant, so Space Miss Cleo?!) a dude fresh from a swoop bike accident, & Boba. That's NOT a lot of people answering the call to hunt a piece of junk w. a princess leading a galactic rebellion.

Read 8 tweets
Feb 12
Going to do some shoutouts to some of the Black speculative poets on Twitter you can follow! #SFFPoetry has expanded greatly over the decades thanks to the verse they've shared. If you have others I should also be taking a look at, please let me know and I'll be happy to add them
Of course, I'll start with @nytebird45, an @sfpoetry Grand Master who also holds a lifetime achievement award from @HorrorWriters
I've been very impressed over the years with the work of @therisingtithes who is always very generous with his time and support of other poets and students
Read 13 tweets
Feb 12
So for the weekend recap, some recent posts over at my blog:…
The Ravens FAC scholarship is still open until February 28th for children of Hmong and Lao veterans of the Secret War…
A look at the failed history of Operation Lam Son 719, when S. Vietnam and the US invaded Laos in an attempt to stop use of the Ho Chi Minh Trail.…
Read 4 tweets
Feb 11
I've an appreciation to Asian American creator Larry Hama whose G.I. Joe character Stalker was one of the first strong, multi-dimensional Black characters I'd read in the comics in my early years in the 1980s. But it's also a reason the 2021 Snake Eyes movie disappointed me.
Hama explored friendship,leadership, and accountability, and forgiveness especially in a combat zone which was a lot more than he technically needed to do with a comic-book tie-in to a 1980s toyline.
So, it may sound odd, but it always ticks me off a little to see figures of a founding member of G.I. Joe left behind on the shelves 40 years later, compared to the others, especially up in Duluth, for historical reasons I won't go into here.
Read 4 tweets
Feb 9
LOL prepping for @gregoryawilson presentation to his students tomorrow on writing as an #SFFPoet from the SEA Diaspora & his poor students are going to run into so many tangents on my twitter this week. SORRY, KIDS. But for sure, start here at least:
@gregoryawilson The @SahtuPress study guide is really an initial consolidated start for students doing full research projects on my work. I find it a bit #TLDR but it is useful:…
The Wikipedia entry on my work is mostly up to date:…
Read 7 tweets
Feb 8
51 years ago today, S. Vietnam invaded Laos to try & stop N. Vietnam on the Ho Chi Minh Trail near Savannakhet. Operation Lam Son 719 was an ABSOLUTE DISASTER. Most Lao Americans would be be surprised to know how Laos made the cover of Life Magazine in 1971.
The 1980 boardgame Body Count In Laos is one of the first Vietnam War games set in Laos but it's out of print. 2015's One Shot Away by High Flying Dice is the easiest to find that fills this niche, but it's definitely for grognards
The Filipino-designed 2020 freeware game Nam: Vietnam Combat Operations DOES have a scenario to play out Lam Som 719. Donations benefit Cambodian land mine removal. Bear in mind, It's ultimately a mod of C&C Tiberian Sun. but an interesting approach.

Read 6 tweets

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