- the Vietnamese community is one of the largest with a non
English speaking background in Australia and the largest community from Asia
- 3 waves of immigration to Australia
- 1975-8 - mainly an educated, privileged sector
- from 1978 - the large-scale exodus of "boat
- from 1992 - mostly family reunions
- elderly Vietnamese tend to have more difficulty adjusting
to Australia than other family members
- Vietnamese brides may also face significant difficulties.
- there is a tradition of arranged marriages
- the Vietnamese community does not comprise a single group -
many of those born in Vietnam have Chinese ancestry (34%) or are ethnic Vietnamese
- there are also a number of smaller minority groups
including the Khmer and Hmong (mostly in the capital cities, with the vast majority in
Sydney and Melbourne)
- most are Buddhists with 20-30% being Catholics
- Vietnamese are the second poorest Australian group, with
high rates of unemploymen
- the predominant religion in Vietnam, practiced by an
estimated 90% prior to the war
more a code of behavior than a religion
emphasises filial piety and obligation, altruism and the
belief that man creates his own destiny
music, respect for authority (including teachers), and
social rites are very important.
the goal of becoming an Ultimate and Unconditioned being
can be achieved through thrift, humility and compassion
may worship many gods, and value simplicity, patience, and
avoid confrontation and strive for harmonybetween men and
between man and nature
- common religion of many first wave refugees.
Marriage, Family, Kinship
divorce is uncommon and may be considered shameful,
especially for the woman
a man is responsible for his spouse until death.
men usually have higher status than women, and sons are
valued more highly than daughters
power in families is usually distributed in a
elderly parents are taken care of until they die and
extended families are common
Drinks, Drugs and Indulgence
- women do not smoke in public
- public drunkenness is considered a disgrace
- rates of smoking are very high among Vietnamese men
- many Vietnamese may read and write well in English but may
not speak it fluently
- Vietnamese has three basic dialects, all are generally
understood by most Vietnamese speakers
- it is a tonal language with six basic tones
- many refugees of the first wave may also speak French or
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Traditional Health Practices by Southeast Asian Refugees in a Primary Care Clinic. West J
Med 1992 May; 156(5):507- 511.
- Karnow S: Vietnam: A History. New York, Viking Press, 1983.
- Muecke MA: In Search of Healers - Southeast Asian Refugees
in the American Health Care System. West J Med 1983 Dec; 139:835-840.
- Rutledge PJ: The Vietnamese Experience in America.
Bloomington, Indiana; Indiana University Press, 1992.
- Uba L: Cultural Barriers to Health Care for Southeast Asian
Refugees. Pub Health Reports 1992 Sept/Oct; 107(5):544-549.
- Vuong GT: Getting to Know the Vietnamese and their Culture.
New York; Frederick Ungar Publishing Company, 1976.
- Yee BEK: Elders in Southeast Asian Refugee Families. (A new
Look at Families and Aging). Generations 1992; 16(3):24-28.