Close

Cultural talk

Hello guys, I am thinking about organizing a small discussion about Vietnamese culture, I want to know about your opinion!  Is it possible?  For me, I think It would help some foreigners to come to Vietnam for the first time, and don't know about culture who might have what called culture shock!
But I don't know if people are interested in or not! So let me know what you think about it!
Thank You!

Good idea Pearl.

Research is the key.

As I guess you would have already ascertained from aligned posts, the Asian mindset only exists as an (often mythical) stereotype.   Anyone who has opened the door to their mind before opening the door to the world will find Vietnam has more pluses than minuses.

But the Devil is in the detail.    I find a (genuine) smile breaks all preconceived ideas.   'European' (Western) values cause difficulties mostly with tourists, whose ignorance is too obvious to ignore.   Vietnamese people are neither naive or pretentious (yet)  and accord respect in reflection.    We all reap what we sow.

Mix with good people and you will become one.

..my 2c worth...

Pearlin Duong :

Hello guys, I am thinking about organizing a small discussion about Vietnamese culture, I want to know about your opinion!  Is it possible?  For me, I think It would help some foreigners to come to Vietnam for the first time, and don't know about culture who might have what called culture shock!
But I don't know if people are interested in or not! So let me know what you think about it!
Thank You!

Why not do  it? The more interesting you make it, I am sure the more people will contribute.

Bazza139 :

Good idea Pearl.

Research is the key.

As I guess you would have already ascertained from aligned posts, the Asian mindset only exists as an (often mythical) stereotype.   Anyone who has opened the door to their mind before opening the door to the world will find Vietnam has more pluses than minuses.

But the Devil is in the detail.    I find a (genuine) smile breaks all preconceived ideas.   'European' (Western) values cause difficulties mostly with tourists, whose ignorance is too obvious to ignore.   Vietnamese people are neither naive or pretentious (yet)  and accord respect in reflection.    We all reap what we sow.

Mix with good people and you will become one.

..my 2c worth...

Bazza,it's obvious you haven't spent any time in areas like Thao Dien, Phu My Hung or the West lake area of Ha Noi,plenty of pretentious locals hanging in those areas. One of the reasons I wouldn't reside in those areas.

BTW, I think it's a good idea, the biggest problem I see is that many expats lock themselves away in apartments and compounds, drink and eat with other expats at western style establishments and don't actually mingle with locals. Give it a try and see how you go,good luck.

I actually live on an estate which is predominantly Vietnamese, in fact there is only one other foreigner living here.

If you want to see examples of "keeping up with the Joneses", they are all here. This person gets a car, his neighbour gets a bigger car. They vie with each other for the best decor and most expensive tiles. We caused an absolute convulsion of style consciousness  when we opted for laminate wood floor throughout (I m not talking about the cheap crap, I wanted something that will last and clean easily).

We don't have a car. This fact is often commented on: "why don't you have a car, you are a foreigner (and therefore rich), all foreigners have cars!"

My response that I have owned every conceivable kind of car during the last 40 years and in many countries; that I don't like the smelly polluting monsters; that I don't want to have something taking up space, rusting away parked outside my house for most of it's life, is anathema to them. If you can afford it, buy a car and show people that you are rich, is the way they think.

A comment I often get is: "but you waste money on taxis, if you had a car you wouldn't need to take taxis."

The economic differential between coughing up 400,000 dong once a week for a taxi to come and take me where I want to go and bring me home again, VS 30,000 or 40,000 USD spent on a vehicle that sits around doing nothing for 90% of its time, plus fuel costs, servicing and so on, is something they cant comprehend. And then you hit them with the parking problems in Q1 and Q2 and their eyes glaze over because, if you have a car, you are somebody, ..... , with a car.

So I do the maths for them - buying a car at 40,000 USD amortised over 4 years as an example, means that you are paying over 833 USD a month over the 4 years and thats not including any interest charges for finance. It also doesn't include fuel, servicing, repairs, parking etc. (nor does it include traffic police "tips").

For that kind of money I can get 46 taxi rides a month (at my standard 400,000 dong a pop) and still have no interest charges, parking fees, servicing costs, new tyre purchases etc etc.

AND, I don't have to clean the bloody thing.

Similarly, young Vietnamese must have the very latest of mobile phones and cannot understand why I use a cheap, four year old, 1.6 million dong mobile phone. My brother in law explained to one young fellow at a wedding, "He's old. He has enough money to buy anything he wants, but new phones are beyond his ability." Ho ho ho.

What about the girls who sit high and proud on the back of SH Hondas and high powered bikes. It seems they always have a call on their gold IPhones and look around to see who is checking them out.

ralphnhatrang :

Similarly, young Vietnamese must have the very latest of mobile phones and cannot understand why I use a cheap, four year old, 1.6 million dong mobile phone. My brother in law explained to one young fellow at a wedding, "He's old. He has enough money to buy anything he wants, but new phones are beyond his ability." Ho ho ho.

My ancient iPhone 4 also raises eyebrows sometimes, but it works as well now as when it was new and so far I haven't even changed the battery.

One thing in our house that did cause some chatter amongst the neighbours was that we installed the latest generation LED lighting throughout. This means  e.g. that our entire ground floor uses about 200 watts of lighting (with everything switched on) but is split into soft light, bright light and combinations thereof as well as mood lighting and over-the-worktop lights in the kitchen. We have four bedrooms in this place and our electricity bills are  the same as the last (2 bed) apartment, which was lit by "energy saving" fluorescents. In the new house the dressing area of the master bedroom is lit by a single 12 watt LED, ditto the bathroom. They were a bit more expensive to buy, but with a life of over 12 years - and up to 20 years (allegedly) I haven't had to replace a single light, unlike the flourescents in the last place which were popping off at about one every 21 days (dirty electricity).

Another thing that saves money is the solar water heater, which works very well. The running costs of the two electric shower heaters in the last place were significant, especially when we had guests.

I told my VN wife the only thing I need a phone for is to make phone calls. I can check my email and all that other crap at home on the PC.

I'm like Bob Serger - call me whatever you want, but I still like that old kind of Rock 'n' Roll!

Going to be interesting  topic,

Beer! My neighbours all insist on buying Heineken because it's expensive. I just can't convince them that Saigon red is a better flavourd beer.

But it's cheap  they say.

Err yeah, nice! The girls on motorbikes I mean

Sorry guys, I don't have iphone or SH, so I would like to invite people who re interested in this topic. You can use bike, bicycle, even walk to join, can have stupid phone or smartphone, you can wear clothes or no, but I guess if you don't wear anything, you can be caught! Hahha! Thanks for your opinions!

Well now, here is a bit of Vietnam culture that I have noted. I first noted it in year 2000 at a holiday resort near Vung Tau, I think it was called Cil Inh. Anyway, the place has a nice beach and there were prolly 50 or 60 peeps swimming and frolicking in the sea. The guys all wearing swimming trunks and the girls all wearing...... Jeans and T shirts.

WhaaaaaaaT?

Where I live now, we have two swimming pools (yeah man, we are, like, a two pool estate). The chaps, geezers, blokes, men all swim in shorts or trunks, the women and girls..... Yep, anything that covers them from head to foot.

And heres another thing - this is just an observation: Back in the early part of the century you couldn't go to the toilet in a bar anywhere without having to push your way through drifts of clammy women underwear drying on lines.

Such is rarely, if ever encountered these days (thank Deity) - I told my wife that hanging underwear up to dry in the bath room is a punishable offence - didn't make any difference she still does it.

I really do think that we need a modesty thread here.

Haha, as you know, they don't want to have dark skin, and maybe because they re shy to wear swimming suit! About hanging underwear, I think maybe people think it is not nice to hang them in open area, so they hang in toilet! Thank you for sharing your story!

Sir, I have used a Lumia for 04 years and still happy with it, 'cause to me it’s just a tool of communication, as long as it works well, I have no problem with it.

Glad you mentioned about the dark skin thing. Europeans, Americans, Russians etc in the main like to acquire a nice tan. In fact they spend money getting a tan.

Here in Vietnam dark skin is not an asset. And you can see that by looking at the mannequins in the fashion shops - they are nearly all white skinned.

How very err, cultural. :cool:

All 7 of my brother in laws have karaoke system and they all live within walking distance to each other. It comes down to who has the loudest speakers.

Now they are starting to compare cell phones. One brother-in-law upped the ante with an iphone 4.

Don't get me started on smart tv. Baffles me why someone wants to spend almost 20 million on a tv and not have internet connection. At that price they could have got a super nice tv that doesn't use internet.

They are all poor. If they pooled their resources and learn to work together they can have a greater life for their wive and kids.

eodmatt :

I actually live on an estate which is predominantly Vietnamese, in fact there is only one other foreigner living here.

If you want to see examples of "keeping up with the Joneses", they are all here. This person gets a car, his neighbour gets a bigger car. They vie with each other for the best decor and most expensive tiles. We caused an absolute convulsion of style consciousness  when we opted for laminate wood floor throughout (I m not talking about the cheap crap, I wanted something that will last and clean easily).

We don't have a car. This fact is often commented on: "why don't you have a car, you are a foreigner (and therefore rich), all foreigners have cars!"

My response that I have owned every conceivable kind of car during the last 40 years and in many countries; that I don't like the smelly polluting monsters; that I don't want to have something taking up space, rusting away parked outside my house for most of it's life, is anathema to them. If you can afford it, buy a car and show people that you are rich, is the way they think.

A comment I often get is: "but you waste money on taxis, if you had a car you wouldn't need to take taxis."

The economic differential between coughing up 400,000 dong once a week for a taxi to come and take me where I want to go and bring me home again, VS 30,000 or 40,000 USD spent on a vehicle that sits around doing nothing for 90% of its time, plus fuel costs, servicing and so on, is something they cant comprehend. And then you hit them with the parking problems in Q1 and Q2 and their eyes glaze over because, if you have a car, you are somebody, ..... , with a car.

So I do the maths for them - buying a car at 40,000 USD amortised over 4 years as an example, means that you are paying over 833 USD a month over the 4 years and thats not including any interest charges for finance. It also doesn't include fuel, servicing, repairs, parking etc. (nor does it include traffic police "tips").

For that kind of money I can get 46 taxi rides a month (at my standard 400,000 dong a pop) and still have no interest charges, parking fees, servicing costs, new tyre purchases etc etc.

AND, I don't have to clean the bloody thing.

New topic

Expatriate health insurance in Vietnam

Free advice and quotation service to choose an expat health insurance in Vietnam

Moving to Vietnam

Find tips from professionals about moving to Vietnam

Travel insurance in Vietnam

Enjoy stress-free travel to Vietnam