The child called out ‘Happy Hour’ to the tourists, selling hope in the form of paper lanterns, that perilously have to survive the choppy journey down the river
The blossom leaves have all fallen from the Tet trees and the New Year begins not so differently as the last. The patriarchal society will still be ever present, women will continue to do the lion’s share of the work and one party will continue to control the hopes and dreams of the nation.
Vietnam reflects on the year that’s past and thinks about new opportunities for the future
Exploring Vietnam in all her contexts reveals a vibrant, vivacious personality, who is spiritual, savvy, family orientated and individual. Her rich history and physicality only make her more attractive to outsiders. Yet, with the New Year in site, there are many challenges that await her. Regardless, she steadfastly has aspirations for a better life for her and the family.
Vietnam has to endure many human rights issues with suppression of any dissent, but most enjoy more freedom than their forefathers in Vietnam’s long history ever did. Her health is also continually challenged with unmonitored pollution, without much enforcement. There is very little presence of police on the streets, with continual offers of drugs in the backpacker’s area. Her international reputation has been tainted by a piracy and copycat culture, with the mantra of ‘Same, Same but Different’ emblazoned on tourist t-shirts.
By writing this story of falling for ‘Vietnam’, with all her beauty and warts. I wanted to express the experience of getting to know her as a fusion of millions of people, stories, ideas, traditions, all wrapped in the beautiful, complex and the deeply engaging entity of ‘Vietnam’.