concise and "easy reading. A must have
book for anyone interested in Vietnam or
planning on travelling to Vietnam"
Buy the book "Vietnam Today"
Vietnam Today: A Nation
at a Crossroads.
Author: Mark Ashwill, with
Thai Ngoc Diep
Pages/Year: 208 pp, paper,
Price: $22.95 + $5.95 ( priority
mail and handling) = $28.9
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2 dozen Vietnam Today $468.18 + $40.00 (Shipping)
|Vietnam is faced
with pressing political social and economic
problems but is full of promise and potentialpulsating
with energy and steeped in dreams.
Research included interviews and surveys of
Vietnamese professionals who have extensive
experience with foreigners, and expatriates
from numerous Western nations living and working
A two-thousand-year history of foreign invasion,
occupation, and war have deeply influenced
the Vietnamese character. The Chinese, French,
and U.S. Americans have all left their cultural
thumbprints behind, but at the same time the
struggle against those who would impose their
will on Vietnam has infused in the Vietnamese
people a fierce spirit of nationalism, ready
to defend themselves if necessary and caution
in their dealings with foreigners.
Ashwill paints a broad picture
of Vietnam, past and present, in his early
chapters, including geography, business environment,
history, the curious mix of communism and
capitalism, overseas Vietnamese, and much
more. He then turns his attention to the defining
issues and trends of today: economic reforms,
corruption, education, male and female relationships,
and regional differences.
The most prominent characteristics of the
Vietnamese people, other than their energy
and drive, are the importance of the group
over the individual, indirect communication
style, and the importance of maintaining harmony.
This translates into relationship building
as a prelude to doing business and consensus
building as the preferred way of making decisions.
Following a chapter on working with the Vietnamese,
Ashwill turns the mirror on us as Westerners
with impressions and reflections from Vietnamese
who have worked with Westerners. This is valuable
advice indeed. He concludes with a brief look
at Vietnam in the twenty-first century, including
some predictions about the shape and form
of a nation undergoing rapid change and opening
up to the world, and speculation about some
of the possible implications of these changes
for cross-cultural interaction.
Ashwills love of and respect for the
Vietnamese people shine through every page,
even when he takes on current problems in
the country. He and Diep Ngoc Thai share a
passionate desire to inform us about the sources
of misunderstanding between Vietnam, the U.S.,
and other Western countries, then suggest
ways these sizable gaps can be bridged. For
Westerners who are prepared to take the time
to get to know the Vietnamese, to move at
their pace, and to learn about their culture
and history, Vietnam can be a land of opportunity.
Mark A. Ashwill is director of the
World Languages Program, Fulbright adviser,
and adjunct professor at SUNY Buffalo. He
is also founder and executive director of
the U.S.-Indochina Educational Foundation,
Inc. (USIEF) and consults with schools and
nonprofit organizations. In 2003 Dr. Ashwill
became the first U.S. citizen to be awarded
a Fulbright Senior Specialists Grant to Vietnam.
Diep Ngoc Thai assisted Mark Ashwill
in researching Vietnam Today. She received
her B.A. in international business from the
Hanoi Foreign Trade University and her M.A.
in international business and world trade
from SUNY Buffalo. Before studying in the
U.S., she worked for the U.S.-Vietnam Trade
Council in Hanoi and Ericcson, a Swedish manufacturer
of consumer communications and data products.
Ms. Thai is currently working for a private
sector company in Hanoi.
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