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?