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Old 07-13-2012, 08:28 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,361,353 times
Reputation: 11862

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I was in Vietnam for a month last year, and of course, especially being a Westerner, I was very conscious of the War. The Vietnamese know it as the 'American War', we call it the 'Vietnam War.' In Socialist Vietnam, one sees stalls selling replica US Military paraphenalia, and I've heard a lot of young people are really into American culture. Most Americans, Australians, Koreans (who were also involved) are treated well (I guess any dollar is as good as the next. In fact US dollars are preferred there as currency). From the few people I spoke to it doesn't seem there's a lot of resentment towards the US for the War, but of course I'm sure there's more to the story.

Is it more a generational thing? Do you think older Vietnamese still hold a grudge against the Americans? Vietnam is a young country, most people were born after 1975, so wouldn't have have actually lived through the War. They would have still heard stories from their parents and grandparents. I'm not saying they should hold grudges, but are they just forgiving or tend to hide it? I mean it's useless in a way...I found myself kind of angry once again when I saw the legacy of the American destructiveness: huge swathes of forests stripped, villages wiped off the map, ancient monuments destroyed. I know the government has definitely improved relations a lot with the US and the rest of the world since the 90s and I don't really think they see each other as enemies anymore. I do wonder how friendly they really are towards the US and the West though. I also wonder how they view the 'Overseas Vietnamese' who fled after the War.
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:46 PM
 
Location: Ha Noi
6 posts, read 31,908 times
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Can you speak Vietnamese?
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Old 07-13-2012, 09:51 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,361,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulevard View Post
Can you speak Vietnamese?
Nothing more than 'hello', 'how much' and 'thank you.' lol
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Old 07-14-2012, 07:09 AM
 
Location: Ha Noi
6 posts, read 31,908 times
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I'm Vietnamese, but I disagree with you on something above.

I want to tell you something about this, but i'm bad at English, so i can't.
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Old 07-14-2012, 09:02 AM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,361,353 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boulevard View Post
I'm Vietnamese, but I disagree with you on something above.

I want to tell you something about this, but i'm bad at English, so i can't.
Please, I would like to learn more...if you would be willing to share.
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Old 07-14-2012, 12:31 PM
 
Location: Ha Noi
6 posts, read 31,908 times
Reputation: 36
Hmmmm. You mean to learn Vietnamese language, huh?
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Old 07-15-2012, 09:53 PM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,149,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
I was in Vietnam for a month last year, and of course, especially being a Westerner, I was very conscious of the War. The Vietnamese know it as the 'American War', we call it the 'Vietnam War.' In Socialist Vietnam, one sees stalls selling replica US Military paraphenalia, and I've heard a lot of young people are really into American culture. Most Americans, Australians, Koreans (who were also involved) are treated well (I guess any dollar is as good as the next. In fact US dollars are preferred there as currency). From the few people I spoke to it doesn't seem there's a lot of resentment towards the US for the War, but of course I'm sure there's more to the story.

Is it more a generational thing? Do you think older Vietnamese still hold a grudge against the Americans? Vietnam is a young country, most people were born after 1975, so wouldn't have have actually lived through the War. They would have still heard stories from their parents and grandparents. I'm not saying they should hold grudges, but are they just forgiving or tend to hide it? I mean it's useless in a way...I found myself kind of angry once again when I saw the legacy of the American destructiveness: huge swathes of forests stripped, villages wiped off the map, ancient monuments destroyed. I know the government has definitely improved relations a lot with the US and the rest of the world since the 90s and I don't really think they see each other as enemies anymore. I do wonder how friendly they really are towards the US and the West though. I also wonder how they view the 'Overseas Vietnamese' who fled after the War.
I went to Vietnamese a few times, and two of those times was for a month each.

As I'm American, I was also concerned with a strong anti-American sentiment. However, I found that most Vietnamese have an immense PRIDE about winning a war against the U.S. The 'American War' as they say, was fairly short on the 'war radar' of Vietnam.

They had pretty much been fighting both China (fore soveignity) and France (freedom from colonialism) for several hundred years, for as long as everyone in Vietnam could possibly remember. Than suddenly the U.S. was there fighting...but the Vietnamese were well-prepared as they'd had extensive fighting experience with the French for years. China tried to come down last century as well, and Vietnam kicked them out as well.

Essentially America came in there for a short period of time, comparitively, and Vietnam quickly kicked them out. Than once the U.S. had quickly come and gone, the Vietnamese went into Cambodia and kicked Pot Pol out of power there. So, they'd basically been to war for about as long as they could possibly remember.

It's only been relatively recently that they haven't been fighting, and suddenly an actual economy and development, and I believe they've really embraced the 'American' concepts of how to make money and do business and such. Vietnamese are very business-minded.

So, in short, they love the business-minded way of America, plus they have a strong sense of pride of 'kicking U.S. ass' among the other world's great powers of China, Europe (France), and the USA.

I also noticed that when I was in South Vietnam, particularly Saigon/HCMC, they adored Americans. Everyone seemed to tell me of their relatives who lived in California or Texas or Seattle or somewhere, and always wanted to know if I might know them by chance. Many had fought along side the Americans, and seemed to have many strong and powerful positive images in some way or another.

It's really only when I went up to North Vietnam and Hanoi in particular, that I noticed a bit more reservation and casual suspicion that was given towards 'foreigners' in general. But, even up there, I didn't really feel hostility whatsoever. It just seemed to be their nature more, to be more conservative, reserved, etc. Saigon/HCMC is kind of like 'the California' of Vietnam. Just embrace everything, more open-thinking, etc.
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Old 07-15-2012, 10:12 PM
 
Location: The western periphery of Terra Australis
24,683 posts, read 45,361,353 times
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Good summary, I see a parallel in China. Saigon is like Shanghai, the forward-thinking, outward looking, commercial 'face' of the country in the South, while the capitals of Hanoi and Beijing are the more staid, traditional, 'cultural' capitals. There's been a lot of people moving north and south that I do wonder if you'd find much of a difference in attitude towards the American. Many of the biggest supporters of South Vietnam fled after the War anyway.

What were your impressions of the country overall? I find it an interesting country, but there is a 'sameness' and genericness across the country. Towns from the Mekong Valley to Haiphong seem pretty similar, with the same architecture, the same rice paddies. It's culturally less diverse than a lot of SE Asian nations, although the food is fantastic. Vietnamese vary from being friendly to very opportunistic and dishonest.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:08 AM
 
Location: Macao
15,945 posts, read 36,149,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trimac20 View Post
Good summary, I see a parallel in China. Saigon is like Shanghai, the forward-thinking, outward looking, commercial 'face' of the country in the South, while the capitals of Hanoi and Beijing are the more staid, traditional, 'cultural' capitals. There's been a lot of people moving north and south that I do wonder if you'd find much of a difference in attitude towards the American. Many of the biggest supporters of South Vietnam fled after the War anyway.

What were your impressions of the country overall? I find it an interesting country, but there is a 'sameness' and genericness across the country. Towns from the Mekong Valley to Haiphong seem pretty similar, with the same architecture, the same rice paddies. It's culturally less diverse than a lot of SE Asian nations, although the food is fantastic. Vietnamese vary from being friendly to very opportunistic and dishonest.
I'd same some of the biggest supporters of the US fled after the War. Probably the majority couldn't get out. I met so many hospitable people in Saigon, it was mind-blowing. Up until I visited, I dismissed as Vietnam as somewhere I didn't want to go, anticipating anti-American sentiment. I was grossly wrong. It was the completely opposite. They completely loved Americans. It was just so commonplace, to dismiss as a one-off. Mostly South Vietnam though. North Vietnam has more of the suspicions, etc.

Impressions. I found a lot of differences from South to North. Most of the towns I went to, each had it's own flavor. All seemed quite unique.

Besides the biggest cities, I went to:

Dalat - mountain town with pine trees. It looked like something you might find more in North America. I wasn't impressed with it, but I'd imagine that for Southeast Asians, maybe seeing pine trees in southeast asia, might be really exotic and interesting to them.

Nha Trang - beach, beach, and more beach.

There were some others I went along the way, Hue and another...can't recall quickly which was which, but one had chinese style housing with miss growing everywhere on them. It didn't have that French Colonialism like you'd find in other areas.

In short, I don't know, I felt there were quite a few differences in each city. Far different from each other, than say cities in Korea or somewhere.
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Old 07-16-2012, 12:21 AM
 
16,437 posts, read 19,131,529 times
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I was in Vietnam for more than 3 years during the war, and even then felt no particular animosity toward individual Americans. I got the impression that they liked us, but disliked our government. It was an interesting contrast with when I went from Vietnam to Iran to work in '73. In Iran, we weren't at war and were supposed to be allies, but it was quite clear (at least to me) that the Iranians didn't particularly like us.
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