I have just finished writing a fun culture guidebook to Vietnam. I was thinking of naming it “Vietnam for Dummies”, but I realized that I had no legal rights to use the “for dummies” trademark. I need your help to choose a new name.
To give an idea of what the book is about, below is the introduction to my book.
“It was one cold and damp post-Tết* afternoon in Hanoi. Water was drizzling from the grey sky, enough to amuse the skin but not enough to wet the hair. I was sitting on the pavement with a group of ragged backpackers—their long legs crouched uncomfortably on the low plastic stools. We were sipping on our oversweet egg coffee while trying to ignore the coffee lady who was shooing us away for having sat longer than the time people typically sit for a coffee. I asked them about the books they read when they were in Vietnam. They named me one after another: Lonely Planet, The Rough Guide, Fodor’s Vietnam, Food of Vietnam. There it hit me: every single one of those books was written by foreigners! A guidebook to a country written by a foreigner is like a cookbook written by someone who has only had experience in looking at the food. There needs to be a guidebook to Vietnam written by a real Vietnamese.
Being as responsible and jobless as I am, mostly jobless, I felt compelled to take on the task. This is not a book that will give you a list of places to eat, to sleep or to kill time—you can find thousands of those lists online without even trying. This is a book that will help you understand my country. If books written by foreign writers can describe to you what they experience in Vietnam, this book, written a 100% Vietnamese, will explain how and why they experience that. Aren’t you feeling deep yet?
Most of what is written in this book is so true that a lot of Vietnamese will call me a self-hating Viet and stone me to death. That’s why I wrote it in horrible English. Even Google Translate wouldn’t be able to decode it back into Vietnamese.
While I know that you are excited to delve into my Far Eastern wisdom, please don’t take this book too seriously. The writer is just an aspiring street performer whose only real talent is being Vietnamese. When I’m not writing, you can find me juggling at an obscure street corner somewhere in South America or sipping on hot tea on the Himalayas. I live a fabulous life.
My friend thinks that I should treat my readers like idiots—I mean, seriously, who in their right mind would buy this book—and that I should explain everything to them. I disagree. I believe that the answers for most of what-is-what questions are just one click away on Google. If, at any point, you feel the need to ask out loud: “what the heck is xyz?”, let me direct you to this wonderful website called lmgtfy.com.
This alternative guidebook is arranged in a manner as erratic as my personality, so feel free to go directly to the chapter that most interests you. If nothing interests you, move along.”
Suggestions are welcome. Thanks a lot!