"Winter Hibiscus" Presentation Group 4

Category: Entertainment

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EESL 536 Cultural Tour Group 4 Presentation


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“Winter Hibiscus” By Britny Carrino David Copenhaguen Fengmei Liu and Rosa Verdugo Identity Familiarity and Culture Shock EESL 536 CSUSB Instructor: Kathryn Howard September 5th 2018 A Hibiscus plant “Saebba”/”dok faeng-noi”

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Overview: “Winter Hibiscus” by Minfong Ho We will examine an excerpt from a 12-page story featured in the book “Join in Multiethnic Short Stories” by Donald R. Gallo 1993. The excerpt is about a 16-year-old Laotian girl named Saeng Panouvong. The story highlights her feelings of homesickness and her difficulties adjusting to her new life in America along with the comfort she finds in a familiar hibiscus flower. the intro to the excerpt lists Saeng as immigrating from Vietnam but upon reading the full version of the story we think that this was actually an error on the editor’s part.

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About the Author ● Minfong Ho was born in Burma. Her parents were from different countries but both were of Chinese descent. She was raised in Thailand went to college in Taiwan and then moved to the USA. She was unsatisfied with the way that Asia was depicted in children’s stories and so she aimed to convey the Asia that she knew and loved through her stories. Her stories are mostly historical fictions so they are set around real historical events with fake characters.

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Cultural tour Laos is surrounded by China Vietnam Cambodia Thailand and Burma. _____________________________ _ Laos is a mountainous country especially in the north where peaks rise above 9000 ft 2800 m. The Mekong River which forms the boundary with Burma and Thailand flows through the country for 932 mi 1500 km of its course. _____________________________ _ Theravada Buddhist is the major religion in this country. _____________________________ _ With just over five million inhabitants Laos is one of the least populated countries in the region. _____________________________ _ Agriculture is the main occupation of the people. They rely on the rich fertile soil of the Mekong River

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Cultural Tour Laotian Americans The Souphanousinphone family from King of the Hill are Laotian American ໘ The "national origin" category of Laotian American which is different from ethnic groups includes all ethnic groups who lived within the borders of Laos such as the Hmong ethnic Chinese and ethnic Vietnamese. ໘ Laotian immigration to the United States started shortly after the Vietnam War. Refugees began arriving in the U.S. after a Communist government came to power in Laos in 1975 and by 1980 the Laotian population of the U.S. reached 47683. By 2008 the population nearly reached 240532. ໘ In 2013 18.5 of all Laotian Americans lived under the poverty line. ໘ According to data collected in 2013 38 of all Laotian American students dropped out of high school. ອາເມລິກາ America written in Lao

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Plants from Laos That saeng remembers Madagascar Periwinkle Jasmine “Dok Malik” ORchid Lanna bush Oleander Elephant Ear Begonias bougainvillea vines

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Cultural Tour DanbyVermont 2000 Demographics Population - 1292 people 98.53 - white .54 - Native American .23 - Asian .70 - from 2 or more races

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DANBY vERMONT - A SMALL TOWN KNOWN FOR ITS MARBLE PRODUCTION There are 3 cities named “Danby” in America. Using the process of elimination we concluded that this one matched the description in the story the closest. The story takes place in early October and references Oak trees red Maple leaves as well as a green grassy golf course. The weather is chilly and windy during this time of year.

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Saeng’s Family ● She has a mother and a father who moved with her from Laos to Danby four years before the story was written. ● Her mother and father were grade school teachers in Laos but now they are a dishwasher and a janitor in America. They make more money now in America than they did in Laos. ● Mr. and Mrs. Panouvong are studying English through a state program that pays them to do so. ● Her father is not discussed very much in the story but her mother plays an important role. She is very hardworking thrifty and gardens a lot. ● Saeng’s family needs her to get a driver’s license so the family can have transportation.

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Mrs. Panouvong’s garden Top: hot peppers snow peas kale Bottom: Chinese cabbage bitter melons onions

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Discussion Question 1 What have you held onto from your culture and what have you integrated or rejected from the new one ● Ideas ● Traditions ● Habits ● Clothing ● Hobbies ● Other

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Discussion Questions 23 What did you miss from your home when you moved here and how did you cope with it What advice would you give someone who just moved here

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Intercultural Concept A - Standpoint Theory Orbe et al. 24-25 explain that standpoint theory helps us to understand that life is not experienced the same by all members of any given cultural group. This is relevant to our story because Saeng and her mother have different attitudes towards life in America and the hibiscus flower plays a pivotal role in shifting Saeng’s viewpoint. Saeng had a bad day and was in a dark mood. She had a glum outlook on her life in America. Initially the flower made Saeng sad and homesick for Laos. She found the flower comforting but it made her want to go back. Her mother on the other hand saw hope for a beautiful new life in the flower strength and durability. The flower was not the same variety as the ones in Laos but it was similar and still wonderful. By the end of the story Saeng came to share this optimistic view of the flower and by extension she felt more optimistic about retaking her driver’s test. What might account for these differences in viewpoint Well as mentioned previously Danby has less than .25 Asian population. This makes it difficult especially for a teenage immigrant to figure out where she belongs. Also age experience and wisdom play a part in the bleak/hopeful attitude differences that we see in this short story.

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Intercultural Concept B - Identity Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity DMIS. DMIS describes 6 stages that people experience when trying to achieve intercultural success: denial defense minimization acceptance adaptation and integration. All six help in the development of one’s identity. The final stage integration demonstrates the process of making the new culture a normal behavior and therefore making the new culture part of their own identity. In our story Saeng is getting ready to take her driver’s test an American cultural milestone. In adaptation an individual intentionally changes their behavior to work effectively in another culture Diaz-Rico 4. When Saeng failed her driver’s test she was overwhelmed with emotions and the reminder that she was different. Her walk home took her through an experience of familiarity and comfort and a sense of belonging. In the end of the story Saeng made it known that while the new culture was something she wanted to be a part of her home culture had a place in her life that could never be taken away. This connection was demonstrated when she noted her preference of eating bitter melons instead of Big Macs.

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Intercultural Concept C - Promise of Happiness Our story centers around a teenage girl Saeng who has failed her driver’s test. Saeng feels like she has disappointed her family. In the United States obtaining a driver’s license is an example of what Motha calls a promise of happiness. Motha argues that we have been taught to associate happiness with certain objects even though it is often a false promise. For example we have been programmed to associate marriage with happiness “despite a divorce rate that belies the accuracy of the image” Motha 58. In a similar fashion for Saeng and her family passing the driver’s test represents a milestone in acculturation. It becomes a “happy object” an instrumental good associated with the possibility of economic and social advancement. In reality obtaining a driver’s license will likely not solve all of Saeng’s feelings of otherness and so it too is a false promise.

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Sources ● Diaz-Rico L. 2009. “6. Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity”. Text available here: https://csusb.blackboard.com/bbcswebdav/pid-1978870-dt-content-rid-9056959_1/courses/186EES L53670/CP236.DevelopmentICSensitivity28129.pdf ● Ho Mingfung. 1993. “Winter Hibiscus.” Join In Multiethnic Short Stories. ● Excerpt available here: http://mdk12.msde.maryland.gov/assessments/high_school/look_like/2008/english/resources/winter _hibiscus.html ● Full text available here: http://englishiva1011.pbworks.com/f/HIBISCUS.PDF ● Motha S. 2014. Chapters 3. Race empire and English language teaching: Creating responsible and ethical anti-racist practice. New York: Teachers College Press. ● Orbe 2016. Excerpt of Chapter 2. In K. Sorrells and S. Sekimoto Eds. Globalizing intercultural communication: A reader. Los Angeles: Sage.

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