Vietnam: Hanoi and The People


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I used to live in this city, where you can find tons of interesting things that you can never find anywhere else. In which I find the most compelling must be the Hanoian people. There is a great variety here. People say Vietnamese people everyone looks the same. Take a look closer! The exotic Asian look might blind you but you will see they are different in a certain point.

If you have known, Asian loves to have ‘white’ skin. I mean, they prefer to have a lighter skin than a dark brown skin. Vietnamese people do have this favour too. The reason is simply about the way they want other people look at them. Light skin – ‘you work in an office, have a good job’; Brown skin – ‘oh, you must work really hard either on a field or always on a go’. It sounds quite funny but yes, that’s how they think. However, somehow it actually describes part of what they do. If you observe closely on each person pass by, there are women carrying big packages on a bicycle, old men trying to sell lotteries, men in suits, etc. This is what I mean with being different in a certain point. Hanoian (or Vietnamese people in general) work really hard. Everyone has their own businesses. Besides the higher social class with suits on, Hanoian people could be in a really low position. Some lucky ones have a job owning a shop, or driving taxi. Some actually work days and nights but only have the wage even less than a low position officer. Sometimes I wonder how they can handle everything in their lives with such a small amount of money.

Let’s get back to the jobs part. There are various jobs in Hanoi that you can’t imagine that they are even exist. I couldn’t tell them all, but I gotta say, thanks to them we have all the abilities to fulfil our needs while either living or travelling here.

About Hanoian people – I see ‘us’ in different perspectives. As a Hanoian born, allow me to use “we” in the following lines. There is a contrast between Hanoian before and now. What I learned about Hanoian people – as down to earth, kind, warm hearted, caring for each other – were way before the time I was born. I mean, I don’t say we are not like that. We are still warm hearted people and very hospitable. However, there is a certain extent, we have changed. I think, we only see this change through tourism. Tourists find Hanoian people are not as friendly as Saigon people. I have to admit, I see the same thing. I cudgel my brain about how much Hanoian people have changed. Looking around and I realised, the huge amount of people that we normally communicate with in Hanoi is from the rural area. As my perspective, they are less likely educated and they are quite aggressive in getting money. I’m not saying they have made Hanoi change that much but it gotta be one of the reasons, doesn’t it?
‘Do you know corruption is also one of the reasons?’ – T. asked.
After 3o minutes explaining, I got lost in the whole complication of Hanoi’s problems. Saigon is more developed than Hanoi. Its tourism is way ahead of us, thanks to the French reign. Therefore, the people there have a higher ability to earn more money and develop the city in any dimension. Somehow this leads to being more friendly in the South of Vietnam? I can’t tell but it really makes the people there happier and more relaxed in making money. In contrast, people from Northern Vietnam are more hostile in earning a living.

In my heart, I know we are great people. Because of some circumstances, we have to work hard for our livelihoods. And that’s what is all about. We could be someone sitting along the road with some small wooden chairs trying to sell tea or snacks, or carrying yokes around the city… I know that everyone all over the world has their own difficulties in living but I really admire Vietnamese people and how hard they work to afford a tough city life. Even though how fast the city has developed, Hanoian people still keep their own tradition and culture. In the end, everything I have mentioned comes from culture. And they are making the culture and profit us as travellers to see and understand a country better.

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11 thoughts on “Vietnam: Hanoi and The People

    1. Hi John,
      I hope you are well!
      That was something I observed during my little time in Hanoi and also the time I lived there. I still want to learn further about it.
      Thanks for popping by!
      Cheers

    1. Well Aussie has a different lifestyle of course. You guys have more a chilled living, compared to the hectic Hanoi. They say HCMC is crazier but they are both living under a pressure of impressing other people through their living standard.

  1. One reason is that in the past, most of people in the South of Vietnam were farmers. Therefore, they tended to be more open to people, more friendly and it’s easier for them to belong to a community(such as a village). On the other hand, Hanoians (particularly Hanoi!) are mostly well educated people. This makes them less open and more thoughtful cuz they don’t want trouble from others. However, they are considered to be more subtle once you get a close relationship with them 🙂

    1. Thank you for clarifying this. However, I’m not really sure if that would be right about Hanoians. Maybe because they are more well educated which makes them more arrogant and being a Hanoian is a pride… I think, the majority of people living in Hanoi is not really from Hanoi. They are from the countrysides where people are less well educated and coming to Hanoi makes them a different person. One true fact, when you get to know them, they are the funniest people and they are very welcoming.

      1. The arrogance of being a Hanoian mostly comes from those who do not come from Hanoi 😀 Besides, Hanoians are not that open so you can’t see them being arrogant (even if they are a bit 😉 ). And I think it’s okay to be arrogant inside, just don’t show it off.
        Tbh, it’s hard to define the word “Hanoian” cuz there are not many people having their family living in Hanoi for like 4-5 generations anymore.

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