Chitchatting the Vietnamese way

Chit-chatting has become a hard-to-break habit of most Vietnamese.

It has some benefits, such as reducing our stress, helping us socialize better and get more relationships.

Moreover, it is an effective way of getting and exchanging information.

But when people chit-chat too much, especially in the wrong place and at the wrong time, it does more harm than good.

Here are some examples:

Recently I had a chance to attend a meeting of the teenage contestants in a competition held by a foreign teacher.

The contestants were selected students from a very famous high school in HCM City.

It was actually a class, an interesting one, and at the beginning we all participated very enthusiastically.

But after a while, there was a part in which each and every of us would share our own thoughts, and some students who had finished their part turned and talked to each other while others were presenting their ideas.

The teacher at first tried to them ignore because she thought that they would stop soon.

But as the talk went on and on, she eventually lost her temper and tried the best to be polite, she “shhhhd” them, told them to keep quiet and even had to say:

“ Please pay attention!”

They actually did stop, but just for a moment, and then started chatting again.

I guess they do not know that such thing can leave a bad impression about Vietnam that could hardly be erased from the foreigners’ mind.

I suddenly remembered some of my dad’s stories I’d been told, in which some foreigners jokingly concluded conversations with a phrase which sounds mocking to us:

“Only in Vietnam!”

In some meetings attended by both Vietnamese and foreigners, some Vietnamese, including and especially some V.I.Ps, keep “whispering” constantly with the person sitting next to them.

The foreigners are surprised at such manners and they can’t help but be pissed off with them.

The funny thing is, those people are exactly the future version of the teenage contestants mentioned above.

Not to mention the fact that in meetings that include only Vietnamese, that not-so-nice behavior happens even more often and also more “naturally”, without any hesitation or embarrassment, because everyone does it!

I remember there is a saying that goes:

“…Actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.”

So if we don’t want to be a bad-mannered person who everyone else thinks of as an uncivilized man/woman, we should fix that habit right away.

Talking during such inappropriate times is not a habit of just a few people, but of a majority of Vietnamese, from teenagers to adults, from students to people in high position, and is spreading like a disease and it seems that day after day, they are becoming more familiar with it.

Not everyone has this habit, but when most Vietnamese do it, the foreigners will surely form a misconception that such bad manners are local custom.

While trying to build a good image aboutVietnam in foreigners’ eyes, we should not forget such hard-to-accept behaviors, however minor they might be…

 NGUYỄN BẢO TRÂN

Source: Tuổi Trẻ Online

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