The ex-pat life in Saigon

Living in Saigon has almost always been a pleasant experience for me. Yet, when I go back to the USA and tell people I live in Nam, they look at me like I have three heads. On the other hand, nobody has ever asked me why I live in Saigon while in Saigon. In fact, most people I meet here who are not living here yet, make plans to do so.
I think the reason is that this place is very relaxed and the people are very friendly. It is true that it is mostly males (usually middle aged) that make plans to move here and that reason is to find a girl. But there are many others who just got tired of the rat race and find much better opportunities here such as the ability to start a business with much less competition. The only hinderance to starting a business here is that a Vietnamese partner is still needed but most men/boys find this “business partner” in a spouse.

Their usual complaints about the west are the rat race and general restrictiveness of the west. They have gone to their office, put in 14 hour days and yet still have made only middle manager by midlife. They take a look at all they have accumulated such as a house, car, and high salary but then ask themselves; Is this it? Here in Vietnam they have dreams of opening their own business and taking trips to the beach or golf course every week. In the West, I believe much of their pride is built upon their career, and how they look to their peers. They are constantly defined by “what they do” instead of who they are. Here, job status is also important but the negative feelings of not having a great job usually go away since most of the population do not have a fraction of what they do. Therefore, they can feel rich here. As for personal relationships, the women are much more docile and the guys can feel in control.

One can look at this in two ways. One is that men are generally weak and need to feel like “the man of the house” when they are often deprived of this in the west. The other is that many simply prefer a non “ball-buster” for a wife. From my experience in the West, most ladies are attracted to power and prefer the men with the high paying jobs. Most men in the world are not in this situation and could possibly feel like failures. However, here they can regain a little bit of this status and many women want them just for the color of their skin and the perception that they have money. I’m not arguing that this is good or bad, but just the way it is.

I can predict some ladies back home reading this post and what their reaction might be which will most likely be anger. Then I could get a lot of angry comments about this post saying all sorts of things which would simply prove my point. Women in the west are simply more aggressive then they are here in South East Asia. Men have lost much of their power in the west and the rising status and power of women have made many middle aged men feel like they are weak. Perhaps most men are weak?

As for myself, I do not prefer a docile girl. I like to be challenged in a personal relationship but not in a direct way which is good for work but not so great in personal relationships. I prefer the Japanese way which is through compromise and constantly trying to figure out what the other person’s thoughts are and trying to keep the relationship “harmonious” as the Japanese say.

Perhaps, many women in the West are seen as aggressive because they believe that they must be aggressive or direct in order to have power. Many also look at Japanese women as docile but they completely misunderstand the Japanese women. The Japanese wives are usually the ones to control the purse strings and actually give their husbands an allowance! Yet, they would never contradict their husbands in public and let him feel like he is in control even though it is usually the woman who has the real control.

To compare, I have experienced numerous women contradicting their husband when we are talking about the club. They flat out say that their husband is wrong in front of me! If the husband is “well trained” then they never make a decision and constantly defer to the wife. (The two ladies I’m thinking about were super aggressive!!!) But I have never met a Japanese couple or Asian couple in general where the wife has ever publicly contradicted their husband. If the wife is not in agreement she will usually tell the husband privately and in a more gentle way. Some women in the west may regard this as weak but this is untrue.

By Mateo de Colón

Global Citizen! こんにちは!僕の名前はマットです. Es decir soy Mateo. Aussi, je m'appelle Mathieu. Likes: Languages, Cultures, Computers, History, being Alive! (^.^)/