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Old August 2nd, 2009, 10:11 PM
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Default Vietnamís American dream

By Ron Lawton , Entrepreneur

I am a Canadian who has lived in America for many years. I have been successful and have prospered there. Now that I have some time I am seeing the other side of the world.

I am visiting Vietnam for the seventh time since 2005. When I first arrived in Ho Chi Minh City, I was surprised by the many things I saw. I traveled to many places in Vietnam and was impressed with so many of the things I experienced.

As a person who has lived and visited many parts of our planet I often view the local people I meet with some awe. Their individual lives and accomplishments lift me and I am impressed with how people have conquered their personal world, raised their families, run businesses and usually achieved success in their lives.

Vietnam, I found, was no different. The young people especially touched me most deeply. I have had several occasions to visit with students and mentor them at Van Lang University. Their energy and enthusiasm never failed to get me excited.

During one of these visits to a classroom, I conducted a question and answer period and the most common question that was asked of me was ďwhat was America like?Ē They wanted to know what would it take for them to get to America. For them America was the ultimate country to be in in the future. These questions startled me a little, as my opinions of America today are not really very complimentary. Yes it has in the past been a great and successful nation and it has created many millionaires.

But today, I told them, America was not filled with roads paved with gold. In many places it was poorer than some places I had seen in Vietnam. I told the young students that about 10 percent of children go to bed hungry every night, that more than 45 million people cannot afford any health insurance. In Cleveland (where I live) the failure rate of high school students is about 50 percent. Thereís more that I told them but then I went on to talk about what I thought of Vietnam.

I saw one of the greatest entrepreneurial populations I had ever seen. I observed the families with their support systems, caring for the elderly. I experienced the happiness of many that I was around. With the exception of some of the very hot tasting dishes, I loved the foods I ate. I loved especially the disciplined simplicity and yet hard working families. I know that I am enthused by all I have experienced here, in fact I even rode elephants. Now how many Westerners have done that in their lives?

Finally I took some time to tell the Van Lang students that wanted to move to America to stay home, graduate, build a career and help Vietnam to discover its destiny and future. I see the nation as great now and it will become more so as the years go on. It has been my privilege to know Vietnam like few other Westerners. Be proud my Vietnamese friends, the best is yet to come.

Source: VietnewsOnline

Ron Lawton is an American entrepreneur who has visited Vietnam for seven times
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