Social Issues

Wife from overseas

I embarrassed myself this weekend by thinking that a Hmong woman my age speaks English (I’m 24). I casually told her, “Dear Spouse is working today, so we have to leave early. I’m just packing some food to go.” Her blank look said it all: she didn’t understand a word I said. The older woman (around 40 years old) behind me replied, “Sure. Go right ahead.”

On our way home, I asked Dear Spouse about the young woman. He said that she came to the US a couple of years ago to marry and probably didn’t speak English. Hmmm…. When with Hmong people, do as the Hmong people do, and speak Hmong.

Many Hmong men marry wives from overseas (mainly Thailand and Laos). It’s not really mail-ordered brides because the Hmong men actually go overseas and search for a wife (usually 10-20+ years their junior). Sometimes relatives will suggest a girl/woman for the man if they see that she is fit to be his wife.

Why would a man marry a Hmong girl from overseas? That, I believe, is the question everyone asks a whole lot. I know I do. Come on! The educated Hmong women in the great U.S. of A aren’t good enough for them?

Two main reasons why Hmong men go overseas to marry: (1) They have baggage (i.e; they are divorced, they are a widower, they have children, they are “old maids.” (2) They want the “perfect” obedient wife.

First reason: They have baggage. Hmong men will fly overseas when they feel they are left with no options. They can’t find a wife here because they feel that they need someone who can take care of their young children, take care of their aging self, and take care of their home. Who would want to marry someone who is growing old and with children? They can’t marry a bachelorette because why would a single woman want to marry a man who is either divorced or a widower and with children? And they can’t marry a woman who is divorced or a widow either. That woman also has baggage that they don’t want to care for.

Second reason: They want the “perfect” wife. Yes, even though America is great. Even though the Hmong came to America to escape from oppression, America still corrupts the Hmong females. Hmong women get educated. Hmong women get liberated. Hmong women become independent. Hmong women value work and education more than domestic work. Hmong women have fun. Most importantly, Hmong women in America have the ability to think for themselves and will not get married just put their lives on hold to serve their husbands. Yes, America the Great has corrupted our Hmong women, making all the available Hmong women ineligible for marriage to these great Hmong bachelors.

So, with this in mind, Hmong parents tell their sons to fly overseas and marry “innocent” girls from Thailand or Laos so that the new brides can help their sons with their lives. The new brides know nothing about America, can’t speak English, don’t have friends. It is a perfect way to control. But what happens when America starts to influence them? What happens when they learn English, make friends, etc?

I know it’s biased of me to think that Hmong men who marry girls from overseas are just doing it for control. But that’s what one would think when there are so many available women in America.

8 thoughts on “Wife from overseas

  1. You forgot about the third reason: 3) the guy cannot even get himself a girlfriend in the U.S.

    I see examples of this–shy guy with no balls to ask a girl out. When he goes to the home country to search for a wife, all of a sudden he has more clout because he is from the great land of America. So now he looks more favorable than the local guys.

  2. Actually, it isn’t that they have more clout or that their self esteem suddenly doubled. When these American Hmong men travel to the motherland, the young girls there “court” them before they can even find their balls.

  3. actually the bigger question is why would girls oversea agree to marry old maids? anyways im glad that it has worked well for my uncle. not so much for the others. i dont like girls oversea, i loathe them actually. it takes two to clap. my answer to your question is that those men are horny old jerks. they get them because those girls are easy targets. they are not headstrong and they think it is a free ticket to get out of poverty.

    1. The reason why I don’t ask why girls overseas agree to marry old men from here is because someone living in the US has more advantages over those living in 3rd world countries. Whatever their reasons are to go overseas to look for a wife is unknown to me, but I cannot blame the females over there to believe that marrying a man from the US is their ticket to a better life. And it’s the same with women going overseas to marry husbands. I rarely hear of these, that’s why my blog was gender specific towards men, but nonetheless, the dynamics are similar.

  4. i stumbled upon this article and decided my two cents might be worth something…we forget want Hmong people are really about…and that is family. those younger women and their families are hopefully getting an opportunity to come to the great US of A. the families from over there are going to hold to a traditional family value so everyone benefits. not all scenarios are like this but for the most part, it is the expectation. either way, it’s a gamble no matter who you marry here or there. i would rather gamble on someone over there…

    1. ur comments made sense. marriage is a gamble. which sometimes a marriage leads to ‘prisoner in paradise.” Seemed like gambling oversea is more affordable. Looked like Hmong people live life exactly as true life or is it ‘true lie’… Similarly like the jobs in the US of A being outsourced to oversea.

  5. Interesting. I recently visited Laos with my grandparents, I’m sad to say that my gpa (age 60) is one of those ogs courting younger girls. I want to share a bit about him to give a different perspective.

    He wasn’t always this person, in fact prior to him becoming apart of the “og-marrying-younger-girls-in-Laos” community, my gpa was very strict and traditional. He had a lot of great values that even I respected about him. After his first visit to Laos, back in 2006, he came back home as complete different person. He was “in love” and I’ve never seen this side to him ever. I couldnt understand what happened- I was disgusted and disappointed. All the lectures before about no dating until I’m done with school now turned into find love and date whoever I liked. He no longer was picky about my suitors but rather encouraging. That change was good for me but I didnt like it on him. I was embarrassed and started to search for answers.

    After years of many conversations, I realize that it’s selfish of my gpa but he is truly happy- even if it’s temporary (because you know those girls are just playing with my 60 yr old gpa- they’re not really waiting for him or wanting to marrying him). You see, my gpa and gma never liked each other to begin with- my gpa was an orphan since he was a boy and his relatives married my gma for him so he can start a life. He never choose her but learned to live with her. This does not justify his actions but it does provide me with more understanding of his decision. I believe he never truly experienced love, which I pitied him for. Whatever happened on his trip, it must have sparked love for him- however he defines it. As we all know, love is powerful feelings- through love some of us do crazy things. As much as I lecture him to stop, I also feel happy that he able to experience love even if it’s at this old age. I wish he can experience it with his family, his wife, his grandkids, but you cannot control love. To me, this is not love but infatuation (still disgusted by it) but who am I to judge this old man’s feelings.

    After my trip to Laos, I came to understand why and what the difference was living in America and Laos. Of course, I knew from before through my parents but it wasn’t until I experienced it that I understand how important it is to come to America. You would think that people should be accustomed to their environment and learn to make a living with their poor conditions but it’s far worst. Life is depressing there. I know it’s not every young girl’s choice to marry someone from America but I agree with many of you- it means a ticket out of poverty for you and your family. We all want to live a happy life, no? This is no way to justify anything but giving perspective from multiple sides.

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