May 14, 2008

On Vietnamese Nail Salons . . .

Yup. I started going to my local one several years ago, after I gave up acrylic tips on my fingernails, and just had my toes done when I felt like it (usually during the summer).

The Vietnamese salon doesn't just have better prices than the white-run salon: it also has "spa chairs," in which one sits up high in a massaging chair with a basin of water underneath it, and less guilt (the women don't have to hunch down quite as far to reach one's toes). They throw in a few minutes of massage for free, and one can pay an extra five bucks for an extra five minutes.

There is also a Korean-run salon near one of my main clients' offices, and that is more unusual on the West Coast, though I understand in New York there are a number of Korean manicurists.

I think it's kind of cool that there are professions immigrants can study in their native languages to ease the transition into this country.

Oh, wait: I must pander to my culturally far-right, border-obsessed readers. Sorry. I'm outraged that instruction is offered in Vietnamese; people must learn English if they intend to live here! IT'S CALLED ASSIMILATION! WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU?!!!!!one!!!!eleven!!!

h/t: Virginia Postrel.

Posted by Attila Girl at May 14, 2008 11:00 AM | TrackBack

Asians have a great record of assimilation and the belief in a better life through education. And testing for technical expertise in one's native language makes sense. It eliminates the errors associated with language/translation in the process. And as long as private investment is driving the process, it is all good. And with bilingual Vietnamese cosmetology instructors, students can't help but learn a little English along the way. Ethnic groups digging into their own pockets to find the American dream. It once was the norm.

Posted by: Darrell at May 14, 2008 01:17 PM

When my mother taught math as an "ESL" teacher (she speaks no languages other than English, but didn't need to, of course), it was always the kids of recent immigrants who were most "into" learning--whether they were from Asia or Latin America.

She thought she wanted to teach kids who were more "affluent," so after years at The Urban Junior High she transferred to one in the San Fernando Valley, in hopes of teaching calculus.

Rather than finding it fulfilling, she was discouraged beyond belief by how spoiled all the suburban kids were; she took an early retirement at 55, and has never looked back.

Posted by: Attila Girl at May 14, 2008 01:26 PM

In teaching it is all about attitude, I have taught "spoiled" kids and the "under privileged" and both will challenge one to find a way to engage and motivate. The reason why recent immigrants seem more receptive to learning has to do with their cultural background. And as usual I take exception to what Darrell has to say, Assimilation is neither about education nor about a better life. Assimilation is about giving up certain cultural norms that are so deeply imbedded that one is not even aware. I can only share my own experience of assimilation and my own community. Some folks do not assimilate and they come very highly educated backgrounds and are driven to success. Then there are others who maybe totally uneducated but assimilate easily in the new culture.

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