Vietnam, officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam (SRV; Vietnamese: Cộng hòa Xã hội Chủ nghĩa Việt Nam) is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. With an estimated 90.5 million inhabitants as of 2014, it is the world's 13th-most-populous country, and the eighth-most-populous Asian country. The name Vietnam translates as "Southern Viet" (synonymous with the much older term Nam Viet); it was first officially adopted in 1802 by Emperor Gia Long, and was adopted again in 1945 with the founding of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam under Ho Chi Minh. The country is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea to the east. Its capital city has been Hanoi since the reunification of North and South Vietnam in 1976, following the conclusion of the Vietnam War.
- Kiss me goodbye and write me while I'm gone. Goodbye my sweetheart, hello Vietnam.
- I used to see Vietnam as a war rather than a country.
- John Pilger, as quoted in Do you remember Vietnam? (1978).
- We lost, everyday, Vietnamese life, in fighting the communists.
- American democracy, maybe, cannot work in a country like mine, you know, in South Vietnam.
- I remember that day clearly when I left Saigon. I left my country in honor that day.
- China presents Vietnam with a very big problem. China is taking over Vietnam, from Cholon, where there are rich Chinese, to Haiphong. They are everywhere now with their product. My wife is from the North, people there resent China more than the South feared the Viet Cong. The Chinese are invaders — like any other foreigners — to fight. We must stop the Chinese. You know the dikes built on the Red River? If they break, what happens? A flood!
- If they want to assassinate me, it's easy. After that, just blame it on the Việt Cộng or a coup d'etat plot.
- Văn Thiệu Nguyễn, as quoted in "Tổng thống Sài Gòn cũ Nguyễn Văn Thiệu và con đường chiến bại (kỳ III)", by Phong Hoàn Công, Báo Công An Nhân Dân.
- Original Vietnamese quote: Nếu họ muốn ám sát tôi thì cũng dễ thôi. Rồi sau đó cứ việc đổ cho Việt Cộng hoặc là do âm mưu đảo chính.
- They have back-stabbed us.
- Vietnam was never all that ideologically Communist. It was always more socialist and nationalist. I told them they should stop calling themselves the Communist Party, but I didn't get anywhere with it. Everybody pays for everything over there, including health care. The government hardly provides anything. Sweden is more socialist than Vietnam.
- Bones have broken, and blood has fallen, the hatred is rising high. Our country has been separated for so long. Here, the sacred Mekong, here, glorious Truong Son Mountains are urging us to advance to kill the enemy. Shoulder to shoulder, under a common flag. Arise!
- All independent religions are banned [in Vietnam]. Only economically speaking we are better [since the collapse of South Vietnam in 1975]. But politically speaking nothing changes.
- Thích Quảng Độ. . (2007-12-20). In My View: Vietnam's Buddhist Monk Thich Quang Do
- This is the largest anti-Chinese demonstration I have ever seen in Hanoi. Our patience has limits. We are here to express the will of the Vietnamese people to defend our territory at all costs. We are ready to die to protect our nation.
- A war veteran named Dang Quang Thang told the AFP news agency, "Vietnam protestors attack China over sea disuptes", May 11, 2014.
- I've been to fifteen formerly communist countries, plus Cuba, which is still communist. Vietnam is the only one with good cuisine. I can't recall enjoying a single quality meal in Europe's former Communist bloc. Marxism bulldozed restaurants along with everything else, and chefs in post-Communist Europe haven't had much time to master their craft. Cuba's food is still mostly terrible, though a handful of restaurants are privately owned and offer tolerable fare. The biggest problem there is a chronic shortage of quality ingredients. Yet Vietnam, still nominally communist, somehow has outstanding food everywhere, even on the street. It must be some combination of the ingredients, the cooks, and the cuisine itself.
- Motorbikes, mopeds, and scooters, make up 99 percent of Vietnam’s traffic. It's strange, in a way, since houses larger than mine in America take up a large percentage of the city's space. Perhaps the middle class would rather spend its money on housing than transportation. Though not nearly as vertical, Hanoi is a bit like Manhattan. There's no room on the streets for everyone to have a car. They wouldn’t be able to park, let alone move. Urban planners would have to pull down the city and start over to change that. The government knows it and punishes would-be drivers with an almost 200 percent car tax. No matter how rich the Vietnamese become in the future, they can't defeat physics. They will be stuck riding motorbikes of one kind or another for the foreseeable future. But it wasn’t long ago that most of them rode bicycles. Before that, they walked.
- I have been to malls around the world. I generally find them antiseptic and dull and hardly ever visit them when I’m home. But Hanoi's Royal City Mall shattered every idea I had ever held about Vietnam, and it still stunned me even after spending a week in the city. How strange that such a place exists in a country run by a government that calls itself the Communist Party! Ho Chi Minh would have mortared it out of existence. The entrance looks like a Roman emperor’s palace surrounded by luxurious high-rises. The inside is vast and burrows deep underground. You can walk around for miles without retracing your steps—past sparkling fountains, gourmet restaurants, and local boutiques as well as international chain stores, snack shops, playgrounds, an ice-skating rink, and a huge area that resembles a cartoonish version of Hanoi’s old quarter but without the hazardous traffic, the noise, the banging construction, the obstacles on the sidewalks, and, blessedly, the heat and humidity. The place is as opulent as Las Vegas. In fact, the indoor replica of the old quarter is exactly what a Las Vegas mogul would build if he decided to create a Vietnam-themed hotel and casino resembling the Disney-ish knockoffs of Venice, New York, and Paris. I couldn’t help but laugh. The Vegas version of Hanoi exists. In Hanoi.
- Malls seem to offer proof that, around the world, across diverse cultures, people yearn to be bourgeois. When they have the means, they like to visit climate-controlled shopping centers. They buy things. They have dinner. They see movies in the cinemaplex. They take the kids. They hang out with friends. Some might charge that the Vietnamese have caught the disease of western consumerism and are losing their souls to it, like Americans. But if you want to stop people from living this way, you’ll need to put them in camps.
- Vietnam is enjoying a holiday from history, basking in the prosperous and relatively 'free' post-totalitarian phase of its evolution. Amid all the economic and cultural dynamism, the state is a weirdly distant anachronism, its billboards and slogans as out of place as World War II posters would be in America now.
- The state itself feels almost irrelevant to anyone who isn't an outspoken dissident. Controlling Vietnam's people and imposing order on its freewheeling chaos is an exercise in futility. No-honking signs and traffic regulations are routinely flouted, as are parking restrictions. I saw two police officers pull up in a car across the street from my hotel and yell at people through a bullhorn to move their motorbikes off the sidewalk. They complied, but less than five minutes after the policemen drove off, the space filled up again. The most striking example that I encountered of the state's remoteness from reality was inside an electronics store, where a vast selection of cutting-edge technology compared with that of the best outlets in Silicon Valley. The store sold the usual selection of smartphones and tablets, of course, but also 'smart' rice cookers with options Americans have never even heard of. I saw an 82-inch Ultra HDTV with clarity so sharp it stopped me dead in my tracks. It cost $15,000.
- Vietnamese anti-Americanism scarcely exists. What we call the Vietnam War, and what they call the American War, casts no shadow, especially not in the south, which fought on the American side, but not even in Hanoi, a city heavily bombed by the United States. I saw no evidence that the U.S. or anyone else ever bombed Hanoi. All the damage has apparently been repaired, and most Vietnamese are under the age of thirty, too young to remember it, anyway. The war was just one in a long history of conflicts, and it isn't even the most recent. After the U.S. withdrawal, the Vietnamese continued fighting themselves.
- Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1978 and dished out a long-overdue regime change to Pol Pot and his legions of génocidaires. China invaded Vietnam in 1979. Before its twentieth-century conflicts, the Vietnamese fought the Chinese on and off for more than 1,000 years. The war we Americans know so well and mourn is a mere blip in Vietnamese history, one that everyone in both countries knows will not be repeated. Perhaps it's not so remarkable that the Vietnamese have moved on. Most Americans don't hold grudges for long, either, after the furies of war have subsided. Hardly any of us hate the Japanese, the Germans, or the Vietnamese. We rightly despise the Taliban and ISIS, but not the innocent people of Afghanistan or Iraq. So the Vietnamese aren't unique for being emotionally mature about history, but they do contrast with some, especially in the Middle East, who can't get past even the most ancient of grievances. George Santayana famously said that those who can’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it, to which P. J. O'Rourke added, with the Arab-Israeli conflict in mind, that 'it goes double for those who can’t remember anything else'.
- Today, both the Vietnamese people and government, in the north as well as the south, view Americans as allies. The leaders are communists who voluntarily embarked on a journey of economic dynamism and friendship with the United States, first abandoning and then reversing everything they once fought and died for. They're prospering as a result. May the same one day happen in Havana and Pyongyang.
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