This I Believe

Wies - USA
Entered on August 8, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: question
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Hi friends,

I’m so glad to be back. I think two weeks in VN with

my family was enough time for me. Traveling with them

is always a learning experience and fun. But I like

sometime alone once in awhile. This last two weeks I

felt kind of claustrophobic because I was either

surrounded by my sisters and parents at all time or

constantly being solicited by the poor local merchants

in VN who are just trying to make a living.

I was so tired when I got off the plane. I went home

and jumped into bed first thing and now just woke up.

I haven’t yet unpacked, so I thought I put that off

and do some writing instead.

I did some last minute shopping in Saigon downtown and

bought a pair of trendy, versace sunglass from a girl

in her early 20’s. I thought about her when I looked

back at my trip. She sold me a pair of sunglass and I

don’t think she made any profit from it for her owner,

so I felt bad. She asked me to give her a higher

price because the owner will not be happy if she sells

it for the price I offered. She literally begged me.

I thought about raising my offer because she seemed so

nice and desperate to make a sale. But then I changed

my mind about buying after my sister said she didn’t

like the look of it. So I gave it back and she knew

that I no longer wanted it so she didn’t say anything

more but that I can have it for the price I offered

which is $10 in US dollars. I didn’t know how to tell

her that I no longer wanted the sunglass, so I ended

up buying it. She looked so sad when she handed me

the bag. I walked away thinking to myself maybe I

should go back and give her more money. And then I

thought to myself I wished she didn’t sell it to me if

she was going to be so upset about it.

After seeing VN, I feel so lucky to be here in the

United States. VN is so corrupted. I have heard

stories about bribery to obtain certain things or to

get out of unwanted business and witnessed some things

that are so unfair. I was in Ha Noi waiting in line

to see a show and I saw a homeless man walked by a

group of tourist. He was shoved and screamed at by a

policemen to get away from the area. Another incident

occurred where a lady’s baskets of fruits was grabed

and taken away by the policemen because she was trying

to sell it to the tourists. He did it to several

ladies and some managed to struggled and hung on to

their baskets as they ran away with only some fruits

falling out of their baskets. I tried to take

pictures of these incidents while it happened but I

was too afraid he might come after me and question me

or grab my camera away from me.

It didn’t occur to me that I’m in another country and

I can’t speak freely about anything. When I asked the

taxi driver about certain political issues my sister

shushed me and reminded me that I might be reported

and questioned for the things I said. She said she

have read stories where people have been set up and

detained just because the authorities didn’t like them

for whatever reasons. This was all very unsettling to


What is the point of working hard and obtaining

possessions when it can be taken away from you with

little or if any compensation? Although, this is not

a problem for the majority of the people in VN because

from what I saw most people are just getting by and

making just enough to live on.

I didn’t study history or political science like I

should have when I was in school, so I’m going to ask

and make dumb questions and comments. Why is Vietnam

not advance like Korea? During my intermitten flight

stop, I was in Korea for several hours and got a

chance to walk around the city. I couldn’t tell if I

was in a part of the United States or Korea if it

weren’t for the street signs. They seemed so

organized and cleaned. The roads are as good as new.

It was nothing like Saigon where the traffic was a

nightmare, total chaos and confusion for the riders

and the pedestrian. The smell of carbon monoxide on

the street is dizzying. The Koreans definitely have

a better life than the people in VN in terms of

wealth. I saw a McDonald and Starbucks and it

reminded me of the United States. Then I noticed that

all their cars are made from Korea. I tried looking

for a BMW or a Honda but did not see one. I have read

in the papers that Japan has a limit on imported

products from other countries and it looks like Korea

has the same policy.

The people of Vietnam are just as smart as any other

people. The Vietnamese have succeeded far more then

any other culture having just established themselves

in the United States in a short time. For example, I

don’t see a nice established Japanese or Korean

shopping mall like the Vietnamese have in CA. In

terms of academics, they have done just as well.

Again, why is Vietnam, my country, looks so sad

compared to Korea or Japan? I’m sure there is a

logical answer but right now I’m too lazy to research

and find out.

Well, I think that concludes my little stories and

observations of my trip. I hoped you enjoyed reading