Vietnam News

Vietnamese women are drinking more

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“Cheers, cheers, from the bottom up, 100%! Let those who get drunk serve dogs a pile of vomit and allow those who do not get drunk to come home to have dinner with their husbands,” loudly said a young woman in a restaurant in Ho Chi Minh City.

Recently, there are more and more women who are choosing a restaurant or bar as a meeting place with their friends after work.

Sometimes they are with their buddies, sometimes they come there alone.

Drinking alone to relieve stress

Ngo Hong Thu, 30, who lives in an alley on Le Van Sy Street in Tan Binh District, Ho Chi Minh City, is an introvert and rarely meets friends because of her work.

“I keep canned beer in the refrigerator,” Thu said.

“When I want to drink some alcohol in the evening, I make some snacks like salmon or grilled sausages, then turn on the entertainment music and slowly sip a few cans of beer.”

She added that this method makes her overjoyed and she considers it her way of life.

After a few days of maintaining this ‘method of stress relief,’ Thu got used to drinking beer and found it ‘quite delicious,’ accordingly, the refrigerator is gradually running out of cans.

Although she admitted that drinking beer made her tired and she found it difficult to get up early the next day, Thu said it was not easy to get rid of the habit.

“It has become my habit,” she confessed.

“I feel a little reminded of it when I do not have a drink.

“Besides, when I drink at home, I go to bed after drinking, which has no effect on anyone.

Thanks to this habit of drinking alone at home and then going out with friends, she also asks for beer instead of soft drinks.

“For example, when I go out for dinner with friends, I ask the servers to bring me beer instead of soft drinks like before. When I am in a bad mood, I often think of drinking beer, and when it is hot, I also drink beer to cool down,” Thu said, laughing.

Le Thi Thanh Ha, 26, who lives in an alley on Ton Dan Street in District 4, Ho Chi Minh City, also said she often goes to the bar to have a drink when she cannot invite anyone to go with her.

After work, especially on days when she has to work overtime until 6:00-7:00 pm, Ha goes straight from the office to a cocktail bar to have a sip of booze.

“I often go to the bar then because there is a 50-percent discount on drinks or you get one free when you buy a drink,” she said. 

“When I enter a bar, I only drink one or two glasses of wine to enjoy myself, not to get high, as each glass usually costs from VND200,000 [US$8.53] upwards, depending on the type of wine.

“When I go to normal drinking places, I drink as much as I can.”

She added that when she goes out drinking alone, she sits at the bar counter and talks to the bartender.

“I have been to a lot of bars and seen a lot of women there,” Ha said.

According to the woman, there is a growing trend of more young women going to a bar alone to have a drink.

A friend of Ha’s, 25, sometimes brings her laptop to the bar, where she listens to light music, drinks, and works at the same time.

“I know this kind of thing costs a lot of money, but it definitely helps me relieve stress, so I am willing to pay for it, of course I do not choose an expensive venue,” Ha said. 

She also said that one of her requirements before dating someone is that her potential boyfriend does not criticize her for going to a pub.

Going out for a drink as a group

The trend of going to a drinking place alone may be new, but it is normal to see a group of women coming to a bar, and this fad has now become increasingly popular.

T.V., 37, who manages a stationery company in Go Vap District, Ho Chi Minh City, often asks her employees to go out for dinner after work. 

She said that at first, they only drank fresh water or soft drinks along with their meals. But when she saw female diners at nearby tables toasting one another with canned beer, T.V. suggested her staff do the same and got their approval. 

Since then, the team has been increasing its ability to drink alcoholic beverages, although in the early days there were only one or two bottles of beer.

In T.V.’s estimation, their drinking capacity is average compared to their young co-workers.

“Some of them, after drinking the tenth can of beer, said that they just started to drink while I was already under the influence,” the woman said.

“There were times when I was so intoxicated that the staff had to book a cab to go home. When I got up the next day, I was so tired I could not go to work, and I had to lie down all day before getting back to normal.”

In addition to being a staff member, T.V. is also a member of a group of women who play tennis. They are in the same line of work and have the same habit of drinking.

Three times a week they meet in a restaurant near the tennis court after playing for an hour and a half in the afternoon. When they feel tired, they drink a few bottles together. 

When the team is excited, they can sit until late at night. Sometimes they have a drinking binge right next to the tennis court if someone has brought some snacks.

Although she feels tired after so many drinks, she gets used to it and feels like she is missing out on something if they do not empty a few cans when they get together.

She knows that such exciting events cost a lot of money, as she often treats the staff or pays the lion’s share of the bill. 

As for the tennis group, whose members like going out to fancy restaurants, she spends big even on the libations.

“Everyone is willing to pay, how could I not? That’s fine as long as we feel excited,” she proclaimed.

The group of real estate agents of Uyen, 50, from Bao Loc City, located in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, often goes to a drinking place when a member has clinched a successful deal.

“In our heyday, we drank in fancy bars. Now we are confronted by myriad problems, and if we cannot close a contract in a month, we choose to go to the bar out of sadness,” Uyen said, adding that it is uncomfortable for her not to drink in the afternoon.

Young women like Ha in District 4 sometimes ask five or six close friends who are under 30 to go to expensive nightclubs playing very loud music. 

Even if they share the bill, each of them has to pay no less than VND 1,500,000 ($64). They also suffer from persistent headaches until the next morning after getting drunk and listening to loud music the whole night.

“From my observation, there used to be a few young women who went to drinking venues with their friends, but now more and more tables feature only female members who keep asking for beer,” said T.V.T., who runs a venue on Tran Van Giau Street in Binh Tan District, Ho Chi Minh City.

“As the owner of a drinking restaurant, I still worry about how they can come back home.”

Wasting time and money

When under the influence of alcohol, many women become very talkative. At 7:00 pm on a mid-week day, a group of women in their 40s were drinking and chatting loudly to vent their anger about work.

“The loud voice of a woman made those present sit up and take notice, but no one reacted for fear of getting into trouble,” one diner recounted.

An hour later, when all the drinkers seemed to be quite inebriated, all four women spoke louder and also broadened their topics of conversation.

They talked over family problems and how a friend had disappeared from their lives, while they continued to cheer up.

Sometimes some of them even cursed, laughed loudly, and clapped their hands vigorously.

At a time when most of the other customers already left, they still did not seem to want to say goodbye to each other. 

“If you are drunk, come to my house and spend the night, do not mind! Please bring more beer!” said the woman who organized the drinking bash.

Pay attention to health risks!

According to Dr. Bui Chi Thuong, head of the department of obstetrics at Gia Dinh People’s Hospital in Ho Chi Minh City, when women drink a lot of alcohol, they can have as many health problems as men. 

In physical terms, alcohol abuse causes the skin to no longer be tight and smooth, the belly to become larger, and the risk of cancer and liver damage to increase.

Mentally, excessive alcohol consumption makes people less clear-headed, easily impulsive, and potentially vulnerable. 

The uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages also has a negative impact on their image, in some cases it can disrupt their lives and work and jeopardize the happiness of their family.

In some cases, when some women have to drink because of their work, they should keep their alcohol consumption as low as possible, under 100 millimeters of beer, to avoid possible consequences, Dr. Thuong advised.

By Dieu Qui & Yen Trinh & Kim Thoa – Tuoi Tre News – April 18, 2023

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