Vietnam Rant

An interesting, yet lackluster, weekend. I stayed in most of the weekend which is not normal for me. My friends were busy or sick. Change of season here normally means many people are more sick than normal. I keep ingesting a daily dose of tofu with ginger sauce each morning to avoid any sickness. Helps most of the time but I still got sick last week due to the dust.

Vietnam is really interesting. The Vietnamese way to life is actually quite relaxing and enjoyable. The Vietnamese people are considered one of the happiest people in the world. This is a shock to most people when they find out but it is true according to the Happy People Index. Looking around, you can tell.

Many Western expats refuse to adapt to the Vietnamese way. They prefer to look down on the Vietnamese people, even if the person is Vietnamese themselves. “We should treat them like children” insisted ‘many’ of my colleagues. “Their ways make no sense” uttered by others.

In reality, even if you hate to admit it, the Vietnamese way works. You just have to understand how, and most importantly, why Vietnamese do the things the way they do. It takes patience, lots of it. If you want to understand how the Vietnamese live their lives, just watch ‘The Scent of Green Papaya.’ How many of us wake up in the morning and look at a the beauty of a frog? We don’t, we normally start the day reading the news, or more importantly, check out the latest sports scores from yesterday.

Most expats and Viet Kieu should understand and accept the Vietnamese way. You are in Vietnam, do as the Vietnamese. Stop pretending that you are something that you are not, i.e. a wealthy, educated Western teacher. You are not and don’t think you fooled the Vietnamese because that smile they are showing you is not genuine. Trust me…

The Scent of Green Papaya

  • D

    Nice rant about adapting, or at least recognizing and accepting, to the local ways. I hope I won’t be one of those condescending VKs.

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