'Promise is a promise'

This expression in English is "A promise is a promise". My brother and I used to talk to each other when we were little, to make sure we kept our word.

- I'll go out and let the horses eat for you, if you help me wash the dishes. "

- Promise?

- Okay, promise!

Winter in Canada is very cold, but I really hate washing dishes so this is a successful deal for me.

Actually the "promise is promise" statement is not profound, but Anthony and I believe absolutely in this principle. Because we saw the seriousness of his father's face, the expressions that formed in the old generation of immigrants, when he taught us one of the most important rules for being human: "A promise is a promise" .

Yet I had difficulty with this principle when I arrived in Vietnam. I tried my hand at business with a weaving company in Thai Binh. Successful with the first transaction and a little happy, I was happy to receive new challenges, feel the sales profession is okay, until the customer - a Chinese company called that want to cancel the contract due to market changes. He crookedly presented about the so-called reason but I just saw that he wanted to deal with another party. Holding the phone to listen to his words, I could only say three words: "Cancel the contract?". I felt dizzy, hot, and skeptical. The customer who listened to me would probably feel shocked and heartbroken.

At that time I was still in the "honeymoon" period with Vietnam, just beginning to live in another country and looking at everything beautiful, not bothering about bad things. However, the honeymoon ended when, later, a German sold textile machinery to my company and shared that companies in Europe and America did not like to do with many Vietnamese companies, simply because they have no credibility.

My mentality went down, I was a bit depressed until I got out of that environment with a different view of business ethics here. And during the more than 7 years of living in Vietnam after that, I am more aware of that than ever.

Because I grew up teaching that keeping one's word is an important principle of a person. And to keep his word to others, first of all he has to keep his promise to himself. Dad said: "In my life, I have to remember two things: Keep my word and always pay the debt."

As a child, about 15 years old, my father sent me to work as an assistant for a plumber named Mike, my father's best friend. Uncle Mike told me: "My dad told me, I have the right to give my child all the hard work, no problem at all." And rightly so, working with Mike is super hard. I have to study very carefully and quickly, in case of any mistake, I will be deducted from my salary, sometimes even scolded. I stabbed to hate to go to work. But my parents didn't let me off, they wanted to teach me when they decided what to do, they had to do it, "A promise is a promise".

I hold that attitude when I'm in Vietnam. Honestly, it can be said that thanks to this attitude, I am here for now.

Nearly 100 years ago, psychologist Jean Piaget believed that morality was developed in children aged 9 to 10 years old. He said it is really important for children to play together because it is the first step for them to learn how to function in society later.

You can ask your children when they play a group game at school, what is the main objective of this game? Some children may answer that joy is a goal, partly true. Other children, raised in a more competitive environment, can say that winning is the most important, not wrong. In fact, the correct answer is a combination of both answers. But the most important lesson to learn is fair play. That you play in such a way that people still want to play with you next time, both for fun and for comfort and benefit but also for clarity and fairness.

But we all know, there are many tourists coming to Vietnam who do not come back, many business companies do not have a second contract with a partner because they only need to make the most money from any customer. Looking at many businesses, it seems that the fairness and morality are missing. Recently, I didn't go to theaters to watch movies anymore because I felt that movie owners had forgotten the golden rule was the mood of the guests. Going to the cinema is a time of entertainment with relatives, people have bought tickets, which means they have to pay for the theater. But as soon as I sat down in the chair, I received the continuous rain of advertisements until the viewers' emotions subsided. I feel from the dark corner of the cinema, the gaze of marketers greedily staring at your wallet.

An unfinished job is a broken promise. A contract is broken, does not keep its promise to itself, does not send a reply before the deadline, does not pay on time ... it will identify you. In the international business environment, many companies have the prejudice that their Asian partners, especially India, Vietnam and China, have no credibility.

They forget or have not been carefully educated or preceded by them: A promise is a promise.

Jesse Peterson
(Originally in Vietnamese)