In English, you just simply say “hi”, or “hello” to a person.
In Vietnamese, you can say “hello”, or “chao” [jao] , or “xin chao”.
Hello is universally accepted in Vietnam. But not “Bonjour”. I can’t believe how nearly 100 years of French domination in Vietnam and the Vietnamese no longer, neither ever accept greet “Bonjour” or “Bonsoir”. But Hello is so naturally accepted.
Yes, “Hello” is considered very polite at any ages in Vietnam now aday.
But to correctly greeting Vietnamese people, it is most important with how you say “hi” to a very specific age group and sex.
There are many ways to say “hi” to Vietnamese people.
Same age group. Two persons can say “Hello”.
But Older aged person never say “hello” first to a younger person.
Same age group. If you are a guest, walking into a cuisine.
You say “Chao Co” or “Chao Chi”, if the waiter is a female.
You say “Chao Anh”, if the waiter is a male. There is rarely “Chao Chu” (Hi uncle, or young man).
A younger person says hi to an older man: “Chao Bac” (like Hello Grand Uncle)… if you know the older man is actually agely older than your father. Else “Chao Chu” if the man is likely younger than your father.
Vietnam’s way of greeting is considered a way to show how much bonding you are to a person. It can be very complicated, yet, that is also the secrect to making Vietnamese a natural spy when foreign invaders intercept Vietnamese society. That story can be regarded to Pham Xuan An of Vietnam.
There are many religions in Vietnam. Each geographic region could have been influenced by a specific religion to hold local majority.
In South, heavily Buddhist branches.
- Chinese Buddhists
- Thai, Burma, Sri Lanka, Cambodian Buddhists
- Taoists, and Cham’s Indian Hindus
In Central, Catholics, Muslims, and Chinese Buddhists.
In North, Catholics, Chinese Buddhists, Han Confucians, Taoists.
Do not confuse Vietnamese are Chinese.
The Chinese regime throughout history and till at present, is trying to use Confucianism to influence and control Vietnam, they failed. Because Confucius only teaches Vietnamese “how to respect the class hiearchy which he shapes that the Chinese head of state is god. Chinese officials are lords, and Vietnamese kings are servants. At the lowest social order, Vietnamese are farmers.”
Do not convert Vietnamese to Western Supremacy.
The French used Catholicism to degrade Vietnamese as non-religous animals, or convert Vietnameses to become servants to Jesus and earthly ruled by white supremacist catholics. Followed that, American policy on Anti-Socialism/Communism and extrem American Republican Conservative Catholics. All failed.
With simple lessons of the “Buffalo boy” in Taoism. The Vietnamese people are masters in taming monsters.
Although French regime succeed in almost completely destroying the Taoist Vietnamese and Chinese Confusianism influences in order to replace French Catholic culture. It wasn’t long for the “buffalo boys” with their very simple gorilla jungle tactics with simple farmer’s tools… they outwitted any foreign regimes.
Images of Vietnamese Buffalo Boy
What does it mean?
When you read travel ads about Vietnam. The image of Vietnamese Buffalo Boy is frequently displayed on magazines.
However, when you visit Vietnam, that image isn’t always real and the real Buffalo boys are not usual in Vietnamese’s childhood. In other word, it isn’t often real.
Because it represents the personality of Vietnamese people.
There are actually many versions of this symbolic catagory.
The Buffalo boy
The Moon boy
The Fan boy
In summary, a country boy.
There are several mixed messages in “a country child”.
To the outside world. The child and buffalo represents Vietnam’s natural, green agriculture.
To the Vietnamese people. The child represents innocence.
There are deeper contexts that we found out.
- The child’s innocence represents Vietnamese people’s simplicity way of life as farmers in the agriculture society.
- The buffalo boy is similar to Lao Tzu rides buffalo during his journey to teaching his wisdom.
- In Tibetan Buddhism of which Dalai Ma is the present icon, has a similar theme. A young monk goes through ten steps to tame an elephant. In Taoism of Lao Tzu, has story of a young boy challenged by buffalo and the boy tamed the animal to his will. The “buffalo” or “elephant” are wild animals (as well as horse, and tiger). There are ten steps to tame an animal in the child. A human is a wild animal and he has to learn to control himself.
In many respects. The symbolic of either “Monk tames Elephant”; “Boy rides Buffalo”; or in Mid-East European fictional icon of “Dragon and Beauty”; “Beauty and Beast”; or “Tiger and Heroen”. All have the same mean.
Vietnam has many cultures due to its geographic location in South East Asia.
It depends on which part of historical time you want to know. For thousands of years, the immigration of Vietnamese people is as dynamic as Causcasian people in Europe as South East Asians in Vietnam.
You can say that the Vietnamese people is very diversified. Possibly for this reason, that Vietnamese people are very friendly. Yet, mostly are humble.