SatJaDham Presents...
			   "Combat Boots"  
			by Alisak Sanavongsay

 	All cultures in all time periods experience what is referred to as 
"The Generation Gap".  Unfortunately, Lao people are no exception. From my 
personal observation of the Lao community in America, this Gap is most 
visible between mothers and daughters.
	I'm going to go out on a limb with this story and tell it from a  
27-year-old professional Lao woman's point-of-view.  


Dear Mom,
 	Today marks my 27th year in this life and 6th year away from home.  I 
hope you will find a way to understand why I had to leave. Where did we go 
wrong?  Why couldn't we see eye to eye any more?  
 	I can still remember the days when we were the picture-perfect family 
-- the kind you only see in old tv shows. Dad was out working, and you 
taught me how to grow up to be a good woman.
 	You taught me how to be respectful to elders, how to cook, how to do 
the dishes, how to clean the house, how to dress myself in a respectable way. 
I did everything you told me without giving it a thought. I was your little 
 	Then, all of a sudden, I wasn't your little girl any more.  Those 
crazy teen-age years were among us.  I was turning into a new person with 
a whole new perspective of life.  I started to question everything.
 	Why should I be the one who does the dishes? Why should I be the one 
who does the cooking? Why should I be the one who cleans the house? Why can't 
I wear what I want to wear? Your answer to every question was, "Because 
you're a girl."
 	Well, that answer did not work for me.  Just because I was born 
without  a penis doesn't make me less of a person than any man.	In school, 
I was learning about freedom and women's rights. At home you were telling 
about serving my man and women's wrongs.
 	I don't see why you got so mad when I colored my hair red.  I don't 
see why you got so mad when I wore my baggy jeans hanging off my butt.  I 
don't see why you got so mad when I wore my combat boots.
 	You kept telling me that I would never find a man to marry me if 
I kept looking like that.  SO WHAT?  Is that my sole puspose in life?  Am 
I supposed to make myself pretty all the time so that some man will pick me 
to be his lucky wife?  If a man doesn't love me for who I am, then I don't 
need him.
 	Why couldn't you see that no matter how I looked I was still making 
good grades in school?  You weren't so impressed when graduated at the top 
of my high school class.  You weren't so impressed when I was accepted to 
one of the top universities in the country and moved away. You weren't so 
impressed when I graduated at the top of that university.  You weren't so 
impressed when I was accepted to one of the best law schools in the 
country.  Now, I have a six-figure salary, and you're still not impressed.
 	What is it that I did so wrong?  Why can't you just be happy for me? 
Is it because I'm 27 and still not married?  Is it because I defied your 
authority?  Is it because I was born a girl?  Or is it just because we are 
in different worlds?

           Your Daughter.  


If you have any comments, please post them in soc.culture.laos or email 

   hak phaang,

 *Alisak Tetsuo Sanavongsay                        *
 *Home Page: BANE THASANO in CYBER LAOS            *
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 *E-mail:                        *