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The Asian ladies that work in nail salons

(213 Posts)
Charlieandthechocolatecake Thu 25-May-17 01:42:54

Please forgive my ignorance. Please!

I had a pedicure today (for the first time in 5 years!)

I was thinking whilst i was there that the majority of that staff in salons I have been to are Asian women. Some of them young.

I've also noticed that in my experience, their English is limited.

I'd like to know if anybody knows if these women are here specifically to do that job?

Or are they here for education? A better future?

I ask because I have never had my nails done by an Asian woman that can speak fluent English.

I had my nails done by a lovely young woman today...i know this is a career choice for many that have a passion for it. But is it for these women in particular or do they hope to gain an education here and an alternative career? If like to think so.

NotISaidTheWalrus Thu 25-May-17 01:44:15

What is your AIBU?

Is it, "aibu to sound a bit racist"?

WashingMatilda Thu 25-May-17 01:48:11

Ummm... Doesn't sound racist at all NotI
I have thought the same thing OP, and I'm not sure on the answer. They must have got some sort of qualifications as I think to work with the chemicals etc can be harmful after a while. I know the lady that does mine is originally from Vietnam and she's training to be an accountant with the open university in the evenings so I think for most of them it's a stop gap

Mrstwiddle Thu 25-May-17 01:49:43

Doesn't sound racist to me, I'd be curious to know too

fatdogs Thu 25-May-17 01:51:03

Two Vietnamese girls who work at the salon I use are here on student visas and are doing foundation courses preparing for entry into a degree course. They speak fairly good conversational English buy admit they are struggling woth some ofnthe mote complicated parts of their coursework. They also attend higher english course at their college in order to reach the stated requirements to apply for their desired degree course ( business studies apparently). They are distant cousins of the salon owner. They are allowed to work up to 10 hours a week in term time I think. Some parlour are rumoured to be a front for traffickers so I expect those salons may have women who cannot speak any English at all I guess.

WhatToDoAboutThis2017 Thu 25-May-17 01:56:15

Yes, all the nail salons I know are run by Asian women too.

I've wondered the same for a while, OP. You're not alone, but I'm afraid I don't know the answer!

HildaOg Thu 25-May-17 01:57:24

I went into a place where they were all Thai and couldn't speak English. I wondered if they'd been trafficked tbh.

Some employers have a lot of control over people from certain countries. They illegally take advantage of the poverty they're from and vulnerable legal status to massively underpay and make them work long hours. There's also a huge problem with gangs trafficking people and then taking much of their earnings.

When I see EVERYBODY from one vulnerable group rather than a cross section of society, I always wonder because obviously the employers are looking from one particular area abroad to hire for a reason.

Charlieandthechocolatecake Thu 25-May-17 02:01:41

not I'm not racist at all and I did try to word my post so that nobody would think I am. Im sorry If you got the wrong impression.

To the other posters, thank you. It's good to know you know women in the same position that have aspirations here.

That's all I wanted to know really.

The salon I went to today was run by an older man and the ladies working there seemed more at ease when he left for a while. I just hope for them this is a means to an and rather than a long term commitment.

HerRoyalNotness Thu 25-May-17 02:05:10

Every salon I've been to in the US and Canada are the same. I guess it's a good business opportunity and if the owners are Asian, they hire people they're familiar with or their family, or friends of family to work there.

I couldn't do it myself, I don't like touching people's feet for a start, and wonder how they can stand to touch mine, makes for an unrelaxing pedicure on the odd occasion I get one.

Plumkettle Thu 25-May-17 02:06:08

Every situation will be different though so it's impossible to know, unless you ask and get a truthful answer (which frankly would be difficult to do without seeming weird and nosy) what is happening in your particular salon

mybrainhurtsalot Thu 25-May-17 02:13:50

Not exactly answering your question, but I read this BBC article a while ago: "How Tippi Hedren made Vietnamese refugees into nail salon magnates"

hellokittymania Thu 25-May-17 02:25:17

I run a very small charity and most of our work is in Vietnam, I speak Vietnamese as a foreign language and have live there on and off for the past 10 years, but the majority of the time was spent in Vietnam. Many of them have a very hard time with English. As a foreigner though who speaks Vietnamese fluently, I can understand why as Vietnamese is A very hard language to learn. It is very different from English, even though students have to study it from an early age and nanny are required to pass exams in Vietnam to qualify for hire jobs, many of them struggle, even after many hours of tuition. A friend of mine works as a manager at one of their regional airports. He worked in hospitality before and can speak English quite well, but he was so nervous to take his exam. Without passing out though, he would have been demoted. We are lucky in the UK, that we aren't tested so heavily on foreign languages. I'm sure many people would have the same problem.

There are also some cultural differences that come in to the language. In Vietnam, instead of saying I and you, people address each othe using little sister, big sister, etc. I am born in 1983 for example so if I was talking to one of you who was born in 1986, I would say Em khoe khong? Is little sister fine? Em an com chua? Chi chua an. Em means little sister and chi means big sister. In the last example I said have you eaten yet? I have not. But little and big sister take the place of all I am to you. So if any of you have been to Vietnam, and a street seller says hey you you! They aren't meaning to be rude, in Vietnamese they would say little sister! Big sister! Auntie or some other form of address, I hope that makes sense. It takes foreigners living in Vietnam ages to learn how to call people.

ShoutOutToMyEx Thu 25-May-17 02:28:38

I know girls who came here specifically to work in nail salons. It is 100% a career choice for them. Back in Vietnam they would attend classes in which they practised on glass bowls.

hellokittymania Thu 25-May-17 02:30:10

And there are many many of the same salons in Vietnam, or even people who just carry their baskets with them and come and do your nails at your house, or at your business, your restaurant, anywhere you want really. And they are very good!

MrsTerryPratchett Thu 25-May-17 02:32:34

I was going to post that article @mybrainhurtsalot

I live in Canada and there are lots of salons run by Vietnamese women.

NotISaidTheWalrus Thu 25-May-17 02:32:48

Well you mean specific parts of Asia, for a start, don't you? Asia is a big place.

hellokittymania Thu 25-May-17 02:36:10

I just searched in Vietnamese for English for those doing nails, there is quite a lot of basic English for people who want to work a nail salons and information about working in nail salon.

hellokittymania Thu 25-May-17 02:40:17

I just came across a channel called via salon magazine and they even include nail salon law. Very interesting actually, but it's only in Vietnamese.

Sprinklestar Thu 25-May-17 02:50:53

It isn't a choice for many women...

Fluffypinkpyjamas Thu 25-May-17 02:51:32

Not just in the UK, it's in the US nail bars too. I'd like to know too.

As for you Not shove this in your gob biscuit OP did not post anything remotely racist but you just couldn't resist hey! hmm

Blaaaaaaaah Thu 25-May-17 02:54:01

A lot of them are linked to people trafficking and the workers are basically slaves. They're smuggled into the country illegally then forced to work for almost nothing to pay back their 'debt' to the people smugglers. They can't run away or approach the police because that will put their families at home at risk.

They're actually the lucky ones because at least it's not prostitution.

BBC report on it here:

There's also been a C4 documentary and there is loads of info if you google. Unless you do your homework quite thoroughly on the nail bar you are using there is a good chance the person doing your nails is a slave.

Chatelherault Thu 25-May-17 02:56:27

I fear something darker, in some instances, when I read stories like this.

Sprinklestar Thu 25-May-17 03:00:20

I'm in the US, not the UK (hence being awake at this hour!) and half the salons here are fronts for drugs. There's always a raid going on.

hellokittymania Thu 25-May-17 03:09:44

I just found a website in Vietnamese, and it looks like it's from an agent. Anyway it's sending people to do by Czech Republic quite Australia and the US, and it mentions among other things that they will get a monthly salary of usually between 14 and $18 million per month which is about 700 to 900 US dollars. And they will work 8 hours per day and 20 to 24 days per month. In Vietnam, many people work for more than this actually if they are not in a government type Job. Or some hospitality jobs will also regulate their hours. Other businesses though will require them to work seven days a week and ours can vary. I also know of 12-year-olds who work. It's quite common in some places.

hellokittymania Thu 25-May-17 03:11:00

14 to 18,000,000 Vietnam dong

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