Follow my Existential Exile. . .

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Same same, but different.

So, I've had some time to examine Vietnamese culture, and the everyday life of the people. Not sayin' I'm an expert, I'm just making observation. There are definitely overt differences in Southeast Asian life, some which are the affect of the religious beliefs and the tropical weather (monks walking around barefoot). But in general people are people. We wake up, brush are teeth (some of us), put on our professional clothes, take our kids to work, fight crazy traffic to avoid getting into an accident and just deal with the everyday madness called life.

Many ex-pats living in Vietnam get frustrated with the laziness, laid back atmosphere, "VP" time, and overall clueless nature of the people. Sometimes it's a language barrier, sometimes Vietnamese really don't make an effort to understand what you say, even when you try to speak Vietnamese. But communication break downs happened all the time, all over the world. I just recently had an issue getting my bachelor degree legalized. Nobody at the school knew the correct process, and I spent several weeks fussing at everyone from the Director to the HR manager, trying to understand what I needed to do. Upon my return to the US, the process wasn't much different. I go to the bank in Atlanta to get my notary stamp, and the chick behind the counter doesn't add a signature to her stamp. The stamp must have a signature. Of course I didn't know this till after I fed ex the letter and degree to the legalization office in Chicago. But, the main question is, "Why didn't the notary know how to do her job?" I mean really, am I back in Vietnam?

The break down continues as I discover the state of Georgia does not give a secretary of state seal to documents that are not from the state of Georgia, and my degree is from Ohio. Great.
The process, which should have been finished with my initial fed ex to Chicago, instead took the entire 3 weeks time that I spent in the States, all because nobody knew the process. So mistakes happen everywhere. Nobody is perfect. Though this city is not one I would want to live in for the rest of my life, I am here in HCMC now, and the now is what I need to enjoy. Not what it could or should be, because I can't change it, especially not in a communist society.
You know the saying, "if you can't beat em, join em."

Now, Seoul, Korea, that is a city I could live in. . .

1 comment:

  1. Paperwork in general is an all round pain in the ass, whats worse is if your name is different on your certificates, and have to prove your identity.

    It must be stressful