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Facebook as a symbol of Vietnamese Pop Culture
06. June 2018 at 12:49
by Anh Vu
All in three countries following the Communism, China banned Facebook under ist censorship policies, only 40% Cubans (in total of 16% Cubans have access to the internet) have a social account while not clear if it’s always active, While in Vietnam; in 2018 my country is ranked 7th (*) just after India and US with 53,72% citizens using Facebook and there’s no doubt to say that the young Vietnamese are now eating, drinking, sleeping, selling, buying and updating the information that they care just around the Facebook corners. In this essay, I desire to discuss some points about the idea that “Facebook in Vietnam now can become a symbol of Vietnamese’s dream to be rich and freedom of speech”. In another word, if you think about Vietnam then it’s better to recognize Facebook as one of the universal pop culture symbols of Vietnam
All in three countries following the Communism, China banned Facebook under ist censorship policies, only 40% Cubans (in total of 16% Cubans have access to the internet) have a social account while not clear if it’s always active, While in Vietnam; in 2018 my country is ranked 7th (*) just after India and US with 53,72% citizens using Facebook and there’s no doubt to say that the young Vietnamese are now eating, drinking, sleeping, selling, buying and updating the information that they care just around the Facebook corners.

The problems of overusing Facebook such as online harassment, addiction by the teens, etc or the confidentiality on Facebook have now become ubiquitous on TV and newspaper because thanks to the government and adults, the negative awareness of Facebook has been raised profoundly. I’m also fed up about the idea that Facebook is not a utopia land and like my mom also reminds me every time I stick my face into the smartphone “the real life is out there, not on Facebook” no matter what application I’m using, she just assumes It must be Facebook! Yes, I’m obsessive about Facebook and most of the young Vietnamese also upset about it to the extent that I wished that Mark Zuckerberg was Vietnamese or at least half-blood Vietnamese. And I can tell mom and other’s friends that Facebook is our national symbol. However, in this essay, I desire to discuss some points about the idea that “Facebook in Vietnam now can become a symbol of Vietnamese’s dream to be rich and freedom of speech”. In another word, if you think about Vietnam then it’s better to recognize Facebook as one of the universal pop culture symbols of Vietnam. In this statement, whose foundation that I base on to highly acclaim Facebook?

Here are two notions to clarify this:
1, In the digital and flat world culture, the blue icon with a white F inside it represents everything from connecting, entertainment and obsession to the illusory world. To the Vietnamese, just after over 10 years being connecting to Internet, Facebook is now a product for the mass, the young and adult mass because the mass spend about 2.5 hours per day just to check and communicate via Facebook (**) in 2016 and now it must be more. Then its’ omnipresence in the mind and in the pocket of at least nearly all young Vietnamese must make Facebook as a symbolic representation of the Vietnamese pop culture. For examples, there are many phenomena on Facebook that nearly no one never hears: #Vietnamnoilalam (Vietnamese speak and do) or the tidal wave of support of the U23 in the Asian soccer match. It’s also an icon to argue whether it does more harm or good. Then Facebook also does the same affection like this to others mass all over the globe like India or US. and even more.
2, Facebook to Vietnamese, first as an important incentive for individual economic and start-up business, secondly as an empowered power to affect Vietnamese politic - the communism. An M. named Joe Nguyen(1), from ComScore Inc. senior vice president of Asia Pacific, stated that Vietnamese were very entrepreneurial and in the past, start-up companies just for someone who dared to dream big and were adventurous in money. Now, the story has its turning pages. It’s true that Facebook brings a potential economic power to the Vietnamese youth to start up their business and become rich or at least earn more money. In other words, American Dream is so outdated now then here comes the Vietnamese’s dream. The fact that to open a shop or-or run a business in selling anything in this illusory world is so much easier.

Because all the Vietnamese need is not a huge starting capital or bureaucratic procedures of paper or money under the table for the authorities but a Facebook account and a marketing plan with the payment to Facebook ads. The evidence of it must be one of my friend who is now selling accessories and clothing on Facebook. Her business is just about ordering sale’s clothes of famous brands like Zara, Forever 21, etc abroad and take the commission from the customers. She now talks to me about a content attitude that she can now be economically independent and nowexpanding her capitals for a real store at her house. Even though the shops or start-ups companies may be just intangible things on Facebook but the economic profit it makes is tangible and the customers who day by day purchasing and selling on this network survive depending on the reputable or disreputable of an account.

Others countries love to buy online too, Chinese buy things on Alibaba, The US loves buying on Amazone and in Vietnam, we love to buy and check the diversity of any product beforehand on Facebook. As Facebook Icon now not just only embodies connection, profile, entertainment but a growing retailing business in Vietnam and the Vietnamese dream just flourishes to any youth. Then why Vietnamese - buyers love Facebook? Even though it’s so time-consuming to hunt for different retailing pages The answer is that everything you can buy is sold on Facebook and the truth is customers’ voice is highly valued. A bad review with a detailed story and low star-rated can weigh heavily on the owners because it directly damages the reputation of their business. In term of this, the relationship between buyer and seller only base on the value of the goods and its service. Isn’t it a healthy market? When customers can manipulate and make a store go bankrupt if that Facebook store is just deceitful. Somehow, the implied rules of this business game on Facebook should become a role model for many state-owned companies. The Facebook icon for the Vietnamese must become a Vietnamese’s dream like in the US they still boast and insist on their American dreams. Of course, not all dreams can come true and some of them collapse, but the Vietnamese - young Vietnamese still embrace the opportunities and succeed unless they weigh the customer’s requirement and opinion up.

A French friend of mine said to me that he’s surprised by the fact that Vietnam is such a cohesive society, there’s no political crisis or political instability. Well, marching and demonstration on the street is just not our deep culture and the Vietnamese do care about politics but it’s must be in a “communist way”. In America, the freedom of speech is clearly written in the 10 Amendments, in France, the country is considered the champion of “la grève” to go on strike, while the Vietnamese perform their strikes very few on the street but more and more on Facebook. On Facebook, the Vietnamese figure out the freedom of speech and ist power. It’s true that our prime minister requested Facebook to remove 159 anti-government accounts (2) because of “fake news” and perhaps these account has gone to the point of being rebellious. The Vietnamese learned to gain the freedom of speech on Facebook through the solidarity of citizens and the politeness. In early 2017, when the Unique Son Tra Peninsula in Da Nang with the world famous & biggest population of red-shanked doucs and Green lungs of the Province suddenly had the honor to become a centered resort and tourism with 17 projects of exploiting the nature and infrastructural construction by the National Ad of Tourism. A man of heart named Le Phuoc Chin posted a photo with a part of Son Tra peninsula’s land was deteriorated and constructed by heavy machines (3) on Facebook to make his voice heard.

The message of this photo itself has become a phenomenon when thousand People having the same awareness and worries about this issue shared, commented. Firstly, It raised the problem and spread it out like a contagious disease in short time. Up to the point that people felt so sick about it as they saw and shared “the ugly photo of Son Tra”, it required the government to make a kind of vaccine immediately. There are no marching on the street except for the 12000 online signature collected through a petition. The media and news must hear the voice and updated the burning spirit from Vietnamese citizens through Facebook. Finally, the authorities decided to make an implementation of the Son Tra master plan. Still, we can not deny the powerful impact of raising voice on Facebook as an incentive for social and political change. The petition was signed and written in a polite way but there’s no lack of aggression and an echo of loud and angry over 12,000 people’s voice to against a poor management and money’ s power. And it’s effective and simple. The Vietnamese did the same thing to save Son Doong Cave (the largest cave on Earth) out of the cable line for tourism. What’s the best, there’s no bureaucracy in doing step-by-step policies to create an out-spreading impact. Over 50% Facebook users, most of them are young people with education and awareness to change or at least recognize a way to make the voice heard so as to make gigantic attention. Although it’s full of satire to state that Facebook is a profound platform to express the freedom of speech in Vietnam, Facebook opens a bridge to fill the gap between the citizens’ voice and the government. Vice versa, The State also accept this kind of freedom of speech on this social platform to acknowledge their mistakes, their responsibilities and the need of citizens. In the near future, I expect more the rise of this empowered freedom of speech to express and reflect our urge itself. If the Vietnamese hadn’t respond creatively with the use of the influence of Facebook, we may have lost Son Tra and Son Doong cave, but more than that, we may have lost the belief in the voice of every citizen and its power to adapt and to change. Where an authentic voice with passion and determination for the GOODNESS from anyone: a worker, a farmer, a student, a doctor etc is matter, as long as it serves the goodness. Facebook as a political icon of pop culture in Vietnam unconsciously concrete the verity over money.

At the end of this essay, obviously, Facebook and the discussion around its Benefits and harms still arouse in many directions. The point is that if the Vietnamese (including others nationalities) learn and embrace the importance of reflection in a positive way then we can gain the advantages. Facebook in Vietnam should be seriously recognized as a economic value and a platform for social and political change. Therefore, at the end, The Vietnamese users know that they are spending a
lot of money & time on it by keep buying things or can make a career such as a digital marketing or a start-up business, they can even make the voice through the prime minister if their voice is from the goodness and healthy itself.
Cite This Article As: Anh Vu. "Facebook as a symbol of Vietnamese Pop Culture." International Youth Journal, 06. June 2018.

Link To Article: https://youth-journal.org/facebook-as-a-symbol-of-vietnamese-pop-culture





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