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Bad Sugar movie notes:
• people’s souls are escaping their bodies, Paja Thao helps people get their souls back.
Without the shamans, people will get sick and die. Paja Thao: mentally and
emotionally disturbed because his children were practicing new traditions and
breaking old traditions since they moved to America.
• After the Vietnam war, Thao and his family had to move to America. The
environmental difference had a huge impact on the family, they did not even know if
they were allowed to practice religion. Paja Thao went from a religious leader to an
elementary student. This can be seen from the Human Geography perspective
because he felt like his culture in America was slowly disappearing and the number
of shamans is decreasing.
• They believed hospitals are not a good place for the spirits and thus is hard for the
person to heal. Therefore they thought the doctors, or medicine overall is not the
cure to mental health. If the funeral ceremony is not taken place correctly, the soul
will come back to haunt the family members.
• Based on what you’ve learned about Hmong cultural, what treatments are most
appropriate for Paja Thao’s sadness and depression? How do these differ from
Western conceptualizations of the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness
(sadness, depression, etc.)?
• Paja Thao travels through the spirit world for about two hours to try to find his soul
and then find the angel of death to get his soul back, he was not successful and thus
became depressed. A human ceremony was taken place, where a cow was sacrificed
for his spirit. All of the children that were married and made their parents feel like
they did not care about him gathered for ceremony to make him feel important and
loved. This is very different from Western ideas because people usually take
medication or go to doctors for treatment.
• Conflict between two different lifestyles focusing mainly on different types of
cultures and the impact of