Ho Chi Minh City administrators just released a video that is supposed lay out some etiquette dos and don’ts for tourists. Wonderful idea in theory, but the universal reaction I’ve received from foreigners living in Vietnam is:
From what I’ve read, the undignified foreigners are upset for three reasons:
- The etiquettes are so obvious that it seems like the city administrators are treating foreigners as stupid fucktards. What’s up with “respect the laws”, “finish all your food”, or “don’t buy drugs”? Isn’t that what all thinking humans are supposed to do, whether you’re a foreigner or a local?
- The video puts the Vietnamese on a higher moral ground. All lessons in the video follow the same motif: the foreigner does something wrong, the Vietnam does that same thing right, the Vietnamese advises the foreigner, the foreigner appreciates the guidance. It is as if the Vietnamese etiquettes were something to look up to. It is as if Vietnam was a civilized country where people queue, vehicles stop for pedestrians to cross the road, and everyone follows the rules even when there aren’t police around. In the meantime, the running gag among tourists is the Vietnamese people are rude, unorganized, and pretty much lawless. It’s like someone who has consistently got a D in class lectures a straight A student about how to do well in class. Of course they are pissed.
- The lack of effort put into making the video which betrays common sense. Rule #2, for example, asks the foreigners to follow the rules when they are written entirely in Vietnamese.
Some more reactions about the video: