When one things of the term “Dragon Lady” the image that comes to mind is that of some old, rich, powerful Chinese lady puffing away on the long black filter holding her cigarette. She is cunning, cruel and calculating, but has become this way due to the hardships endured as she scratched and clawed her way to the top with no help.
In Vietnam, these kinds of full fledged, 2000 pound fire breathing Dragon Ladies do not exist. However, there is a smaller breed of dragon, which resembles a mere baby dragon next to the full fledged China version. Although small in stature, and only able to breathe small puffs of fire, they are able to do so in such rapid succession and with so little provocation that they can almost as dangerous as the Chinese version.
The creation of these Dragon Ladies in Vietnam and China are exactly the opposite. In China, the true Dragon Ladies usually made their own way and became nasty due to these battles making it to the top. In Vietnam however, the ladies who have “made it” economically by themselves are usually outgoing, fun, smart ladies. But one must be careful because upon first glance it is difficult to tell the Vietnamese dragon lady from these the Vietnamese female entrepreneur.
1. They both ride in BMWs
2. They both wear fashionable clothes
So what exactly is the difference??? The Vietnamese Dragon lady was most likely poor to begin with but has married a rich man and to compensate for her lack of confidence becomes extremely nasty to everyone except other rich people.
In my place of employment, there was a recent influx of Vietnamese rich business people and this has really taken a toll on our Vietnamese staff. I cannot understand Vietnamese so these new members do not talk with me and also being a foreigner, they really can’t be rude to me. But our staff continually tells me stories about how horrible these dragon ladies are and how extremely rude. It had never happened to me personally but did for the first time last week.
Our club belongs to the Saigon Darts League and we hold matches at our venue from time to time. Two weeks ago was the first time for us to hold a match and since I set up the team and darts area in our club and it was all my project and idea, I had to not only be the darts team captain but also make sure everything ran smoothly from an operational side. Towards the end of the match, while we were playing the team game, I heard a desperate plea from one of our terrified looking Vietnamese waitresses.
“Mr. Matthew, Mr. Matthew!!!!!!!”
Apparently, a real life Vietnamese Dragon Lady had revealed herself and was devouring (berating) our staff.
I had to leave the match and placed myself between the dragon and staff who was on the verge of tears. I asked what the problem was and apparently this lady had been waiting 10 minutes for the change from her bill. As this was the first time we had held a tournament in our place of venue, there were going to be some minor problems and the guys from the other team knew this. I asked how much her change was and it was a whopping 80 cents.
I payed her out of my own pocket but that did not stop the dragon from belching fire. Finally I got tired of the nonsense, and looked at her friend and said,
“Is this some dude’s girlfriend or what?”
It was a little bit of a putdown because the other team was mostly foreigners and the bar girls who go out with these middle aged drunks are always so colorful and once they get a whiff of the foreigners money automatically think they are better than everyone else and look down on other Vietnamese.
But it was worse than I imagined when her friend got a nasty look on her face and said,
“It’s a WIFE!!!”
Oh shit!!!!!!!! It turned out to be the most dangerous dragon of all!!!! A bar girl-cum-wife (pardon the pun)!!!!!
Therefore, in the interest of making the first Darts event at our club a successful one I had to turn on a full blast of charm, smiles, handshakes along with an outpouring of apologies. She accepted the apologies and walked off haughtily. A few of the lesser drunk guys saw what was happening and apologized and I could also tell that the husband was also a little embarrassed.
However, next time we play this team, it will be at a different bar in the city and I will no longer be playing host, but will simply be wearing the hat of our darts team captain and should the dragon appear again, I’ll be sure to slay her quickly with one of my “black arrow” darts.
Dragon Ladies Beware! It is not a good idea to castigate drunken darts players!!! But usually these dragon ladies go for easy pray like the waiters and waitresses.