Feb 9, 2012

Vietnam - Learning to make punctuality a habit

TUOITRENEWS: After an opinion article on the Vietnamese bad habit of coming late by Max Murta, several local readers have responded with their own stories and experiences of this issue.

“It’s embarrassing to come early”
I am a member of a sports club. One time, we were sent an invitation to a birthday party starting at 5pm.

When I arrived at 4.45pm at the rendezvous from which we would depart together, I was surprised to find half of the members still playing sports. They didn’t seem to be in a hurry, although the party would be starting soon.

When I asked why they were still playing, I heard this reply: “The invitation says 5pm but the party actually starts at 6pm”. Someone started to go home to take a shower and asked us to wait for them to come back. In spite of this, some members and I decided to go to the party immediately instead of waiting.

What I found surprising is some people were ready for the party and had to wait for the late ones. The excuse was that it is embarrassing to arrive early and it is better to go in a group.

I do not know why they feel the need to be embarrassed and how we can condone such a wrong perception. I hope we can find a way to eliminate this idea of “rubber time” from our culture.

Ngoc Diep

“Better to make someone wait for you than for you to wait for them”
Sometimes, my friends who came late joke, “Why do I need to come early and wait for others? They need to wait for me!” It has showed that unpunctuality originates from some people’s large egos and lack of consideration for others. . That is why event organizers have had to change their schedules as a way of adapting to the habits of those who do not respect time.

This small bad habit has become a negative trait of the Vietnamese in foreigners’ eyes. I think we need to change gradually, starting with event organizers. You can include a sentence like “Please do not come late” and carry out the program as scheduled. By doing that, those who do not arrive on time will feel left out of a community comprised of people with higher awareness.

Men Oanh

People coming late should be looked down on
I don’t know when “rubber time” became a part of Vietnamese culture.

Since childhood, I was taught to be on time and usually try to come 10-15 minutes early. Many times, I was the first one to show up. People have various reasons for coming late: taking their children to school, traffic jams. However, behind those excuses is the basic bad habit: a disrespect of time.

For example, one of my colleagues lives next door to me, so our company is just a few hundred meters away. However, he has hardly arrived at the office on time since when I leave for work, he is still watching TV! So whose fault is it?

At my office, those coming late to work will be made fun of, or even receive punishment for making the whole team wait. When we go on fieldtrips, especially, we always depart on time. Those who are not punctual will need to catch a taxi or go home. We do not wait if there is no sound reason or advance notification.

Thus, we need to teach ourselves the culture of punctuality, in order to be civilized and to build a modern country.

Huynh Van Binh


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