This may be a good guideline for those who come to travel or live in Ho Chi Minh City.
These are some gestures which are considered rude and insulting and causes you real embarrassment when being used in Vietnam.
1. The Western way of signaling someone to come, by wiggling and upward-pointing index finger.
– For the people who are older or look older than you, don’t make them come to you. You are the one who should come to them.
– For the people who are younger than you, your friends or have the same age as you, use the Asian way which is the willing of all four fingers together and make sure your palm face down otherwise it looks like you want to challenge them to a fight.
2. The Western sign for good luck (aka crossed fingers).
This gesture has absolutely different meaning in Vietnam, as it refers to the female sexual organs. It is the same for the “inserting of the index finger in a circle formed by the thumb and the index finger of the other hand”.
Although young generations of Vietnam are trying to pick up and adapt to Western ways of showing affection to each other like kissing and hugging in public, it’s still considered impolite and disrespectful.
But, relax, unless you’re desperately trying to insult people, you won’t get into any serious trouble. Since you are a foreigner and you can always say: “xin lỗi” and Vietnamese people will forgive you with a smile