Last week Viet Nam News asked its read-ers about the habit of Vietnamese to push drinks on their drinking buddies. Here are some of the readers' comments.
Paul Robinson, British, tourist
When I visit Viet Nam to see my wife's parents, I have on a few occasions gone out to the bar with her father and brother. No matter how much beer I drink, a new table of friends and associates ask me to drink more. I am therefore pleased it is viewed as a sign of friendship and happiness as most of the time I don't know what anyone is saying. I find the expectation to drink excessively in a short space of time is a little too manic for me and so would prefer a more relaxed attitude to drinking. This would help me avoid making a fool of myself and having a hangover.
Will Kern, American, Colorado
If you give into once, they won't leave you alone. It's kind of annoying actually. I've learned to just ignore them because I don't want the hassle. It sucks because I know it's a kind gesture but it just always ends up being an annoying situation.
Le Khanh, Vietnamese, Ha Noi
I say no to their face. Once a boss told me ‘you know, being a marketer you should learn how to drink!', To which I replied ‘well then I can't be your marketer'! I occasionally take a shot or two but never when people force me to.
Jaap van Norel, Dutch, the Netherland
Enjoy the hospitality and drink with everyone! My experience is that Vietnamese people tend to get more drunk than me unless everyone at the table wants to have a drink with the Tay individually. Then I will definitely will be the most drunk. But even then, most likely you will be offered a place to sleep it off for a bit.
Jason Bonne-Gray, British, Ha Noi
I know many Vietnamese people here who have walked away from perfectly good jobs here, as they couldn't handle the drinking culture of their job. Occupational hazard.
Russel Dann, Australian, Ha Noi
Do the ‘hold your keys in the air and say you're driving', While that will deter a lot, you will still get some trying to make you drink. Bottom line is, resist the peer pressure and do what is right for yourself. If you explain it properly, you can tend to avoid drinking, but you might have to explain four or five times depending on the size of the group or how drunk they get.
Philip Arthur Moore, American, Ha Noi
Just say no. The moment you give one yes, you are screwed. As a non-drinker, my trick of choice has always been to blame stomach problems or religion on not being able to drink. Other than that, saying no 1,000 times seemed to do the trick. Just don't cave in a single time or you are screwed for sure. — VNS