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Asia next volume3_vietnam


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Asia next volume3_vietnam

  1. 1. ASIANEXTVolume THREE:Generation 7x: When West Meets East
  2. 2. Generation 7x: When West Meets East Ten years ago, international restaurant chains such as Pizza Hut, Lotteria and Sushi Bar were hardly known to the majority of Vietnamese. Nowadays, a stroll along the busy Saigon streets and one can easily find restaurants serving exotic cuisine from across the globe. With this cultural shift, a question arises – do the young Vietnamese still prefer the traditional family meal at home or have their preferences evolved now that their options are endless? Let’s take a look at the 7x generation. In Vietnam, the term ‘7x’ refers to those born in the 1970s - dubbed the ‘bridg- ing generation’. This generation is a typical example of a ‘middle generation’ as they were born in the period just after Vietnam fought to gain back its independence and before the critical time when the country opened its doors to foreign trade, international understanding and cultural exchange. Below are three trademark characteristics that define this group. Relish the Opportunity In 1975, the Vietnam War, which had took a major toll on the country for more than two decades, came to an end. The benefits of growing up in the post-war environment was reflected in every aspect of life: living stan- dards, heathcare, infrastructure and, of course, the education system. The vast changes the country experi- enced in the following years laid the foundation for the ‘bridging generation’ to place high value on freedom and peace. This generation was eager to take advantage of every opportunity to help their country and their families flourish. An emphasis was placed on education and hard work, and a sizable number of Vietnamese were rec- ognized with scholarships from the government or overseas organizations. Many were given the opportunity to study abroad and eventually bring the newly-gained knowledge and experience back home. Work Hard, Play Hard It is evident that the 7x generation is more open-minded than their 6x counterparts. The 7x generation is influ- enced by Western culture; they are dynamic, energetic, intellectual, outgoing, confident and sociable. The 7x generation is contributing the most growth to the country than any other demographic group, not only from an eco- nomic standpoint but also in key fields like scientific research, art and social sciences. Many influential experts are members of the 7x generation, including Ngo Bao Chau, the first Vietnamese to receive the Fields Medal (known as International Medal for Outstanding Discoveries in Mathematics); Vu Minh Tri, the Director of Microsoft Vietnam; and Nguyen Tu Quang, the author of one of the first Vietnamese antivirus software programs - BKAV, which is now one of the most popular antivirus software programs in Vietnam. Members of this transitional period are also known to savor the moment and live life to the fullest. Whether that means fine dining, expensive cars, couture clothing, exotic travel or expensive homes, 7x is the quintessential consumer for all brands from everyday to high-end luxury. Unlike previous generations raised in an environment that encouraged saving, most 7xs have gained financial independence that allows them to satisfy these new interests and ultimately indulge them- selves. They are becoming increasingly more confident and social, and financiers are paying attention, creating lavish cafete- rias, bars, clubs and lounges targeting this generation. “Work hard, play harder” has become the motto of the 7x generation. However, despite the increased and varied interests of this group, the majority of the money earned is spent on giving their chil- dren the same educational opportunities they had. While the 9x in Vietnam are more egocentric, the 7x are more likely to sacrificefor the sake of their kids and still consider that the most noble responsibility.
  3. 3. Keeping the Family Meals and Traditional Values While the 5x or 6x generations are considered the ‘traditional generation’, placing high importance to family, the 8x or 9xs are the opposite, moving away from traditional moral values. The 7x generation lies somewhere in the middle, having absorbed the positive values of the Western culture without losing their Vietnamese heritage. Despite their acculturation to Western culture, they still place a high premium on family. In fact, family is generally ranked the chief concern in their lives. Traditionally there is more empha- sis placed on their roles, privileges and obligations within their group than on their own work or individual desires; however, straddling their focus can be a challenge. Outside of work, 7xs prioritize time with family over other social commitments. Customarily, all family members are expected to gather at dinner time, which has become known as the ‘golden family time’. For many, this is the only time that all members can sit together and connect given the increasing bustle of every day life. The 7xs prioritization of family is not relegated to weekdays. Whereas the 8xs or 9xs appear to prefer spending time with friends and 6xs are seemingly reticent to travel, the 7xs consistently strive to make the most of their free time with their family. Most weekends are spent exploring the city as a group and vaca- tions are relegated to visiting recreational places such as Nha Trang beach, Mui Ne beach or Da Lat city with family. No matter what the activity, 7xs are engaging in it as a family. There’s one undeniable truth – the 7xs are now in the pinnacle of their success and contribution to Viet- namese society. As the 8x and 9x generations assume societal leadership many wonder if they will keep the traditional values and family focus or if typical Vietnamese ideals will eventually fade away.
  4. 4. ASIANEXTVolume THREE:Generation 7x: When West Meets East