Vietnamese are very practical. We are just proud of things that truly bring us benefits and reputations.
Did Sinospheric past or being a part of Sinosphere really help us gain the national independence and freedom, national development and the respects from other countries? Hell no!
The Nguyen of Vietnam, the last feudal dynasty in Vietnamese history and also a 99% Sinicized dynasty, completely failed in the defense of national independence and sovereignty against the French colonialism in XIX century. At that time, Nguyen dynasty learnt and copied nearly all everything from China, from laws to military formations, and what was happened? They obviously failed to guarantee the independence for Vietnamese people.
Phan Bội Châu, a notable Vietnamese scholar and a famous revolutionary during the first years of XX century, raised questions for himself about: Should Vietnamese people proud of their Sinospheric past? Did Vietnamese submissions to the Celestial Empire for one thousand years really bring them prides? Let’s see what he wrote in his monumental work “ Việt Na m Quốc Sử Khảo ” ( The Review of Vietnamese History ) :
“…Tiết thứ 3: Thần phục Bắc triều mà không giúp được gì cho nước
Quanh năm châu, có nước nào thần phục người ta mà được người ta yêu thương không? - Không có. Có nước nào thấy nước khác thần phục mình mà rủ lòng thương yêu đến không? - Cũng không có. Hai ý đó lấy chứng cớ ở đâu? Xin lấy chứng cớ ở nước Việt Nam ta…”
“…Section III: Submission to the Celestial Empire did not help anything
Around the whole world, is there any submissive countries that received the love from other people? No one. Is there any countries really love the one who submitted to them? Hell no. Was there any proofs for it? Yes, in case of our Vietnam… ”
Then, he came up with some conclusions:
“ …Rõ ràng ỷ lại vào người ngoài không bằng tự cường lấy ta. Bởi vì tự cường thì khí thế của mình mạnh, khí thế mạnh thì chuyển yếu thành mạnh…Nếu như nước ta, 50 năm về trước mà bỏ hẳn được cái tư tưởng "thờ nước lớn", biết bồi dưỡng cho cái cơ sở độc lập, biết phát triển cái căm uất thành sức mạnh, cùng với người khác tranh thắng, thì đâu đến nỗi như ngày hôm nay… ”
“ …Obviously, the dependence on the foreigners is not a good choice in comparison with self-reliance. Because of self-reliance, the national strength of the country will be consolidated, the weak then become the strong ... If our country, 50 years ago that completely abandoned the idea of "worshiping big countries", to foster the national development, to grow up, to compete with the others, for sure we are not in such a bad situation like this (i.e. under French colonialism)… ”
Throughout history, Independence and Freedom are the most important things that Vietnamese proud of, as President Ho Chi Minh once said: “ Nothing is precious than independence and freedom ”.
With this high independent spirit in Vietnamese bloods and veins, for thousand years Vietnamese language has not lost, for thousand years an independent Vietnam still survive but not a Commandery of the Celestial Empire, not an oversea territory of France or an “America’s backyard”. Consequently, Vietnamese people even “won” title “ Prussians of the Asia ” (or Southeast Asia) by Western media . This is the way how the world knows about Vietnam.
Vietnam today is moving ahead with high speed, it was not the Sinospheric past but the strong spirit of Independence and Freedom that make every Vietnamese should proud of!