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Vietnam Warning

 
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BedTiger



Joined: 22 Aug 2006
Posts: 55

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 1:37 am    Post subject: Vietnam Warning Reply with quote

This may come across as an extremely negative post, but it is factual if you plan on living in Vietnam. At this time I can only warn anyone who is thinking of coming here to teach or work to pick another destination.

Crime is on an alarming increase and foreigners are increasingly being targeted. Yes, I am fully aware that the locals are all targeted for crime and theft, but the criminals are quickly starting to focus on the expats as they are aware we have absolutely NO protection living here. If we do report this to the police, who most often are aware of the perpetrators (in Vietnam, files are kept on most people including, work history, government views etc....) yet we are again violated by having to pay a bribe to maybe have our passport returned. In many cases it is the criminals who just stole your wallet who give the police your cash so they can keep the (your) valuables. The only way to have any justice in this country is to pay the police a bigger bribe than the criminals but this is not really Justice is it ? Unlike Thailand, there is no tourist police as the Vietnamese government does not really see an importance in protecting any foreigners living/visiting here unless they represents a significant dollar amount (foreigner investment, but this is severely stifled by the corruption and government dis-trust of foreigners). I tried to contact my embassy regarding what avenues expats have regarding crime/theft and the answer I received was "here, you are on your own. Try to pay off the police to help you if it is an emergency, but other that that good luck"

http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/job/viewtopic.php?t=42896&sid=36a49a39dab471da0cf715020e50e825
http://www.eslcafe.com/forums/job/viewtopic.php?t=42896&sid=36a49a39dab471da0cf715020e50e825
http://www.saigonesl.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=457
http://www.saigonesl.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=417
http://www.thanhniennews.com/society/?catid=3
http://www.smartraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Vietnam
http://www.lucieblackmantrust.org/Vietnam.shtml

Another major problem in Vietnam is the dangerous driving conditions. Basically every time you take a motorbike taxi or dare to drive yourself you are playing Russian roulette with your life. The complete disregard for human life is appalling on the roads and the average Vietnamese has a disgusting "life is cheap" attitude that cannot be ignored when being on the road. Think about this...100 people die a day in road accidents ! 500 children die a month in traffic accidents ! (don't forget this number doesn't represent people just being severely injured) 75% of hospital funds are consumed by traffic related injuries. The unbelievable part about all this death, is a large portion of it is completely avoidable ! You can't convince me that the V. government doesn't know these figures yet they could not care in the slightest. The police who stand on the corners do absolutely nothing. They are only there to randomly select "rich looking" drivers (as told to my Vietnamese friend by the cop, when asked why she was singled out) and forced to pay a bribe. In the above case, she was asked by the police not to make it obvious (paying the bribe) and to hide the money in her ID papers. Yet these same police (and I use the term loosely) stand by as, people run red lights, swerve thought traffic, make left turns from the far right lane and over load their motos dangerously (most often it children hanging like a key chain as the bike is going 50 Kph). If police were a little smarter they could be making millions of dollars by actually fining the people BREAKING THE LAW. Image the money to be made by fining even a small percentage of the people not wearing a helmet (it is the law) or running red lights, it would be the police driving the $200000USD Mercedes and not the corrupt officials who are only paid a tenth of that annually. If "only" 75 people were being killed everyday in non-traffic related accidents with no actions to prevent it, it would be considered mass-murder or genocide to many people. And knowing the amount of innocent children being killed every month only makes me sick when I see a whole family on a bike with the driver running a red light with no regard for any ones safely including his own family.

Just yesterday I watched as some guy in a car, pushed a motorbike driver off the road (who took a severe tumble) and drove away LAUGHING ! Remember if someone can afford a car and you only have a motorbike, your life is worth less than theirs according to Vietnamese. My Vietnamese boss even forced me to put a card in my wallet, asking if I am severely injured or killed to contact my employer (so they can contact my family) and they will receive a reward for this action. Normally people are just left on the side of the road (outside the major cities) and being a foreigner my wallet will be taken before my body is ever recovered. Many "foreigner" deaths are never reported and are covered up the government. (Recently a foreigner was found in the Dawoo Hotel in Hanoi with his throat slit and personal belonging missing. Never mind this was never reported in the papers, his employer found this out by going to the hotel and looking for him. This person was also told that an "on going investigation" is taking place and that they didn't need to id the body as the police were taking care of it.). Sorry to go off topic there it is relevant.

http://www.wpro.who.int/media_centre/press_releases/pr_20040405.htm
http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_1060.html
http://www.helmets.org/vietnam.htm
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-8661964711749689622&q=vietnam+war+on+children

Now before you start the "if you don't like it go home" garbage, don't worry once I finished my contract I will be gone. I am not some disgruntled English teacher but after witnessing the "life is cheap" attitude so prevalent here I have decided it is time to move on. Funny with all the communist propaganda all over the place and the glee from beating the "Americans", it seems that one driving ambition of the Vietnamese is the almighty US dollar and all the western influences this implies. This in short sums up Vietnam for me and I am not American.
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slug93



Joined: 07 Jan 2006
Posts: 38

PostPosted: Sun Sep 03, 2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: .. Reply with quote

i once saw on that big bridge connecting dist 1 to dist 4, two motobike with adults and kids. One parent on one of the motobike PASSED a baby WHILE DRIVING to the other motobike!! crazy!!

You talk w/ any local and they ALL have a story of crime that they witness or have been a victim of. the "good" news about crime n vn, is IF you've been a victim of theft, you can WITH BRIBES OR CONNECTIONS get some/much of your stuff back. BUT you'll have to report it to the local police station ASAP AND make it known that you will "PAY" to get it back. So understand the use of money to "grease palms" is very critical in living/working in vn. especially to police or other public institution.

I have a friend who is a reporter for a tv station n vn. she once told that, it's commonly accepted that she(and other reporters) never get ticketed by traffic police. because if they stop her, they will let her go once she shows proof(via phone call) of what she does(reporter). Ironically, a TV station did do a program on traffic cop corruption(cops taking bribes in lieu of traffic fines) n hcm. which lead to the firing of several policemen and demotion of many others.

so living in vn, your quality of life and "power" depends on two factors, MONEY & CONNECTION. sure every country is like that, but in USA, corruption is at a higher level(the average citizen cant bribe your way out of a traffic ticket). in vn, the corruption is SOOO ingrained in the local culture/society. that average/local people understand the rules of the game AND come to accept it as part of their lives.

Another friend i have is adding more room to his house in dist 9, but his 3 floor is NOT up to building code. the building inspector came by and mention that he is violating building code. what did he do? he gave some money to the city inspector and got a city permit! haha

for a communist country, vn is very capatilistic(without the laws protecting consumer or small business). so if you are a big business w/ good connections, you can easily squash small competitors that dont have good connections. some english centers(ILA, VATC, HOA MY) are big and powerful(connected) that can process govt paperwork(work permit) faster than other places.
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janie29



Joined: 20 Aug 2006
Posts: 58

PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2006 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I lived in Vietnam from 2004-05. Luckily I never had any problems or runnings with criminals, but I have to say that traffic is indeed utterly APPALLING!! I did end up getting hit by a motorbike once. The *beep* just kept going. Twisted Evil I'm from New York where we also have bad traffic, but believe me Vietnam takes the cake.
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Thay Jim



Joined: 13 Dec 2004
Posts: 13
Location: HCMC, Viet Nam

PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2006 1:23 pm    Post subject: Red Tiger's rantrum Reply with quote

I have lived in HCMC for six years now, and I feel Red Tiger's pain. The traffic, corruption, noise and insanity brings out the worst in all of us.

There is no quick fix to VN's social problems. And most of the folks appear to be quite content with the way things are. So, no sense in getting angry at the folks. Knowing their passive-aggressive nature, they probably enjoy watching some nuoc ngoai lose his temper.

I have not had any trouble with crime. But I don't set myself up for trouble. Public drunkenness, even going on a bit of a piss, is like waving a red flag to the local bad boys. Drunks are easy targets. And prancing around with pricey iPods and laptop computers is a sure-fire way to attract attention. Finally, living in Pham Ngu Lao or any other tourist area is like going to the front line of a battle field.

Let me share a trick I picked while watching an old George C. Scott film: Check out the scene when Scott (portraying General Patton) rolls into a military outpost in his halftrack. He gives the young soldiers a glaring scowl that would make Superman tinkle in his tights! I practiced the stare and use it on the local boys. It scares the be-Jesus out of them. Remember, VN men are abject cowards. Exploit that weakness.

If things continue to drive you nuts, Cool-off in Cambo. I spend a weekend in PP or Snookyville and unwind when I am stressing.
It's more laid back there - and the Khmers are definitely better drivers than the Viets.
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Proffeshnial Teachman



Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Wed Oct 25, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with a large part of the original post but I found that making friends with the 'bad boys' on Bui Vien and PNLaos and everyone in general made it far easier to live there. In point of fact where are the 'bad boys?' There are some irritating bods on there but no more than that.

I find the V'mese delightful when you get to know them individually.

Crime: didn't encounter anything but petty theft
Traffic: dreadful as highlighted
People: great (but not where money is concerned)

Conclusion: Vietnam is a great place (2003-2006) but maybe not to live/work as it drives you/me/everyone insane!

Now in GB by the way Wink
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happeningthang



Joined: 08 Oct 2003
Posts: 49

PostPosted: Thu Oct 26, 2006 12:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just as a matter of curiousity, and budgeting (I'm on my way to VN), how much do bribes cost you??

If I lose a laptop, for example, $1000USD value, how much will it cost me to get it back? How do they decide the price?
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lexpat



Joined: 23 May 2004
Posts: 50
Location: Meh

PostPosted: Fri Oct 27, 2006 3:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

happeningthang wrote:
Just as a matter of curiousity, and budgeting (I'm on my way to VN), how much do bribes cost you??

If I lose a laptop, for example, $1000USD value, how much will it cost me to get it back? How do they decide the price?


It's a communist country. From each according to his (or more often her) abililty to give, to each according to her (or more often his) need. Or something like that. They will decide by how rich you look and how much they think they can get, of course. Prices are way elastic in VN. I once saw a Japanese guy pay five bucks for a bowl of street pho that cost less than a dollar for your basic western teaching devil. And locals pay even less than that.

Hey P. Teachman! How's life in Guinea-Bissau?
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Proffeshnial Teachman



Joined: 10 Jan 2006
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2006 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

lexpat wrote:
happeningthang wrote:
Just as a matter of curiousity, and budgeting (I'm on my way to VN), how much do bribes cost you??

If I lose a laptop, for example, $1000USD value, how much will it cost me to get it back? How do they decide the price?


It's a communist country. From each according to his (or more often her) abililty to give, to each according to her (or more often his) need. Or something like that. They will decide by how rich you look and how much they think they can get, of course. Prices are way elastic in VN. I once saw a Japanese guy pay five bucks for a bowl of street pho that cost less than a dollar for your basic western teaching devil. And locals pay even less than that.

Hey P. Teachman! How's life in Guinea-Bissau?


Hi Lexpat!

It's colder than I imagined, the food is terrible, but guess what? - All my family and friends are here! Where are you now? Still in Cali or somewhere far more sensible?
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lexpat



Joined: 23 May 2004
Posts: 50
Location: Meh

PostPosted: Mon Nov 20, 2006 1:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ah Vietnam...What a paradise it now seems. Teachman, I have returned to Asia from Hawaii and am presently teaching 4 and 5 year olds in Harbin, China, where it is cold and getting colder.

Oh to go to a cafe! To ride a motorcycle! MOD EDIT To be noticed at all! Even by a thief on two wheels!

Here we teacher types are ignored, and robbed in far subtler ways. Sure, my innovative flashcard technique (I make 'em play Twister as I call out the words - they get their little hands and feet all tangled up trying to point at each one) has been a success, and yes I'm looking forward to playing the game at my uni class and indulging my passive aggressive tendencies, and yes I have my own free apartment. But it doesn't at all make up for the joys of living in a nice, former colony of my civilization where the coffee is good and the citizens, though they may hate us, aspire to be like us.

Vietnam? I miss it.
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