International Women Day: Talk about the Vietnamese woman characters
“Công, Dung, Ngôn, Hạnh” – The four characters of a Vietnamese woman
Even it is the modern time or in the past, “Công, Dung, Ngôn, Hạnh” are always the four Vietnamese woman characters that are respected by the local people.
The origin of the four Vietnamese woman characters
“Công, Dung, Ngôn, Hạnh” – The four Vietnamese woman characters – can be temporarily understood as housework, appearance, speech and virtue of a woman. These are the four characters of the East Asian women that not only the Vietnamese but also other countries respect and remain it until nowadays.
The four characters “Công, Dung, Ngôn, Hạnh” was written by Confucius (Khong Tu) who is a Chinese teacher. He lived in the period of B.C. Confucius was one of the most famous philosophers and had a big influence on the philosophies in East Asia. Furthermore, he is also the founder of Confucianism which was so strong for a very long time in the past. All of his philosophies still remain and keep the value until nowadays.
In the past, Vietnam has been under the colonial policy of the Chinese for a thousand years. Therefore, there are so many similar things in the culture and lifestyle of both two countries. The four Vietnamese woman characters “Công, Dung, Ngôn, Hạnh” is one of them that still remains until today.
Meaning of the four Vietnamese woman characters
Lasting for more than 2,000 years, the four Vietnamese woman characters “Công, Dung, Ngôn, Hạnh” still keeps its own value until today. That is the reason why the Asian woman always has their unique beauty that the rest of the world cannot have. It is not only a beautiful appearance but also the beauty of the soul.
“Công” – Housework
The first one in the four Vietnamese woman characters is “Công” which is understood as housework. In the philosophy of Confucius, an East Asian woman must know how to handle housework. Moreover, it is also the strength of a woman compares to man. A woman may not be better than a man in health, intelligence and business success. In contrast, a man cannot compare him with the skills of a woman in housework.
A man is a lucky one if he has a wife who is good at housework, in the East Asian opinion. A wife is good at housework will bring happiness to the family, their husband and their children. Moreover, the house under their hands will be clean, tidy and in its order. Especially, a good woman who follows the four Vietnamese woman characters will be good at educating their children.
“Dung” – Appearance
The second one in the Vietnamese woman characters that Confucius mentioned in his philosophy is “Dung”. It is similar to the appearance. Even though the Vietnamese have a proverb that “Cái nết đánh chết cái đẹp” (the beauty of soul beat the appearance), this character still works until today.
Not only women but also men, admitting or not, care about the appearance at first sight. That is the first factor for most of us to evaluate a person. This philosophy partially means that the woman must take care of their appearance in the whole life. A woman must not dress carelessly, hair must be in shape and skin must be white. It partially makes the culture of loving white skin of the East Asian.
Additionally, Confucius strongly focused on the beauty of the soul. Therefore, in the past, Vietnamese women cared about their character and virtue more than their appearance. They cared about their children, their family, learnt to be patient and condescend.
Furthermore, the Vietnamese also have a famous sentence that “Không có người phụ nữ xấu, chỉ có người phụ nữ không biết làm đẹp”. It means there is no ugly woman, there are only ones who do not know how to be beautiful.
“Ngôn” – Speech
As the Vietnamese woman characters that follow the philosophy of Confucius, a speech does not only mean for what you say, it reflects your soul. A good person has a warm and pure voice. A cruel person speaks out through the gap of their teeth.
As the philosophy, a person who usually curses is the one who is lack of education. A woman must choose the kind words to say brightly and lightly. In the past, a girl who speaks too loudly will be yelled by her mother. When talking with the older, Vietnamese women must be polite and softly.
“Hạnh” – Virtue
This might be the most difficult and also the most challenge Vietnamese woman character when getting married. It is living with the husband family. In Vietnam culture, people usually live with many family generations. Therefore, when a woman marries a man, she must live with his family too. Hence, there always unexpected conflicts among family members. A good woman is the one who can balance between her self-respect and the husband family members.
Additionally, a good woman is the one who knows how to polite to everybody when going out. She must comely and carefully talk to people. In the local opinion, a beautiful but not virtuous woman is not as respectable as the one who is not beautiful but virtuous.
Today, the local people still keep that four Vietnamese woman characters. A wife usually is the one who educates children, prepares for the meal and cleans the house even she also has to go out to work like the husband. However, it has been the tradition and culture for more than 2,000 years. Therefore, it is difficult to remove. In contrast, it makes the unique beauty of East Asian women. It is the tradition and the culture too.