Is the old devide still apparent?
Replies: 31 - Last Post: Jun 30, 2012 5:04 PM Last Post By: Roadking95
Jun 23, 2012 1:35 PM
Is the old devide still apparent?Hi all,
I've been reading up on Vietnamese history and it seems as though they have pretty much always been in some sort of war period. I can't wait to visit in November to find out more. I have read that the north folk are still quite hostile to the south and vice versa. I just wanted to know peoples opinion on how apparent this is? I also wondered how big an effect french colonialism had on the country and whether vietnamese people are hostile towards the french as a nation (obviously I'm sure some will be)? Finally where would I find architectural evidence of french occupation?
Jun 23, 2012 3:23 PM
Jun 23, 2012 5:14 PM
2If you are interested in the fall of colonialism .... get to Dien Bien Phu ... fascinating ... particulalrly the somewhat run down museum ....
just remeber that you are in the country of the winners ... and their version of history might be at odds with your version ...
the only nationality dislike seems to be among tourists.... Americans are wandering around stunned that people roll their eyes at them ... Israelis roll their eyes at everyone else.... it doen't occur to Australians that anyone would roll their eyes at them .... Canadians roll their eyes when you call them American ... New zealders roll their eyes when you call them Australian...
then everyone gets over themselves... and enjoys each other .... one of the best parts of travelling !!!!
Jun 23, 2012 5:24 PM
3Even if you go on a tour of DMZ with Americans in the group, apart from calling it the American War, we saw no signs of animosity.
Jun 23, 2012 8:07 PM
4Acyually I deal with quite a few young and old Vietnamese both from the North and the South and I must say that they still talk badly about each other. To believe that they live in harmony is to be naive,they just tolerate each other., I have friends here who I have said to about going somewhere to live and they said they dont like it because there are too many Northeners. In saying that, its not like they go and hit each other, its more a verbal thing then physical.one.
Jun 23, 2012 8:19 PM
5My family is Vietnamese - I haven't spent enough time there to really know for sure but I think there is only a petty rivalry between the North and the South (similar to the rivalry between the US and Canada, or Australia and NZ) rather than there being any real animosity.
I don't think there is animosity towards French people either - I hung out with a French guy in Vietnam and he was treated the same as any other foreigner.
However, I don't think Vietnamese people like Americans that much - but I don't think it is something that Americans in the country will really sense unless they speak the language.
Jun 23, 2012 8:24 PM
Jun 23, 2012 8:34 PM
7OP, you are correct in saying they Vietnamese have been in almost perpetual war throughout their history. While this was largely resistance to foreign domination there was almost constant internal conflict and it was never a single unified country before 1975 so all their references to "re-unification" are misleading. Some believe this internal conflict will return should the communist grip ever be released.
The old animosity definitely still exists but it is mostly the southerners who dislike the northerners. This is especially pronounced amongst southern Catholics who lost the most after 1975. The communists have done a good job of unifying the country but a lousy job of unifying the people. Northerners took over all businesses, the top jobs, real estate etc. and still control it. They destroyed all the southern war memorials and bulldozed their war cemeteries and they still punish the children and even grandchildren of those who fought for the "Puppet Regime" through restrictions on where they can work and, until recently, even whether they could go to college or travel. This is very different to the NZ v Australia kind of dislike which also exists here as in all countries. Here there is a very real historical reason for it.
The Vietnamese have an understandable mistrust and even dislike of foreigners but they keep it well hidden. There is no discernible difference in their feelings about the French and quite a lot of ambivalent fondness for French culture amongst the older generation. It is wrong to think the younger generation don’t know or care about the American War. They have heard a great deal about it growing up and nearly every family was deeply affected. There is still anger and resentment but, again, it is very well hidden and only occasionally surfaces, usually during a heated argument about something else when a comment like “well it’s not surprising considering what you did to us” suddenly appears.
As for colonial architecture unfortunately it is disappearing fast but you can still find good examples in Hanoi and to a lesser extent Saigon. You can occasionally find an old French pill box or guard tower in the countryside. Con Dao is a good place to visit for most architectural evidence as there are some fine French provincial buildings and the notorious prison is well preserved.
Edited by: Bambooboy
Jun 23, 2012 9:01 PM
Jun 23, 2012 9:10 PM
9Well I for one dont like to live in areas of Australia that are full of Kiwis, done that in the 70's and dont feel like repeating it,lol.
Jun 23, 2012 9:37 PM
Jun 23, 2012 10:00 PM
11the OP is a tourist with an interest in war history ... a story that he has probably garnered from western cinema, music... and depending on his age ... school history flavoured by the values of whoever wrote the syllabus .
I have been travelling to Vietnam for more than 10 years and each year I gain a deeper insight and understanding of the Vietnamese people ... also a deeper respect . I can confidently say that my own politics have been significantly changed by the experience .... putting me at odds with some celebrations of the more sacred battle days of Australia
I reminded the OP that he will be a tourist looking at their history .... museums, exhibits , propaganda art and possible the occasional tour guide . He should be respectful of their right to write the history .
I don't believe he will discern any resentment or prejudice deeper than the territorial rivalry already mentioned .
BTW Bamboo boy ... I was sent off to an Australian "reeducation camp" in my teen years ...during the war as it happens . It was called Our Lady of Mercy College ... a Catholic Boarding school . .. and thats only half a joke ... I certainly bear the scars and am better for slewing off (most ) of the baggage instilled in me from Catholic missionaries .
Jun 23, 2012 10:23 PM
Jun 23, 2012 10:44 PM
13I think it is hard to generalise about cultural differences or one culture's attitudes towards another. For example, my cousin is from Saigon but he works in Hanoi and hasn't had any issues but that is just his experience. Obviously it might be different if he was older and interacting more with the older generation.
It's sort of like asking how Jewish people feel about Germans (or asking any nationality how they feel about another) - it would vary from person to person.
Jun 24, 2012 12:13 AM
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