It is a far cry from Miao-land to Malaysia, but as I get into closer contact with the Miao people, the more do I find them in many common ways of everyday customs and points of character akin to the Malays and the Sakai (the jungle hill people of the Malay Peninsula), among whom I have traveled. Their modes of living contain many points in common. Ethnologists probably may smile at this assertion, the same as I, who have lived among the Miao, have smiled at a good deal which has come from the pens of men who have not.
In this area there are two great branches of the Miao race:—
(i) The Hua Miao—The Flowery (or White) Miao.
(ii) The Heh Miao—The Black Miao.
(Many photographs of the Hua Miao are reproduced in this volume.)
The latter are considered as the superior of the two sections, speak a different tongue, and differ more or less widely in their methods, dress and customs, a study of which would lead one into a lifetime of interminable disquisitions, at the end of which one would be little more enlightened. Those who wish to study the question of inter-racial differences of the Miao are referred to Mr. Clarke’s Kwei-chow and Yuen-nan Provinces, Prince Henri d’Orleans’ Du Tonkin aux Indes, and Mr. Baber’s works. Major Davies also gives some new information concerning this hill people, and is generally correct in what he says; but in his, as in all the books which touch upon the subject, the language tests vary considerably. In Chao-t’ong and the surrounding districts, for instance, the traveler would be unable to make any progress with the vocabulary which the Major has compiled. I was unable to make it tally with the spoken language of the people, and append a table showing the differences in the phonetic—and I do it with all respect to Major Davies. I ought to add that this is the language of the north-east corner of Yuen-nan; that of Major Davies is taken from page 339 of his book. He says that the words given by him will not be found to correspond in every case with those in the Miao vocabulary in the pocket of the cover of his book, and some have been taken from other Miao dialects!. However, the comparison will be interesting:—
English Word Major Davies’s Miao Miao
Man (human being) Tan-neng, Tam-ming Teh-neh.
Son To, T’am-t’ong Tu.
Eye K’a-mwa, Mai A-ma.
Hand Api Tee.
Cow Nyaw, Nga Niu.
Pig Teng Npa.
Dog Klie, Ko Klee.
Chicken Ka, Kei Ki.
Silver Nya Nieh.
River Tiang Glee.