The last time I was here it was 2001. It was the old airport where you could still see the rusting heap of military hardware. The roads were choked with cyclists. and pedestrians. The taxis were dilapidated not unlike I saw in Yangoon. The opera house was boarded up. The church was in a state of disrepair. The walkways were filled with street vendors, the patrons squatting with noodle bowls in their hands.
OLd Mike the PETRONAS pioneer in HCMC were always bragging about his Vietnamese exploits. My cousin J the PROTON rep in HCMC was giving a glowing narrative about the future of HCMC. The wife spoke fluent vietnamese. My neighbor even migrated to HCMC to set up a SINGER franchise in the new SAIGON.
They were right. They were indeed smart to recognize it early. Had they been resilient and sustain their effort they would have benefited from this Eldorado that they found. Unfortunately they did not.
Now it is a new HCMC. The Opera House is in its splendour. Across the street is the square with the gigantic louis vutton neon billboard making the whole ambience like a parisien wannabe. There are hundreds of little fashionable stores selling work of arts side by side with the big brands.
I could visualize HCMC in 5 years time or 10 years. It is going to be a city with character. The oil money is already flowing. The toilets are already clean. The restaurants are already booming. They have good taste, these viets.
Watch my words.
They have done very well. That set me wondering, what has gone wrong with us, these communists have done better in that short space of time then what we have achieved.