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To those who have been living in Saigon for a while now...

@EodMatt, first of all , I give you a lot of credits and respect for the work that you are doing for Vietnam as an eod tech, and ironically I'm stepping up to "defuse" it all.
To some extend I do understand your point of view, about the people here being dishonest, thief, liars and dumb a.f.

-I also work with locals on a regular basis, and yes to be able to speak the language, explain, curse and tell them to F.off in Vietnamese can make a real difference.

-Locals here have been raised to not trust any foreigners (and for good reason), they were told to live on a day to day basis (that there were no tomorrow) until not so long ago (1995-2000), probably a direct result of years of wars.
Can you believe that at some point there was a "famine" in Vietnam? Slaves trade, that opium was imported by the tons into the country, which probably resulted in the drug's problem that Vietnam is facing today.(needless to say, junkies = thief, liars and scumbags, even if for the people here, they are just "sick" family member...).

-When I first came here it was common thing to see people taking a dump in the middle of the street and all over the place for  that matter, reminded me of Somalia. Others were wearing sanitary napkins as facemask, and junkies were shooting up heroin right in front of my house and kids, resolved that last one by installing neon light on the whole damn street....
At some point I even truly believed that every woman (but my mom) in that country were prostitutes.
-My mother being Vietnamese, to me she is the most calm, honest and kindest person I ever knew, probably one out of a million but still a Vietnamese.

-So yes I did take it personally when you implied that it was "in their nature/lifestyle" to be like that, and I reacted fast and hard, you are a serviceman, you know that debating and arguing are tasks that are left to the bureaucrats/keyboard warriors.
I may not be good at it...and so be it.

-I have seen some real piece of shit people here, that deserve to be hang high up by their neck, but nothing worst than any others country I lived in, especially France.
And I also met some of the most wonderful and kindest peoples here, ones that have nothing and would do "everything and anything" for you.
It is a love/hate situation, and I am pretty sure we do agree on some of the point, you wouldn't be here and married a Vietnamese woman if it wasn't the case.

@Colin. that goes for you too... I don't know you, you don't know me, who's wrong or right, it doesn't matter.. and I surely didn't come here to attack you personally... I did insult you directly, in the rush of the action, and I apologise for that..

That is no "mea culpa", I say what I think I think what I say.
I am not a troll trying to start an argument or upset people, or trying to cause disruption, and I certainly never go into a fight with passion.
By seeing how Vietnam has changed during all those years, I do keep a positive mindset, especially when I see how things are going in the West.

On this last note, have a good day gentlemen.

Acoco :

@EodMatt, first of all , I give you a lot of credits and respect for the work that you are doing for Vietnam as an eod tech, and ironically I'm stepping up to "defuse" it all.
To some extend I do understand your point of view, about the people here being dishonest, thief, liars and dumb a.f.

-I also work with locals on a regular basis, and yes to be able to speak the language, explain, curse and tell them to F.off in Vietnamese can make a real difference.

-Locals here have been raised to not trust any foreigners (and for good reason), they were told to live on a day to day basis (that there were no tomorrow) until not so long ago (1995-2000), probably a direct result of years of wars.
Can you believe that at some point there was a "famine" in Vietnam? Slaves trade, that opium was imported by the tons into the country, which probably resulted in the drug's problem that Vietnam is facing today.(needless to say, junkies = thief, liars and scumbags, even if for the people here, they are just "sick" family member...).

-When I first came here it was common thing to see people a taking a dump in the middle of the street and all over the place for  that matter, reminded me of Somalia. Others were wearing sanitary napkins as facemask, and junkies were shooting up heroin right in front of my house and kids, resolved that last one by installing neon light on the whole damn street....
At some point I even truly believed that every woman (but my mom) in that country were prostitutes.
-My mother being Vietnamese, to me she is the most calm, honest and kindest person I ever knew, probably one out of a million but still a Vietnamese.

-So yes I did take it personally when you implied that it was "in their nature/lifestyle" to be like that, and I reacted fast and hard, you are a serviceman, you know that debating and arguing are tasks that are left to the bureaucrats/keyboard warriors.
I may not be good at it...and so be it.

-I have seen some real piece of shit people here, that deserve to be hang high up by their neck, but nothing worst than any others country I lived in, especially France.
And I also met some of the most wonderful and kindest peoples here, ones that have nothing and would do "everything and anything" for you.
It is a love/hate situation, and I am pretty sure we do agree on some of the point, you wouldn't be here and married a Vietnamese woman if it wasn't the case.

@Colin. that goes for you too... I don't know you, you don't know me, who's wrong or right, it doesn't matter.. and I surely didn't come here to attack you personally... I did insult you directly, in the rush of the action, and I apologise for that..

That is no "mea culpa", I say what I think I think what I say.
I am not a troll trying to start an argument or upset people, or trying to cause disruption, and I certainly never go into a fight with passion.
By seeing how Vietnam has changed during all those years, I do keep a positive mindset, especially when I see how things are going in the West.

On this last note, have a good day gentlemen.

Acoco, thanks for that! Some good and valid points - and a far better style of debate.

My friend won the New York documentary awards with his doco about an orphanage for Agent Orange kids. Once he became famous here in VN, television appearances, meetings with government officials and so on, the guy running the orphange thought my friend was making a lot of money out of his doco and decided to blackmail him for money. Such a caring individual, this showed he was only there for the dollars.

why start a business or buy property in a country where you are a foreigner and dont speak Vietnamese. recipe for disaster imo.

Acoco, thanks for that! Some good and valid points - and a far better style of debate.

Yes off the topic, but if I don't ask this, I cannot feel ok eodmatt :)

Yesterday (in the other thread) Acoco was called as Troll, now today not Troll anymore? :)

PS.
Don't misunderstand me..I am happy to see you guys in piece..
But just this contrast is eye catching.. so I would like to mention as half joke, half reality...

Hypothalamus :

It never ceases to amaze me that some of you expats think you are highly above others here in this country. You are just a guest like most others in case you have forgotten. By the way, since you guys have lived here for so long why not put some time into building the community? I haven't heard anyone from here, those who frequent this forum and comment more than others, post anything about their charitable work for the community.

There are people who contribute time, money and other assistance to Charities, Churches and individuals with out feeling the need to brag about it.

Churches, primary schools, offering part time employment to selected individuals and supporting selective local businesses seems to work if you pay close attention to how the money is spent. Throwing money into a "local charity" that you have not researched in detail can be less useful than taking a match and burning money.

@Acoco

"By seeing how Vietnam has changed during all those years, I do keep a positive mindset, especially when I see how things are going in the West."

While your other points are also valid and good, I do appreciate this one the most.

I love living in Saigon.  However, I'm married to a national and her family takes good care of me.

Acoco, I'd like to  take up one of the points you raised in your recent post above, namely where you said: "you are a serviceman, you know that debating and arguing are tasks that are left to the bureaucrats/keyboard warriors.
I may not be good at it...and so be it."


Well, yes, Acoco, I was a serviceman, a soldier in fact.

Here is a quote from one William Shakespeare who was a bit of a writer in his time:

"All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms.
Then, the whining school-boy with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then, a soldier,
Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honour, sudden, and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon's mouth. ...........
."

Old Bill Shakespeare knew a thing or two about humankind!

When I left the army I became a company director and, for some years a senior consultant with both the EU and the UN.

As such I quickly lost my shyness about debating and using the keyboard and have presented papers to the UN in New York (about Safety in Demining - 1995;  to the first meeting of the International Mine Action Standards (Copenhagen - 1996) and more recently at the Max Planck institute in Berlin. I was also an expert technical witness to the UN Claims Court in Geneva for claims against Iraq for environmental damage resulting from the use of landmines by Iraq in Kuwait during the first Gulf War.

Not too shabby for a lad who left school in the UK at the age of fifteen with absolutely no qualifications whatsoever.

So, mate, don't denigrate yourself. You are as capable as anyone of expressing yourself at the keyboard. And remember, if we left the matters of debating and arguing  to the bureaucrats/keyboard warriors, as you suggest, the world would be a very sorry place and we would no longer have any right to state our case or share our beliefs and opinions. They would make sure of that.

I lived in Thailand for 3 months and could hardly wait to get the hell out. I kept running into expats there that told me "I'm going to Vietnam! You should go to Vietnam, the people are friendly, the cost of living is cheap and you could teach English there if you wanted." So I left Thailand and came to Saigon...that was 7 years ago. Since I came here, I feel happy again for the first time in decades. Upon arrival I purchased a few English/Vietnamese language books and started learning how to speak Viet...my Viet is still very bad....but i felt it necessary to show respect and navigate the market place, etc... I avoided the backpacker district 1 for several months and tried in earnest to "assimilate" as much as possible. I realize that no matter how much I learn to speak Viet, I will never be accepted as a Viet and that's OK because I'm American and it is not necessary for me to have unrealistic expectations. My wife is Viet and comes from Hue. Yeah, sometimes I get bored with myself  but there are plenty of options to consider other than coffee shops and just hanging out with other expats.....who quite frankly seem to live in their own little world of other expats and drink to much, do dope and chase skirts. My wife and I have traveled extensively throughout Vietnam and lots of times we go to the market together, the zoo, a museum, the beach, the park, or somewhere we've never been before. Sure, I can see how easy it would be to get "stuck in a rut" and live in a bubble with other expats, but I choose not to go there but instead, get outside "myself" and take risks meeting new people (Viets) and going to different places for adventure, fun, amusement and best of all....serendipity (look up the word). Find a Viet girlfriend you can trust to help you and there will be less bumps in the road....choose wisely, or regret at your leisure. Have a safe trip and welcome to Vietnam!!!

vnescape :

I lived in Thailand for 3 months and could hardly wait to get the hell out. I kept running into expats there that told me "I'm going to Vietnam! You should go to Vietnam, the people are friendly, the cost of living is cheap and you could teach English there if you wanted." So I left Thailand and came to Saigon...that was 7 years ago. Since I came here, I feel happy again for the first time in decades. Upon arrival I purchased a few English/Vietnamese language books and started learning how to speak Viet...my Viet is still very bad....but i felt it necessary to show respect and navigate the market place, etc... I avoided the backpacker district 1 for several months and tried in earnest to "assimilate" as much as possible. I realize that no matter how much I learn to speak Viet, I will never be accepted as a Viet and that's OK because I'm American and it is not necessary for me to have unrealistic expectations. My wife is Viet and comes from Hue. Yeah, sometimes I get bored with myself  but there are plenty of options to consider other than coffee shops and just hanging out with other expats.....who quite frankly seem to live in their own little world of other expats and drink to much, do dope and chase skirts. My wife and I have traveled extensively throughout Vietnam and lots of times we go to the market together, the zoo, a museum, the beach, the park, or somewhere we've never been before. Sure, I can see how easy it would be to get "stuck in a rut" and live in a bubble with other expats, but I choose not to go there but instead, get outside "myself" and take risks meeting new people (Viets) and going to different places for adventure, fun, amusement and best of all....serendipity (look up the word). Find a Viet girlfriend you can trust to help you and there will be less bumps in the road....choose wisely, or regret at your leisure. Have a safe trip and welcome to Vietnam!!!

"I realize that no matter how much I learn to speak Viet, I will never be accepted as a Viet and that's OK because I'm American"

This is part of being an expat. More than that, we are who we are even if we never leave home. In the mean time enjoy.

"Yeah, sometimes I get bored with myself . . ."

Due to my wife's medical condition, I hate to leave her room, much the house or hospital depending. And I NEVER leave her alone. Chances are that either your wife or you will find your/her self in a similar situation someday. Enjoy it while you can.

Yes, I certainly will enjoy it while I can.

People are different... The chance is something we might not know... The best thing we can do is to have more friends and partners.

Saigon is a quite modern and dynamic city in Vietnam with good service. This city has some problems related to traffic jams. I find there are a large number of foreign people living here. It is also easy for you to find a good job if you are good at English

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