Sunday, 15 February 2009
The Miao people can be found all over southern China and Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, where they are known as the Hmong. They have even emigrated in large numbers to America and France. They were traditionally very rebellious to the Han Chinese, which led to their oppression. They have many different sub groups, such as the Flower Miao, Red Miao, Black Miao, Long Horn Miao etc. We stayed in a village called Basha, where the locals cling to ancient traditions, such as wearing traditional clothes, and the men still carry huge daggers or swords and shave their head, leaving just a topknot in the middle. In fact, the people in the village were all crazy, it seemed like the whole village was drunk, children included. They often sang, danced and were really rowdy, all night long. I heard they are some of the biggest drinkers in China!
So me and my friends walked into his clinic, and he greeted us in perfect English, then led us outside to sit in the sun, drink his home made herbal tea, and read articles about his fame. He lived a hard life and was poor and sick, during the political instability of 1950s and 60s China. So he taught himself herbal medicine, healed himself, and then began healing other villagers for free. He had learnt English from Dr Joseph Rock, a famous botanist, who lived in the area in the 1930s. Dr Ho is in his mid 80s and is in excellent health, and very happy (he says the best medicine is happiness). Despite his fame, he is humble and welcoming, and will give you a check up and prescribe some herbal medicine (which he collects from the mountains himself) for free, although for tourists, he asks a donation of what you think its worth or you can afford.
He told us about how several westerners suffering from cancer and other terminal illnesses had come tohim for treatment, and years later are still alive and stable. He showed us their medical reports, showing they refused kimotherapy to prove it.