Saigon Stories – Observations of the Week in Saigon

First, let me say that you must take the last entry about the French with a grain of salt. I like France and French people. Parisians still annoy me though. In fact, I’m reading a French book called “les États- Unis aujourd’hui; les maîtres du monde?” (The United States Today; The masters of the world?) by Jacques Portes. I really thought it was going to be a trashing of the US but actually it is extremely interesting to see how this author perceives the US (especially because he is French).It’s not negative at all and basically pretty accurate about the rise of American power, the influence of US culture and so on. For the American, I think it would be a good idea in culture class for students to read books about the US so we can get a better picture about how other nations perceive us. If you don’t speak another language, even a book written in Britain would offer some great insight.

As for my observations this week, I’ve discovered that some white people become spoiled here. As you may know, I work at a very nice country club and we just had our Halloween Party. Many people were surprised to learn that they had to pay extra for their nannies since we had to limit the amount of people we let in to prevent overcrowding. This made a lot of the Caucasians mad since they become so stingy here. Also, we told them they had to make reservations and those that showed up without one were turned away. This really pissed them off since they are used to getting their own way. I swear it’s like a disease among white people here. Their salaries are so high compared to the rest of the population, but they still hate to pay for anything. You would not believe how many ask for some special “deal” to join the club which we cannot do.

In other observations, I’m starting to understand that it takes Vietnamese people about 5 seconds to realize the light has turned green here in Saigon. They aren’t very used to traffic lights here (in fact they don’t pay much attention to them) and their thoughts begin to wander when they actually do stop at a red light. But when the light turns green I want to go! Perhaps, I just need to stop being such an uptight American.

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! \(^.^)/

1 comment

  1. Salut Matt !!!
    je te conseille deux autres livres tres interessants, qui sont l’inverse de ce que tu lis puisqu’ils parlent des prejuges qu’on les etrangers, notamment les Americains, sur la France. Le premier, que je suis en train de lire, s’intitule “la France made in Usa” (Guillemette Faure) qui est un petit manuel de décryptage des idées américaines toutes faites sur les francais, et vice-versa. C’est vraiment tres instructifs et tres amusant. L’auteur analyse les idees toutes faites des americains sur les francais pour essayer de comprendre d’ou elles viennent, le tout sur le ton de l’humour.
    l’autre livre que j’avais lu il y a deja quelques temps mais que je te conseille aussi est de Jean Benoit Nadeau, un anthropologue canadien: “Why we like France but not the French”. Je pense qu’ils sont tous les deux des “must to be read ” pour tout ceux qui s’interessent a la France.
    a bientot !

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