The shirt I won’t be wearing in the US

My thought in buying this shirt was simple: “I need more clothes here in VN, since I’ll be staying longer than I thought. The national flag shirt looks cool. Hope they have one in an super-huge-XL…”

But this flag is not appreciated in the US. As Wikipedia states, “In the United States, virtually no Vietnamese Americans use the current flag of Vietnam which many of them consider offensive.” Various instances and faux pas can be found under “political significance” in the same entry. My wearing it could seem like an endorsement of the regime that defeated the South and caused so much hardship – often loss of life – for the families who emigrated a few decades ago. At best, I imagine I’d be seen by American Vietnamese as the idiot who doesn’t know what she’s wearing.

Each time I wore the shirt in Vietnam I got lots of smiles and thumbs-up. Nhung said that locals who see me wearing this shirt conclude that I love Vietnam.

As for the yellow-with-3-red-stripes South Vietnamese flag, you would never see it in Vietnam ever. I was even too nervous to publish this post while I was still in Vietnam. (Just got to the Minneapolis airport! Hi, America.) Having anything to do with that flag in Vietnam is risky business and no one knows what would happen if someone displayed it in any way.

For any Vietnamese: What are your feelings on each of the flags below? Do you know of any instances of the “wrong” flag being displayed, either knowingly or accidentally?



11 thoughts on “The shirt I won’t be wearing in the US

  1. Interesting stuff. We humans are ridiculously complex creatures. (BTW, it was great meeting you last night at Sweet Rituals. Welcome back to the USA!)

  2. Wrong Pictures,
    Republic Vietnam:
    South Vietnam: Yes
    North Vietnam People 1945, 1954: Yes
    Central Vietnam: Yes
    North Vietnam People 1975: No

  3. To first-generation Vietnamese people who became refugees, fleeing from war-torn Vietnam because of the Communist regime, the red flag with the yellow star is offensive. I think they see that flag as making light of their situation and the hardships they went through. To me, a second-generation Vietnamese person who didn’t deal with what my parents or grandparents went through, it doesn’t really offend me, but I understand how it can be considered tactless to others and the terrors they went through such as pirates pillaging the ‘boat people’ during their journey to freedom, taking their jewellery and raping women.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s