Vietnamese culture and 'foreign' criticism?

27/02/2015
                                                   Nem Thuong pig slaughter festival


Vietnamese people should have strong viewpoints on issues of national culture and our community, just because we are the very subject of these.
The debates around Nem Thuong pig slaughter festival in Vietnam are not new. In fact, this type of issue has been discussed many times in the media in recent years. The differences in culture are always leading to controversy.
However, there is an interesting thing that the cultural issues of Vietnam have always become the “hot” subjects when it gets the ideas from "outsiders". For example, when the French visitors threatened to boycott Vietnam because of dog meat, or an organization named Animals Asia expressed their views demanding to stop the pig slaughter festival…
Border of Culture
There are many different concepts of culture. I’m not professional in this field, but based on my study, research and understanding, I recognized that the culture is simply the physical and spiritual creativity made by human and to serve everyone.
Humans as a cultural subject are always trying to conquer and renovate nature. However, due to differences in anthropology, geography, climate and other factors have made this process differ between countries and regions. Generally, this is a key point to make a cultural diversity. Also, in a large culture base (popular culture), there is the existence of subcultures (folklore).
The trend of globalization has made countries in the world ever closer together. In a flat world, people can talk to each other by one language, exchange goods by one unified currency… the geographical borders are no longer a hindrance.
But there is still a gap of cultural borders. On the positive side, this helps prevent assimilation, fading of cultural identity of each country. However, cultural differences are a source of controversy and conflict, originally the culture shock when an individual or organization witness, experience a product of cultures that has different values ​​ from their own.
The "shame" of the Vietnamese
There is a noting point that the two issues of culture, pig slaughter festivals and the habit of eating dog meat, just became really hot and drew public attention when having "outside" elements.
In 2013, an article on the Vietnamnet newspaper about the French visitors threatened to boycott Vietnam for dog meat had created a wave of heated debate. Until now, the wave is still smoldering.
As we know that, the French visitors can not make the "believers" of dog meat give up their favorite dishes. However, in some way, these visitors had made a large number of Vietnamese rethink about their habit of eating dog meat, or in other words, it had made us feel “ashamed” when we are talking about words of “dog meat”.
 Similarly, the organization of Animals Asia announced that "Pig slaughter festival in Vietnam is the most barbaric one". The statement made public once again loudly. It seems that the "outside" organization also made Vietnamese people feel "ashamed", just as French travelers had made.
It’s necessary that we should concern and respect the opinions about our culture from individuals and organizations which comes form different. However, putting the ideas in any position is another story. We also need to ask ourselves that why the "internal" opinions and views cannot make a powerful motivator, which just come from "outside"?
Respect for cultural subjects
Back to pig slaughter festival, the traditional values ​​of this festival is under the subculture of Nem Thuong villagers, so it would be looked upon with caution and appropriation when comparing, especially with values ​​of popular culture. Do not impose someone’s culture upon the other’s ones when perceiving and judging, to avoid the "oppression" of cultures, making bad effect for the communities living in the sub-culture.
Moreover, Nem Thuong villagers, the owners of the festival has voiced their desire to continue the festival as tradition, wishing luck, fortune at the beginning of the year for everyone. Thus, if it is unreasonable when we, as outsiders, living in a different culture condemn and demand to prohibit the festival?
Ultimately the culture is simply the physical and spiritual creativity made by human and to serve everyone in a certain social context. Therefore, the cultural values ​​that do not fit with the current social context will be eliminated and removed.
However, this process must be carried out by subjects who created the culture. The prohibition, intrusive intervention would make the cultures become disabled, poor and communities living in the culture suffer disadvantages.
The process of resolving differences of cultures should be conducted in a manner that respects the differences between the two sides, rather ethnocentric tendency (the culture is simply the physical and spiritual creativity made by human and to serve everyone).
It was time for Vietnamese people should have strong viewpoints on issues of national culture and our community, just because we are the very subject of these. As long as we continue to feel “ashamed” because of individuals or organizations’ comments, who come from different cultures, it is a sign of a weak culture, easily be eroded by culture outside./.


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All comments [ 10 ]


Vân Nhàn 27/2/15 21:36

In my opinion, there is no bad culture, just depending on each person's viewpoint.

Hoàng Lân 27/2/15 21:40

Eating dog meat and Pig slaughter are very normal in Vietnamese tradition or even a lot of parts in the

Huy Quốc 27/2/15 21:42

Each year residents of Nem Thuong village in Bac Ninh province publicly slice one or two pigs in half with ceremonial machetes in a ritual they believe will bring them good luck.

Quân Hoàng 27/2/15 21:45

The older generations here say it is the village's choice, that the pig slaughtering does not violate the law and must be decided by the villagers themselves

Phạm Hiếu 27/2/15 21:46

We should keep the traditions of our ancestors

Lê Tín 27/2/15 21:48

Nem Thuong's pig slaughter ceremony has taken place for centuries on the sixth day of the first month of the new lunar yea

Quốc Kiên 27/2/15 21:52

We should have strong opinion before "foreign" criticism. Listen to what is right, oppose to what is wrong.

Quốc Cường 27/2/15 21:56

I think when foreign visitors come to our country, they should learn how to respect the differences between their own culture and our one. If they do, they will see the beauty in our culture.

Huy Lâm 27/2/15 21:57

It's so right, Mr Quoc Cuong. That's a good lesson before going abroad.

Hùng Quân 27/2/15 22:00

I love Vietnamese culture, because it have a thousand-year soul of the nation, it is our tradition, our values. And we should maintain and develop it to higher level.

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