Thursday, January 13, 2011

"They force me to drink"

It is very common in Asia that people drink a lot on many occasions, for example weddings, birthdays, anniversaries. It is also common that most people who die in traffic accidents are intoxicated.
best beer ever

I had a discussion with a friend from Vietnam a year ago. We had a after-work-party, and after one beer I said no for another one. My friend said: "This is Vietnam, you have to drink, that is our tradition".

So I explained him, that a) beer isn't really a tradition in Vietnam and b) this is a tradition of tribes who had no moto bikes and just fall asleep next to the campfire. Indeed getting drunk is not just about having fun, but in particular with men kind of an ancient ritual. When you became a man in your tribe, there was usually alcohol (and other drugs) involved, also when the villagers celebrated a good catch, a birth or even a death.

But time changed. We are not living in huts anymore (although many people in Asia still do), and alcohol isn't something that is so magic and expensive, that only the village chief can allow to drink it. So what is left from this tradition is to get drunk. What if we always had moto bikes? Would we have developed this habit as well? I don't think so. Our instinct would have told us to survive. Unfortunately we don't listen to this instincts anymore.

The tradition of drinking alcohol as kind of a ritual, with a spiritual background, faded after time, and what is left is peer pressure and to get a drunk as a sign of being a real man.

What is just not right. A real man cares about family, his job and his life. A real man can say know, because this needs way more guts than just open another bottle.

Today a friend in Laos told me that he may attend a meeting, but has to go to a wedding before and might get drunk. "They will force me to drink" he said. Wrong. Nobody can force you to drink. You can say no, always. Friends who force you to drink (or to do anything you don't like) are simply not friends. Basta.

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