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What I don’t like about Vietnamese women

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?clip-danh-ghen-lot-do-gai-xinh-tran-trui-giua-pho-4

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 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.

Vietnamese people love gambling

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.danh-bac-nghe-an-1-1653

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

What Google trends reveal about Vietnamese people?

Someone said clicking through Google Trends feels like tapping the world’s consciousness. There’s no posturing because people query Google without shame as if no one is watching. For that reason the Year in Search 2016 is probably the only end-of-year list you’ll find without bias.
According to the data of 2016’s Google trending searches, people in some developed countries such as the U.S., the U.K, and Australia seem to care about the world and problems here and there. Vietnamese people, however, likely care only about music and games. Therefore, the five most Googled terms in Vietnam are: Euro, Sither Game, Pokemon, “Chúng ta không thuộc về nhau” (We don’t belong to each other) and “Phía sau một cô gái” (Behind a girl).
“Chúng ta không thuộc về nhau”, “Phía sau một cô gái” are the names of two songs, which are considered as “soulless pop music performed for the masses.”
The question is whether Vietnamese people are happy so they just enjoy their lives through games and music or whether Vietnamese people do not care about anything else.
Many travelers when visiting Vietnam admit that Vietnam is beautiful and it seemed enigmatic to them that I always talk about the positive side of the country. There is no doubt that Vietnam is beautiful. It is true and always true if someone takes a vacation, go anywhere around the world to enjoy and relax. Kasim, a friend of mine who took a trip to Cuba, told me that Cuba was the most beautiful country he had ever seen. I asked him what made Cuba beautiful. He said because of classic cars. I realized that if you travel like a vacation, you would be happy even when looking at the classic cars. They are funny, they are classic, they are different from cars in your country. And that’s why you like them. It is like a traveler who gets stuck in the midst of bunches of motorbikes in Vietnam during a traffic jam. Instead of getting mad they would enjoy it by taking selfies. However, if you live in Cuba or Vietnam to deal with that day by day like the locals, it is not cool at all.
Vietnamese people, somehow are happy and enjoy their lives. Many times I asked myself why the happiness of Vietnamese people seems very simple. They do not need to go far, they do not need to discover or understand about a country if they travel. All they need are selfie pictures. Over past years, Vietnam was listed among the happiest countries. However, the word “happiness”, in the mindset of Vietnamese people, is a concept of “acceptance,” not “satisfaction.”
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Why are Vietnamese people not good at swimming

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.

Vietnamese’s drinking business culture

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.muon-cai-thuoc-ban-phai-han-che-toi-da-viec-nhau-nhet-tiec-tung-anh-internet-tin8-5-1606

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.

Abortion & Humanity

A few days ago, a friend of mine asked me whether she should procure an abortion. Her fetus was just one week old. On the evidence of her situation, my advice for her was having an abortion. However, when I shared this story on Facebook, many people yelled at me because they think that abortion is inhuman.abortion-demo
Now, I think force majeure applies in this situation: a young girl is pregnant although she took a pill and her boyfriend used a condom while having sex; she and her boyfriend are not in love; her family cannot afford her to feed the baby; she is young and does not want to have a baby at this time. Some will tell her not to have an abortion because it is murder and inhuman. I support safe, legal abortion. Here are something to consider:
1. People believe abortion is inhumane. So it does not matter how big or small the fetus is, it is unacceptable to kill a living thing inside your body. What about a girl taking emergency the hormonal contraceptive pill (aka morning after pill) after having unprotected sex? Does it also mean she is killing a little living thing?
2. She wants to have an abortion to forget the past and have a fresh start. You say it is inhumane. At the time, the fetus might be a little tiny cell. You force the girl to let it grow because it is her and her partner’s fault. You condemn them for being cowards if they even think about having an abortion. When the baby is born, the guy is not brave enough to stay and support, the mother gives up her dream in order to look after the baby. So as a consequence of protecting a cell, the baby, the biological father, the mother and others such as the grandparents and stepfather will have a difficult life. You call that being humane?
3. You say once the baby is born, the mother can put the child up for adoption and then she can start her life all over again. Have you thought about how the baby would feel? The baby would think that dad doesn’t want me, neither does mom. You want to protect the tiny cell, let it grow, let it be born and then DUMP it in the world without its parents; somehow it feels unwanted and starts hating its parents. You force the tiny cell to grow up without asking whether it wants to live or not and you think that you are saving its life. You call that being humane?
4. You ask those wanting to have an abortion to stop. You promise them that you and many charity organizations will take care of their babies and give them a good life. Can I trust you? There are millions of people in this country still living in slums, who have no access to health care and education. They are human beings. They were once a cell. They don’t receive any help. You promise that you will give our babies the best lives as if this world is full of magic.
5. You say orphanages and charity organizations give the best care for kids and they all live a happy life. Well, it might be true when they are young. Once they grow up, nobody cares what is going to happen to them. If they fail to be successful in life, you say it is because they were abandoned by their parents and the children don’t have support. Have you ever thought about the beginning when the couple wanted to have an abortion because they couldn’t give the child a good life? You asked them not to do so. Should you be responsible for the child’s success as well as their failure? To be honest, I have not seen any organization brave enough to take on this responsibility.
6. You say abortion is inhuman. Recently, a 10-year-old girl in Paraguay was sexually assaulted by her stepfather but she could not get rid of the unborn fetus according to those who defend humanity because this is murder. You force the 10-year-old girl to grow up in shame and with psychological disorders for something that she did not do. You do not give her a chance to change her life. You take away her human rights, her women’s rights as if women are born just to give birth, and do not have a right to pursuit happiness. You cannot even take care of the 10-year-old girl, cannot protect her but you welcome the baby inside her tummy as if the baby can have a great future.
7. You say abortion is inhuman. According to a United Nations’ report in 2013, every year in developing countries, 2 million girls under 14 give birth under unwanted circumstances. Many of them suffer long-term health problems after giving birth. An estimated 70,000 adolescent die each year due to complications from pregnancy or childbirth at a young age.
8. You vehemently condemn abortion so those people who want to find a way out, want to get rid of the past in order to rebuild their lives, have to go to unsafe abortion places. Nobody dares to teach these girls to have a safe abortion because society condemns abortion. As a result, statistics show that over the past two decades about one million women and girls have been killed and more than 100 million people have been injured (many for a lifetime) due to complications from abortion. Your view is to save a child for humanity but you also mercilessly trample on the rights of the mother.
9. Dear single moms, I always admire and respect what you have done to overcome trouble and gossip and how you help your children grow up happily. I totally agree that single mom life is moving on, however, you don’t have the right to criticize those who have an abortion or to call them murderers because they don’t want to be single moms. You are not in their shoes.
Vo Thi My Linh