Vietnamese Millennial Making Education Accessible To Everybody & Host on BEFRS

Episode 2 - Thuyen Vo

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Perfect for people with hearing issues or non-native speakers. This transcript is made by AI so is not 100% accurate.

[00:00:00] Niall Mackay: Welcome to another episode of 7 million bikes, a Vietnam podcast. You’re here with Niall Mackay and my guest today. She is the founder of easy English and easy Vietnamese two language centers here in Saigon. She’s also known as the seasonal host on the best ever food review show. If you don’t know that, make sure you check it out on YouTube.

[00:00:23] It has, I think no 6 million subscribers. You tell us that in a minute and she has a background in digital marketing. So welcome to 7 million bakes twin Volvo. How are you?

[00:00:37] Thuyen Vo: Thank you. Great intro. Uh, yeah. Great.

[00:00:40] Niall Mackay: I should have asked before we started, did I pronounce your name correctly? Cause my Vietnamese is famously bad.

[00:00:48] Thuyen Vo: I say.

[00:00:51] Niall Mackay: And you can tell me the correct pronunciation and I will still get it wrong, but please tell me.

[00:00:58] Thuyen Vo: I mean, you shouldn’t feel bad because you know, Sonny on the show, he chime anytime. So it’s actually

[00:01:05] Niall Mackay: pretty. Okay. I can get to that too. Okay. Yeah.

[00:01:11] Thuyen Vo: That’s pretty good. Yeah. And a lot of people mispronounce it as

[00:01:15] Niall Mackay: well.

[00:01:15] Right. So tell me then. So you’ve got, you’ve got two language centers, so you teach English and you teach Vietnamese. We teach English to Vietnamese students, obviously. Students who don’t speak English, which could be, I guess they have many Korean students.

[00:01:31] Thuyen Vo: Oh, actually that my, my center is easy English, Vietnam.

[00:01:35] Right. And then for easy Vietnamese, that then actually my target student for easy Vietnamese, not for a nurse, they have the few, you know, like the one who was born abroad. Yeah. But they are Vietnamese that they struggled so much, but they grew up in, for example, I think that the market here for teaching Vietnamese to foreigner is a little small, so I don’t really compete in that, in that market anymore.

[00:02:03] Yeah. But I try to focus more on

[00:02:07] Niall Mackay: the fifth year. The tale is, how then do you teach Vietnamese to V queues? Not you personally, but how does your school teach it?

[00:02:17] Thuyen Vo: Yeah. So actually I opened easy English, Vietnam, my three and a half years ago, easy Vietnamese, I just urban last year, because since I was on the show and then I got a lot of messages of viewers actually, and they asked me if, if that is something that I can make happen, like, you know, if I can teach them Vietnamese, because every time they watched the videos, they say, oh, we love that.

[00:02:43] And we feel connected to the country. Thanks for reveal. So I thought, well, that would be an interesting thing, but you know, I don’t have that background. So I actually have to went to the school to learn how to teach it and came back and then, you know, open easy Vietnamese. Yeah. So. It. It’s not a very, I would say a, I would say it’s a very random thing to open last year.

[00:03:10] Yeah. You know, during the pandemic, but I’m very blessed that I did that because there are so many of, you know, heartwarming stories when, when I started it too. Yeah. I love that.

[00:03:23] Niall Mackay: That’s awesome. You said there, you mentioned that you, you’re not marketing to foreigners because the market is so small. I feel if you’re marketing theory, accuse, that market is even smaller.

[00:03:36] Thuyen Vo: Yeah. But I don’t think a lot of sun just Hyatt with fuel, you know, I think it’s very, if you know that if you go on ex-pat groups on Facebook and you see that people even want to teach. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Right. But I just feel like there’s a lot of people, you know, in, in Saigon has been doing this for a while, but I focus more on, you know, I don’t want to use the word trendy, but it’s more updated kind of Vietnamese that you can use.

[00:04:05] For example, if you, if you’re in your twenties. Yeah. And you would love to come back to Vietnam and, you know, use a, a little more updated Vietnamese, right. Because a lot of. Equals second generations in the U S they actually learned Vietnamese from their grandparents or their parents. Do you know, they feel like they stuck in time.

[00:04:27] Like in 19 70, 19 75. For me. I see it very clear that they struggle a lot, you know, to get into the culture that is so new to them, even though they are Vietnamese. So yeah, I, I focus more on that. I think that is one of our needs. Yeah,

[00:04:46] Niall Mackay: actually it makes perfect sense. Cause we’ve had a lot of VQ B Vietnamese overseas guests on the show and that’s something that’s come up often about the language being frozen in time and allowing that language.

[00:04:59] If you’ve learned Vietnamese from your grandparents who moved to America post 1975, you’re learning a different language to the Vietnamese that’s spoken now, right?

[00:05:11] Thuyen Vo: Yeah. For sure. For sure. Yeah. I think sometimes, sometimes that even if they, if they learn with me and they come back and they talk to their parents, maybe

[00:05:22] Niall Mackay: like, I thought you went to Vietnam, what language are you speaking?

[00:05:25] We don’t know this dude does Vietnamese. Uh, date it’s vocabulary. And what I mean by that question is so in Scotland, kind of native languages, garlic, which is spoken in the far north of Scotland, predominantly not where I’m from in the big city, but my grandparents spoke it and their family spoke it. And one thing.

[00:05:46] So when we last went back to Scotland, we went up to the far north. We went to the iOS scout. And we had a friend who was from up there and she spoke garlic and she explained to us that the Golic language didn’t update itself. So words like computer or internet didn’t have a Gallic version. So you would see a sentence, but then the word computer would be said in English with garlic, a garlic accent.

[00:06:13] And so. Is is V does VNM update his language and I’m laughing as well, because, so just this weekend, I was talking to a young Vietnamese person, choose a teaching assistant. She was 18 or 19. She just come back from studying in America and she used the word SIM S I M P. Now I am showing my age. I had to ask, I was like, I don’t know, what does that mean?

[00:06:38] That she had to explain what SIM meant. And so I felt very, very old at that. But in terms of this conversation. So with the word SIM, would there be a Vietnamese equivalent so that, oh my

[00:06:51] Thuyen Vo: God, this is hard. I totally understand. What’s you mean by law? I got

[00:06:56] Niall Mackay: to translate it. The other people listening as a young person who looks much younger than you.

[00:07:07] Oh,

[00:07:09] Thuyen Vo: okay. Yeah. So basically, so basically when, when you SIM over somebody, it’s like, you’re all over them. You’re completely in love with them and crazy about them and you wouldn’t do anything. The craziest thing, you know, idolize somebody

[00:07:25] Niall Mackay: so that,

[00:07:27] Thuyen Vo: yeah. Yeah. Your hall per se. It was so funny. And I actually learned this over Tik TOK.

[00:07:39] No, I try. I tried to Outback myself. Yeah. So I went on to talk. I was like, oh, you something. Okay. And I see it a lot on YouTube, on my videos. And then B. Oh, my God. I love you. So that’s how I learned.

[00:07:59] Niall Mackay: And the videos that you were in saying they will simpling on you.

[00:08:03] Thuyen Vo: Yeah. Yeah. Like people literally like, oh my God, I miss you.

[00:08:07] And I don’t even know who that is. Like, cause it’s just like, oh, you’re the best. And I’m like, oh am I? But yeah, it was so interesting

[00:08:17] Niall Mackay: because the way the land limit, what the young kids are talking about, it is so funny. You just said, did you just say this SIM means you’re super thirsty? So again, I mean, that’s a new phrase.

[00:08:29] I think I had to look that opera. I had to guess the meaning from context, like a couple of years ago had that used and it’s what does that mean? All right. Oh yeah, I get it. I get it. It’s like these new phrases that pop up and then I use red I’ve I’ve learned a lot kind of things from red. Over the years.

[00:08:46] And now I’ve definitely, I can’t remember think of an example, but I’ve definitely had to Google stuff to be like, what does that even mean? And then, then you find out the meaning and then I’ll say, or I’ll know what it means to my wife will be like, how do you know what that means? And like, I had to Google it, like, it’s so crazy these terms.

[00:09:05] So to go back then, but is there a Vietnamese equivalent? How would you say SIM in reading.

[00:09:11] Thuyen Vo: I don’t. I can, I can explain it, but I don’t know if there’s a word, like, I, I literally need to move more that myself. Yeah. You know, but you know, that struggle, right? Like when even, you know, like now I’m learning German too.

[00:09:25] And they have like, though worse that they connect together and become one word. And I really don’t know how to explain that as like, you need like three lines to really explaining a word and then. So, I don’t know to ask me right now on the spot,

[00:09:44] Niall Mackay: but yeah, but that one actually, I mean, I remember, yeah, when you first come here and you see the translations and how many more words are used in Vietnamese.

[00:09:53] Like, I remember one time at the gym, there was a setting on the bench and it just said, don’t sit here because it’s broken. So like one lane in here. And then it was a paragraph underneath in Vietnamese. And I was like, take a paragraph.

[00:10:09] Thuyen Vo: I mean, but, but that, but you know, like that’s why languages kind of reflect on the cultures too.

[00:10:16] Like I think that English is very logical Germany’s even, and Vietnamese it’s like, I don’t know. Like we, we love to describe things. I think so. And it is really show, you know, and also like on a bit crazy thing about being older, being, you know, a girl guy. So, yeah, I, I find that very interesting as a person who we’re getting education and languages in general life is really reflects a culture, you know, and I, I really believe that when you learn something new, like a new language, then you really have to like, To be immersed in the culture itself.

[00:10:56] Yeah. So, so that’s the reason why I, I totally understand your point of translating because it’s going to

[00:11:03] Niall Mackay: be long and beautiful. Yeah. And as I mentioned, I’ve always been pretty terrible at languages. I struggled to even remember short phrases in any language, just doesn’t work in my brain, but I always thought that, you know, you need to be a mess in a culture to, to learn the lines.

[00:11:17] And it’s clearly not true because after six years in Vietnam, uh, I still barely, I still don’t speak any Vietnamese, but that’s also because it we’ve, and again, we’ve talked about it to death with as if so many people speak English here. So you’re not really a mess in the culture. I’m sure. If I had spent six years out in the Vietnamese countryside of a major city, then I would have absolutely picked up Vietnamese because I would have had to.

[00:11:41] But when you live in Taiwan, especially then. You’re not really a mist in the culture, like at all.

[00:11:50] Thuyen Vo: Yeah. I mean, especially in D two, right. I don’t feel like, yeah, I don’t feel I haven’t been to Vietnam. So the, I think that, that too. Yeah. We need to get out of this bubble once

[00:12:02] Niall Mackay: in a while. Actually we lived in district four.

[00:12:08] And we loved it there, because again, it was actionable, authentic. I know that word is overused, but they can have authentic Vietnamese experience. Then we lived in food Yan, which again was nice, but there’s a lot of downfalls about living in those areas as well. You know, the noise, the traffic, the pollution.

[00:12:25] That’s just to name a few. And so we were at the point where we just couldn’t, we wouldn’t still be in Vietnam if we still lived in those areas. Like it was unbelievable experience. Like I would never change it. And I know there are lots of people who come to Vietnam or Saigon, sorry. And just move straight to district two.

[00:12:42] And that’s fine. Cause everyone has different situations. If your kids are going to school here or that’s just what you want. I don’t judge you. But you will miss out. Like we lived in like, you know, tiny little street, little apartment down in D four D falls, like a completely different kettle of fish.

[00:12:57] Foun Yan was like super Vietnamese neighborhood, but you could tell it was wealthier than district four, which is one of the poorest districts. And so you started this year, like, I know no culture is a mono culture. Right. But you start to be like, oh yeah, because when you first move here, it’s just all Vietnam.

[00:13:15] Then you’re like, it’s all Saigon. But then the longer you’re here, like, oh no, this is is different. Then we went to food Yanis like, oh yeah, it’s still Vietnamese people, but these Vietnamese people have more money and that’s visible just like in any city in the world, you could go to, I know places in classical, you could go to a neighborhood in Glasgow and you’d be like, oh yeah, the poor people are poor here.

[00:13:36] Then you go to another neighborhood, just a few miles away. And it’s like, oh wow. These people have money. So we had a, an amazing experience of that. We lived in . Once we made that decision to stay in Vietnam longer term, we decided to move to Saudi. And, and so it’s given me one of my best jokes though, because what there’s ju haven’t told this for a while, because we, because like everything, like right now, we’re doing a conversation on zoom so we can do any comedy shows.

[00:14:03] And so the comedy shows that we’ve been doing one a week on lane, of course. And we have people from all over the world joining from Malaysia, Taiwan, the UK, the U S. So half of my jokes I can use because they’re very Vietnam or Saigon specific jokes that these people would just not get. So this one I haven’t actually used in ages, but the joke goes a few years ago, I got sick of living in Vietnam.

[00:14:27] I was over it. I couldn’t stand it anymore. So I decided to leave Vietnam and I moved to Saudi. And,

[00:14:36] Thuyen Vo: but it’s very accurate though. Yeah. I, I totally get that. So be honest with you. Yeah. I confess I’ve been cited on for 10 years as well, but yeah, I don’t really get out of the bubble. I only been around apartment buildings. I never really get out into real house in a real

[00:14:57] Niall Mackay: neighborhood. Yeah. I used to judge that lived in the bubble and things like that.

[00:15:01] And now that I am a PSU bubble cup, I love it here. But the thing is wherever you live, you don’t really leave very often. When I lived in, before I spent most of my time in, before when I lived in and I spent most of my time in Nan, well, the thing wasn’t when we lived in funy and we started coming to the district to more and more, so it was like, well, let’s just move there because we’re traveling Hills so much.

[00:15:24] So I used to judge people that lived here and now I’m one of those people and I stick up for them and defend them because it’s definitely like. It is what it isn’t, it’s one of the things for me when we lived in a district for, well, you know, a Vietnam’s like there’s so many schools, so many government primary schools, because there’s so many school children in Vietnam at such a young population.

[00:15:47] Go more than 200 meters without coming across another school. Right. So both apartments that we lived in, in separate parts of district four, both had a you new what it’s like with a Vietnamese primary school, six in the morning, six in the morning, the loud speaker comes on. Everyone’s chanting. Yeah. So every morning we were getting woken up at like six, 6:30 AM from the school.

[00:16:10] Then during the day, the movie phone shop underneath our building, we’d have a loudspeaker on pumping out dance tunes, like vena host. I had to go down and be like, can you tell him this speaker off? There’s a same tune on repeat all day. And they were like, oh, you know, but it’s a promotion. I was like, I don’t care if it’s a promotion like upstairs, I live here, then you get at nighttime.

[00:16:31] Then it gets to like a live in a coat. You get the guys on the streets, singing karaoke with a loudspeaker. So there’s all these things, you know, in a hear some people trying to make themselves sound really cool though. Like, oh yeah, no, I live in Vietnam. It’s really cool. Yeah. No, you’re such an experience and you’re like, yeah, there’s an experience.

[00:16:45] Like socks or a lot of the time, you know, it’s not just a forum. I don’t think that’s just foreigners. Let’s say that spoke to plenty of Vietnamese people that hate karaoke at 11:00 PM and hate being woken up at 6:00 AM by the school kids. I don’t think that’s, but maybe correct me if I’m wrong. Is that just me being an, a foreign winemaker or if people feel the same?

[00:17:08] Thuyen Vo: No, no. Uh, w we, we feel the same. Right. But I think that. The older generation or the people, you know, who live in like local area that I think it just become the new ones for them, you know, because they, they just be like that for so many years. Yeah. For me, it’s definitely like something crazy to, to S to hear something at six 30.

[00:17:29] Yeah. But I think, I think it becomes the norms for them. Yeah. And that’s a reason what they don’t really pay attention that much, even though it’s not. Uh, it’s not relaxing. It’s not something you look forward to in the

[00:17:43] Niall Mackay: morning. Yeah. One thing that we’ve noticed, and again, correct me if I’m wrong and maybe this ties into what you just mentioned about the older generation is that Vietnamese people just seem to have this incredible ability to drone out.

[00:17:59] You just don’t hear it. They just try to not, and maybe that’s the older generation, cause we will, we will hear things like that. I’ll just infuriating as loudspeaker, for example, that drove me crazy, but I’m the only one that’s being driven crazy here. Everyone else is just going about the day normally.

[00:18:17] And that’s just a small example. I feel like I do feel as a Western and I’ve lived in quiet places all my life. Like I love the quiet, like I live. I lived on a summer camp in the winter. It was 64 acres with three other people. So, and I’ve lived, we’ve lived in New Zealand and when I lived in Scotland is silent.

[00:18:38] So I’m used to silence and I don’t just mean quiet. I’m used to silence, so I am very irritable with noise. And I know that that’s my thing, but I do think that Vietnamese people have an incredible ability to just drive all background noise and piano attention.

[00:18:57] Thuyen Vo: I think so. Yeah. We, we, we grew up with really loud noises in general, you know, and yeah, like, like your podcast name, 7 million bikes.

[00:19:06] We hear it every single day. Like we get used to it, you know, I think maybe we have like a shield kind of, so yeah, I think so. So we could use the bat. But I totally understand that. Yeah. Like if you’re in like quiet area, then you go like, this is not where

[00:19:24] Niall Mackay: yeah. That’s exactly what it is. The reason is if you’ve grown up with that noise all the time, then it’s just, you know, you don’t, you don’t notice it, but I’ve got an interesting question you’ve made me think of, and I think in Vietnam, ringer, obviously we’re seeing a massive change, right?

[00:19:42] Economically in society and everything. What do you think is the big, do you think this right now is the biggest jump in terms of generation between like the younger Vietnamese people who are between, you know, 15 to 30 years old and then between the generation after that.

[00:20:00] Thuyen Vo: Yes, for sure. Like, you know, it would talk about history, right?

[00:20:04] Like my parents would be like, that generation would be like, so after the war and they still having a lot of political changes in, in the government. Yeah. And for us, we grew up like very peacefully and sometime we take it for granted, but I think so, like, I can see that I was born in 1995. Right. Like the last year of being a millennial.

[00:20:27] I’ve seen a big difference between me and the 1996, like the gen Z. And then they like they so like smart and active and they, they know on this crazy technology and I don’t know what’s going on anymore. I think that the internet definitely make everything so flat word, you know, my student even like they in first grade and they speak better English than most of the people that I know, you know, it’s crazy.

[00:20:54] It’s changed. And yeah, I, I do believe that I’m in Saigon, the best city for startups. Yeah. It’s a, it’s a startup owner myself, I think, wow, this is exciting. And it’s never happened before. And even the government, they quiet, but I know that a lot of people being like, oh, Vietnam is a communist country what’s going on.

[00:21:14] But I think that, yeah, the government is definitely aware and we are quite open to, you know, international investment. Yeah. Even just the influence. Yeah. I, I do believe that it’s a very exciting time. Apart from Corona in general,

[00:21:32] Niall Mackay: that’s a given that’s a given. Right. So how do you think then the older generation then do you think that’s a massive clash between them.

[00:21:41] All the traditional generation, which, you know, I see through my own eyes, I guess you guys would call it the aunties and the uncles. They’re still hanging out in the pajamas on the streets, have a very different view of life is basically a family structure. You know, I know as a teacher, the students I’ve spoke to who do you live with?

[00:21:57] And they will describe an oil in a house. There’ll be three generations in one house, which is completely normal. As you’ve mentioned, we now have apartment buildings all over Saigon. So that means that obviously. People don’t all that millennial generation, like you mentioned, they’re not staying at home anymore.

[00:22:14] Like traditionally I would imagine. And then they’re moving into apartment blocks, having a nuclear family. I hit at town, nuclear family, but you know what I mean? They’re having a two kids, three kids, husband, and wife, and an apartment, not living with the antidote uncle, the grandmother, grandparents, all of that.

[00:22:30] So I don’t know much about that kind of clash of coaches. Is that a thing? And how, how does that play, I guess is my.

[00:22:39] Thuyen Vo: You know, because I I’ve told you that I’ve been in the verbals a long time. So I do believe that my circle is, is similar to me. And maybe that is the reason why that I have this perspective of, of things are changing. But I do believe that in some, you know, just strictly something a little further, I do believe that they still have the tradition.

[00:23:04] You know, when we talk about it to norms and yeah. Leading together and always in the community and not a lot of privacy, but yeah. I can tell that, especially you wouldn’t middle-class and you know, I’m a little higher. Yeah. Then people that the younger kids say they got just like kids in America or Europe.

[00:23:24] I don’t know that they very much, you know, about themselves and have this self development, but yeah. They don’t to be out there. Yeah. They want to stand out and, you know, not landing in the community so much. So I think, I think it’s changing, but in different area that then it would, it would have different speed for example, and B to do one.

[00:23:47] Right. And you see, wow. It’s just like any cities in the world, but yeah, if you went back to my hometown, for example, we still. Yeah. Like some of my friends, they already have kids, you know, two kids and I’m like, what are you doing? I’m trying to figure out my light. So, yeah. So I do believe that yet it’s happening, but the seats kind of vary enormously and I’m happy to go back to that.

[00:24:15] Yeah. If you’re comfortable. I know

[00:24:18] Niall Mackay: that that’s a really interesting point. When I was asking that question, that I was more thinking about the clash of coaches between living in the same city, I guess. But now you’ve made me realize, you know, because obviously I’ve traveled all over Vietnam. And as soon as you step out of Saigon, you know, you don’t even need to go far.

[00:24:35] It’s a different world. There’s no English signs. Most people don’t speak English, you know, it’s it’s, I mean, you only need to go half an hour drive if that. And you’re in a different world. And then, so we’re, what town are you from? Where are you from? So

[00:24:50] Thuyen Vo: I’m from, and do you know where it is? I know the name.

[00:24:57] Yeah. So it’s like two hours, three hours from that. Yeah. It’s not a very touristy city, so yeah. A lot of people kind of pass by without stuffing. Yeah. But it’s beautiful. And we famous slaw.

[00:25:12] Niall Mackay: I was just about to say, I do know quite yay. We went to leash on island right before lockdown. That was the last place we went to.

[00:25:19] We had an unbelievable time there. Yeah. We still got black garlic eating right now. It’s my favorite thing in the world is black garlic. So good.

[00:25:30] Thuyen Vo: Awesome. Yeah. So we famous for that. That island. Yeah. Not, not it’s because I’ve not been there, but we had moved to the province. Yeah. So famous for . Yeah,

[00:25:40] Niall Mackay: no. When you said clean the eye and you saw me smile, I was like, I know, I know.

[00:25:44] I just couldn’t remember how I knew it. That was the last place we went to and it was unbelievable. It’s it’s really sad because with obviously COVID in the lockdowns and stuff is struggling more than, more than ever right now, but beautiful, beautiful place. Or hopefully more people can go there. So what brought you to.

[00:26:01] Thuyen Vo: So I actually moved here when I was 15 for high school. Yeah. And it’s a big move. A lot of people, they, you know, Asian kids always say meet together always. But yeah. I decided to make that move because I know from a very young age that I want to be in a bigger city. I want to explore options. Yeah. So I moved here for high school and I’ve been here for like, so

[00:26:27] Niall Mackay: what made you then open up an English language school or an a Vietnamese who’s what made you open up both of these schools?

[00:26:36] Thuyen Vo: Yeah. So I actually didn’t do anything related to education before this. Yes. But I have the background to just, yeah. After Optum, me and my mentor, we, yeah, we, we stopped doing red bull is a mobile app. The company would do together. And I was just like, oh, what do I do now? Like, I don’t know. And then there are some people they just kind of messaged me randomly and be like, How do you say that in English?

[00:27:05] You know, they kind of trust me with English and I’d be like, oh, okay. Like, I don’t, I don’t really teach, but I can show you a few things. And then my boyfriend at the time, you know, back then he would just basically told me. You know that you can actually make a business out of this. Right. And then he literally sat down, you know, on the, on the XL sheet.

[00:27:27] And he was just doing some like, really simple, random calculation and needs what you can do this, like, this is actually can be a business. And I’m like, uh, okay, let’s try. And then, you know, it’s a crazy ride and yeah, I ended up here. And easy Vietnamese. I told you. Yeah, just, just outside. I was on the show and I believe that I was kind of naive back then, but it is how, you know, entrepreneurship is really helped to kind of naive and then just, just come in and then you just try.

[00:28:02] Yeah. And that’s how I started. I do think that I have this influence of my mom. She’s a teacher as well, but she teaches literally. My dad is a journalist. So I do believe that I’m in this environment. Yeah. Where I, I kind of have this, this, I tend to go into education, but I, I kind of refuse it for a while.

[00:28:26] I kind of denied it. And so, you know, I don’t really want to go in there. Yeah. But later I figured that I really loved it. And I think this is something that I want to do for a

[00:28:35] Niall Mackay: long time. Awesome. Do you, what do you think eventually Vietnam will become almost like the Philippines in terms of everyone can speak English as a second language?

[00:28:47] Thuyen Vo: Well, actually the numbers. Yeah. I, yeah, so I check and then we cut it in the bottom. Yeah. Of countries in Southeast Asia that I shouldn’t speak English. I do believe back to my point. Yeah. The income difference the gap. And I see that very clear. Now in Vietnam, if you go to the roof area, it’s sad and people don’t really get assessed to anything.

[00:29:15] What education is like a luxury. I think that we need to work on that first, you know, make education product assessable to everybody. And that is something that I believe in and I’m trying to do that. Yeah. But I think it would take quite some time. Yeah. To, to kind of balance that. Between rural area and then cities like in Saigon, you see that in Saigon, everybody cut.

[00:29:37] I like very much about it. Right. Sticking was just kind of cool. Yeah. It’s a cool thing. And it shows how smart you are, which I don’t believe that. But a lot of my students, when they come in, they have this kind of like, don’t feel so confident. They have this insecurity that they think that if they don’t speak English well, but they cut out the high.

[00:29:56] Right. Hi everyone. And yeah, so I think so. I think, I think the numbers, I’m not saying that we catching up. I hope so, but yeah, but I think it would take quite some

[00:30:09] Niall Mackay: time. And do you think, again, that’s going to be something else that is unequal. You can mention. So the people with money, the people who are aware with their children, especially, and which is going to be like most people tend to live in the big cities.

[00:30:23] They will be bilingual, more bilingual people. In the big cities and I can see that happening already, which is then as we mentioned, as soon as you go out of those cities and it just dropped to almost zero, right?

[00:30:36] Thuyen Vo: Hmm. Yeah. Um, I think, you know, Vietnam, like in, in Southeast Asia, are we close to Singapore, pilot, Malaysia, right.

[00:30:46] And you can see that on those country, they got kind of multiple culture. Yeah. The Indians and the Chinese and the Malays altogether. In Vietnam. We don’t usually see that we only see Vietnamese and that is something that I encourage my students or people that I know to travel, just because you would have a different view and then you would have this motivation to, to be bilingual or to kind of discover different culture and not be so judgmental in general.

[00:31:17] Yeah. So, so yeah, I think, I think Vietnamese people are very friendly. We kinda sometimes bitch mental too was different races. And I hope that it’s, I think that the younger generation not so much. Yeah. But yeah, the, the older generation, they need a little bit of time and thanks to the internet and everything as well.

[00:31:41] That, yeah. But yeah, I think so. I think a lot about geography. Situation as well. Yeah. We don’t really see other, other different kinds of people that much. Yeah. If you come back to my hometown, people will be like, wow, it’s so white. So, so hairy. But yeah, you know, it is purely curiosity. Yeah. They don’t need anything, but it’s just not, wow.

[00:32:07] Something so new and they think they assume that you will have a tool, different lifestyle and everything’s different. They don’t see you other, he would be different. So, I mean, I don’t know. Yeah. Um, and yeah, and I think that it has a lot to do with education. Yeah. Like the, the knowledge that you’ve gained and the experience.

[00:32:30] Yeah.

[00:32:31] Niall Mackay: And it’s interesting what you see about like Malaysia. For example, we have Chinese Malaysian, Indian Malaysians, and we have different melting pot of cultures. Right. And I guess even growing up, I’ve talked to this, talked about this to my wife, like even growing up in the UK or in Scotland, we would learn about America being like the melting pot or a mosaic, because it’s all these different coaches network and I made America and still makes America.

[00:32:56] So amazing. So great and almost unique in different because it’s all these people from all over the world came to live in this one place. And so you have this melting pot of cultures. And so Vietnam is all on the other end of that scale though, where it’s a mono culture almost right. And I knew those nuances and I knew there’s, I think there’s over 200 different kinds of ethnicities right in Vietnam, but it’s.

[00:33:18] Pretty much all the same rate, but the funny thing is you see about Vietnamese or judgmental against other coaches or whatnot. But I mean, I know from experience that the north and the south obviously have their issues, then the central areas in the south don’t don’t exactly go on too well. And I think it’s pretty similar with the central areas and the north.

[00:33:38] So even though it is all one big kind of monoculture culture to be a very general overview. There’s definitely still some factions within that. Isn’t though,

[00:33:52] Thuyen Vo: for sure. For sure. And yeah, I think I, I don’t, I don’t care so much. Yeah. But we, yeah, because we have this war. And then we’d kind of be separated right at the north and the south and yeah, it’s sort of sensitive, you know, like the very sensitive topic.

[00:34:11] And I know a lot of people, they don’t talk about it, but they just suddenly yeah. Yeah. But I think that I do believe in good and bad peoples everywhere. Yeah. Yeah. And I, I do believe that you, you really need to know somebody. I just talked to. But there’s one thing that I, I think is true is stereotype.

[00:34:34] It’s true. You know, like the syrup you, right? Yeah. You’d say a stereotype, but like, kinda true, but I think we need to cut out, just laugh it off, you know, and then just kind of look at that in a funny way and then, and then try to get better in some ways. Yeah. But because I’m from the central and yeah, we, we definitely have some.

[00:34:58] Yeah. And we, we tend to move to the south more because I’m a believer of the book hero, like friendlier or, you know, open to new businesses. So yeah. And even, even molten people here too. So I think that they, they, they are very much, we are all very well aware of that fact, but it will take some time to, to kind of even it out or maybe not.

[00:35:22] Yeah. I don’t know. I think maybe it wouldn’t make sense. You know, some different. Yeah. And so, so like various in, in, into our culture. Yeah. So I don’t know. I think, I think it’s a good thing.

[00:35:39] Niall Mackay: So obviously, as you will know that a lot foreigners think that they get ripped off on maybe even a small level, you know, they get given the foreigner price, which is maybe a little bit more expensive or whatnot. PLA well, I’ve been told by Vietnamese friends is that Vietnamese other Vietnamese. More than a foreigner get ripped off.

[00:35:58] And so, for example, if you you’ll having, cause you know, this is true. And my friend has told me that if she goes to Hanoi and they can hear her accent, which is obviously completely different. So immediately they know she’s from Saigon, the price will, the price will double immediately. Yeah.

[00:36:15] Thuyen Vo: True. Yeah, it happens.

[00:36:16] It has them Sue to me as well, but I don’t take it very much personal. I think, I think again, They just need to know what’s going on. You know, they just need to get to know each other. Um, and I think that as a, as a person from the central, I, I don’t really, I don’t bring that into, you know, into the T I don’t, I don’t really think about it on a daily basis.

[00:36:45] I think. Yeah, maybe he was just meet a very bad person. Yeah. And I think it, it happened everywhere. Even if I go to, if I, if I go shopping here, then sometime they get the same situation. So I try to be open-minded about it. I also know a lot of great Northern people. So, you know what I mean? I, I think that it just something, it will be better.

[00:37:08] You just need to be cautious, you know, anywhere in the world, to be honest. Yeah. If I travel somewhere new, I would just see, I don’t know, try to protect myself, but I don’t take it personal as something only north and neuro only south America. Do you know? Yeah. I think, I think it’s just only create a little more kind of division for us.

[00:37:29] Yeah. So I. Just just, just kind of just, yeah. And don’t really think so, but

[00:37:37] Niall Mackay: it does make me laugh when I hear foreigners complain about being ripped off and I’m like, it’s not, it’s not just because you’re a foreigner. It’s not like, don’t take it personally. It’s not one thing. So we haven’t talked about it yet.

[00:37:49] I mentioned in the beginning, you were a seasonal host on the best ever food review shows now. So some people who will be listening will know exactly what that is. And some people will have no idea. Tell us what is the best ever food review show and how did you get involved?

[00:38:06] Thuyen Vo: Yes, that’s so exciting. So that’s seven foot reviews show is a new channel, but what makes it different, I think is the quality like it’s really crazy quality.

[00:38:19] It’s not something that is like a V blogging or something. This is like a real production thing. Yeah. Like I seen the team in it crazy and they review food. So what they want to try to do is like tell story through food. So it would be like on over the world. And there’s a, COVID that we’ve been stuck here for like two years and the content is only in Vietnam and that’s how I get involved.

[00:38:45] I actually, yeah. And now I think they reached seven, 17. 7,000,007 million, 7 million.

[00:38:57] Right. And then I think it’s like one of the bakers of food reviews channels on, on YouTube. And I feel incredibly lucky to, to get involved. So me and Sani the channel owner, we have a mutual friends and then one day the front just cut a check. My friend is looking for somebody who can eat and then react.

[00:39:18] Like, do you want to get involved in light? Okay. So it sounds fun. And I have no like prior experience, you know, so I was just like him come in and they’re like, okay, how hard can it be? And the coolest thing is Sony actually gave me my own segment called the 10 dining dollar at $10. And he gave me $10 and I had to figure out three meals for the day.

[00:39:46] Yeah. And I hosted that alone. Yeah. So it’s a really, really cool, cool thing

[00:39:51] Niall Mackay: too. Breakfast content, lunch, dinner, come them done less than a hundred thousand dollars. I’ll have that for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

[00:40:03] Thuyen Vo: We got a lot of comments about that too. They’d say $10. Easy in Vietnam. You’re right. You’re kind of right.

[00:40:10] Niall Mackay: But you can still get so much good food, Tamika, Tamika, good episode. Right. And then do you want to get some different for not all food is super cheap, you know, if you want to, you can really eat four or five episodes, you know?

[00:40:25] Thuyen Vo: Yeah. Um, I’m lucky though, because the producer, they are so, so good. Yeah. And they, I don’t know if you interviewed some of them, but they have made like, yeah, the producer

[00:40:39] Niall Mackay: was meant to be on the last year.

[00:40:42] But as you mentioned, so the team, I don’t know if you did mention actually. So the, the team from the best of our peer review show have moved over to the U S because we’re in a lockdown right now in Saigon. And so obviously we can’t do any food reviews if there’s no food to review. So they relocate to the U S or so Liz didn’t come on and we’ll maybe we’ll try and get her back on when, when, when they come back or if they come back, which they hopefully will.

[00:41:06] I spoke to Sonny about coming on, and again, just saw busy with whatever. I actually randomly met Sonny in our restaurant here. He had a new dog and we have a dog and we got chatting. And then this actually one of these crazy, crazy stories we will sitting my wife and I know dog Sunday afternoon having a afternoon drink.

[00:41:25] And I text Liz and I’d already been talking to Liz about Sonny potentially coming on. And she’s like, yeah, we’ll try and find a time he’s busy and blah, blah, blah, fine. And you know, I hadn’t spoken to her for a while. So I just random, we flicked her a message and said, Hey, any updates is sunny free anytime.

[00:41:39] And Jenny even responded and I promise you about 30, 60 seconds later, Sonny walked over to me with his dog and had a question about dogs. I can’t remember what it was now. And so we had a conversation about dogs for a good few minutes, and then I was like, so I have to tell you something else. Just Macy’s Liz about you just a minute ago, I was like, I’m new from 7 million bikes.

[00:42:04] And this is a really weird coincidence. I just mess. And they were having this conversation. So we’ve, we’ve messaged back and forth a couple of times since then. Obviously we would be doing an interview anytime soon, but hopefully when the, when the team comes back, we’ll get, we’ll get him all this on the show as well.

[00:42:23] And then you came, you were introduced to me through. Previous guest as well. Mika Chu, who’s a mutual friend and she has been amazing. Like, since she’s been on, she’s been so lovely. She’s introduced me to other people. She’s been so supportive with the show and we still message each other like, Hey, how are you doing?

[00:42:41] And hopefully trying to help, help each other get through this tough time of lockdown. So thank you very much, Tamika for introducing me to you. And then when it, when she introduced you to me, then you were like, oh yeah, I listened to the show. Always blows me away. And I’ve said this before, and I tell people when I speak to them, even recently, a couple of people who I knew were like, oh yeah, listen.

[00:43:05] And I was like, wait, what is this strange thing that I just don’t, even though I see the numbers, I just don’t ever think that anyone listens so well because you just make it, like, we’re doing it right now. And then you put it out and then it’s kind of it’s out there. So anytime when someone says, oh yeah, listen, I’m like, well, So it was same with same when you said that as well as they go.

[00:43:26] That’s so cool. So I’ll put you on the spot. What’s your favorite episode?

[00:43:32] Thuyen Vo: Yeah, I actually listened to the one that Mikko was on because you know, I, yeah, so I actually, how did I. Oh, we met at the networking events of and yeah. And I saw her on many, many TV shows, you know, and yeah. And, and I was like, wow, she’s just cute.

[00:43:54] And she, she can speak many languages with it. I’m trying to do now. So, and we lived very close by as well. Yeah. So, so actually that we hang and then, yeah, I listened to a few of them. But I really liked the one that she was on. Yeah. Like you said, she was, she was so, so, so fun to

[00:44:15] Niall Mackay: be around. So we’ll, we’ll finish up on that note.

[00:44:19] We’re probably going to finish with the same questions. I will be asking everyone at the end of season seven. By the time this episode is, has gone to air and is out in the world, we’ll have hit over 20,000 downloads total in the podcast world 20,000 downloads is like a massive, massive achievement. So by this time when this comes out, we’ll be well past that.

[00:44:42] So that’s, that’s very exciting, but so. Okay, thank you very much. I’ve seen it before. When I first started, I thought we’d have maybe 10 people listen and it was just going to be a wee hobby. And now, uh, 7 million bytes is basically my full-time job now, which is awesome. And that’s what we’re going to say is go, Sonny’s a massive inspiration because I saw kind of his story and how he just started with basically.

[00:45:06] Just a dude doing some videos about food review. You know, there’s no big, you’re mentioning about the production quality, which is ridiculously high really well-made shoe. But when you watch the videos that you did, it was just a guy reviewing some food. And I said that that really gives me a lot of inspiration.

[00:45:22] Cause we just started off as like a little hobby, even though, I mean, we’re having to do it on zoom, the productions, if anyone’s listening. Sorry, this stone probably isn’t as good as it normally is. Cause we’re having to do it on the, on the. But that’s an inspiration to see where you can get to. She’s obviously no 7 million subscribers and whatnot on a, I have 38 subscribers on YouTube right now, but you have to start somewhere right.

[00:45:46] Okay. Everyone’s everyone starts at zero. Right? All right. So the first question, as we can imagine, we haven’t talked about it too much, cause we don’t want to dwell on the negativity that we’re living through right now. But if you could get on a motorbike and drive anywhere right now, where would you.

[00:46:05] Thuyen Vo: I don’t want to disappoint you, but this is a very hypothetical question for me because I don’t drive.

[00:46:13] But yeah, if I can actually do that in real life, then I would love to come back home.

[00:46:18] Niall Mackay: Wait, wait, wait. We could get on the back. You can get on the back of a bait. And second of all, you can’t go to coin nigh on a bait, not comfortably too.

[00:46:32] Thuyen Vo: Um, like a day, like a day or

[00:46:34] Niall Mackay: two. I mean, I guess you could, if you had a really nice big bay, you made a day trip.

[00:46:39] I mean more about like, if you were to just jump on a loo Honda Norvell and you can go somewhere somewhere, where would you go to anywhere and say going on within, you know, just think about like, cause right now, right now we take anywhere. So the kind of question, if you could just go jump on a bike, get a grab, where would you go?

[00:47:01] Thuyen Vo: Oh, good

[00:47:03] Niall Mackay: question.

[00:47:08] Oh my God.

[00:47:09] Thuyen Vo: Oh my God. Yeah, because I haven’t been out for so long, but yeah, I have so many, I have so many options that I want to do, but yeah, I would say. Like the river. Yeah. Something, something like the river or maybe like a really big park, you know, because you don’t want to let me go home. So yeah,

[00:47:34] Niall Mackay: these are amazingly specific answers.

[00:47:36] This is like, when you talk to one of your students, our river. No,

[00:47:45] Thuyen Vo: I just want to go back to salon. Yeah. I also have the apartment there and I love.

[00:47:55] Yeah. Yeah. The flower, the flower bridge. Yeah. And I’ve seen that. Yeah, it can sounds crazy, but this is a luxury chart right now.

[00:48:04] Niall Mackay: So that, that was more, the meaning of the question was stuck in LA and you can jump on a bike. Where would you go relatively nearby? Cause right now we can leave our apartment.

[00:48:13] No, I’m going to go to quinine, but maybe I need to explain the question better. Right. It’s still on the topic of what then what has been the most challenging thing about the past three months of lockdown fires right now? We’re at the end of August, the time this comes out, we’ll probably still be in lockdown.

[00:48:32] What’s been the most challenging thing.

[00:48:36] Thuyen Vo: I think that I’m pretty good with day to day things, but I think it was really challenging for me. It just had to look into the future, you know, about how, when things are going to be more and more again, because I see the cases arising up in even the UK. Would they pass 70% of fascination grade to know when is it going to be normal again?

[00:48:58] And every time I think about it and just kind of deep breath. So I try not to think about it. Yeah. I try to focus on the day-to-day thing.

[00:49:07] Niall Mackay: Yeah, I try not to answer these questions cause I don’t want to, I answer them every time that I’ll be answering them 10 times for every episode. But in this case, my ends, that would be the same as use day-to-day stuff’s not too bad, but right now thinking about the future is really difficult in anytime I do let myself think too far ahead.

[00:49:26] It’s quite depressing and quite worrying because like you said as well, it’s not just here. It’s it’s worldwide. Well, let’s not think too much about the future, but on the flip side, what has been the best thing about lockdown for you?

[00:49:39] Thuyen Vo: It’s time for myself. I love that. Yeah. I think I, I don’t know if you can tell, but I’m a very social person and I, I need that.

[00:49:49] I need to get out. I need to talk to people. But it’s true that when you always spend time outside, then you don’t really, you know, go back and then really ask yourself questions and know who you really are. So, yeah, during this time I’ve been reading a lot of books and I’ve been doing a lot of feelings.

[00:50:07] I know I saw one of those rule back in words and meditate, you know, but that’s what I do every day. I think that I understand myself much more now. Yeah. I love this because I don’t have FOMO anymore because everybody said I can set. You can spend this time and then really like, you know, think about what I’m going to do about it.

[00:50:31] My job about what I’m doing right now. And do I really want to do that? And some of the, I think a great time for myself to things and not scared that everybody is, everybody stay home.

[00:50:44] Niall Mackay: That’s a good one. No,

[00:50:48] like. What in Vietnam shocked you the most.

[00:50:54] Thuyen Vo: I’ve been thinking about this questions and I’ll be like, Hey, I’m getting these right. Thanks. Shouldn’t shock me. But I think it’s the ability to balance everything on a board like that. And it, I, it surprises me every time. How can you got the whole fridge or no, 10 chicken and then pig.

[00:51:18] I don’t get it. That can balance anything, anything on the motorbike. And they can ship to me within days. And God, this is crazy. The ability to balance things, kind of motorbike like final

[00:51:30] Niall Mackay: answers. I said, how can I answer this as a Vietnamese? At two, I knew you totally knew you could have an answer for that.

[00:51:35] Of course. Sure. You even as a Vietnamese too, again, on the flip side, what pleasantly surprises you about VM?

[00:51:43] Thuyen Vo: I think that the ability to just get through so much, I think Vietnamese people, you know, I know that I come blamed sometimes about the fact that, oh, we have so much in the community and you know, my privacy.

[00:51:58] But I think I just, I just love that how people can be in a community, you know, and, and just be so, so nice and always share things, but they always think about, you know, I don’t know my neighbors and I feel bad. I should know, you know, and I love that about Vietnamese. We always, you know, in this community, um, yeah, growing up.

[00:52:23] And I think that’s the reason why that we’ve been through, you know, 1000 years of Chinese invaders and, you know, in a hundred years of friends in America and we’re still here, you know, with, with the language and the people, even we so close to China, but we still Vietnamese, you know, and I think that is what I love the most about, about Vietnamese.

[00:52:44] So, what is that work? Oh my God. Yes. Please cover that. Yeah. Um, yeah, and, and we, we just had this ability, you know, to just get through things and I’m, I’m so amazed. I always wonder if on my parents, you know, in that position, I don’t know if I can get through it. I’m also not ready. Yeah, but they did that.

[00:53:07] They go through war and they, they go through, you know, on the changes and they still here and they, they doing better than ever. So, yeah. I love that about.

[00:53:19] Niall Mackay: So normally I would tell, give my guests the opportunity to promote their Instagram or whatnot, but you don’t need to promote it because you’ve already got 10,000 followers.

[00:53:28] Thuyen Vo: Yeah. So yeah, if you, if you want to, you know, yeah. Kind of have a conversation about education or entrepreneurs. Please. Yeah. Just send me a message on your Instagram at queen ball 12 1 2.

[00:53:42] Yeah, because span boy’s already taken.

[00:53:47] Niall Mackay: Yeah.

[00:53:49] Thuyen Vo: Yeah. Right. And then I hate to put one, two, and then,

[00:53:54] Niall Mackay: but if people do want to follow you, if they want to learn more about you or your school, this is your chance. Tell them where to find that information.

[00:54:03] Thuyen Vo: Yes. Since we live in Vietnam, I rely wholeheartedly on Facebook too.

[00:54:10] Yeah, you can, you can follow us easy English, Vietnam, and easy Vietnamese on Facebook and Instagram with the same handle. Yeah, thank you very much. I really appreciate this time because you know, we’ve been in lockdown and this talk is just so, so, so, so awesome. Yeah. And I can have this chance to share with everyone.

[00:54:28] I really want to promote learning. Yeah. I hope that everybody, you know, keep being curious. And keep learning and they will help you go very, very far.

[00:54:38] Niall Mackay: Thank you so so much. It’s been amazing speaking to you. Thank you for listening as well. Stay safe, stay strong, and we will definitely all get through this eventually.

[00:54:49] Thuyen Vo: Awesome. Thank you. Thank you for making you know the podcast. Yeah.

[00:54:54] Niall Mackay: And now you can listen to your own episode. What an inception. Thank you very much.

[00:55:01] Thuyen Vo: Thank you.

Many people struggle to find English entertainment in Vietnam. Seven Million Bikes hosts the popular show A Vietnam Podcast, stand-up comedy and events. Have fun, connect with others and share experiences of Vietnam.