What is culture? Culture is set of learned behaviors, beliefs, attitudes, values, and ideas that are characteristic of a particular society or population. In this paper, I will compare and contrast Pakistani and Vietnamese culture. Furthermore, I will discuss what I have learned from this exercise.
In Vietnam traditional role of the woman in society has been that of nurturer: to stay within the confines of the home for the purpose of caring for the family. In Pakistan and Vietnam women are raised and taught how to become good daughters, wives, and mothers. They are told that they must obey their husbands, respect their parents and their parents-in-law, and work hard to support the family. In Vietnam parents does not prefer their daughters to go to school or work in a position that is normally occupied by a man. Most of the women do not work. They stay home and look after their family. In Pakistan most of waves and daughters stay out of sight of other men because of the religion strictness. Pakistani women stay in the house, behind the veil, in special sections of buses, and in the “family” area of the restaurants. For Pakistani Muslims this is the way to show respect and devotion towards women. Pakistani does believe in education for their daughters and sons. However, sons get the first priority and higher education. Also girls must go to separate school from boys until she will reach University, which is 4 year in college. In other words, until she is engaged and mature enough not to fall in love with someone her parents restrict.
In Vietnamese and in Pakistani culture, their older siblings arrange marriages. Marriage is more like compromise, which is made between two families. But as the time has changed girls are not forced to marry however when girl is the one to choose she will pick her companion base on love and family agreement. When parents choose a guy for their daughter it’s usually the best offer which means that guy is educated, have stable future, and wealthy. But when girl is being picked parents want to have healthy, hard working daughter-in-law, who would take care of their family’s welfare. A likely scenario under these circumstances is a marriage between a 17 years old girl and a
7-year-old boy. When that husband reaches adulthood, he would realize that his wife might be too old for him; and he would be entitled to take a younger girl as his second wife. Polygamy was accepted in Vietnam but remarriage for the wife is not allowed since, faithfulness to her first husband is required. Thus the first wife, being restricted by the old custom, must remain a lonely slave with her husband’s family until her death. In Pakistani culture woman has no saying in any aspect of her life, including her own marriage, and when betrothed, belongs excessively to her husband’s family. When guy’s parents look for a mate for their son not that she has to be beautiful and well-mannered girl but also who will bring great amount of dowry. To all extents and purposes she is an alienable property, and once the bride price has been paid, she cannot be returned, whether in a state of divorce, separation or widowed. In both cultures girls must obey her in laws in order to gain respect in her husband’s house. In Vietnam and in Pakistan family is very important. They have joint family system. After the marriage daughters move out of the house however sons stay with their parents atlongest they can.
Family size in Vietnam is fairly large. Back in the days 12-16 was normal family size. However, as poverty and population has increased so the family size has decreased to 3-4. On other hand side, in Pakistan typical family size is about 3-5. In Pakistan and in Vietnam parents prefer to have sons than daughters. In both cultures Parents expect their children to be perfect and obedience. Therefore, strict physical punishment is used for discipline. Parents are usually very hard and strict on girls however they are flexible when it comes to boys. Parents are more protective about daughters and they expect girls to know and does everything for instance: cook, clean, sew, and in other words perfect in house chores. Guys are very spoiled, they get everything they want but they are expected to find perfect “angel” wives so she will obey her in laws. Also son is somewhat head of the family after the Mom.
Learning about different cultures, and people always fascinated me. Because of my interest I have traveled all over the world. But what really interests me that how women are treated in every country. How women are treated in male dominant society and what women are fighting towards femininity independence. While I was interviewing these two individuals from two different cultures I was surprise to see how similar they are. I have learned a lot not only about Vietnamese culture but my own. I never thought that girls are treated less than boys because we are only two sisters and I don’t remember my parents ever restricted us from doing something we desire.
In conclusion, Vietnamese and Pakistani culture have more similarities than differences than I thought and especially role of woman. Both cultures are male dominant and women’s fate is defined by their men, and their subservience to them is absolute. Through out my interview, I have learned a lot not only about my own culture but how other country in the world shares similar beliefs, behaviors, attitudes, and values.