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Editor's note: CNET editor and Crave contributor Dong Ngo is spending the month of December in his homeland of Vietnam and plans to file occasional dispatches chronicling his impressions of how technology has permeated the culture there. HANOI, Vietnam--Love, or the lack thereof, is an ongoing global issue.

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Go to a popular cafe in Hanoi--and there are many--and you'll constantly hear cell phones' quick ringing to indicate that a message has just been received.Judging from the young demographic of cell phone users, it isn't hard to see how much love and text messaging are intertwined.While online dating services in the States (personally, I believe many young Americans aren't really sure what to look for in a partner and being impatient as usual, think spending money somehow helps solve this), things are a little different in Vietnam--in the big cities that is.Here, there are no dating services (at least none that my friends and I can spot), and young people still mostly meet the traditional way--through friends, school, family, work, and so on.I will continue to be happy with my boring but very clear smiley face :).

With all the technology at their disposal, a lot of young Vietnamese still have problems finding their other half.Fortunately, I asked Minh and others to do some translating, and I got some very important information.Though most Yahoo IM emoticons are designed to mean something that's widely understood, there are some that are interpreted here entirely differently from what they are originally designed to mean.I have used Yahoo IM a lot to chat with my new friends during the course of writing this series of CNET blogs.My personal favorite, the smiley face :), is way too boring for them.Hien Nguyen, a 27-year-old newspaper reporter, told me the difference between dating in Vietnam now and just five years ago.