Illustration by Đàm Minh ChíViet Nam News Khánh Linh It’s a story that never seems to go away. Year after year we hear and see the same things. Sacred places are exactly that, sacred. Yet during the Tết (Lunar New Year) festivities some pictures shared on social media show women dressed more for an evening out at a nightclub rather than a visit to a pagoda. Short skirts, mesh tops, even ultra-thin shirts revealing bare backs are more suited to the dancefloor, yet it seems many women believe this is the correct attire to wear during prayer. The photos have been raising severe online criticism from people who described it as shameful, offensive, and uncivilised. “I don’t know how they get the courage and inspiration to wear such clothes when entering sacred places. I really don’t understand what’s going on in their mind,” a Facebook user commented. “How shocking! Why are these images happening year after … [Read more...] about Dress for the pagoda, not the dancefloor
Talk Around Town
Illustration by Trịnh LậpViet Nam News by Mary Pecaut I first set foot in Việt Nam in 2014. As a US citizen embarrassed by my country’s policies during and following the American-Việt Nam War, I was uncertain about the welcome that awaited me. Because I spoke French and had family members living in Toronto, I prepared to answer that certain-to-be-asked question: Where are you from? By replying, Canada. I was pleasantly surprised to find that US citizens are very welcome in Việt Nam and that there was no need to hide my identity. Upon arrival, I started my quest to understand my new home country and her people. Usually when I arrive in a newly assigned country, I dive into the local culture through food, art and language. I soon discovered that the best window into Vietnamese culture was by understanding a unique Vietnamese national holiday. Tết Nguyên Đán, otherwise known as Tết, is the most important and popular … [Read more...] about Can a holiday explain a national identity?
Illustration by Trịnh LậpViet Nam News By Ollie Arci Nearly three years ago, I voted for Britain to remain in the European Union. Since then I’ve watched from the other side of the world as my country implodes. We are now hurtling towards the infamous March deadline, at which point the United Kingdom leaves the bloc, with or without a deal in place. There are currently no reasonable solutions in sight that would result in the soft, hard, scrambled or Norwegian-style omelette varying factions are campaigning for. The British Isles, it seems, are coming apart at the seams. In a fit of delusion, drunk on the promise of an unobtainable fantasy peddled by political elites hungry for their next career move, Britain, once the envy of the world, has turned its back on everyone else. Or more accurately, just over half of Britain decided to cut its moorings to the rest of the continent. By all expert accounts (even though we’ve apparently had enough of them), the … [Read more...] about Watching Brexit break Britain from afar
Illustration by Đàm Minh TríViet Nam News by Chu Lan Hương We’ve all been woken up by an early morning sales call, right? Good morning, I’m calling from so-and-so, are you interested in buying land/an apartment or taking out a loan? The callers speak to you like long-lost friends, but once they get your attention they won’t stop talking until you finally realise it’s a sales call. If you are in good mood, you answer and refuse gently and politely, but if that call catches you at the wrong time, all hell breaks loose. Unfortunately for the telesales staff, they’re just doing their jobs. Telesales staff are often given a script they have to learn by heart and lists of telephone numbers for them to reel of their patter. It is easy to understand why their unsolicited calls are sometimes met with abuse. Phương Linh (not her real name), a student from the northern province of Nam Định, said: … [Read more...] about There are times when it’s not good to talk
Illustration by Trịnh Lập Viet Nam News By Paul Kennedy I met an Australian guy in a bar a few months ago who has been living in Việt Nam for just shy of ten years. I asked him what Christmas was like in Hà Nội? “What day does it fall on?” he asked. After a quick check of the calendar and I told him Christmas Day was on a Tuesday. “It’ll be like a Tuesday then,” was his reply. I didn’t believe him and I hoped he was wrong. He wasn’t. The build-up to this year’s Holiday season made me think of those before. Last year, for first time in six Christmas’s past, I was actually at home with my family. We woke and had Christmas breakfast. Presents were shared, unwrapped and I felt like a kid again. Come opening time I went to the pub with my father and brother-in-law, a tradition that dates back as far as I can remember. After Christmas dinner and purposely not turning the TV on for the Queen’s … [Read more...] about First impressions of Christmas in Việt Nam