Vietnamese worker sparks controversy by bringing durian onto ...

By Minh Hieu  &nbspJune 8, 2024 | 11:06 pm PT

Opened durians seen on a table. Photo by Unsplash/Jimmy Teo

Durian - Figure 1
Photo VnExpress International

A Vietnamese worker in Japan has sparked online controversy after bringing durian onto a Tokyo metro train earlier this month, causing discomfort to fellow passengers.

A video posted on social media by the worker himself showed passengers visibly irritated by the pungent scent of the fruit.

In the video, some passengers were seen covering their noses, while others quietly moved away to escape the odor. Despite the evident discomfort, the worker appeared unfazed and even expressed amusement in his social media post, stating he "couldn't stop laughing at the passengers' strong reactions to the smell of durian."

The video quickly attracted heavy criticism. One comment read: "Laughing and filming the video despite other passengers' reactions show his level of awareness." Some pointed out that such an act is illegal in Singapore and would result in a S$300 (US$223) fine.

In response to the backlash, the worker boldly retorted, "I’m in Japan, so no one can stop me."

While the incident seems small, Le Dung, head of skill training for Japan market at human resources firm ICOGroup, highlighted a broader issue. Speaking to Dan Tri, he noted that the incident underscores a prevailing challenge among Vietnamese workers abroad: a reluctance to adhere to local regulations and social norms.

"Japan does not yet have strict rules prohibiting strong-smelling foods on public transport like some other countries. However, it's clear that the young man fully understood the impact of his actions and could have behaved better, such as wrapping the item tightly to avoid causing inconvenience to others," Dung said.

He added that while Vietnamese workers abroad are hard-working and willing to learn, many neglect to research foreign cultures, leading to avoidable conflicts. To address this, companies that send laborers to other countries are providing orientation programs to educate workers on cultural nuances and social etiquette.

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