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The Life of Vietnam

Here in America we see that our lives are already complicated but the lives of the Vietnamese people are far worse. The things that we take for granted are considered privileges in Vietnam, such as air conditioning, toilets, and electricity. Another thing that we take for granted is our education systems.

There are many differences between the two nations school systems. In America any one can go to public school with no charge, while in Vietnam you have to past a rigorous test after fifth, tenth, and twelfth grade just to go to the next level. In some schools you have to pass the test in the top ten percent to get to the next grade level without paying a tax. If the student does not pass he or she will repeat the grade. If the girls reach ninth grade they start to dress differently because they are now considered to be young women. They will wear a long gray, white, or black dress like shirt that is tight fitting with the same colored loose fitting pants. In Vietnam school begins at 7:30 to 11:30 or 12:00 in the afternoon. Reaching college in Vietnam is a difficult task. Many students can not pass tests and settle to be teachers because it is easier to pass the tests. The majority of people in Vietnam stop attending school after high school. Many of the adults and elders drop out of school early because their family needs them to go work for money.

Vietnam is not divided into states like the United States. However, many Vietnamese people consider Vietnam to be divided into three sections, North, Central, and South Vietnam. The dialects in these sections are easily noticeable. The northern people?s voices are high and their pronunciation of words is more correct Central Vietnamese dialect is more mumbled and their words are put together. In the South people speak with lower voices and slang is used more often.

In Vietnam the temperature is very similar to Houston. It is very humid and hot in Vietnam. It probably will seem even hotter in Vietnam than in Houston because many households do not have air conditioning. In South Vietnam it is generally warm throughout the whole year. The hottest time of the year is usually between March and May. Monsoon season occurs from April to October and follows the dry season. The rain season occurs in May or June. The rain can come down in sprinkles or very heavy that they can cause dangerous floods that will kill many people. Some of the floods can reach to over two-story houses and cause major destruction. The rain however is a necessity to the Vietnamese people because they depend on the rain to make their rice harvesting successful.

Religions are also very similar to the United States as well. Christianity, Buddhism, and Confucianism are the major religions that are followed in Vietnam. Buddhism is followed all over Vietnam, but most of the South follows Buddhism. Chinese explorers brought over Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism and European explorers brought over Christianity when they tried to conquer Vietnam in the past. Northern Vietnam follows Christianity mainly. Confucianism is based on five key relationships: rulers to subject, father to son, older brother to younger brother, husband to wife, and friend to friend. Buddhism is concern with individual behavior more than the government. Buddhists believe in reincarnation and nirvana. Christians do not believe in reincarnation and follow the teachings of God and Jesus Christ.

Both arranged and love marriages takes place in Vietnam. When arranged marriages occur the man and the woman actually meet before they are married. Many times the two people have already known each other and their families are friends. Love marriages take place more often than arranged marriages. A couple of months before the marriage a ceremony takes place at the brides house to celebrate the engagement. At the ceremony the couple will pray to their ancestors to look after their future marriage and thank both sides of the family for their support. The wedding most of the time takes place outside or inside the groom?s house. In Vietnam the reception takes place at home, not at a restaurant. The bride?s dress is not like those over here in the United States because they do not have the money to afford a nice and beautiful dress. Many of the dresses are not white, but yellow or even pink. The groom?s suit is often too big or too small for him because the majority of the time he borrows the suit from someone that has gotten married before him. After the wedding the bride moves in with the groom and lives with his family. Most families in Vietnam live very near each other, even after when kids move out of their parent?s house.

Communist government in Vietnam has many restrictions on Vietnamese people in the way of freedom of speech. If anything is talked about the government it has to be positive. Vietnamese people are very scared of their government and watch what they say because they could be thrown in prison. In Vietnam there are no real restrictions in Vietnam. Young children walk nude in the streets, swim in the rivers during the day naked, people spit and picks their noses freely without any worries. Many families in Vietnam do not have a bathroom to shower and to use the restroom. They do all these thing in a river that is nearby their homes.

Material wise Vietnamese people do not have much compared to the United States. Fourteen thousand in Vietnam is only a dollar in the United States. The majority of Vietnamese people do not own cars, but mopeds and bikes to get around. The traffic in Vietnam is very hectic. A hour trip in the United States can take up most of the day in Vietnam because of the traffic and dodging people on bikes and mopeds. In the poor communities in Vietnam food does not come everyday. One day the children can go to sleep full and the next night hungry. The clothing in Vietnam looks like that of the United States, but are not the same in quality. Clothes in Vietnam tears and comes apart easier than of those in the United States. White clothes after wash will become yellow in color because everything is hand washed. Little kids do not wear underwear because in Vietnam they do not see the need to wear underwear at a young age. Even though many people do not have money they will be wearing jewelry for religious reasons or because they were gifts.

Vietnam was a very interesting country to learn about. Some things that I liked about Vietnam was that how people can fall in love and get married. Another thing that I like is that the schools seem to challenge their students more. What I like most about Vietnam is how the families stay near each other. They have a close bond between them that is somewhat hard to find in the United States. I did not like how everything was done in the river for example, bathing, using the toilet and washing clothes. The one thing that I did not like the most about Vietnam was how everyone seems to be living in poverty in Vietnam. Regardless of how bad the economy is Vietnam is a very unique country that has earned my respect.

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