No matter the location, the schedule, or the job, life in Vietnam seems to be focused
on family above all else, both in the rural areas as well as in the cities. Many
people work to help support their greater family, not just their spouse and children
as often times family means a large family covering three generations with everyone
taking on differing roles, from working and housekeeping to raising children.
The people of Vietnam generally identify by their ethnicity
and for most of the population that ethnicity is Viet or Kinh, which are often grouped
together and translated into English as Vietnamese. These identities were historically
only defined by the ethnicity, language, food, dress, and culture of the people,
but since the communists came to power in Vietnam, they have been slowly altering
the definition to include social and political aspects that are in line with communist
ideologies. Due to this effort, it is difficult to completely separate the term
"Vietnamese" from the political entity as the people living in Vietnam
today define their culture in ways that the communists have dictated.
Many ethnic Vietnamese outside of Vietnam identify as Vietnamese, but reject the
social and political definition that the identity is slowly gaining in Vietnam itself.
For these people, the Vietnamese identity is still only tied to the ethnicity, language,
food, dress, and culture, but can also be more narrowly defined to include any ethnic
Vietnamese, no matter their culture.