Shong Lue Yang Creator of the Hmong Pa Hawh Writing System

PaHawh Writing System

Pahauh Hmong was invented by a Hmong man name Shong Lue Yang, whose followers called him “Mother of Writing.” He was a poor uneducated farmer to invent the “Pahauh Hmong” writing system for Hmong people. It is rare in the history of the world that any one who could not previously read or write any language and be able to invent a writing system that can be written and pronounced all of the spoken language efficiently. Shong Lue Yang said that God had revealed it to him to teach for the Hmong minority people, because Hmong did not have their own writing system. There was around in 1953, the western missionaries came to invent the Romanized Alphabet system, which is today most of the Hmong people are using it, to Hmong language for only the purpose of religious teaching. But that time, not many people were interested to learn it.

According to William A. Smalley and other co-authors of the book “Mother of Writing”, Shong Lue Yang started to invent the Pahauh Hmong was in Southeast Asian countries of Vietnam and Laos in 1959. Shong Lue Yang, himself and his followers believed that he was a messenger from God to help the Hmong people. Hundreds of people flocked around Shong Lue Yang, not just to learn the Pahauh Hmong, but also to hear moral, ethical and religious teaching from the ” Savior of the People.” He answered questions of all kinds, and foretold in the future. As the news kept spreading and it was heard by the communist Vietnam government, then they began to say that the Pahauh Hmong was part of a plot by the American CIA. The communist soldiers came to arrest Shong Lue Yang for many times, but Shong Lue Yang was able to escape and helped by a group of his followers. In 1963 his followers then brought him to the non-communist side to joint the Hmong people in Laos.

Shong Lue Yang continued to introduce and to teach the Pahauh Hmong for the Hmong people in Laos. During the war, Shong Lue Yang more than once was able to predict the time and place of communist attacks and prepared people for them. Some people believed that he was able to predict the communist attacks only because he was a communist sympathizer, he must have radio to communicate with the enemy about the attacks. The people that followed him every where never saw that he had radio, nor ever gone outside to contact the enemy. Both sides of the communist government and non-communist government accused him of aiding the other.

The government did not want the Hmong minority people to have their own writing system, and arrested him into prison for 3 years in Laos. Latter his followers were able to rescue him from the prison and brought him back to the village. Unfortunately, It was until mid 1971 that Shong Lue Yang, “Mother of Writing,” was assassinated. His assassination was at the hand of a government agent because of the result of his invention of Pahauh Hmong. Today, Pahauh Hmong is still use by some of the Hmong people that live in Laos and Thailand, and even in the United States. Because the modern technology, now Pahauh Hmong is available as computer fonts and some typewriters.

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