Vietnam is growing leap and bound over the years since the US embargo was lifted in February 1994. Life is slowly becoming easier and better for the Vietnamese. The standard of living is improving every day.
Manual labor is still cheap while manufactured merchandise from foreign countries is expensive in Vietnam. Everything is paid in cash. Credit is not common for Vietnamese. It is hard for an average Vietnamese to buy a new house if he/she does not have the cash. Financially, credit and cash may be more available now but I believe cash is still widely accepted.
Almost everyone owns a small business. For some Vietnamese, the back of the building is their living quarters while the front is the business. Businesses are typically passed down over generations. Life is not kind to the poor in Vietnam. If an individual starts out with nothing, his or her chance to own a business is very slim.
Vietnam went through many years of wars and destruction. For many Vietnamese, America seems like heaven. The standard of living in America is definitely better than in Vietnam. However; in terms of individual wealth, more Vietnamese living in Vietnam are wealthier than the Vietnamese living in America.
More and more Vietnamese families are now able to send their children to America, Europe, and many other countries to study abroad. Some will settle in the countries they study while others will bring their talent home and open their own businesses. It is much easier now for Vietnamese to come and go freely.
In any culture, we are human and we have a tendency to always want something we do not have. There is a common cliche phrase that applies to many cultures: “The grass is always greener on the other side.” I guess I am just human because I do suffer the same urge.