Superstition and luck in Vietnam
  • By Brian Webb | dtinews.vn | August 23, 2012 02:48 PM


When I was teaching English about a year ago, I made a bit of a cultural mistake. I bought in a packet of those fake one-hundred dollar bills as a prop for a game we were going to play. I thought the students would be pleased with my game, but as soon as I took out the pack of fake money the class was mortified. One student pulled me aside and insisted I get rid of them. Bad luck, he said.

I never did. To this day they remain crumpled up in a computer bag I never use.

I haven't completely forgotten them. I think about throwing them out once in a while, but then just continue doing something else. A few pieces of paper in a bag can't hurt me!

On the other hand, I must say that quite a few bad things have been happening. Enough to make me slightly suspicious. Suspicious, not superstitious.

Not to complain or anything. Everyone has their problems, and a lot of good stuff has come my way. However the number bad things that has happened over the last year or so is way above my average. And even though some of them have been of my own doing (another story), just counting the random incidents, I believe, is enough to put the time in question squarely in the category of unlucky.

I have never been a superstitious person. Especially, coming from a western country, it's my tendency to say that these are all coincidences. I don't sit around looking for an explanation that will link them all.

Our phrase, "Lightening never strikes twice," isn't supposed to be taken literally. Of course some poor guy has been struck by lightening multiple times. It's just that, statistically, the chances are very low. Coincidence.

Still, usually at night, I wonder. And, just for a second, my mind goes to the old black bag sitting in the corner with all the fake hundred dollar notes inside. Then I think, why not get rid of them? You know, just to be safe. But then comes the other voice that says, stop being foolish.

Then I go back to sleep.

Well, I guess all this is leading up to a question for readers who know much more about this type of thing than me: If I were - this is only a hypothetical, mind you - but if i were to get rid of them just how should it be done? Just throw them out with the trash? Burn them? Would the bag they were in have to go too? (Well, I don't care for the bag anyway, it's quite ugly).

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