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Vietnamese Customs and Taboos
1. It is polite to remove your shoes upon entering someones home, but not necessary upon entering someone's shop.

2. When offering something to someone older or of higher status than you, you should use both hands, not just one.

3. The youngest person at the table serves everyone else, starting with the oldest or most important. Sometimes, if you're an important guest, people will choose the best parts of something and put it in your dish. It shows you're respected.

4. Eating is a big part of life in Vietnam and lunch is a very important part of the day. Don't expect to get anything done between 11-1pm

5. Chewing noisily and eating with ones mouth open is not culturally offensive of impolite.

6. In Western culture, picking ones nose is considered rude and disgusting, yet picking ones teeth is quite acceptable. Well, it's the direct opposite here. So don't be alarmed when you're chatting to someone and they suddenly pop their finger in their nostril. You may wish to cover your mouth with your hand while using a toothpick so as not to be considered disgusting yourself.

7. Vietnamese women rarely drink alcohol or smoke. So, as a western women one needs to be careful when drinking or smoking in public, in case they get a bad impression of you. Some poeple don't mind, but you need to be aware of this as it might lower your status in their eyes.

8. Losing face is a big thing here, so do not lose your temper in public. If you do, you will have lost face (respect) in the eyes of whomever you were with. Regaining this respect is virtually impossible.

9. Bargaining for ANYTHING is the way to go, unless you're in a supermarket or restaurant. Considering that haggling is part of life here, it only makes sense that the more you haggle, the better your business relationship will be.

10. Ho Chi Ming is a national hero and held in high respect. Either show the same respect or steer clear of his name entirely.

11. Vietnamese are extremely superstitious. Photographing groups of 3 people are considered unlucky and the first person to visit your stall/shop in the morning is supposed to hold the luck for the day's income.

12. Vietnamese may nod their head in agreement, even if they don't understand you. This may cause some confusion, as it is hard to know whether they really understand or agree with you or not.

13. Many students may avoid eye contact or speak quietly and passively. This is how they show respect to their teachers.

14. Vietnamese add the word "oi" after a name.

15. Crossing the index and middle finger is a very offensive sign in Vietnamese custom. It doesn't mean hopefullness like it does to us.

16. Asking personal questions such as "how much do you earn?" "how old are you", or "how much do you weigh?" are quite acceptable questions in Vietnamese culture (and often included on resumes). They don't mind telling you how fat you look either.

We've been warned. Now let's start picking our noses.

*taken from Apollo's Introduction Guide for New Teachers
Posted by Jennifer Rumbaugh at 7:36 PM [pic][pic]


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The Polite and the Rude[1]
John Hooker
Graduate School of Industrial Administration
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, USA
      August 1998

International managers are aware that business etiquette varies enormously around the world.  These minor bits of behavior reflect fundamental differences in culture.  By understanding their source, one can not only function with greater confidence but can begin to understand what holds the culture together.  Larger behavior patterns that seemed odd or irrational begin to make sense.

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