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Common misconceptions and clichés about life in Vietnam

Sorry; no whips here please!   Keep your S-M to yourself.

..but what do you think the (majority of?) men come here for..?
(apart from the invented excuses)

Picture the girl 'walking' in front of the Taxi.  The shorts were so short
we both laughed in unison.   True empathy, and a missed conception... 

Wish I'd had the chance to get a photo; altho I guess it would be banned...
..but who cares?  We are here!   Well, the wiser ones anyway.     :cool:

jkelly5762 :

After having read all of the comments, I thought I'd bring a little levity to the subject.  First off, when my friends find out that I'm coming back here again, after having sworn the place off like booze, they call me a Vietnamic.  On my seventh trip, three months at a time, where all I do is volunteer work, helping to feed the poor, but what keeps me coming back??  It's all those damn short-shorts and miniskirts.  I work as a volunteer at a very large airport in the USA, and I see maybe one or two on my four-hour stint while at work there.  Here, they're everywhere.  Yes, I'm like a kid in a candy store.  Okay, I'm ready for the whiplash.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~~ ~ ~ ~
JKelly,

I don't know where you are seeing all the short shorts, or on whom? ... but we noticed this occasional phenomenon.   However, I must point out we were at a tourist attraction with family sometime in April, and saw what appeared to be some foreigners, (Not Viet Kieu, or committed expats) they were men with a younger tattooed Asian lady, appeared to have been a lady anyway, ... in shorts who was prancing around with them as they attempted to yodel "yo, yo" to her, or some other quasi Vietnamese  sounding gestures, or words.
Not really  much levity, but does indicate misconceptions.   :|

Mac68 :

Not really  much levity, but does indicate misconceptions.   :|

Perhaps you are failing to recognize that Bazza does not regret his misconceptions but regrets his missed conceptions.   :joking:

THIGV :
Mac68 :

Not really  much levity, but does indicate misconceptions.   :|

Perhaps you are failing to recognize that Bazza does not regret his misconceptions but regrets his missed conceptions.   :joking:

Not really: Having had successful conceptions,
I have also avoided the responsibility..(?)

..so far...      :happy:

And now?   I'll stay with concepts.    Fantasy is more fun

..after the facts are in...     :top:

THIGV,

Geez, thought I was replying to comments by JKELLY; but  I guess being a forum all's fair.
"missed conceptions" very cute. goes with my
"thought it was a lady" also. 🤓

"thought it was a lady"    Another misconception..?

S/he may well have been, previous posts aside...   Or even after
the fact of Thai ladyboys getting more attention in transgenderworld.

From (my) observations, Viet Nam is safe (so far) from this sort of  (Oops!)
..I may be treading too close to the line here...   We should avoid talk
about religion, politics, banjos, sax & violins.  The dangerous stuff...

..and we know only too well 'all is fair' doesn't apply to this forum, although it is
drawing a long bow to think our misses may become crimes against humanity..?

Time for another attempt to stay on topic..?    Or another thread?
   
We seem to have bashed this one into submission     :dumbom:

My thoughts also.
I second the motion

Seriously, Mac???  I suppose it's because I walk everywhere I go, or take the bus. Or perhaps because I don't have blinders on. They are all over the place and four of my buddies, who visited me here at various times, all agree. I guess if you're not interested in seeing that type of thing, but even then, it would be hard to miss with cheeks staring at you in the face all day long. So open up, look around, and start to enjoy all that you've been missing, but only, of course, if this type of sport interests you. It sure as hell does me.

Enjoy your sport. Expats are generally busing living.

Missing the (real?) point Mac..?

(the cliche of conception?)

Sex is more important than life.

Or, in context, how could life exist withoutit. (?)

(couldn't resist that one)      :blink:

But yes, the more obvious, the easier to ignore...

..for (far too) many of us...

Bazza,

I haven't missed anything. But, I "laid" down my pen after the last foray. I can "see" from your writing you actually live on a higher plane. This forum allows us to exercise our expansive collective views. Where you vaguely referenced censorship, in VN desent is least tolerated, but seemingly those in local government are less like the "militaristic" local police in some areas of the US. Primarily because?
I actually feel safer walking the streets at night, riding our motorbike, in HCMC, or MY THO, TIANG GIANG, DAI LAHN, etc. than I do walking the streets in LA, SD, TJ, OH, etc., and/or riding my motorcycle in the US.,Primarily because?
The VN collective mindset is all I can cite.
Let's move on.

In some ways, a lot of the people posting here and I must live in different Viet Nams. While I do notice some insignificant and superficial cultural differences between Americans and Vietnamese, these differences are overwhelmed by the common and diverse humanity that we share. But that, seems true just about every place that I have ever been.

70 years old :

In some ways, a lot of the people posting here and I must live in different Viet Nams. While I do notice some insignificant and superficial cultural differences between Americans and Vietnamese, these differences are overwhelmed by the common and diverse humanity that we share. But that, seems true just about every place that I have ever been.

Me too

Mac68 :

Bazza,

I haven't missed anything. But, I "laid" down my pen after the last foray. I can "see" from your writing you actually live on a higher plane. This forum allows us to exercise our expansive collective views. Where you vaguely referenced censorship, in VN desent is least tolerated, but seemingly those in local government are less like the "militaristic" local police in some areas of the US. Primarily because?
I actually feel safer walking the streets at night, riding our motorbike, in HCMC, or MY THO, TIANG GIANG, DAI LAHN, etc. than I do walking the streets in LA, SD, TJ, OH, etc., and/or riding my motorcycle in the US.,Primarily because?
The VN collective mindset is all I can cite.
Let's move on.

Agreed.  The Viet. mindset is (far more) co-operative than competitive.

But yet another misconception I can bite back at..?

A higher plane?   The optimum lowest level is when you can feel the wheels
brushing the top of the crop: can't get much lower than that...

..in a Grumman Ag-Cat...    (love that plane)

But yes, (my) mindset has already moved on...

I don't know much about "planes of thought." But as a (retired) Military Professional, I do think on both the tactical and strategic levels. Reminiscing about 50 plus years of research and study about Viet Nam is strategic thought. Solving a specific issue today is tactical thought. Mac68 seems a master of tactical thought.

70 years old :

I don't know much about "planes of thought." But as a (retired) Military Professional, I do think on both the tactical and strategic levels. Reminiscing about 50 plus years of research and study about Viet Nam is strategic thought. Solving a specific issue today is tactical thought. Mac68 seems a master of tactical thought.

Indeed he is.   And valued accordingly

Geez,
Bazza,
" A higher plane?   The optimum lowest level is when you can feel the wheels
brushing the top of the crop: can't get much lower than that...

..in a Grumman Ag-Cat...    (love that plane)"

OK, Came close to an AG cat once, actually flew one across the border for wife of a deceased friend from Mexicali, closest I ever got! But, managed to get it back on the ground.

Me, Aeronca Champ, most recently a BD4 pile of bones, and  some Alaska stuff in a 180 and a P300.
AG woulda been nice,

I have no military experience, so my thinking is more in line with common and diverse humanity we share also.

:D   No misconceptions there!

Taildraggers  are my Forte' too   DH82, C180, Austers, etc
Had the chance to buy a P51(for A$1,000), ..but nowhere to store it..?
(that still hurts...)

The only way to 'Fly'.  In all senses of the word.

Most of my flying was either commercial or Military. Still, I have vivid memories of looking up at the underside of water buffalo from a CH-46 chopper.

I do realize that big a chopper can't fly that low. Still, it sure felt like it. We were definitely going up for the higher, about one foot, rice paddy dikes and a few of the water buffalo were on slightly higher ground . . .

Good stuff sir.  I'm going to watch the farewell speech.  What documentaries do you recommend watching for Vietnams history and current reality?

All true.

  ..although maybe not the anorexic women..?       :unsure

   Famine or Feminine..?

   (Not a good look for a proof reader...)     :happy:

Urk!   ..don't you have spellcheck?   Famine is not Feminine,
   (anorexic either, but...)   ..inspired me!   As for:
"prefered, a, a, apologises thankyou"..?

..notosure either, (even?) more cryptic than me.   

Oh, the Envy...    :mad:

(My apologies too; I am unable to appre caite as well..!)

  My Bad!   I love this stuff!!!   ( Yes, I have issues... )     :idontagree:

Swibne:  I am confused by the structure of your list.  Are these the misconceptions that you had prior to arrival or are these your current assessments of the reality.  And what is OH&S? 

swibne :

Hello all, i enjoy living in Saigon and every day is exciting.

A few misconceptions and they are
1. Very few public open areas or recreation areas for young families.
2. The street food can be hit and miss.
3. The greenie environmental push is not as obvious and day to day street rubbish is prominent.
4. OH&S is low on the list
5. It's not that hot here
6 . Global warming will impact here

By the way, like anywhere else the exciting every day eventually becomes just every day life.  Maybe you are single which could be exciting.  Someone once asked me about my social life and I had to confess that a Saturday night date was going to Co-op Mart.  :sleep

@swibne

I agree that the political correctness is different and less of a bother in Viet Nam than most places. I also agree that political corruption in Viet Nam is different than most places and and less difficult to deal with.

In the 47 years that I have in and out of Viet Nam, aside from the Le Duan administration, I have mostly seen improvements. As the Le Duan Administration was rather doctrinaire Communist, I was not personally in Viet Nam and have only hearsay and academic knowledge of that administration.

Relax Thig;  his heart is in the right place.
Overall, when I compare Western values with Viet Nam..?
I know where is a better place to be!

Besides, he admits to having had a hard day's night...
My Saturday night problem too.      :nothappy: 

" THIGV:
By the way, like anywhere else the exciting every day eventually becomes just every day life.  Maybe you are single which could be exciting.  Someone once asked me about my social life and I had to confess that a Saturday night date was going to Co-op Mart. " :sleep

Yairs, I check out the checkout chicks too...   
..not (only) a teacher problem..?     :happy:

(And I see we have one unmissed conception...)      :proud

Go Forum!!   ..but I guess that will be misconstrued too....    :nothappy:

Age is irrelevant.   Just get a medical - and do it.

Flying is flying.   I have just as much fun in a glider

(The cheapest way)  (& EASIEST!)

  My Jewish gene, probably...     :shy

swibne :

Thanks all for the discussions. I've pulled my head it a bit.
Have not been here long but very much enjoy it. Still learning a stack and this site helps a lot - thanks all for your patience.

PS nothing to do with the topic. I alway wanted to be a chopper pilot but My family had no money and had a violet dad etc. ( but standard back then)! So no no flying go me.

I'm 50'yrs old and about 20 yrs ago I read a book ( 3 times iver) about a Vietnam chopper pilot written after the war, called 'Chicken Hawk' loved the book and since then I've always wanted to come here,learn more.

I read the book a long time ago. If memory serves, some of those who served with the author think that he exaggerated his deeds a bit. Note, most of us have at least some of that weakness. Still, I remember it as a good read and from what I could tell got the essential facts close to right. It is also important to note that their is a differance between what the author actually wrote and the finished book which gets a lot of "smoothing out" of the author's text.

For a good read that my wife, who got a couple of pages, and I also got a nice acknowledgement for assisting, check out

River Rats Kindle Edition
by Ralph Christopher (Author)

Command And Control #1 Mass Market Paperback – December 1, 1989
by James D. Mitchell  (Author)

also gave us a nice acknowledgement for assisting in one of books in the series, forgot which one. think it was the first.

swibne:  I think I see now what you are saying (some are likes and some are dislikes) and that your list is based on your initial impressions and not really preconceptions from prior to arrival.  Let me look at your points by number.

1.  This is true, even more so if you are living in D1 as you appear to be.  Of course the French basically determined the layout and their parks concept traditionally leaned to formality rather than recreational function.  One exception is an interesting park you might visit on Hai Ba Trung.  I doubt if there are any signs but it used to be a cemetery and President Ngo Dinh Diem was buried there after his assasination.  When the park was created after reunification, relatives were given a chance to disinter and rebury the deceased.  As expected, no one dared come forward for Diem so his grave was obliterated.  Likely, this was the government's real intention, rather than to create an open space.  Still the lack of parks is a valid criticism of life in HCMC but less so in the cities in the other provinces that essentially grew up after the war.  My wife's home town condemned the houses on most of the river and replaced them with a lovely park that strings along the river.  It is used every evening by families with adults strolling and children on bicycles.  Sporting activity in Vietnam does tend to take place in dedicated sports centers.  They are both public and private. but all seem to involve a minimal fee.

2.  True but you will come to develop certain favorite places.

3.  True again but if you talk to high school and college students, you will know that change is coming.

4.  I can't agree here.  I didn't recognize this because in the US we reverse the order to OSH.  The US agency is OSHA.  This may seem to you like an escape from oppressive over-regulation but how would you feel if you were a city worker who has to jump into a polluted river to clean out rubbish and muck, or a highway worker who does highway repairs with only a minimal barrier if any?  How about being a pregnant woman inhaling glue fumes all day in a sneaker factory?  This is an area that the country needs to move on if it truly wants to fully move out of third world status.  Of course it has little impact on the "haves."

5.  I agree with you on this.  The heat was my greatest misconception before my first trip to Vietnam.  My greatest fear of being individually deployed to Vietnam during the war was not combat but the reputation for unbearable heat that I got from NCO's in my unit in Hawaii.  In all likelihood I would probably have been doing the same job that I did in Hawaii in an air-conditioned MACV office while living in an apartment with a live-in "maid."  In fact HCMC is only marginally warmer than Hawaii and never as hot as the mainland US in summer.   A lot of the perception of heat has to do with where you were living last.  The average daily high in July in London is 22 C which is the same as the average daily low in December in HCMC, so not much overlap there.

6.  Just a glance at a map will tell you that global warming is going to have a massive impact in Vietnam and it won't need to be a full meter of sea rise.  Already, areas in the Delta have sluice gates to keep out salt encroachment when rainfall is low.  This will only get worse and will have a huge impact on rice production which of course is vital to Vietnam both economically and culturally.  Even though fewer people are farmers due to automation, you can't underestimate the importance of rice to the psyche of the nation.  My wife's hometown is Ben Tre and her brothers are coconut brokers who send product to Hanoi.  They report that yields are going down and coconuts are an obviously salt resistant crop.

As far as Westerners being abusive to Vietnamese, again you are probably basing your impression on tourist areas of D1.  This is not unique to Vietnam as it happens in Hawaii and wherever people work in the tourist industry.  Anywhere else in Vietnam, foreigners are just hoping that they can communicate enough to get the goods or services that they need and in return are often treated very kindly by local people.

@THIGV

Note the Mekong river, depending on the tide, flowed both ways past the Cambodian Border back in the 1970's from what I saw and from what I have heard hundreds of years even earlier. I suspect that most of the issue with the increasing salt in the Mekong river has to do with the Dams that China has constructed in China and Laos. These Dams have substantially reduced the volume of water going down stream into Viet Nam except when China opens the gates with out bothering to notify downstream countries like Cambodia and Viet Nam and the flood waters kill people and damage property.

70 years old :

Note the Mekong river, depending on the tide, flowed both ways past the Cambodian Border back in the 1970's from what I saw and from what I have heard hundreds of years even earlier.

I certainly defer to your experience in the Mekong area but I expect that you will agree that rising sea levels will be very economically damaging to Vietnam.

THIGV :
70 years old :

Note the Mekong river, depending on the tide, flowed both ways past the Cambodian Border back in the 1970's from what I saw and from what I have heard hundreds of years even earlier.

I certainly defer to your experience in the Mekong area but I expect that you will agree that rising sea levels will be very economically damaging to Vietnam.

According  to the current science, over the longer term, you have a point about rising sea levels measured in inches per decade at most or more likely decades per inch. Today, the issue in the Mekong river is changes in water level of perhaps a dozen feet in minutes to hours as one of many issues.

http://e360.yale.edu/feature/life_on_me … rise/2741/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment … ekong-dams

https://www.internationalrivers.org/resources/8477

etc. etc.

:sleep ..........................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Mac68 :

:sleep ..........................zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

Resist, Mac!      You may well be revealing your true Self..?     :o

Hmnn...   Ok, your interest levels?

   Remember, the grass is much greener here...    ( Zip )     :whistle:

swibne :

3. The greenie environmental push is not as obvious and day to day street rubbish is prominent.

It is a communist country, civil activism is dangerous. Public gatherings are not permitted.
But the army of street sweepers at night take care of the day rubbish (Saigon). The few places I have seen trash cans, they are well used, so implementing more of those would be good.

swibne :

5. It's not that hot here .

Whoa, well I think September, October has been a lot cooler than last year, but March thru June gets at least Florida hot. And doesn't cool down at night for me to sleep w/o aircon. Doubt I will acclimate to that.  :(

gobot :

The few places I have seen trash cans, they are well used, so implementing more of those would be good.

Absolutely.  :top:  More trash cans is essential.  The same people who are sweeping could be emptying bins instead.  When we first moved in together, I told my wife that we needed a trash can in every room and her reply was that people would think that we were lazy.  Now that she is in the US and can see friends with wastebaskets in almost every room she has come around.  My language center had a tiny rubbish bin on every other floor, so of course the kids left soda bottles in the room after class.  It is simple human engineering.  Way more public bins would go a long way to cleaning up the urban environment.

(Swibne?)   What are you?   It's always good to read this;

"He gave us excellent preconceptions of Saigon."

..another reluctant Messiah..?  aka Richard Bach

Having my own peculiar particulars, I tend to be suspicious
of people who preach spirituality while flying biplanes. 

But he is correct: 'The bond that links your true family'
(in 'Illusions') That, and something about loving it
means you are already there with them.  ( Strikes me )

Cliches maybe, but good quotes.   Fly biplanes.

No misconceptions there...   ..especially in Viet Nam...

@ Gobot,
the 'Army of street sweepers take care of the rubbish'..?

Indeed they do, particularly in places like the 'Old Quarter'
of Ha Noi, but I also notice the footpaths scrubbed clean
(and) another 'Army' of (environmentalists?)  Nah.   

..just a lot of people collecting cardboard and plastics...
I have doubts that bins alone would be enough there
..is simply too much waste..?
The nightly ritual does a good job, and now I see small
(mechanical) street sweepers during the day.

I have noticed a big improvement since my arrival
(in many other areas as well) so I think the big picture
is moving towards a much better future here.

I doubt misconception there...      :shy

swibne :

Sorry I have to make one more important addition to this topic.( well for me it is) . One of our closest friends in Australia is Vietnamese. He was from Hoi An. (His dad worked for the US military 1969 ish to 1975. They were pushed down to Saigon and had to leave very quickly in 1975. The rest of his family remained in Vietnam. He was 9 when he had to leave and now has his successful restarant, wonderful wife and two young boys the same age as mine.
Stephen has not been back to Vietnam. He was over the moon when we told him we were going to work here, he encouraged us to eat street food, visit Hoi An, become involved in the cultural life of Saigon. He gave us excellent preconceptions of Saigon.
Now that we are living here for a while he is planning a trip to Vietnam, very emotional for him. He has not seen his brothers and sisters since 1975. We are also very much looking forward to seeing them.

Yes, this is a very important post. Far too many Viet Kieu don't realize the vast differance between the current government and society and the then oncoming Le Duan government and society that we fled in April 1975.

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