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Vietnamese-American women place strict rules on men returning to homeland – written – By JOHN BOUDREAU | Mercury News, Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: November 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm | UPDATED: August 13, 2016 at 1:47 pm (link to the article)

Photo by Jim Gensheimer/San Jose Mercury News. 2/2000. –VIETNAM– The bar scene in Ho Chi Minh City is complete with women wearing scant outfits. Right after the war, this kind of dress would have been cause for imprisonment. As Vietnam opened up to the West in the early nineties, dress codes were relaxed.

US sailors of the visiting USS Curtis Wilbur drink and chat with Vietnamese women at a bar inside a dancing in downtown Da Nang on 29 July 2004. The Arleigh Buirke class guided missile destroyer is on the second port call by an American military vessel since the Vietnam War ended three decades ago. The 342-strong crew of the ship will spend six days in the city where US Marines landed in March 1965, becoming the first American combat troops in Vietnam. (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)

HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — The trouble for Henry Liem begins every time he prepares to return to his homeland.

Getting the required visa from the Vietnamese government is a breeze. It’s the “second visa” — from his wife worried that he will stray over there — that requires diplomatic skills.

“My wife is always cranky every time I go,” said Liem, a philosophy instructor at San Jose City College who visits Vietnam twice a year to teach at a university. “So I rarely disclose my upcoming trip until the last minute. It’s pain minimization. The longer she knows, the longer I have to bear the pain.”

Thirty-six years after the Vietnam War ended, Communist government officials openly welcome Vietnamese-Americans back, even those who fought against them. But another Civil War has erupted, this one pitting Vietnamese-American women against their husbands and boyfriends who want to return to the Southeast Asian country. The men’s significant others contend that Vietnamese women lie in wait to ambush them, often eager for the financial stability such a match would bring.

“All the girls in Vietnam are aggressive. They attack!” said Ha Tien, 38, who owns an accounting business in San Jose. She said she lost her man to such a love guerrilla a few years ago.

Women are worried

The tension over this issue has reached epic proportions in the Bay Area Vietnamese community and elsewhere. Vietnamese comedy skits poke fun at the household strife and pop performers sing about it. It’s the No. 1 topic for women, Tien said. Any time a man travels back alone, she added, it’s assumed he’s not just going to visit Uncle Vu or Cousin Thuy but to play in a country with an abundance of attractive young women.

“There is not a Vietnamese family (in Silicon Valley) that doesn’t know a man who has done this,” Tien said.

Hien Nhan, who owns the Polo Bar in the central part of bustling Ho Chi Minh City, said that Vietnamese-American women do have reasons to worry.

“The problem is, Vietnamese women are getting prettier and prettier,” said Nhan, perched on a stool at his cozy establishment that serves up draft beer, hamburgers and female employees in short shorts who flirtatiously brush against male customers they like. “They wear more cosmetics. They eat better. They exercise.”

And they are not afraid to let foreigners know they are open to a frolic, a fling or something more serious.

“The tradition has been the male chases after the female,” Liem said. “Now, it’s the other way around in Vietnam.”

Said one Vietnamese-American tech executive from Silicon Valley who didn’t want to reveal his name for fear of causing his own second visa problems: “You get hit on all the time. Even at the hotel. You check in and they hit on you. I can’t do more than 10 days in Vietnam at a time. Otherwise, I get into trouble.”

Those who get a second visa often have strict limits placed on them, said San Jose’s Peter Nguyen, who until recently had a girlfriend in Ho Chi Minh City. Not long ago, a buddy of his overstayed a two-week second visa issued by his girlfriend. “When he came back, she tossed all his stuff out onto the street,” he said.

“He was having so much fun,” Nguyen added. “The temptations are so great. Guys 50 and over can get girls who are in their 20s and look like models. It’s too good to pass up.”

A friskiness permeates the culture in Vietnam that many men visiting from other countries find irresistible.

“There’s a certain charm here that you don’t see in Singapore or China,” let alone the United States, said Chung Hoang Chuong, a faculty member in the Asian American Studies department at City College of San Francisco, who spends about half his time in Vietnam. “If you make a pass at a girl, she won’t push you away. She’ll answer with a smile.”

The apparent role reversal is driven in part by the popularity of Western culture and poor economic conditions in Vietnam. Indeed, Nguyen, a 40-year-old who works in customer service but is now unemployed, said his girlfriend in Vietnam recently dumped him because he failed to find a good job in Vietnam.

It’s a money thing

Vietnam is a demographically youthful society — about 70 percent of the country’s 90 million citizens are younger than 35 — and young people flow into the big cities from the countryside every day looking for opportunities. Viet Kieu, the term for ethnic Vietnamese living overseas, and foreigners are seen as ideal catches for some women because they can support them and their families.

“Good-paying, decent jobs are extremely difficult to find,” even for Vietnamese with college degrees, Nhan said.

Nguyen Le, a 29-year-old who operates a Ho Chi Minh City sidewalk cafe, says she and other women are attracted to Viet Kieu and foreigners for a number of reasons, the first being financial security.

“They have more money, more earnings,” said Nguyen. “And they are more considerate, more tender and caring with their women. In the eyes of a foreigner, love is more important than it is with Vietnamese gentlemen.”

Suspicions unfounded

Still, some men say the suspicion that most Vietnamese-American males come here just to play is overblown — plenty of Viet Kieu come back only for business or family visits.

“We love fun, but we are not stupid,” said Khanh Tran, a retired teacher who lives in San Jose. “I am still healthy, but I am not going to (misbehave in Vietnam) at the expense of my family, my wife. We have been together for more than 40 years.”

Nonetheless, his wife, taking no chances, refuses to issue the former officer in the South Vietnamese military a second visa. “I would love to go back,” he said wistfully.

Increasingly, some Vietnamese say, the appeal of foreigners is waning because of a new class of wealthy Vietnamese, including many multimillionaires. And some Viet Kieu males have a bad reputation because they act like playboys who throw money around and convince women they are sincere in their affections — only to disappear when they return to the United States.

But at times it’s the Viet Kieu who end up on the losing end. Some who marry and bring their new bride home to the United States have discovered the women envisioned a much richer lifestyle than they can provide, leading to strife and divorce.

Viet Kieu men receive little sympathy from Viet Kieu women for their dalliances, whether they lead to love or heartbreak. “We blame the men for their weakness, for not being responsible,” said My Hanh, a 31-year-old San Jose resident.

Returning to Vietnam holds little appeal for women like her: “There’s a saying, ‘If a girl goes back to Vietnam, it’s like bringing wood to the forest.’ ”

Why are Single Vietnam Women Marry Old Men – written 21/8/2013 on Netzine (link to this article

“The reason that thousands of single Vietnamese women marry old men is because they want to come to a Western country. As you know that thousands of Vietnam single girls want to come to America, Canada, Australia, etc. to live so that they have brighter future. Every year, there are thousands of Vietnamese American, Canadian, Australian men (Viet Kieu) come back to Vietnam to marry these girls. Most guys want to get married with young girls who are less than 10, 15, 20 and maybe 30 years old. As women in Vietnam consider those Western countries we mention above are the land of opportunities so they are willing to get married with older men. That’s right. Most of Vietnam women who come to these countries have better future.

It is quite common to see 20 or 30-year old Vietnamese women with 50 or 60-year old men (Viet Kieu) from United States, Canada, Australia, and other Western countries. Is it a wise choice to choose an older man to marry? Is she happy with an older man? Most of them will say ‘No’. Is it better to get married with a young man in Vietnam or an old man in USA? Most of these Vietnamese brides will choose an old man after they came to these countries. So, the land of opportunities attract Vietnamese women a lot. They can work and make money in these new nations. Some Vietnamese brides admitted that they don’t love their old husbands but they are safe, financially with these guys.

Viet Kieu (Vietnamese men who live in USA, Canada, Australia, and other Western nations) usually choose younger wife to marry with. They know that if they come to Vietnam, they have a chance to marry a young girl. So, why not? Sometimes older men with younger wife will make the man feel young. My point is, if a Viet Kieu gets married with a young wife, he will feel younger. As a result, the wife will feel older. This is the way it works. Most of single women in Vietnam get married with these old men because of the land of opportunities we mentioned above. So, it is just about money and future that they are willing to do so.

Is she leaving him after she came to these countries? I have to honestly say, some do and some don’t. Some Vietnamese brides get divorced after they became a permanent residence in that country. This is true.

Can Vietnamese brides fall for men who are old enough to be their fathers?
Most of them say ‘No’.

The main reason that these single Vietnamese girls willing to get married with men who are old enough to be their fathers is because these guys are Viet Kieu. These guys can bring the girls to a new developed country. So, girls can make good money and have a better future than they have in Vietnam.

However, some of these girls stay with their husbands if they have what they are looking for, love, fidelity and financial security. In conclusion Please visit Vietsingle dating site to meet Vietnamese Women at free Asian Dating service Free two way Vietnam matching services Find your second half today.”

Forget Mr Right, some prefer Mr Can Do – ASEAN PLUS – Sunday, 29 Dec 2013 – by Theresa Tan (link to the article)

Many Vietnamese women marry foreigners in the hope that their husbands would help support their families back home.
Many Vietnamese women marry foreigners in the hope that their husbands would help support their families back home.

The sharp rise in the number of Singaporeans marrying foreign women in the past decade has resulted in various challenges.

VIETNAMESE bride Nhi, 22, chose to marry a Singaporean hawker twice her age despite strong objections from her father about the whirlwind union, which was arranged by a marriage broker.

“I actually had a boyfriend in Vietnam, but I knew that if I married a Vietnamese, the most he could do would be to take care of me only. He wouldn’t have been able to take care of my family,” she told researchers.

“Not all the girls who married Singaporeans can support their families in Vietnam, but at least, they are well taken care of and they have an easy life for themselves.”

Then there is Puk, a 35-year-old Thai who used all her savings to fly to Singapore to hunt for a husband and a better life.

A friend introduced her to a Singaporean man at a pub, and after a few months of courtship, she urged him to marry her. During that time, he regularly gave her money to spend.

“At that time, I did not love him but gradually, I came to love him because he always took care of me,” said Puk. They are now married, and he gives her S$350 (RM900) to send home every month.

In the past decade, there has been a sharp jump in the number of Singaporeans marrying foreign women, so considerable research is emerging on the lives and problems faced by foreign brides here.

Last year, 5,599 Singaporeans wed foreign women who were not citizens or permanent residents – a 40% jump from 2002.

Some research papers have shed light on why foreign women plunged into matrimony with Singaporeans they hardly knew.

No prizes for guessing that most just wanted a better life.

But more than that, many also hoped that their husbands would help support their families back home and lift their loved ones out of poverty as well.

Thai researcher Rattana Jongwilaiwan, together with Associate Professor Eric Thompson of the sociology department at the National University of Singapore (NUS), wrote a journal paper, published in 2011, about the lives of Thai women married to Singa­poreans.

Jongwilaiwan spent more than a year interacting extensively with the Thai wives and did 22 in-depth interviews with them.

“The Thai women interviewed consistently and frankly stated that their primary reason in choosing to marry Singaporean men was material gain and not romantic love,” the paper said.

“For many women, it is seemingly the best among available strategies for achieving upward mobility and socioeconomic status, and to fulfil traditional cultural expectations as dutiful daughters.”

Most of the women had moved from their homes in rural areas to cities such as Bangkok to find work – some in the sex trade – before meeting their Singaporean grooms in Thailand or Singapore.

Apart from being better off financially, Singaporean men are also regarded as being more loving and responsible husbands, compared with their counterparts elsewhere in the region.

The Thai women interviewed described Thai men as being abusive, womanisers, financially irresponsible, gamblers and alcohol addicts.

More recent papers have examined another aspect of such unions. In the past two months, three journal papers have been published based on a three-year study of Vietnamese women who married Singaporean and Malaysian men after they were introduced by commercial matchmakers.

The papers were written by Professor Brenda Yeoh of the geography department at NUS and a team of researchers that included Dr Chee Heng Leng and Dr Vu Thi Kieu Dung.

Different aspects of the women’s lives were studied, from their expectations of love to the importance of sending money home to the problems they face here.

In the interviews, the Singaporean men hardly spoke of love either in their choice of a wife.

They wanted a companion and someone to care for them, look after their parents and do the housework.

What was important to the women was being able to send money home – an act that boosted their self-esteem and their standing in the family.

Take Thach, 19, who feels trapped in a marriage to a man she does not love. Yet, she is grateful to her husband, a security guard in his 50s, because he helped her pay off her family’s debts and enabled her mother to start a small business.

Or 25-year-old Bich, who speaks proudly of her husband, a driver twice her age who paid off her family’s S$20,000 (RM50,000) loan and gives her mother S$500 (RM1,300) every month.

The paper notes that these marriages are “not necessarily less sustainable or more fragile”.

The authors say: “There is no simple trading of money for care, or care for money.”

Couples are “keenly aware of the fluid nature of the negotiated relationship at stake”, and they put in time and effort to make the marriage work.

They know the roles expected of them – breadwinner husband, dutiful stay-at-home wife, mother and daughter-in-law – and they try to play their parts conscientiously.

Not surprisingly, the husbands are usually not keen to have their wives join the workforce.

Such relationships might puzzle the Singaporean woman looking for love, passion and Mr Right.

But for many women from countries in the region, romantic love is not the core issue. As a Vietnamese woman once told me, romantic love is a Western concept – a luxury she and others like her cannot afford.

Joseph Davis and his wife, Nui, on their three-wheeled samlor, or auto rickshaw. Credit Justin Mott for The New York Times

Dennis Sorensen, 63, a retiree, his wife, Pennapa, 31, and their son, Matthew, 2. Mr. Sorensen watches American TV via satellite. Credit Justin Mott for The New York Times

A Thai Region Where Husbands Are Imported – New York Times – 2010 – (link to the article

UDON, THAILAND — The most dazzling creatures Nui Davis saw when she was a child were the village girls who had found foreign husbands, visiting in their Western finery and handing out candies to the children.

“For me, they were like a princess,” she said. “And I kept those pictures in my mind, and I made a wish that one day I would like to be one of those ladies.”

Today, at the age of 30, she lives with her husband, Joseph Davis of Fresno, California, in an air-conditioned, three-bedroom house with a driveway and basketball hoop, surrounded by flower beds and a well-kept lawn.

“My family keeps saying, ‘You got it. You got your dream now,”’ she said.

But unlike many other foreign husbands, Mr. Davis, 54, did not take his wife home with him, choosing instead to settle down in northeastern Thailand, a region known as Isaan.

He is part of an expanding population of nearly 11,000 foreign husbands in the region, drawn by the low cost of living, slow pace of life and the exotic reputation of Thai women — something like a brand name for Western men seeking Asian partners. “Thai women are a lot like women in America were 50 years ago,” said Mr. Davis, before they discovered their rights and became “strong-headed and opinionated.”

“The women now know they are equal,” said Mr. Davis, a retired Naval officer who has been divorced twice, “so the situation is not as relaxed and peaceful as it is between an American and a Thai lady.”

It is easy to spot the foreigners’ homes, with their sturdy walls and red-tiled roofs, an archipelago of affluence among the smaller, poorer houses of their new neighbors and in-laws.

Nearly 11,000 foreigners wed women in northeast Thailand. Credit The New York Times.

Mixed couples are common on the streets and in the markets of Udon Thani. One street where Western men gather to eat and drink is popularly known as “Foreign Son-in-Law Street.”

“There are villages in Isaan that are almost entirely comprising foreign houses, where the whole village is almost entirely houses purchased by foreigners for their Thai ladies,” said Phil Nicks, author of “Love Entrepreneurs: Cross-Culture Relationship Deals in Thailand.”

Isaan is one of the poorest parts of the country, the source of most low-wage workers in Bangkok and the home of many of the women who work in the entertainment industry in the capital.

Some of the earliest Thai-American marriages were in Udon Thani, the site of a U.S. air base in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. In the following years, most Americans left, sometimes taking a Thai wife with them. Now the presence of American and European men is growing again. “In the northeast where this phenomenon is strongest, a huge majority of the women there are looking for a foreign boyfriend or husband, and I think some of them can be quite assertive, and aggressive in their pursuing of a foreign man,” said Mr. Nicks.

A clash of expectations strains many marriages, and more than half end in divorce, said Prayoon Thavon, manager of international services at Panyavejinter Hospital in Udon Thani.

While the men — many of them retired and living on pensions, many disappointed in their lives and marriages at home — may be seeking an emotional connection, the women are generally motivated by economics, said Mr. Prayoon, who provides counseling for mixed couples.

“For some ladies it is just money, money, money,” he said. “Getting married has become a business more than love. People want to improve their social status. Sometimes these ladies spend the husband’s money, use it all, then he’s cut out. There are many cases like that.”

Even though many men are retired and living on a fixed income, they are expected to help support their wives’ extended families, beginning with a dowry of several thousand dollars.

When you get married in Thailand you are marrying the whole family, the whole village,” Mr. Prayoon said. “Often the lady expects that, but the man doesn’t understand.”

There seems to be less concern about differences in age, with many bridegrooms in their 50s or 60s or even 70s.

“Age is not a factor here,” said Mr. Davis. “In America if I marry a girl who is 24 years younger than me, all you’re going to get is eyes and bad talk, bad gossip. Here it’s not an issue. It happens every day.”

At the age of 63, Dennis Sorensen, a retired mathematics teacher, is 32 years older than his wife, Pennapa, whom he met eight years ago on a beach. He spends much of his time watching U.S. television through a satellite hookup and cooks his own hamburgers, but he said he has done his best to keep his wife and her family happy. He helps raise her teenage daughter from an earlier relationship as well as their 2-year-old son.

“There’s some adjustment there,” said Mr. Sorensen, for whom this is the first marriage, “and we’ve had issues where I run out of money and I cannot take care of everybody, and that has caused some crises, but we’ve overcome everything the best that we can.”

One barrier is language, as few foreigners learn Thai. “I can’t speak English so well, but I can live with him many years,” Ms. Sorensen said, speaking in Thai. “Sometimes when he is very upset I don’t understand what he is talking about but I understand the tone and I just walk away.”

But she added in English: “I think Dennis is good — good for take care of my family, take care of my daughter, take care of everything for me. Before, I don’t have anything. But right now I have a home, I have car, I not work and I only stay home and take care of my baby.”

Foreign marriage has become so common that it has lost much of its stigma here in Udon Thani, and many girls share Ms. Davis’s dream of becoming a princess. “It looks pretty good and they look pretty happy,” said Rojjana Udomsri, 30, who is married to a Thai man and has a 2-year-old son. “They have money to spend and they can go anywhere they want.”

But she said she had her doubts.

“I don’t know if they are really happy,” she said. “There were times I wanted to have a good life like them, but I can’t live with a person I don’t love. With someone I love I can go through all the hardships of life together.”

18,000 Vietnamese Marry Foreigners Every Year

Photo via Jared Kelly

At a seminar held by the Ministry of Public Security and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in My Tho on July 30, it was announced that on average, 18,000 Vietnamese marry foreigners each year, reports VietNamNet.

78% of these Vietnamese come from Ho Chi Minh City and poor areas of the Mekong Delta region, mostly marrying Taiwanese, Chinese, South Korean and US nationals.

“According to the Ministry of Public Security’s statistics, since 2008 as many as 115,675 Vietnamese citizens (women accounting for more than 72%) married foreigners…In the northern region, especially in border provinces like Quang Ninh, Cao Bang, Lang Son, Lai Chau and Lao Cai, the number of married couples between Vietnamese women with foreigners has increased in recent years. However, most of them have not yet registered at functional agencies, either in Vietnam or China,” the paper wrote.


[VietNamNet // Photo via Jared Kelly]

Vietnamese girls marrying Taiwanese men: the harbouring of illusions – Reported by LNG – (from the Vietnamese Newspaper Lao Dong, 5th February, 2001)

This article describes the situation of poor young girls in the rural areas who try to escape from misery by marrying Taiwanese men.

Marrying Taiwanese husbands is not a new phenomenon [for young Vietnamese women], but during the wedding season in Cuu Long River Delta, it is very common to see young girls accompanied by Taiwanese men, who are dozens of years older than them.

The speeding up of procedure for nationality registration in the judicial departments of many provinces in Cuu Long River Delta, needed to complete marriage requirements, explains the increase in the number of marriages to foreign husbands from 80% to 100 % compared to last year.

The illusion that they can change their lives makes thousands of rural girls from the Cuu Long River Delta take the risk of going through a mediator. Many of the more than 46.000 Vietnamese brides in Taiwan return disillusioned to their villages!

The illusion of a new life

It took us a long time to find TTH., living in Thoi Long, O Mon (Can Tho). She is a 20-year-old girl, who divorced her Taiwanese husband two months ago. Like many other houses in the village, her house is ramshackle and its door is always closed. A neighbour told us that she had come back months ago but she had already gone away to find work. Her parents were not home either; they also had become hired labourers. Although we were not able to meet her, just by seeing her house and getting to know her family situation through her neighbours, we were still able to understand why nine months earlier H. was forced to marry a Taiwanese man 12 years older than her. The desire to change her life forced her to hand herself over, despite the fact that the two could not communicate with each other and that she lacked any knowledge about her partner’s life style. This illusion exploded just one week after they had started living together. Upon returning back home, she found herself once more with nothing.

In 1999 and 2000, the courts in Can Tho had to deal with over 170 divorce cases involving the ‘foreign’ factor. Many cases involve marriages with Taiwanese husbands. N.N.T, 20, in Tan Loc, Thot Not, married a man, but after only 23 days in Taiwan she fled home in order to divorce him. T.N.H., living in Can Tho City, lived with a Taiwanese husband a little longer – four months. Once she managed to get back home she did not return to Taiwan because she wanted to divorce him. She said that when she lived in her husband’s village, he did not care about her, the income was too low, and he also did not respect her parents.

In every province, their is a stream of girls suffering from “Taiwanese disillusionment” peacefully flowing back home. A woman of the Women’s Union Association of Can Tho told us: M.T., whose village was in Vinh Long, had been a waitress in a restaurant in Can Tho City. After living for several months in Taiwan, she could not stand the way they spurned. She was treated as a housemaid. So she wanted to come back to get a divorce. “I don’t have the face to return to my village. If my parents find out about my situation, they will no longer be able to face living in the house that was built with the money I brought into the home at the time I married my Taiwanese husband” M.T. revealed.

In spite of this, the phenomenon of rural girls from Cuu Long River Delta marrying Taiwanese husbands continues to grow. In the year 2000, 1,800 young girls of Can Tho province were married to foreign husbands, most of whom were Taiwanese. This is 600 girls more than the previous year. In the same year, the number of girls in Dong Thap marrying Taiwanese husbands doubled, from 433 in 1999 to 910 in 2000. In many villages, the “seeking” of Taiwanese husbands has become a big movement, such as in Tan Loc (Thot Not, Can Tho) with 245 cases, and in Hung Hoi (Vinh Loi, Bac Lieu) with 230.

With the help of the people in Hung Hoi, we met N.H.T., who had just fulfilled the requirements for Taiwanese marriage procedures. She did not hide the fact that her aim was to marry a foreign husband. She said, “I have thought it over thoroughly. Those who are illiterate, like us, have only way of relieving their families’ hardship, and that is by marrying a foreign husband”.

The story is told of a girl in Hung Thanh, K.T., who was handed over to a man who was about 60 years older than her who was already married. She was treated as a housemaid. Because of her plight, she escaped back home. “But, aren’t you frightened because of this?” we asked her. And she replied to us, “A bit, but I must take the risk. There are those who are lucky and those who aren’t. But not all are unlucky”

Mediation or trade in human beings?

“Many families in the rural areas are so poor that they want to change their life despite the risks that flow from marrying off their children to Taiwanese,” said Pham Kim Huong, vice president of the Women’s Union Association of Can Tho province, who is also responsible for “information on the crusade against trading in women and children”.

If a girl marries a Taiwanese, her family will receive about 1,000 or 2,000 US dollars. However, not everyone takes so many risks as N.H.T. in Hung Hoi. If they knew in advance the high cost involved, many would be discouraged and would think twice before deciding to marry a Taiwanese. However, although the many unhappy cases, this fact is still not clear to many eyes. Meanwhile, in the rural areas, people can see families whose house was made of bamboo yesterday and now have a “new life” after their daughters have married foreign husbands. In My An Hung A (Lap Vo, Dong Thap), a family achieved better living conditions (at least they managed to raise their heads just above the surface) after they had married off their two daughters to Taiwanese. This accelerated the Taiwanese-marriage phenomenon.

“What do you find most difficult while you are spreading the “information on the crusade against trading in women and children?” we asked a woman of the Women’s Union of Tan Loc (Thot Not, Can Tho).

She replied: “For the rural people there is a saying, ‘hundreds of times heard is not better than once seen’. We organise many forms of propaganda, distribution of leaflets etc. But in the commune there are families whose daughters were married off to Taiwanese, and they were then able to pay off their debts and build new houses. In addition to that, those young women who, after being ill-treated in their husband’s villages, ran away, either did not go home but fled elsewhere to find work or did not tell the truth because they did not want to lose… their faces”.

In fact, for every one hundred of “Taiwanese disillusionment” girls that return to Can Tho from Taiwan, only ten collaborate with the Women’s Union in this crusade. Moreover, there are women who do not speak out about the real situation, but quietly become mediators for other girls in order to earn some money. According to the Police in many communes of the provinces of the Cuu Long Delta, mediations are taking place silently and frantically throughout the rural villages. The final meeting place is Ho Chi Minh City where Taiwanese men “look” at the girls.

At the end of the year 2000, over 220 girls from Ben Tre, Tien Giang, Dong Thap, between the ages of 18 and 25, were “held” in seven rooms in Dai Nam Karaoke (Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City) for 17 Taiwanese men to gawk at. This is only one of the cases that was disclosed.

Escaping from poverty, for oneself and for one’s family, is everyone’s dream. However, the illusion of being able to change one’s life through foreign marriage has caused many young girls of Cuu Long River Delta be ill-treated. They have burnt their youth, together with the youthful desire for love, by going into marriages decided by dollars. The young beautiful face of the girl from Hung Hoi (Bac Lieu) who had just fulfilled the requirements for Taiwanese marriage procedure, and her saying to us that she was putting her life in the hands of fortune, keep haunting us. How can the love and the life of a very young girl with her future ahead of her, be left to the luck of destiny like that? Can these young girls in the poor rural areas, answer this question themselves and find a way out?

Cross-Border Brides: Vietnamese Wives, Chinese Husbands in a Border-Area Fishing Village – by Nguyễn Thị Phương Châm – Cross-Currents: East Asian History and Culture Review – University of Hawai’i Press – Volume 3, Number 2, November 2014(Link to page)

This article traces the lives of a group of Vietnamese women driven by poverty and loss of marriageability to cross the border into China to marry men from the fishing village of Wanwei. Wanwei’s location, only 25 kilometers from the border with Vietnam, enables these women to make fairly regular trips back to their native villages to visit their birth families. Yet, despite the fact that they now live in a designated Jing (ethnic Vietnamese) village, where a significant proportion of the population shares their ethnicity, their illegal residential status and recent arrival excludes them from the community of villagers who claim descent from Vietnamese immigrants in the sixteenth century. Despite the hardships these women face as a result of continuing poverty, lack of emotional intimacy in their marriages, and marginal social status, few see themselves as victims of human trafficking. Instead, most take pride in their agency and achievements.

Vietnamese mail-order bride website

Below is what was written on the website.

Vietnamese Brides

Vietnamese single ladies are not only pretty and nicely slim, but their faithfulness to their husbands makes them even more attractive. Femininity in this culture is often defined in terms of self-sacrifice, respect, keeping one’s self alluring, and a strong work ethic. She will always be committed to pleasing her husband and will always be in support of family.
The Vietnamese lady attracts attention with her slender and petite figure, her rich dark skin, long dark hair and beautiful, luminescent brown eyes. In the cities, there is no excuse for a woman to appear in public without being in some kind of stunning apparel. Bad habits are unusual and unacceptable to most Vietnamese ladies. Marriage is considered a life-time commitment and girls usually marry anywhere between 18 and 25 years of age. She is a loyal wife, a caring mother, an excellent cook and a diligent homemaker.

About Vietnam

Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, is a country in Southeast Asia. It borders China, Laos, and Cambodia. With an estimated 90.3 million inhabitants, Vietnam is comprised of a geographical area of 331,210 km2 (28,565 sq. mi) in which the dominant ethnic group is Vietnamese (85.7 %). The capital of Vietnam is Hanoi and the largest city is Ho Chi Minh. The official national language of Vietnam is Vietnamese. French is spoken by many educated, older Vietnamese as a second language with most Vietnamese youths now learning English in school. About 85% of Vietnamese identify with Buddhism. Though the climate tends to vary in the different latitudes, the most pleasant time to visit Vietnam is generally from December to February.

Vietnamese Brides by City

Ho Chi Minh, Hanoi, Ha Noi, Da Nang, Bien Hoa, Can Tho, Nha Trang, Dong Nai, Da Lat, Phan Thiet, Hai Phong, Tay Ninh, Vung Tau, Hue, Thanh Hoa, Binh Duong, Quang Ngai, Ca Mau, Saigon, Vinh Long, Long An, Thanh Pho Ho Chi Minh, My Tho.

Hundreds of girls brought to Australia by older men – The World Today – Simon Lauder – Updated 8 Nov 2011, 12:52am

There are calls for the prospective spouse visa program to be urgently reviewed after official figures show 17-year-old girls are coming to Australia to marry much older men.

The Department of Immigration has released figures on prospective spouse visas issued to applicants aged under 21 over the past five years, which include hundreds of visas granted to 17-year-old girls under the sponsorship of an older man.

The Opposition says cases involving 17-year-olds who come here to marry much older men are disturbing, but the department is defending the program.

Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive Joe Tucci says he is concerned by the figures. He says there is evidence the program is being abused and that it should be reviewed.

“It is really surprising that there was such high numbers of young people who were being allowed to come into Australia on these sorts of visas,” he said.

In most cases the age difference is a few years or less, but many 17-year-olds have been brought to Australia by prospective spouses aged in their 30s.

One 17-year-old was sponsored by a 57-year-old man and another by a 50-year-old.

Dr Tucci says large age gaps should warrant extra scrutiny and the visa program should be investigated.

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