Today at lunch, I asked my parents how old my aunt Bác Loan was. They discussed among themselves:
Dad: She’s 12 years older than your uncle Bác Hoàng, so she’s 62.
Mom: What? No, she’s tuổi sửu. So, she must be 68.
Dad: Hoàng is 74, and my brother Sơn told me that there’s a 12 year difference.
Mom: No, no, think about it. She’s an ox, right? I’m an ox. So there is a 12 year difference between me and her. If I’m 56, she must be 68.
Dad: Shit, you’re right.
It’s hilarious to me that my parents think in terms of the zodiac, and my mother manages to get someone’s age without fail because of their zodiac animal. Though really, if you think about it, you only have to think in terms of chunks of 12 and you don’t have to fuss around with knowing someone’s exact year of birth. Especially when you consider the fact that a lot of older Vietnamese immigrants purposefully changed their birth certificates to avoid being drafted into the army. On paper, my father was born in 1954, but he’s definitely the year of the snake.
Asian logic always wins.