Ponds have shores, rivers have banks.
The meaning is describing how everything has boundaries and limits and rules should be respected. This is similar to “Toe the line” (i.e., following the rules) or “Draw the line” (i.e., setting a limit that must not be breached).
Who chooses the house door to crawl out.
The meaning is describing circumstances beyond one’s control (e.g., in which house/family to be born) that have to be accepted. This is equivalent to “Like it or lump/leave it,” “What will be will be,” or “In the lap of the gods.”
The skillful patches the shoulder, the talented patches the armpit.
The meaning is describing how challenging work (the shoulder and armpit of a shirt are difficult to patch) is handled by people who have ability. This is similar to “Rise to the occasion/challenge,” where people show that they can handle a difficult situation.
Pitying onself when sick, pitying one’s wealth when well.
The meaning is describing how people generally do not value their health until they are sick. This is similar to “Don’t take your health for granted” (taking someone or something for granted is assuming that you will always have him/her/it without doing anything).
Scared like a snake on the fifth day.
The meaning is describing a frightened demeanor. The fifth day refers to the fifth day of the fifth lunar month (Tết Đoan Ngọ / Double Fifth Festival). People believe that snakes hide from people who hunt them on the fifth. Another variant is “Len lét như chuột ngày / Scared like a morning mouse.” This is similar to “Scaredy-cat” and “Like a deer/rabbit caught in the headlights.”
Whoever eats salty [food], now is thirsty.
This is equivalent to “You reap what you sow.”
Evil like a Brocade Pond crocodile.
The meaning is describing something or someone very evil and savage. Vũng Gấm (Brocade Pond) refers to a swamp in Dong Nai Province, where many crocodiles live.
Pond without fish, stone without color.
The meaning is extreme poverty.
Shirts to husband, village to chief.
The meaning is overdependence on others to solve one’s own problems such a wife has the husband to wash shirts, a village leaves everything to the chief to handle.
Short dress, shaking it does not make it long.
The meaning is some broken things cannot be fixed.