Chinese is not my native language

Ohmidog, can someone please get me this T-shirt for my birthday?

'Chinese is not my native language' T-shirt courtesy of topatoco.com.

'Chinese is not my native language' T-shirt courtesy of topatoco.com.

I was born in Australia, and my parents are from Vietnam; there’s not a drop of Chinese blood in me, so stop saying ‘ni hao’ to me, dog-damnit!

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Chao Vietnam: Rent-A-Groom

While writing up my last post, I uncovered an awesome blog about Vietnam, ‘Chao Vietnam’, which is

A look at a remarkable country that has rebuild itself into one of the worlds emerging economies. A fascinating look on how Vietnam survives each day behind their secret rule. The inner workings of their business and lifestyle…

Its most current post, ‘Rent-A-Groom’ (1/7/09), reports on the latest crazy custom, brought about by Vietnamese society’s stigma towards unmarried pregnant women:

Ha Hiep still keeps the wedding photo in her rented room in Binh Duong Province so that anytime her little son asks about his father, she has someone to point to.

The boy believes that his father is away on important business and will return eventually.

Hiep’s parents in far-away Ha Tinh Province are just as deceived and think she is living happily with the handsome young man they met at the wedding.

Only Hiep knows that the nuptials were a sham, and that the man was a total stranger she had met for the first time minutes before the ceremony.

Reading this post made me grateful that I’m living in Australia. Though I might whinge about how strict my parents are (they too would have issues with unmarried mothers), at least I have a choice between my parents’ community and our adopted, Western society. HCMC girls aren’t so lucky.

Bia Om Submissions

Just a quick update: The Lifted Brow is still accepting atlas-themed submissions for Issue Six, which will be published end of this year. As I can’t submit anything myself (damn), I’m looking for some Viet-lovin’, so please, please, please write about bia/karaoke om bars* and what not**. International contributors welcome!

Back to you Charlie.

'Charlie' looking hot in her bia om tee from 'Het Xay - awesome Vietnamese American apparel' (Photo courtesy of Het Xay)

*Note: ‘In Vietnam, bia om (literally ‘beer hug’) restaurants are places where men are entertained by scantily-clad women. They are more well-known for prostitution than fine dining.’ (Chao-Vietnam, 8/12/2008)

**Disclaimer: writing about bia/karaoke om bars does not guarantee you a spot in TLB6. Good writing, however, does.