“Ethnic is in,” a phrase that my friends in New York started saying two summers ago, became a kind of joke because what does it actually mean? However, the statement has since taken on more depth for me, with a somewhat closer approximation of what ethnic looks and feels like in northern Vietnam.

Ten Western songs that have made it bigger in Vietnam

What do you mean you’ve never heard of Lobo? You know, Lobo: the stage name of that megastar Floridian, Roland Kent Lavoie.

While recently reviewing a list of personal questions with my Vietnamese tutor, I went through the typical: What is your name? Where are you from? How old are you? Where do you work? Then she added another common question that Vietnamese ask: How much is your salary?

 

On my hem there lives a rat. It’s a reclusive rat, not spotted often, but it is the reason all garbage bags are hung from hooks on the wall. I’ve seen it, but only at night as it sneaks along the alley in search of food. It must be skilled at this as it’s quite chubby. It waddles, twitching its nose and peering short-sightedly through its beady red eyes. Despite this comic-book description, there is something about him that fills me with dread.

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