A picture of Ban Vinai, a Hmoob refugee campin Thailand, hangs in Hmong Golden Egg Roll Restaurant. The owner, ChongCher Lee, lived in Ban Vinai. The painting reminds him of the change he has experienced in his life and what it means to the Hmoob community.
Location: 901 State St, Suite 110, La Crosse, WI, 54601
My name is ChongCher Lee. C-H-O-N-G-C-H-E-R all one word and last name Lee. I’m the business owner here at Hmong Golden Egg Roll and I am also very active in the community.
Every restaurant tend to have a picture. One of these pictures is of the Ban Vinai Refugee Camp, Thailand 1975-1992. During the war in Laos when the Hmoob become a refugee and that’s the camp the Ban Vinai was the camp in Thailand when the Hmoob refugee when they escaped from Laos was the place of the refugee camp. And this picture brings back great memory that one day, one time, somewhere, back then, you just don’t see where is your future can be like. And like today, you know, only the picture is still there. You know, everything had been gone but the memory and somebody makes a picture nice like that, it just freezes there, the frame just freezes there, and the memory is there. So, that kind of reminding us that, you know, that one time we were somebody who had no future, you don’t know where you are going to go…
This picture has a very meaningful and brings back great value to us so we have a couple pictures of those in there. So, over the years from childhood to now, lots of change. Changing from the war to a refugee camp. We see many things happening many in great poverty, hungry, and all this change. And to come to America also the culture change, you know, when I came to America. This is not something that we expected or we anticipated that you planned for on to go to America. So everyone is learning language. It’s like one day you’re here the next day you are over there…