hais cuaj txub kaum txub

This is a Hmong phrase that I came across while reading The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down.

“hais cuaj txub kaum txub”

It means “to speak of all things” and according to Anne Fadiman, the author of the book, the phrase often used as a disclaimer in Hmong storytelling which tells listeners that details which may seems excessive are actually important. To speak of all things is to make sure no detail is overlooked, no matter how seemingly insignificant. Just because you don’t immediately see the connection doesn’t mean there isn’t one.

This phrase stood out to me because I tend to be long-winded myself in both writing and speaking, and I always considered it a bad thing, something to work on. While I still would like to work on being a bit more to the point at times, this was a good reminder to embrace some of my more natural tendencies.


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