Editor’s note: Annie Nguyen, 29, works in PR management. She was born and grew up in Vietnam. She graduated from a university in Australia, and is currently residing in Ho Chi Minh City. She wrote this email to us in response to our article "Do Vietnamese like picking on foreigners?"
We believe that constructive opinions from readers are crucial in keeping us in check and our journalism as open as possible. Thus, we publish Nguyen’s email with her prior permission. Don’t hesitate to send yours to email@example.com.
Dear Tuoi Tre News,
As a loyal reader of your articles, this is the first time I’ve written to express my distress towards the article "Do Vietnamese like picking on foreigners?" due to its inappropriateness and misguidance.
First, you raised an ethnicity/nationality issue that directly aims at Vietnamese – your main readers, those you wish to inform and educate. Whether this was intentional or unintentional, this kind of title will make readers assume that it is actually an existing issue.
Second, there has been a subtly uninformed discontent between Vietnamese men and Western men. The false belief of "foreign is better/nicer than local" has created a trend that draws Vietnamese women to date Western men blindly, without knowing that they may be used, emotionally abused, discriminated and manipulated. Such a lack of awareness not only creates unfairness for Vietnamese men, but also fuels the belief of supremacy (or "white male privilege") in some individuals.
Hence, such a title neither created fairness for both sides nor erase the stereotypes, but it gave rise to a label that Vietnamese men are violent, gangsters and misogynists. The outcome of this kind of article will only make Vietnamese women binding to the misjudgment that "dating Westerners is better", encourage Vietnamese men to stay opposed to Western men and lead Westerners to believe in the existence of this bias.
Thirdly, as a Vietnamese media outlet, you run to serve Vietnamese readers and deliver the news as objectively and fairly as possible. As a news publisher, you are expected to be neutral in the way you provide the contents and make people change their thinking, instead of creating hatred and prejudice.
If you actually watched the clip and reported it objectively, you would see that the woman was also hit by those men. Then why didn't you mention the fact that road rage in Vietnam includes everyone, regardless of their gender, race or nationality? Why didn't you mention that men need to learn how to control their temper and to behave appropriately? Why didn't you mention that public violence between genders is alarming because it is not the only case during the recent years that a man hit/beat mercilessly a woman and nobody did anything. No hard punishment was made, no viral clip has been done, and we women are given 2 days per year (National Women’s Day and International Women’s Day) to take care of our wounds and bruises?!
However, I hereby attach a comment of a Westerner under an article on The New York Times about the truth of living and dating in Vietnam. This is what you should be concerned about, to awake and to raise awareness and also to educate Vietnamese men to stop picking on "Women", not "Westerners".