Cross-Cultural Assignment #1
Vietnamese Recreational Drug Use
Recreational drug use is most often defined as the use of a drug or intoxicant such as alcohol with the intention of creating or enhancing life’s experiences. Such use is controversial, however, often being considered to be also drug abuse, and it is often illegal.
In the mid to late 1920’s Georges Coulet observed the activities of the Vietnamese people on the set of a theatre while composing his book, The material organization of the popular theater among the Annamese. He notes that when the play has been learned by the cast the manager is present at all the performances, where he often smokes opium while giving orders to others. Coulet also saw the actors as users of opium, tobacco and rice alcohol which are provided by the director and the spectators. Mr. Coulet observed some of the artists during a routine day on set as some drank rice liquor and others impassively smoked their cigarettes while another lied down on his camp bed and prepared an opium ball with a long needle in the flame of the lamp.
In comparison our American culture today his some similarities to early 20th century Vietnamese culture. The people that Georges Coulet observed in the theatre production drank alcohol, smoked tobacco, and used opium in a social environment with friends and other theatre members along with their cast manager present and partaking in the festivities. In a similar fashion American culture has parties and social events in which the people attending are given or bring their own alchoholic beverages as well as smoke tobacco in cigarettes. Unlike Vietnamese society present day America does not consider the use of opium acceptable among the majority of people. Instead, marijuana use seems to fit this role well as the present day opium.h51