Posted by: sharemore1 | November 28, 2012

Respect for Teachers…and its Limits

In “Showered with Flowers” (12/14/10) I described a typical Teachers’ Day in Viet Nam.  It’s better for florists than Valentine’s Day, as students honor their current and former teachers—from elementary school to the university—with songs and flowers.

Flowers for the Teacher

This year Moshe’s students had something special for him, and much more to his taste than flowers and a tie.  They gave him a laser pointer, which he’s already found indispensable.  On Saturday they came to our apartment to…(if you’ve been following my blog you already know the answer)…cook dinner.

Students Cooking on the Floor

Since it takes time to cook for 20 people in a small kitchen, the students worked in shifts.   As usual, they used all available spaces, including the floor.   They made rice chips, pork kabobs and dozens and dozens of spring rolls, some fresh, some fried, with appropriate dipping sauces.   For dessert they made fruit kabobs and fruit cups with papaya, pineapple and watermelon.  Afterwards everyone pitched in and cleaned the kitchen.

Making Dessert

While some students cooked, others played Qwirkle and one student serenaded us with his guitar.  Teachers are highly respected in Viet Nam—mentioning your profession might get you a discount at a local shop and even a break on a traffic ticket.  But respect has its limits.   The students give no quarter when it comes to playing games, and beating Moshe gives them a special thrill.

Some Play, Others Work

We also attended a party for graduating seniors, commuting to the party on the back of motorbikes during rush hour traffic.  Our drivers skillfully wove through the cars, buses, bicycles and other motorbikes, while we clutched on behind, kneecap to kneecap with other riders.

Astride a Motorbike

The students also honored us at the party.  They gave Moshe and me gifts and thanked us for coming to Viet Nam to work with them.  Formalities dispensed with, they insisted I compete in a contest to impersonate a chicken laying an egg.  So there I was onstage, dignity discarded, squawking and squatting and laying an imaginary egg.  By acclamation, I was named the best mother hen.

Laying an Egg

As I said, respect has its limits.


  1. We always said that you were the best mother hen!

  2. You are a good egg! Thank you for sharing.

  3. Funny! Nice to have a chance to catch up on your terrific posts. I love exploring the delights of Vietnam with you.

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