Lời ráo đầu
Kể cũng đã lâu rồi, tôi tình cờ đọc một “phản hồi” (reply/comment) của một anh thanh niên Mỹ gốc Việt (có lẽ thuộc thế hệ thứ 2 hay thứ 3 gì đó?), dĩ nhiên bằng Anh ngữ - in English of course - đại khái anh chàng ta “chê bai” (criticize/put down) và nói “xách mé” (negative talk) về Văn hóa của người Việt sau khi được mời tham dự vài đám cưới “kiểu người Việt”… Chẳng đặng đừng, tôi xin phép quý vị được ghi lại vài lời “phản biện loại hữu nghị” (friendly responses!) như ở phía dưới đây (Lưu ý: Những dòng chữ màu ĐỎ nằm trong ngoặc) để quý vị cùng đọc giải trí / xả “stress” cho qua mùa đại dịch / “lockdown” này ?!
Tái bút: Bài viết ngắn này đặc biệt dành cho người đọc, đại đa số là dân Việt tị nạn cộng sản, hiện đang sống trên đất Hoa kỳ như cá nhân tôi; Tức là những người đã có quốc tịch Mỹ hay đã có thể xanh – thường trú – rồi. Vì vậy, tôi xin được giữ nguyên bản Anh ngữ vì cái “comments” chính bản đã là Anh ngữ rồi. Thực ra toàn bộ bài này cũng chỉ là gồm một ít Anh ngữ đơn giản dễ hiểu thôi không cần thiết phải dịch ra tiếng Việt làm gì… Giữ bản Anh ngữ cũng còn mục đích nữa là để tránh trường hợp gọi là “tam sao thất bản” (lost in translation) có thể làm mất đi cái ý mà người viết muốn diễn đạt.
Mong quý vị hiểu cho. Xin đa tạ trước.
Trần Văn Giang
Tran Van Giang’s sarcastic responses to the reflection of a young Vietnamese-American about Vietnamese wedding in the U.S.
PS: Please see TVG’s personal comments in RED within parentheses below.
- A wedding reception is always at a Chinese restaurant. (Wait a minute! The reception is also at a Vietnamese restaurant too! What is wrong with this practice…? We just want to give our fellow Viet refugees some good $$$ business).
- You got a wedding invitation but felt like a funeral one. (They both practically have the same impacts on people who care about their big functions in life).
- You know it's time to pay your due. (Yes. Even though you do not borrow/owe anybody anything! Mind that you paid lots of $$$ for insurances, and got nothing back for years, and we do not hear your complaints at all).
- It always happens on Holidays that really messes up all your plans and vacation. (Here we are with a really stupid remark. Nobody will have time to come to your wedding on weekdays).
- You've gone to too many weddings it feels like you got one every other week. (The Vietnamese want to have babies, but not having them out of the wedlock as Americans do).
- Your saving is drained out because you've attended too many of them. (You can always take a bank loan! No sweat! Nobody gets hurt. Yogi Berra once said: “Always go to other people's funerals, otherwise they won't come to yours!” Even if you have to die tomorrow, you could not take the money with you).
- The only people making money from this are those (Chinese / Vietnamese) restaurant owners. (Somebody must make an honest living here… Me No Steal. Amigo!).
- You came in two hours late but they haven't even started. (We’ve taken this advice a long time ago… Obviously not from you).
- Only Americans or other nationalities would come on time; and they felt like a fool. (Where are you now? This is a free country. You could feel the way you wish… The rest of the world won’t feel the way you feel; and won’t do the way you do either!)
- Nobody brings gifts. (It seems that) Only envelopes (with cash or checks) are accepted. (OMG. Only idiots bring gifts - $5.00 Walt-Mart clock for wedding gifts Uh… I have had a dozen of it on my wedding day from American Guests - my not-so-generous coworkers - And I gave them all to “Salvation Army/Goodwill” afterward).
- The music is so loud you have to yell to talk to the others. (In case you have early Alzheimer’s, note that poor Vietnam is a county that was in war all the time…. Therefore blasting sounds are the daily norm. Besides, you seem to have weak lungs for talking loud due to your inhaling too much flavored vape!? Should I have some comments on the rap music of your car’s stereo when you parked your car in front of the restaurant?)
- Your table is full of strangers; and nobody talks to nobody. (Well! Because you do not know how to communicate. Around these tables, it requires a skill that you certainly lack).
- The tables are so cramped you feel like sitting on a crowded airplane. (This is simply a cost-effective matter. We are all living thrifty but not cheap. Imagine in rainy days at the high sea, your parents also cramped on the small boat and hopefully sailed safe to the free world, OK!)
- The real actors or actresses are the parents who're running the show. The bride/groom has only limited supporting roles. And the “Oscar” goes to the parents of course. (It tells us that you spend too much time watching TV).
- The MC can't even remember the bride/groom's name. And neither can you. (They are hired not to entertain the bride/groom. They do not mind. Why you?)
- It takes half an hour just to introduce family members on both sides. (They are family-oriented people; and they all have a big family; not with an orphan mentality like yours!)
- You wish their speeches are short like the one in English: “Thanks for coming and enjoy the food.” (That is not social English. Actually it is Bad English that you’ve inherited. I still wonder where you’ve had your English course, Walt-Mart?).
- They served 10 dishes but you felt like you haven't eaten anything. (Are you over weighed?)
- The food is so predictable and boring that makes your yesterday leftover looks so good. (C’mon! I never get bored of lobsters. I can eat them every day. No kidding!)
- It's against the law if a woman tries to get her own food? She has to wait for her male partner to serve her. What a nice custom! (Thank you for the compliment!)
- For guys, it's a crime if they're not serving their female partners. (Not true at all. My wife is a very independent woman. She wants to do it – getting her foods for example – herself. Sometimes she even offers to serve me a bite!)
- By now you should memorize the menu by heart. (It depends what we pay. Some have lobsters. Some do not. I always memorize lobsters or Peking ducks).
- There's a half-hour intermission between dishes. Those shark fin soups taste like rubber bands. (California outlawed the real shark fin. You ate the imitation fin wise guy. It’s plastic-like of course. Anyway, you also inadvertently ate plastic every day as the plastic dust on the plastic food wrap).
- By the time you see the fried fish and fried rice you swear you want to throw up. (Really! Are you feeling well to participate in the first place! Did you miss you recent medical checkup?)
Are nowhere to be found.
Treated you like you wouldn't give them any tips even though they already charged tips upfront.
After dumping the food on the table they quickly disappeared into the kitchen like a ghost.
(They made minimum wages and overloaded with works. You might feel lucky to hold better jobs than they do. Please understand them. Will you?)
- They took away dishes even though you haven't touched the food. (You need to learn the tips of survival everywhere you go, not just the wedding party my man).
- There are two waiters for every 100 people. You say hello to the
bride/groom at the front door and that's the last time you talk to them or they talk to you like you never met each other. (Just leave them alone. Everything will be all right. Besides, you are not that important, you know!)
- Everyone dresses like they're going to a funeral. (Well. How do you dress when you go to “your” funeral? Swimming suit? Or Black ties? C’mon. Be civilized).
- Everything is black and gray (!). (I do not get this! Where did you find these colors at the wedding? I hate black and grey myself).
- It's 100 degrees outside and you're wearing a suit, a long sleeve
shirt, a tie around your neck. (You couldn’t even tell the difference between a wedding party and a health spa...)
- You swear you could explode any minute. (With this mindset, you are well qualified as a Muslim terrorist).
- The most exciting moment of the night is when the groom was forced to kiss the bride. (Oh yes. Whom do you expect the groom to kiss – You? You must be kidding me).
- Everyone got so excited and making all kinds of noises like they never saw someone kissing before. (You need to go to the bathroom during this moment).
- The bride changes so many clothes as if she is on a fashion show. (She has her day – probably, once a lifetime. We do not mind enjoying her show).
- The bride/groom behaves like they're on drugs or something. (You surely have drug experiences).
- They smile softly, speak politely but their minds are somewhere else. (Where else? I do not get this!)
- Even on the happiest day of their life you rarely see them laugh. (I bet you would not cry on your father funeral).
- Except for the bride/groom and mates, the average age for people there is like 60. (What is wrong with that? I’m 70 and my young daughter is thirteen).
- The music is as old as the people at the wedding. (You do not know anything about music per se. Good music never got old. They are called classics).
- They sing broken love songs at the wedding. How thoughtful! (Life is not always beautiful. Besides, the taste of music has no limits).
- The band playing music like they're working on an assembly line. (Hey! The American bands play music like they're working for the moving or construction company. Any complaints!)
- The video light is so bright it almost blinds you. (Wait until you get a ticket and visit Universal studio. That is how people make quality video nowadays).
- All of a sudden, the music stops. Here comes… the “envelope collector.” You couldn't help but thinking Apr-15 (tax day) already? (Get real! In America, there is no such thing called free lunch. You got to pay one way or another).
- The whole time there you keep wondering why you have to be here just because your parents know their parents. (Do you hear the saying: “He made an offer that you cannot refuse!”)
- At the end, everyone tries to sneak out like they're guilty of something. (Fanatic football fans sneak out of the Super Ball game in exactly the same fashion… Trying to beat the traffic at the last minute).
- By the time the MC says goodbye, everyone is long gone. You gotta be the last person to stay… so you saw this scene. (You need to know when the game is over; not until someone tells you so).
- And that was the last time you saw the bride/groom in your life… (No big deal! Do you think they really want to see your face again? Look yourself in the mirror one more time, my man. Adios).
Trần Văn Giang
Orange County, Ngày 7/20/2020