Wednesday, April 12, 2017



I want to talk today about Vietnamese people and peeing. Particularly men and very young children. The number of penises I've seen since I've been living in Hanoi is unnecessarily higher than I'd like it to be.

It happens everyday; taxi drivers stopped by the road, facing a fence, creating a puddle for all to see. Joggers during their evening run, with no time to lose. A Xe Om driver, ducking behind his strategically parked bike. A street vendor, with nowhere else to go, or parents who don't have a worry in the world about showing the whole city their exposed children.

This is something one may think is just the older generations way of thinking, that this repulsive behaviour couldn't possibly flow down to the children.

Image result for will somebody think of the children

But this is not the case. Younger gen, urine trouble.

One evening, while stuck in pee peak hour, I drove by a boy who was peeing onto the street. I'm going to guess he was about four or five years old. As I drove right by him, he graciously lifted his stream so that it connected with my bike tyre. Why, oh why, did the mum not even take a second look. Is this behaviour normal?! HE PEED ON MY MOVING VEHICLE.

Another instance, at my fiancé's uncles' birthday, we were out at a nice restaurant when the nephews (three years old at the time) announced that they needed to go. 

The mum stood one of the boys on her lap, took one of the empty 250ml LaVie bottles, and let him go in there. At the dinner table. With all of the family around. Who were completely unfazed by this.

I have to wonder how this behaviour became a cultural norm. 

This is a photo I pulled from an article posted by the Truoi Tre News, an online news source posted in English. 

The man in the photo was photographed by passers by when he stopped at a red light and got out of his car to use the lane dividers as a toilet.

They literally pee everywhere!

According to the article, users were commenting on Facebook about how disgraceful this public display is, and how he is ruining the elegance of Hanoi. 

I don't know who these people are, but I'd be surprised if this was the first time they have seen a case of day time public urination. 

I see it EVERY DAY.

Another commenter wrote that 'if he had not of done it in the street, he would've 'died' from holding it in', according to the article.

Is this where our answers lie? Does this behaviour sprout from white lies Vietnamese families tell their children? You know, like how eating carrots will make you see in the dark and how if you're good santa will come and bring you presents for Christmas?

Will holding in your pee really kill you?

It can cause some damage, certainly. So maybe the taxi drivers are not to blame, when their job is to be out all day and there is a severe lack of well maintained public restrooms around Hanoi.

Another news source, Thanh Nien News posted an article that the exact man as named before was tracked down and given a fine, and it was rumoured that fines for public urination were going to be enforced more regularly.

But perhaps instead of fining people for urinating in public - people who are out in public all day for their jobs - perhaps Hanoi should start implementing more public toilets!

Vietnam is not the only culprit in this tinkle fest.

'In India you literally can't go anywhere without seeing a dude with his wang out taking a whizz.' -Says a friend of mine, Diane.

Is it a cultural thing? Why do some countries deem it entirely appropriate to pee straight to the street?

This is the way it is now, but hopefully in the not-too-far future, things will start to change, and people will have more bathroom options available.

Please Vietnam, don't let our youngest generation grow up with these same habits!

What about you? Do you have a funny experience you want to share about seeing this in Vietnam? Or what white lies did your parents tell you to get you to do things when you were younger? Let me know in the comments below!

-Millie Burns

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