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Amanda Griffith

Where is the Integrity of Vietnam?

Does Vietnam have any integrity at all?

A woman poisoned her husband with heartbreak grass because after he invited two friends over to get drunk, she saw a quick way to stop his drinking and beating on her forever.  Why is a woman and her children beaten regularly and community members come to the house and drink with the abusive husband for pleasure?

Poisonous porridge has become popular in Ha Gaing. Why would people in the area be attracted to a dish called “poison” and why would they risk eating something that if prepared incorrectly could kill? 

In my childhood, when we were still South Vietnam, we used our exotic gifts for their medicinal value, but not for excitement. 

We ate fish and chicken with herbs such as lemongrass, picked fresh coconuts and oranges off our own fruit trees. Snake has its place as a medicinal remedy and otherwise as a respected if not feared part of our local habitat. The same Burmese python recently outlawed for shipment from foreign cultures to the U.S., was a natural wildlife of our playground near the rice fields or by the Lai Gaing River.

I do remember one time when someone in my family ate snake but not as a gourmet food nor even as a meal. Thac’s face broke out in horrible acne when we lived in Qui Nhon. She had always been the prettiest of my family, with beautiful eyes and skin. Because she felt the break out so ugly, Thac began hiding half her face behind her hair. One of my uncles on my mother’s side came for a visit. When he saw saw Thac, he said, “I know how to fix that.” When he left he said, “I’ll be back soon with a cure.”

Several weeks later, he returned with a pot of cooked meat stew. Uncle said to Mother, “Don’t tell her what it is.”

After Thach had eaten all she could hold, she asked, “Well, what is in this?”

“Snake meat,” is all my uncle said. Thach groaned loudly.

Within two days, a miracle happened. Thach’s face returned to her clear beauty.

One day, I hope our lost culture can still be saved.

South Vietnam Stories

About Amanda Griffith

I am a Franklin and Marshall graduate, English and Government. I taught 6-12 English for 28 years and am a published writer with four articles to my credit. Check out my five star rating on
This entry was posted in South Vietnam Culture, Vietnam Today, Vietnamese ancient medicine, vietnamese film, Vietnamese food. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Where is the Integrity of Vietnam?

  1. Anonymous says:

    This post has been revised on 1/28/12

  2. Anonymous says:

    Recall the stories of USMilitary in Vietnam who killed entire villages including women and children, toddlers and infants.
    Unashamed vet in the public sector, SUPPORTED BY YOUR TAX DOLLARS, earning six figures/year. This history should have affected the family business as well.
    How many Vietnamese babies did he kill? More than 50?
    If him and his buddies were making jokes they may have made a game out of it, perhaps wagering, and the competition could have resulted in a very high number.

    • AGriffith says:

      I know other vets who gave up their lives protecting democracy in South Vietnam. My cousin John was one lost forever.

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