In the second half of the twentieth century, Vietnam was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. War raged. It was hard to know if it would ever end, and harder still to understand fully the rights and wrongs of the various protagonists. First, the French tried to stem the tide of Vietnamese nationalism; then the United States pitted itself against what it thought was a puny enemy, but which turned out to be tough, resilient, and ultimately victorious. The Americans might have pondered the fact that the Vietnamese had struggled, eventually successfully, for more than a thousand years to escape the clutches of their powerful neighbor, China. Patience in adversity sums up the Vietnamese character.
Since the country was reunified in 1975, the Vietnamese have undergone many hardships. The immediate postwar years were extremely harsh for many people in South Vietnam. Some fled into exile; others underwent “rehabilitation” to make them fit to live in a Communist state. To this were added economic hardships and even starvation.
Today, however, life has improved significantly. The decision to abandon one of the main tenets of Marxism, the centrally planned economy, in favor of a “socialist market economy” was a bold step, as was the decision to throw open the doors and invite the world, including former foes, to invest in the new Vietnam. As a result, the economy is one of the world’s fastest-growing.
Visitors will find a confident, independent people, nursing few if any grudges about the sufferings caused by the war. The Vietnamese people are open and friendly, with a sense of humour and irony, and frankly curious about the outside world. Kind and generally helpful towards strangers, they are industrious, determined to improve their living standards, relatively honest, but always ready to seize any advantage that might come their way.
Culture Smart! Vietnam is aimed at the visitor who would like to learn a little more about the history, culture, traditions, sensibilities, and modern way of life of the Vietnamese. It explains deep-seated attitudes and describes some of the social, economic, and cultural changes now under way. It dispels common Western misconceptions and gives practical advice on what to expect and how to behave in unfamiliar situations. Whether you are visiting on business or for pleasure, we hope it will enable you to discover for yourself the warmth and vast potential of this fascinating country and its people.
Excerpt taken from the Introduction to Culture Smart! Vietnam, written by Geoffrey Murray. Find out more: https://www.culturesmartbooks.co.uk/asia/vietnam.php
- ISBN: 9781787028524
- Format: Paperback
- Page count: 200
- Dimensions: 170 x 110 x 15mm
- Published at: £9.99 / $12.99 / CAN $17.99