The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #10052   Message #295228
Posted By: Jim Dixon
11-Sep-00 - 05:11 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Parody of The Cat's In The Cradle
Subject: RE: ADD LYR: Parody of The Cat's In The Cradle
I live in St. Paul, Minnesota, an area that experienced a big influx of Southeast Asians (mostly Hmong, but also Laotian and Vietnamese) in the years after the Vietnam War.

When Asians first started coming here, one of the rumors that frequently circulated about them was that they ate cats and dogs. It was a story that had some plausibility. Many of them came from a culture where they literally lived in handmade huts with dirt floors, cooked their food over a campfire, and were illiterate even in their own language. (The missionary who invented the now-standard way of writing the Hmong language died just a few years ago.) When they first came here, they didn't understand such things as fishing and game laws, and there were a few notorious cases of people running afoul of the law for possessing enormous numbers of game fish, or for hunting songbirds. But they are mostly highly law-abiding people, and broke the law only out of ignorance. To them, hunting and fishing seemed a logical way of being self-reliant and not depending on charity or welfare.

The rumors alleged something far more sinister however. They were accused of stealing and eating people's pets. As far as I know, none of these rumors was ever substantiated. But they were hurtful.

Today, our Asian population has done an admirable job of assimilating. We now have Hmong doctors, lawyers, you name it, even a member of the St. Paul School Board (Neal Thao), and he is not the first. As far as I know, the ugly rumors are a thing of the past, at least in Minnesota, but the song "Cat in the Kettle" immediately reminded me of the bad old days.

I don't mind you making fun of Harry Chapin or Garfield, or even cats or cat-owners in general, but the idea of a Chinese restaurant serving cat cuts a little too close to the bone (sorry) for my comfort.