Everyday life of children
What everyday life is like for children in Vietnam depends to a large extent on exactly where they now live. In the big city, the children spend their free time much like you do if you live in a bigger city. They like to play soccer – soccer is a very popular game in Vietnam – or they race over the curbs with skateboards. They meet up with their friends. They are sitting at the computer and watching television. However, they usually live in much smaller apartments than you may be used to. And they usually live here with their whole family and that is often more people than with us.
Why do some Vietnamese speak German?
German is not necessarily the closest foreign language that is normally taught in Vietnamese schools. But especially in the big cities you will meet people who understand and speak German. Why is that?
Vietnam was and is a socialist state. And in the 1980s there were still two German states, the GDR and the Federal Republic. And the GDR was also a socialist state and was looking for allied friend states. And one such state was Vietnam. In the 1980s in particular, many Vietnamese came to the former GDR to work there. That’s how they learned to speak German. Mostly they worked there for a certain time and then went back to their homeland.
After the fall of the Wall, everything changed because most of the workers no longer had jobs. Some went back, some became black marketeers and some opened restaurants, small shops or one or the other snack bar. But even today many Vietnamese come to Germany as exchange students. There are also some schools in Vietnam where German is taught.
The correct address is difficult
It’s not that easy in Vietnam to just speak to someone you don’t know. Often you are asked about your age or whether you are married. While in German we differentiate between the polite form “Sie” and the friendship form “Du”, it is much more complicated in Vietnamese. Because depending on how old the person is who is being addressed and the person who is being addressed, the addressing changes. Aunt, sister, grandmother, niece, etc. are then the forms of address, in the Vietnamese translation of course. But it can also – if someone looks older or younger – be addressed incorrectly. For more information about Vietnam and Asia, please visit historyaah.
Vietnamese garbage women
It’s good that we have garbage disposal. On certain days of the week a garbage truck comes and picks up organic waste, household waste, paper waste or other rubbish that was usually left in front of the door the evening before. It’s different in Vietnam. If you put the garbage in front of the door before it is picked up, rats or other vermin would come and attack the garbage. The garbage women there make themselves loud and people carry the garbage out onto the street. Someone is already at home in an extended family, and if not, then maybe the maid.
Nobody really adheres to traffic rules in Vietnam. There may be “right of way”, “red lights”, “right before left”, but nobody really pays attention to them. That is why the number of road deaths in Vietnam is four times as high as ours, with a population that is not that different. Anyone who ventures into one of the big cities as a pedestrian should be more than just careful. Above all, the motorcycles that shape the cityscape usually drive the way they like. Incidentally, the Vietnamese transport everything you can imagine on these motorcycles: from living animals to furniture and giant truck wheels. One wheel weighs more than the whole motorcycle.
Face mask desired
What looks a bit funny when you look at the people in the streets, not many wear a mouth guard. It looks a bit like a hospital or a doctor’s. Because there are so many motorcycles and mopeds and the emissions are bad, many people put on face masks to better protect themselves against these toxic fumes. The mouthguard is also worn as face protection, because the Vietnamese do not want to expose themselves to the sun. Just as it is chic here to be nice and brown, in Vietnam it is chic not to be brown. There are no self-tanners on the supermarket shelves, but skin creams with bleach.