The common sentiment of Vietnamese people is that, although proud of their hard-fought independence, they’d rather prosper in peace. This enduring optimism is just one of many reasons why we love them – here are a few more.
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Professionals hide it by taking two hours for lunch, while workers just hang a hammock off a tree – or lay down anywhere they can find shade. Vietnamese people love to snooze, especially when it’s too hot outside or if the rain is coming down like crazy, which is a regular occurrence in Southeast Asia.
When foreigners make innocent mistakes, Vietnamese people forgive them. If you leave your shoes on after walking by apile of them at the door, Vietnamese people won’t fly into a rage. If you mispronounce their names, it’s no problem. If you make a wrong turn and accidentally cut a few people off on your motorbike, nobody is going to fight you over it. Small things are always forgivable in Vietnam.
The family unit is incredibly strong in Vietnam. They practise Confucian family values, where experience is respected. Vietnam is a young country these days, but the youth are still taught to practise good manners and humility – especially around those older than them. Even as Vietnam modernises at an unbelievable pace, families are still the integral unit of this society. You’ll never hear a child arguing with their parent here.
This is a country full of hustle. People work multiple jobs and put in long hours. There is a lot happening here and everyone is doing whatever they can to have a better future for both themselves and their families – that’s a lot of change and potential.
It’s not uncommon for groups of tourists to get invited into homes or businesses to join a meal. When it’s time to celebrate, people go all out in Vietnam, with enormous – and equally delicious – meals, along with parties that can go well into the night. Even in day-to-day life, you’ll encounter many selfless acts. People often go out of their way to give foreigners a good impression of Vietnam.
After listening to Vietnamese music for a while, you start to wonder why it all sounds so sad. It seems like every songwriter in the country is living through an endless stream of breakups and unrequited love. It’s because Vietnamese people love to listen to stories about love. Even when you merely mention that you have a partner, reactions will range from happy nods to giddy squeals. Children are the only things Vietnamese people love more than love itself.
Vietnamese people take education seriously. When you speak to students and ask about their social lives, you learn just how much time they spend studying. It can be a bit disheartening, but it’s also commendable how hard they work to make it into top universities. And once they’re in, they work even harder to be top of their class.
Just about everyone in Vietnam is hustling to get ahead. The job market is hyper-competitive – and so is the marketplace. Businesses open and close at a crazy pace in Vietnam. While there are a lot of opportunities here, you’ve got to be relentless if you want any chance of making it. Vietnamese people are continuously busting their hides to succeed.
It’s no secret that Vietnamese food is great, and one of the real pleasures of travelling or living in Vietnam is trying dishes you’ve never had before. There’s actually an impressive variety to Vietnamese food, and chefs are creating new variations on the classics all the time. Just about every meal in Vietnam is another reason to love them.
In terms of export tonnage, Vietnam is the second-largest producer of coffee in the world. For such a tiny country, geographically, that’s quite a feat. The mountainous rainforests of central Vietnam are perfect for growing the robusta strain of coffee beans – and anyone who has had Vietnamese coffee can attest to its potency.
You see it in the sheet steel shacks around construction sites, where communities grow to support the people working nearby. You hear it in the stories of people who’ve moved hundreds or even thousands of miles to find work, sending money home to support relatives. But the older generation is the best example of Vietnamese resilience. They lived through the war and extreme poverty. Nowadays, they’re just happy to see their children and grandchildren succeeding in a peaceful country – that’s their ultimate reward.