I would like to thank my co-blogger, Chanida, for re-introducing Kahn into my life. I loved the fact that the producers of King of the Hill made Lao folks part of prime time television, but did they have to make them so damn antagonizing? I will have to admit, I admired some parts of Kahn’s questionable characteristics as survival tactics necessary for any Lao living in Texas. I even secretly rooted for him. But at the same time I couldn’t stand how joyfully obnoxious he was. He also reminded me of the many real-life Kahns I have known and kept at a distance. [Sigh.] So, to get at the heart of this paradox, I revisited the episodes in which the Souphanousinphones appeared and I had come up with ten reasons why I love/hate Kahn. But, you decide for yourself.
- He loves karaoke and is into bad 80s music.
- He brags and shows off his material possessions.
- He is a fine example of a hard-working American; he works as a systems analyst.
- He is outright rude, especially with his dislike for “redneck” and “hillbilly” neighbors.
- He cooks up a big ego and dishes it with a side of shameless Lao pride.
- He is obsessed with the American Dream and of being prominent and upper-class. He goes golfing and aspires to be part of a country club.
- He is a controlling father. He pressures Connie, his daughter, to perform well academically. Her other restrictions include, but not limited to curfew, TV, friends, and violin practice.
- Like all Lao parents, he tries setting up his daughter with another Lao boy (for social status and economic interest, no doubt).
- He supposedly was a survivor of the Killing Fields*, which could also explain an apparent depression/emotional problem.
- He sure knows how to throw a party for “Pimai”—the Lao New Year.
Does this sound like one of your parents? Or, do you know anyone who is like Kahn? If it wasn’t for Kahn, however, KOTH would not be what it was. So, as much as I’d love to hate him, I’d also hate to love him. ~Danny
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*The Killing Fields was a horrific chapter in humanity’s history book that took place in Cambodia. Michael Paterniti did a great job re-telling the stories for GQ Magazine that many survivors have numbed out their minds. Read about it here.