I’m not even going to pretend to be modest or less vain. A post that I wrote a few weeks back suddenly went viral. It reached 1.2 million Vietnamese, has been read by 175k people. It’s probably been read by more people since a considerable number of newspapers and magazines in Vietnam reprinted it, both with and without my permission. A couple of publications had the authenticity to copy about 90% of my post, edited the other 10%, and innocuously put someone else down as the author. Oh well. Copyright in Vietnam. What can the farmer do? Continue reading “[Day 678] My post went viral”
Last week, I was being a bad person.
- A girl living in my house wasn’t very nice to me and my friend. She wanted to talk later to explain herself, but I just walked out on her mid-conversation. I wasn’t even that mad at her. I didn’t like people who aren’t nice to my friends so I decided to be not nice to her in retaliation.
- There’s that one American English teacher in Vietnam whose story has been upsetting me for a long time. First, he made a condescending video showing how his parents react to the way Vietnamese people speaking English to prove that Vietnamese English teachers can’t teach English, together with another video instructing Vietnamese people on how to dine with westerners. Dude, if you make your living in Vietnam, you’d better learn to dine with us, not the other way around. Second, he made a joke about American soldiers bombing and raping Vietnamese daughters – he must have meant it to be satire, but it wasn’t funny. Third, he made another joke, comparing the head of a deceased Vietnamese war hero to a testicle. What upsets me isn’t him — you can find assholes everywhere — but the fact that many Vietnamese people idolize him. A long history of being dominated power has taught us to look up to foreigners, no matter how offensive they are.
I’ve recently had a talk with professor Mykel Kochenderfer about possible career paths for me after graduation. I told him that I want to stay in academia — I love doing research — but I also want to pursue writing seriously. He smiled and said: “Why not both?”
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:
Over the years, I’ve noticed three things about books about Vietnamese culture:
- They are all 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 book about Vietnamese culture written by a real Vietnamese.
- They all start with the war. Come on, the war ended 4 decades ago! There are so many more cool things in Vietnam.
- They all read like textbooks at best and phonebooks at worst. I believe that books should be not only informative but also entertaining.
I’ve spent the last two years interviewing many people: foreigners who have traveled in Vietnam, foreigners who have lived in Vietnam, foreigners who have never been to Vietnam, Vietnamese who have lived overseas, Vietnamese who have never been outside the country, etc. I’ve combined their opinion into a book called “How to not get your ass kicked in Vietnam: The native’s guide”. But I still need more input to make the book as comprehensive as possible. So please help me through this short survey:
Thank you very much! The prologue to this book can be find below.
I just arrived in Vietnam realized that WordPress is blocked here. I keep forgetting that we have censorship. Some more examples of censorship in Vietnam:
He was a dictator, but he wasn’t even our dictator. He wasn’t even Vietnamese.
He had been to Vietnam three times. Why did he do for my country?
Why should I mourn for him?