6 comments on ““The West is best. Or is it?”

  1. As someone who grew up in the U.S most of my life and interact with a lot of immigrant from others countries (India, Nepal, Poland, Koreans, Chinese, Cambodians, Japan, Italy.ect…) I do notice that some nationality are more proud of their homeland than others. While most recognized that their homeland is not perfect and that’s why they are in the U.S, they are still proud of their culture and how hard their “people” have to work in such barren environments and how far they have to come to better their lives. That said, not everyone is proud of where they are from, some only can only think of their homeland in term of the politics involved which usually is not fair. It doesn’t matter where you go, most people are not all that interested in politic and political decisions often are not representative of the whole country. At best political decisions represent 51% of the population, at worst political decisions represent NO ONE, but the whole country always get the blame and people get disenchanted with their own cultures because of that. In some way, that’s ironic because people living in third world countries tend to get the least representation in their governments yet they are the one that have to shoulder the blames of the pitfalls of their homeland.

    As far as life in the US, while it is far from perfect and you find people complaining in front of the White House everyday, I would say it’s pretty good but like everyone else, not all American appreciate it.. Kids go to school for free, if they are from a poorer family they will also get free lunches, there are also free bus services for those who live far away, books are provided for, college tuition are heavily subsidized by the government. I think that’s why a lot of people think the West is a paradise, because anyone can go to college and become doctors, pharmacists, engineers or whatever they want to be. Sure, it’s a lot of hard work and not everyone make it but that’s why they call it “The American Dreams” and not the American Reality :)

    • Thank you for the response Hoan. I recommend you check out the interview with Giang, it’s in Vietnamese but I’m sure google translate can work out the main ideas. There is this point: “Vietnamese don’t want to become Westernized. They only dream of the material comfort of the West”, “They want their kids to have Western degrees, but once the kids start to absorb the Western culture, such as girls not wanting to get married, boys studying philosophy, they will be panic”. This is totally precise in my case coz recently my grandma said that she should never have let me go abroad in the first place if she had known what I would “become”.

      On the other hand, just similar to many other Vietnamese, I am not interested in politics, there’s no political reasons involved, we are just naturally not interested. Thus, I only want to express my observation from the cultural aspect. Honestly, I always feel a strong sense of “nationalism” among people from the poorer part of the world, our conversations always include the phrase “in my country..” while I haven’t heard much of that when talking to people from the US, for example. And the attitude of “I never want to come back there” has also publicly presented by some of them. There must be reasons for that, no?

  2. Hi Miên, yes, I did get a chance to read through the article you posted. I can read and write Vietnamese too lol. My observations from those two articles is that they were just expressing their ideas and opinions as well as telling the audiences what they have seen and experience in their own life which is great, everyone experience is different and we can all learn from each other’s. But at the same time, I wouldn’t refer to their observations and opinion as facts and I think in both cases, they’re over sensationalizing their observations just like everyone else in the world lol.

    As far as to why people would publicly stated “I would never go back there”….. I think people move from place to place for a reason so if you only talked to those who moved to Vietnam, I don’t think it is surprising to get that kind of that reaction. If you were to come to the US asked people from Vietnam or anyone from other parts of the world if they would go back to their own countries, you would probably get the same reactions? From a just a cultural standpoint, I don’t think there is much differences between any culture to really facilitate moving from one country to another, I certainly don’t think the West is Paradise because people are nicer or more civilized than anywhere else. I think we are all human and people are generally nice and kind no matter where you go. Yes, some cultural do things differently from others but those are really minute details in the large scheme of things. I think when people mistake those political or economic motivations as cultural reasons is when you get into a situation of unfairly blaming a nationality/culture for things that is really control by the few involved in politic. That was the point I was trying to make earlier.

    From all the friends that I have that have moved to the US from the so call “third world” countries, one of the more common observation that I hear and I think it’s the fairest observation around is: “I probably wouldn’t have make it if my parents stay in……” or “There’s no way I would have become a doctor had we stay in…..” The reason I said that the observation is fair is because they’re simply reflecting on their own situations and are grateful for the opportunities that they were given.

    • Oh wow great that you can speak and write Vietnamese! You’re “better” than lots of Viet Kieu who come back to Vietnam haha. No, the people I mentioned in the case were not just the ones moving to Vietnam, they are travelers as in “world travelers”, they never stay somewhere for too long, some of them flew around like hell, you know, all those bloggers and “digital nomads” ;-). Some of them are not “nomads” but they do move like once or twice every year, either for jobs or because they get bored of staying at one place. So those are the ones I tried to portrait for the point of “I never want to come back there”.

      And I’m totally aware of the fact that lots of people wouldn’t want to go back to Vietnam after studying. Many friends of mine departed for “the West” since high school and won’t leave. Actually, there was this interesting point from the 9-year UK resident guy that I didn’t mention above: In the West the “successful” people are the ones who can pay off all the debt before others (student credit, housing and car loans, etc). Life there is comfortable, you have everything you need but you will have to work your a** off to pay for all those loans. Life will always go on like that, and you will start to enjoy it when you retire and are debt-free. Whereas, in a society that is “cracking” here and there like Vietnam, you will either become rich or will lose everything, which is more interesting for business ventures. Thus, he thinks that if people want a “stable” life, more comfortable and less risky, they would choose to stay in the West after study, while others would choose to come back.

      Of course I agree with you on the last point that “they’re simply reflecting on their own situations”, that’s why I’m only trying to solve the question “The West is best?” (“Best” is the key word), everyone already knows why they want to go, now I just want to give them some reasons on why they should also consider coming back. And then, it all depends on them to decide.

  3. haha, Miên, your English is much better than my Vietnamese lol. A lot of Viet Kieu unfairly give Vietnam a bad representation even though they don’t even speak the language to begin and that always annoy me to death. I am really happy we had this discussion as I gain a lot of insights into to life Vietnam! Thanks so much, Miên :)

  4. Cuộc sống ở nước ngoài thế nào mình không biết, với những nước phát triển phương tây thì con người đều bình đẳng trước pháp luật ở vn thì không.
    Với những người có học thức có điều kiện đi ra nước ngoài như trên họ hoàn toàn không hiểu gì hoặc cố tình không hiểu gì về những vẫn đề trên chính quê hương đất nước của chính họ, thật đáng buồn và thất vọng

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