Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Invasion of English language?

I just read a editors comment on VietnamNet Bridge about the threat of English overcoming Vietnamese language. I tried to send a comment via the website, but got an error back. So i post it here:

Dear Editor, what I don't understand in this country is the lack of ability to even think about if others may have the same problem and how they solved it.
First: English is not a threat, because nearly nobody really speaks English. Second: Vietnam is part of the planet earth, people traveling around this planet. It's a continuos cultural exchange. Like coffee came to Vietnam, Or cars. electricity. so do some English words. You will find english words in German, French words in English, Chinese words in Vietnamese. Instead of complaining about foreign influence Vietnam should take advantage of. India is developing so well because of the English skills there. Even people in Cambodia speak better English. The lack of English in Vietnam is an obstacle for some investors. But: I agree that schools must teach Vietnamese. It must also remain as the official and main language. But if you communicate with the world outside, some words may come back.

For any reason I see a lot of complains coming up about any foreign influence. Stricter Visa regulations, investments process changes, import restrictions. I concerned about it.
Once the german wall felt 1989, people in eastern Germany complained about the foreigners (a lot of them Vietnamese) allegedly taking their jobs. That was nonsense, Frankfurt City alone had more foreigners living there than whole eastern Germany. But, for some people it was easier to complain about the foreigners instead of solving the problem and just creating jobs. Yes, we can learn from history to make it better, not the same.


Tim said...

I agree with your final paragraph Thomas. I've been in VN for nearly 7 years and have never felt less welcome than I do now. You sense it in things like the visa regulations, the Facebook ban, the hassle regularly meted out to foreign-run businesses, the looks from locals in the street.

Expats and tourists are tolerated because of their spending power, but only tolerated, nothing more. Compare the comforts and infrastructure of a place like Siem Reap to those of Saigon or Nha Trang. No comparison whatsoever.

I am a foreigner of nearly 7 yrs' experience, with a VNese wife, a half-VNese daughter, and my own business that employs local staff and brings in foreign tourists and their money, and I am still told I have to leave the country every 3 months to renew my visa. That says it all.

cookingpractice said...

I am a Vietnamese, living in Italy, let me tell you the truth! 1st, you guys shouldnt use "the Vietnamese" or "the country" in this concept, since we-citizen cannot open our mouth to say a word about how to make law or how to issue VISA ..., 2nd the issue "feeling less welcome" is not really true! In fact i haven't seen any really less welcome from the locals to my husband -a white guy at all, maybe there are much more critic and prejudice toward me - a vietnamese woman with a western guy, it is an ashame for those who did it, somehow, the characteristic of Vietnam is tending to stay with their folks, so if someone is different, they would get the negative attitude, but i would never let ones i even dont know their name effect my life.
About Visa, excuse me! Which country is difficult than VN, please! When we travel abroad, it is not merely filing for VISA,we have a long list of thing to do, some include health check, some include finance statement, with interview blah blah blah. And even we have VIsa already, during the stop over, we will be kept aside and questioned like a criminal! So who is less welcome?? But everything has its explanation, and i understand due to some illegal immigration, those country put harsh control on our yellow skin, it is totally understandable, though somehow it caused me uncomfort! FYI: even i have house or money in the bank in VN, i cannot have a 6 month VISA so dont mention about 3 years or whatever number of "year".
ABoout job, trust me, it is much more easier for you to find ajob in VN than a VN in EU or US.
In another side, i do appreciate those who came to my country, invest, create job, and i understand that the government really sucks in paperwork, we- VN cannot stand it, so i totally understand this point.
AH, the look of local on the street. C'moon, how many years VN open to the world??? not much! So certainly people would feel weird to see someone different from them. Like me, when i travel in ITaly or some where rural in EU, i feel like they are going to take a pic of me and put me on the newspaper. The kids alaso tried to say "hello" to me when i pass by. It is just very normal!! don't take it an issue!
Enjoy your stay :)

Thomas Wanhoff said...

@cookingpractise: Germany has about 6 million foreigners with nearly the same population as Vietnam, which has officially 50.000 foreigners. Germany hosts 83.000 Vietnamese. Yes, it expelled also illegal VN workers.
The point is: Vietnam needs foreigners desperately, especially high skilled ones. The country is not yet able to develop and improve without foreign support. That is by the way nothing bad, it's just reality. And: we are part of one world, as you may experience right now in Italy.
The main reason why you may be treated differently
on borer checkpoints then white guys, is that the chance that you are an illegal immigrant with a tourist visa is way higher than for me. It explains it, that doesnt mean I like that practise, I actually condem it.

Tim said...

Cooking - when I talk about the looks from locals in the street, I'm not talking about the gormless staring that happens in many places, I'm used to that by now. I'm referring more to the fact that when I first came to Saigon, people used to smile & say hello. That is increasingly rare these days, and scowls are becoming more common.

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