To my amazement, my readership that was up 50 percent last week has now increased to up 100%. It seems to have spiked up on my birthday of all things… A welcome birthday present. Thank you everybody….. As long as you show interest in what I have to say, I will do my best to keep a blogging….
This morning I woke up to a grey and breezy day. “It looks cold outside” my instincts are telling me. (A day like this back home would be miserable, even in summer) But guess what?? It is not cold, or even cool. It is perfect, just a little showery and grey. The light showers feel good and even driving in it makes me want to go shirtless, however, I better lose those pounds I put on first. I just had a Russian drive up on a brand new motorcycle and ask how much for a room for one month. I gave him a price of 260.00 for a smaller room and he stormed out complaining about how expensive. Huh….. He went next door to ask and ended driving off in a huff without a room. Wow!! What is he looking for?? There are 8 dollar a night hotels available, but I often wonder how they can even meet expenses. Even at our prices, there is very little profit in it even with all the rooms full. We will have to rely in the future on offering interesting tours, selling cold drinks, and maybe food to supplement our income. That may be a big part of why many of the hotels here operate by the hour. Even as I write, there is a young couple here wanting to rent a short term room. Sigh!
Another topic suggested was about prejudice. Does it exist and what shape does it form. Well I can tell you that there are some very
deep and nasty prejudices here, but not directed at who you might think. I will speak about how people feel in the centre and south of Vietnam. The only northerners that I know personally are a bit young to have wartime experiences, but do have experience of moving to the south. I will sit and talk with Khuyen about how she perceives the north’s attitudes.
I guess it could also be Mai’s story continued
When I was here in the lat 90’s I was always referred to as “ong mi” which means American. To me it seemed that they new of very few western countries, so calling me American, and was the best that they knew. I decided to tell a group that I was Canadian and not American. This effort got a reaction that I was totally not prepared for. They became cold to me and no longer paid me the attention I was getting before. Hmmmm curious. I discovered later that as a Canadian I was grouped in with the United Nations. Why would that be bad? Well according to the older people I spoke with here, The Americans at least tried to help!! It was pressure from the United Nations that helped push the Americans to withdraw. That withdrawal was devastating to the center and south. Most of the adults that I have encountered here fondly talk about the Americans and the fun the people had interacting with them, and the countries that stood against the Americans with the united nations resulted in the loss of freedom and created the heart rendering plight of the boat people, of who my Wife was one. That feeling has mostly disappeared now, however, The Americans are still thought of as the best and even the children’s clothing bears slogans and art from the USA.
Most of the prejudice here is directed ant former occupiers, or people who look
down on them. I have has no problems with any culture here, however, I have witnessed some Vietnamese people treated quite poorly. I have questioned hotel receptionists and Store clerks and have discovered that the French are not very well liked. Partially from the history of occupation, but mostly because they perceive that they are being looked down on, as if barely being worthy of speaking to. (Their words, not mine) There is a general consensus that the Russians are
the same. Huh… I do not know….. The French and Russians I have met have been very nice so far. I have seen no evidence that there is prejudice towards Africans, East Indians, Australians, Canadians, Most Europeans, or Spanish. There is a fear of Arabs that cover themselves here, but probably just from lack of understanding. There is even a small Muslim population that is accepted. There is a general but not a hated prejudice towards the Chinese and Japanese, probably due to the history of occupation but the deepest hatred and prejudice that remains to this day is against their own people in the north. In Saigon it is most evident, but It affects even us here….. To be continued