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Vietnamese women are strong. I don’t say that because I am a Vietnamese woman. I say that when I look at my mom and the women in the village where I grew up. They wake up early every morning, go to the rice fields, turning their backs to the sky, until the sun goes down. Then they go back home and start cooking and taking care of their children. To be honest, I do not know how they can have time to enjoy their lives by living that way.
However, saying Vietnamese women are strong does not mean that I always laud them. There is one thing that is always a recondite thing to me: why do Vietnamese women seem to not want equal rights with men even though they probably can get it?
Vietnamese women are accustomed to an inveterate ideology: men are providers. Vietnamese people have an idiom: “Phụ nữ hơn nhau ở tấm chồng” which means that the standard of comparison between two women is their husbands. To date, although many Vietnamese women get jobs, get paid, they still want their husbands to be providers.
5 years ago, I worked as a journalist covering life stories of Vietnamese celebrities. A neophyte model named Ngoc Trinh told my co-worker during an interview that she would not get married to a man who is not rich. She became famous after that and many Vietnamese women agreed with her point. Of course, there is nothing wrong with the wish of getting married to a rich man. However, if women just look for rich men to get married to, then, they accept that men are providers. Many Vietnamese men made fun of Ngoc Trinh, and because of her, Vietnamese men had a chance to consolidate their belief that men have a right to flout women.
Most old college friends of mine are already married. Perhaps, I am the only single one. A friend kidded that maybe when her daughter gets married, I will still be alone. My friend seems happy. She enjoys her low-paying job and has a husband who can make 7 times her salary. However, every time I look at her husband, my interest in marriage is snuffed out. I wonder how my friend can live with a husband who always returns home drunk at midnight and asks his wife to serve him regardless of how stinking he is. Is it true that money can buy “love”?
Accepting that men are providers drives Vietnamese women to a belief that they need a man whether or not they love him. And because of that, many women believe that it is right to have “a cat fight” with someone whom their husbands have an adulterous relationship with.
One year ago, a big scandal happened to a Vietnamese singer called Ho Ngoc Ha. She was considered the most popular singer in Vietnam. She got married to a rich businessman with the nickname “Cuong USD” (the man of USD). For some reason, Ha separated from her husband. She then had a relationship with another rich man who was nicknamed “Diamond man”. The Diamond man was also separated from his wife and about to divorce her to be with Ho Ngoc Ha.
Unfortunately, his wife refused to get divorced. She then wrote on Facebook a tirade saying that Ho Ngoc Ha “stole” her husband. Instead of questioning on why a woman did not want to divorce her husband although she knew that her husband no longer loved her, people immediately turned to vituperate Ho Ngoc Ha. They believe that the third one is the reason a family breaks up. They created an anti-Ho Ngoc Ha group and it quickly attracted thousands of married women. They also called on people to boycott all products that Ho Ngoc Ha represented. For the very first time, many brands in Vietnam were aware of the puissance of women.
I wrote an article saying that women should not go for a “cat fight”, which is despicable and helps prove that Vietnamese women need men to survive. Instead, they need to stay together to protect women and focus on their jobs to show men that women are good without men. Many admonished me and said that I am young so I do not penetrate their situations.
Vietnamese women, are very strong and can sacrifice their lives to take care of their husbands and children. However, they are reluctant to divorce men even if those men do not respect them. They are always proud that they are kind enough to tolerate a husband no matter how bad he is. But they are not magnanimous enough to forgive a woman.
Dea Choi, an American friend of mine, who made a bike trip through Lao, Vietnam, and Cambodia told me that it was a surprise to him when realizing that Vietnamese people know nothing when talking about sports. He conducted a survey among Vietnamese people, whom he met on the way, asked them to name some types of popular sports in Vietnam. Many of respondents named only one thing: FOOTBALL. Needless to say, if Choi asked me the same question, I would respond the same thing.
Don’t panic. There is another thing that I bet Vietnamese people are very excellent at: GAMBLING. Vietnamese kids love gambling, adults love gambling, the elderly love gambling, despite the fact that it is illegal in Vietnam. More interestingly, Vietnamese parents might forbid their children to approach anything resembling a risky situation such as swimming, however, if the kids acquiesce to stay at home and enjoy gambling, that would be acceptable.
During my time in the States, I had chances to talk with numerous of Vietnamese people. The long settling in the country does not mean that Vietnamese –American perceive well about America. Lots of them do not know how to take a train, and they were surprised when seeing me gooing everywhere by train. They seem to be goddamn ignorant about the so-called “road trip.” And even though they care about everything relevant to the first Vietnam’s president, whom they really hate, they have no idea about a famous trekking trail named Ho Chi Minh in San Diego.
Gambling is such a hardest thing for them to wean even when they emigrated to America. It is also the only thing that Vietnamese immigrants enjoy when living in the States. Almost 16 Vietnamese workers in the nail salon in Chicago, whom I got a chance to talk with, love gambling and enjoy spending their hard-earned money on that favorite game without hesitation. A worker called “Gai,” who could make good money based on her working experience as a manicurist was still in debt because of her addiction to wagers.
According to psychiatrist Dr. Tim Fong, co-director of UCLA’s Gambling Studies Program, gambling rates among Asians are higher than those of any other ethnicity in the United States and Orange County’s largest Asian community, the Vietnamese, constitute significant percentage.
A google searching on how many people won gambling in America over past years shows that the majority of winners are Vietnamese: a Vietnamese American called Ly Sam won $55 million casino jackpot in 2013; a Vietnamese nail technician called Vinh Nguyen won $228 million Powerball ticket in 2014; a Vietnamese man in California won $1 million jackpot in 2015; another Vietnamese immigrant called Hung Le living in Dayton, Ohio win the World Series of Poker tournament in July 2016.
Vo My Linh
Vietnam is well known for its beaches and rivers due to having an astounding coastline of approximately three thousand two hundred and sixty kilometers, excluding its islands. Waterways such as rivers, canals, and river deltas are integral parts of Vietnamese life, providing a better means of movement via water transportation.
Every year, millions of tourists flow into this country by the beckoning of gorgeous and spectacular beaches where they can experience scuba diving and surfing. Vietnamese people, basically, do not know about these kinds of sports although they own this precious resource. More ridiculously, the majority of citizens do not know how to swim at all. A recent state report shows that nearly 9 children die every day as a result of drowning, it is the Primary cause of death for Vietnamese children. The rate is 10 times higher than some developed countries such as USA, UK, and so on.
Some queried me on why the lack of swimming skills is so widespread among Vietnamese people, people who are supposed to be survival experts due to their regularly dealing with challenging situations. This issue, in my opinion, stems from the ignorant upbringing of Vietnamese parents. Instead of teaching kids skills to face dangers, Vietnamese parents forbid their children to approach anything resembling a risky situation. Vietnamese children normally obey their parents without raising questions. Why? My cousins and I once sneaked out of the house to go for a swim in the river nearby when we were kids. We were beaten later when my uncle found us. From then on, the idea of going for a swim had been painfully erased from our minds.
Protecting children by telling them to stay away from the dangers of waterways and commanding children by using violence is not, in my opinion, an appropriate, constructive strategy. However, we in Vietnam are accustomed to it. That is why when Americans attempt to suicide, they jump from the top of a building, in contrast, the Vietnamese people?……. we jump into the rivers.
Vietnam is the third-largest alcohol consumer in Asia, behind Japan and China, and the leading consumer in Southeast Asia. According to industry figures, Vietnam drinks even more than its more wealthy neighbor Thailand.
The rate of alcohol drinking in Vietnam has increased by more than 200 percent over the past 10 years, state media recently reported, due in part to rising disposable incomes and to demographics – a million people reach the legal drinking age of 18 each year.
In the West, the purpose of drinking is to have fun with families and friends or to enjoy an important game. In Vietnam, the purpose of drinking is to get drunk, and yes, it will be a waste if you are not drunk. More interestingly, alcohol and business go hand-in-hand as a rule in Vietnamese business. Many agree that it would be a big disadvantage for their jobs and businesses if they did not drink beer or wine. The question is: why did it start?
Most businesspeople (in Asia) believe that alcohol and social drinking is the easiest way to understand(or get to know) their partners. They rely on the effects of alcohol to gauge a crucial part of the business deal, honesty, in vino veritas. The explanation seems cogent enough to convince readers. However, in my opinion, there is a gender issue underlying this business culture.
The issue stems from traditional gender roles.Vietnamese men are considered to be very conservative, who believe that the business world is only for them and that women should be at home taking care of children. Furthermore, they are also afraid of women overcoming their traditional roles and achieve equal rights. Therefore, based on the fact that most Vietnamese women do not drink, (according to WHO research, fewer than two percent of Vietnamese women drink alcohol at all), the requirement of alcohol tolerance in business restricts women from getting involved in business and to helps preserve men’s leadership. Putting it simply, if a woman does not drink, she will be kicked out of the business, yet if she drinks, people will judge her decency. As a result, women are bound to the role of housekeeper.
Today, many Vietnamese women drink as a way of getting equal rights and a good job.
Do I support them? Well, women should drink if they want to. However, drinking is an inappropriate way to get equal rights. Instead, women should show men how well they can handle business. “But to do well at business, women have to drink!!!” No, a job that requires women to drink is not a good job and a boss who requires women to drink is not a good boss.