Editor's note: CNET editor and Crave contributor Dong Ngo is spending the month of December in his homeland of Vietnam and plans to file occasional dispatches chronicling his impressions of how technology has permeated the culture there. Click here for more of Dong's stories from abroad.
HANOI, Vietnam--Love, or the lack thereof, is an ongoing global issue. I offer no solution, but if you want to look for the one here in Vietnam, a word of advice: learn to text and know your emoticons.
While online dating services are rampant in the States (personally, I believe many young Americans aren't really sure what to look for in a partner and being impatient as usual, think spending money somehow helps solve this), things are a little different in Vietnam--in the big cities that is.
Here, there are no dating services (at least none that my friends and I can spot), and young people still mostly meet the traditional way--through friends, school, family, work, and so on. Those who do meet online most often become friends through blogging, forums, or online social activities.
(In small villages like the one in Ha Nam where I was born, dating hasn't changed much in the past 50 years. Kids are sort of matched up at an early age, oftentimes jokingly, by relatives or friends. When they grow up, if neither goes away to find a job elsewhere, chances are they will marry each other.)
But it doesn't matter how a relationship here starts; it seems all of them go through something I'd call the "@ phase of love," in which the courtship continues via cell phone texts and Yahoo instant messaging. Unlike in the States, where couples tend to move in together, people in Vietnam generally only live together once married. In between, they rely on cell phones and the Internet to stay close.… Read more