Monday , May 27 2024

Local writer releases book on Vietnamese bad habits


Vietnamese writer Di Li discusses traits such as not reading frequently, making noise, and failing to protect public property in her book “Tat Xau Nguoi Viet” (Bad Vietnamese Habits).

Vietnamese writer Di Li’s book Tat Xau Nguoi Viet. Photo by Nha Nam

Vietnamese writer Di Li’s book “Tat Xau Nguoi Viet.” Photo by Nha Nam

The book comprises 48 articles written by Di Li over 15 years, based on her observations and comparisons while interacting with Vietnamese people and individuals from various other parts of the world. She said she anticipated that the book could spark controversy due to some potentially upsetting viewpoints. Still, she hoped readers would receive her book with “good intentions.”

Issues raised in the book include those that are common and relatable in daily situations, for example neighbors in apartment buildings that stay up late and make noise, or children that practice the piano late at night.

The author also discusses education within families, highlighting the Vietnamese tendency to defend children by saying “children are not to blame,” which leads to situations where children make noise in public places or behave inappropriately towards adults. The pressure on children to excel academically and the rat race for educational achievements are also touched upon.

Di Li admits that she sometimes has fallen prey to certain bad habits she discusses. For example, as being overly complaisant is a common trait among Vietnamese people, the author said she was taken aback when an American friend of hers refused to review a few pages of her translated work without payment.

“Living in a culture that values emotions over rationale, I had never faced such blunt conversations,” writes Di Li.

Vietnamese writer Di Li. Photo courtesy of Di Li

Vietnamese writer Di Li. Photo courtesy of Di Li

With her experience traveling across many countries in Asia and Europe, the author’s comparisons between Vietnamese and foreigners are vivid, often involving real people and events.

She also refers to research data and information previously published in the media. For instance, when discussing the Vietnamese’s tendency to avoid reading, Di Li cites statistics from the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, which states that an average Vietnamese reads only 0.8 books per year. In contrast, people in developed countries read between 20-60 books annually, as claimed in writers Dan Senor and Saul Singer’s book “Start-up Nation.”

Following the publication of “Tat Xau Nguoi Viet,” Di Li plans to release a book titled “Tinh Tot Nguoi Viet” (Good Vietnamese Qualities).

Di Li, 45, was born Nguyen Dieu Linh in Hanoi. She holds a bachelor’s degree in German and English, and a master’s degree in education management.

She has written 27 books – many of them novels, short stories, and travelogs – in various genres, including children’s books, horror, and romance. Among her works, “Trai Hoa Do” (Scarlet Hill) was adapted into a TV drama series by Vietnamese-American director Victor Vu.

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