Advertisement
ex. Game, Music, Video, Photography

Is Saigon just another city, or is there something more?

With the soaring Saigon skyline descending into a generic urban blandness, it's time to ask: what's left of us?

Ngày đăng: 21 tháng 3, 2021
Cập nhật: 30 tháng 11, 2021
Lượt xem: 29773027
Nguồn: vnexpress

Advertisement
With the soaring Saigon skyline descending into a generic urban blandness, it's time to ask: what's left of us?

With the soaring Saigon skyline descending into a generic urban blandness, it's time to ask: what's left of us?

Hong Phuc

Hong Phuc

A British reporter recently traveled across Asia for a series of stories on how megacities are losing or have lost their distinguishing characteristics.

Nick Van Mead is deputy editor-in-chief of Guardian Cities, a sister publication of the popular British newspaper, The Guardian.

Saigon was on his list and he ended up staying at my house thanks to Airbnb.

One morning, Nick sat by the window and squinted at the Saigon River flowing in the sun.

Then he looked up, pointed at the skyscrapers in the city and remarked that 80 percent of Saigon was built with modern architecture.The city now looks like any other city in Asia, he said.

Comparing the city to what he remembers on his last trip here, 10 years ago, Nick said there were so many things that had turned Saigon into a city people would just visit and leave, without any lasting impression that remains in their mind.

The city's unique features are fading as hundreds of historic buildings are demolished to make way for modern real estate projects, he said.

Not far from where Nick was sitting that morning was a refrigerator to which I had pasted magnets I had collected from places I had visited. There was a mask of indigenous people in Bali, a portion of Nasi Kandar, a Malaysian dish of steamed rice served with a variety of curries, a Czech beer bottle opener, a Bangkok tuk tuk, a glass of beer from Munich, the Eiffel Tower and a girl in the Vietnamese ao dai.

"What are the most special things of Saigon?" he asked, looking at those magnets.

"The Independence Palace, Cu Chi Tunnel, the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Post Office, the War Remnants Museum, and don’t forget banh mi and hu tiu (a Cambodian-Chinese noodle soup that Saigonese have adapted to their taste)."

Later, I took him to Ton Dan Street in District 4, one of the most famous food streets in Saigon.

A paradoxical encounter

At a streetside eatery, as Nick focused all his attention to finishing a bowl of mi vit tiem, a Chinatown-style noodle soup with a herbal broth and roasted-then-stewed duck meat, I talked non-stop about Vietnamese street food culture.

We were so absorbed, we didn't notice two local men on motorbikes approaching our table.Before we knew it, a rider had jumped down, swooped over to where Nick was sitting, and snatched the backpack he'd placed at the foot of the table.

Even as we looked at what was going on, the daughter of the woman who ran the diner, screamed for them to get lost, and swung the half-long soup ladle at the thief.Almost immediately, the mother, holding a toddler, joined in, screaming and screaming.

The situation got out of hand, the two robbers retreated, leaving us, especially Nick still stunned, gaping, duck bone in hand, sweat dripping from his face into a bowl of noodles mixed with broth. remaining. Bok choy.

When the thieves wanted to leave, the restaurant owner wrapped a wet tissue and gave it to Nick.Smiling, she told him in Vietnamese to continue enjoying her meal, as if nothing had happened seconds before.

Nick has found his voice.“The most special thing about this city is the people.This is also the identity of Vietnam."

I asked him to explain what he meant by our national identity.He replied: “That is what allows people elsewhere to distinguish Saigon from Chinese, or Saigon from Bangkok or Singapore and any other city in the world."

It's a heritage that's more felt than seen.The South Vietnamese, Nick feels, are very open-minded, sincere and kind, and also easygoing, unlike his own people, who “always ask for too much."

It is as though the residents' personality is the "gene" of a city, creating its core identity, drawing people to it and making them remember it and talk about it.

After sharing a few of his personal observations about Americans, British and French, Nick said that while the storm of economic development is turning HCMC into Singapore or Seoul, one thing hasn't changed. is human nature.Rub! It was a relief, for me.

A corner of Saigons downtown. Photo by VnExpress/Thuy Tran

Saigon's modern icon, the Bitexco skyscraper, seen via a corridor of decades-old living quarters.Photo: VnExpress / Thuy Tran.

A city is not much different from a human being in that it is not easy to tell a person's true personality at first glance.Therefore, people who stop by a place just for sightseeing will have a hard time getting a sense of its true character.To do so, visitors must delve deeper into the different walks of life of the locals, from the widest avenues to the narrowest alleys.A superficial glance will not reveal much, at least all the nuances of ideas, beliefs, aspirations and desires in the heart of a society.

I call Saigon home.I make a living here.I observe and I make choices.I know there's a pothole on the corner near where I live that I should avoid whenever it rains.I know that I should close the windows at night to protect my ears from karaoke and shield my apartment from the smoke coming from the charcoal stove where the pork is grilled across the street.

Nick notices different things and tells it to the world.Describing Dong Khoi Street in the city centre, he said it illustrates the "scale of change" took place.

"Art deco and modernist buildings of the early 20th century declined during the Vietnam War, but the area experienced a late revival with boutiques by Gucci, Dior and and Louis Vuitton..."and the highlight of the Saigon River these days is" a splendid showroom with a bright yellow Lamborghini Huracán and 3 different Bentley models..."and finally," The historic center is increasingly brimming with generic architecture that could be anywhere in Asia."

Given the worldwide readership that the The Guardian enjoys, Nick’s piece would have been read by many, and it is, a damning indictment of sorts, the saving grace being the friendly, hospitable people of the city.

This savings has a high value.It is an indirect tourism service that creates lasting impressions in the minds of tourists.It compensates for defects in other respects.Visitors' good impression of the cultural identity, customs and behavior of the local people in a place is a particularly valuable product in the tourism industry.It is a product that fulfills an "intangible" need. visitors such as learning and deepening understanding of new cultures and cultural exchanges.More than 90% of a person's spending decisions come from the hypothalamus of the brain, which also determines people's emotions.

It is not difficult to find foreign articles praising Vietnamese people as the strength of the country's tourism industry.Over the years, Vietnam has been consistently featured in the list of the friendliest countries in the world, endorsed by international sites such as American Hubpages and InterNations.

At the same time, it is not difficult to realize that the locality, which is a tourism resource, is not included in any development master plan of the industry.Of course, it is not easy to include an intangible element in such plans, but recognizing that it has a very important, tangible impact requires the attention of policymakers, businesses. and other interested parties.

Ironically, in an age of blurring globalization, the need for nations to define their own identities is more important than ever.Reports have detailed how languages and other cultural features are disappearing in many parts of the world, and the homogeneity of urban landscapes is only the most visible symptom of "modernity". erode national identity and international diversity.

In Vietnam, despite the tourism boom in recent years, agencies repeatedly point out that we have a low rate of return visitors.The similarity of our urban landscape will only exacerbate this problem.Why should anyone come here when they can go elsewhere for the same sights and even sounds? The answer is not only that we care more about preserving our cultural features in all aspects - architecture, cultural artifacts, traditional everyday items we have used for a long time, our musical traditions, etc., but we also find ways to keep our lifestyle intact.

For example, Southerners in our country (including Saigon people) have their characteristic hospitality and openness, it is difficult to know if this will withstand the onslaught of modernity and survival battles after that or not. Can we find a way to preserve these characteristics that can stand out despite the uniformity of air-conditioners and concrete, glass and steel buildings?

That's the question: Can we preserve the intangible to reap its tangible benefits?

*Hong Phuc is a journalist at VnExpress.The opinions expressed are personal.


Từ vựng liên quan

Advertisement

Tin tức liên quan

 Iraqis want crackdown on
world 31/03/2021

Iraqis want crackdown on 'sleeper cells' after huge Baghdad bomb

world | 168132981

Karrada bombing is the deadliest one by Islamic State in Iraq.

Advertisement
Rice traders cry foul over sudden export ban
business 08/09/2021

Rice traders cry foul over sudden export ban

industries | 254582954

Rice traders are unhappy with the sudden government ban on exports that has million dollar worth of cargo idling at ports.

 Rice to riches: Vietnam
business 31/03/2021

Rice to riches: Vietnam's shrimp farmers fish for fortunes

business | 174012984

Vietnam's rice basket is now also home to a multi-billion-dollar shrimp industry and burgeoning numbers of farmers are building fortunes from the small crustaceans.

Advertisement
Rice prices bounce back after drought and salinity
business 09/09/2021

Rice prices bounce back after drought and salinity

markets | 267302956

Rice prices in the Mekong Delta saw some signs of growth in March after falling in the first two months of 2016, a Vietnamese government source said.

 Allow international flights this month: Transport Ministry
travel 08/12/2021

Allow international flights this month: Transport Ministry

travel | 358882950

The Ministry of Transport has suggested that the government allows international flights to resume on nine routes from next week (December 15).

Advertisement
 Infrastructure around Saigon metro to cost $64 mln
business 17/03/2021

Infrastructure around Saigon metro to cost $64 mln

economy | 76329534

Underground walkways and other infrastructure along Saigon’s Metro Line 2 will cost VND1.49 trillion ($64.5 million), according to the city People’s Committee.

 VN-Index plunges to three-week low
business 07/07/2021

VN-Index plunges to three-week low

economy | 223182964

Vietnam’s benchmark VN-Index plunged 3.99 percent to 1,354.79 points Tuesday, the lowest in over three weeks with eight blue chips hitting floor prices.

Advertisement
Indonesia radio denies Singapore
world 19/09/2021

Indonesia radio denies Singapore's radical preaching claim

world | 326992956

"We have been preaching against people who are not practicing true Islam," said the radio station manager.

 Hyundai recalls cars to replace faulty anti-lock brake fuse
business 19/05/2021

Hyundai recalls cars to replace faulty anti-lock brake fuse

companies | 208872962

TC Motor, the manufacturer of Hyundai cars in Vietnam, is recalling 23,587 Tucsons to replace their anti-lock brake fuse.

Advertisement
How much do tourists really spend in Hanoi?
travel-life 20/09/2021

How much do tourists really spend in Hanoi?

travel-life | 328012957

The city, known for cheap food and accommodation options, is much more affordable than many other Asian destinations.

Advertisement

Chủ đề liên quan

Advertisement
Advertisement

Tin được xem nhiều nhất

 Vietnam among hardest hit by cryptomining attacks: security bulletin
news 22/03/2021

Vietnam among hardest hit by cryptomining attacks: security bulletin

news | 38153452

Vietnam is among nations hardest hit by cryptomining attacks this year, says Moscow-based multinational cybersecurity firm Kaspersky Lab.

Advertisement
 Vietnam lifts rice export ban
business 17/03/2021

Vietnam lifts rice export ban

economy | 329878

Vietnam has lifted its ban on rice exports with immediate effect, allowing 400,000 tonnes to be shipped this month.

 Online ethnic minority comedies no laughing matter
life 18/03/2021

Online ethnic minority comedies no laughing matter

trend | 95929844

Many Vietnamese YouTube channels have produced comedy videos portraying ethnic minority life through distorted facts and smutty jokes, causing community backlash.

Advertisement
 Hanoi relives historic, liberating moment
news 17/03/2021

Hanoi relives historic, liberating moment

news | 80629827

An exhibition in Hanoi goes back 64 years, when the French troops officially withdrew from Vietnam.

 A winsome foursome presents a ‘Happy Vietnam’
news 17/03/2021

A winsome foursome presents a ‘Happy Vietnam’

news | 1229801

Viet, Nam, Hanh and Phuc whose first names combine to mean "Happy Vietnam" are healthy quadruplets growing in the southern province of Dong Thap.

Advertisement
 Coteccons begins new chapter, hopefully, after resolving feud with shareholders
business 17/03/2021

Coteccons begins new chapter, hopefully, after resolving feud with shareholders

companies | 90329801

Coteccons will replace two board members with nominees of two major shareholders with whom the management has had a running battle since 2017.

 Lo Lo Chai: where time stands still
travel 20/03/2021

Lo Lo Chai: where time stands still

travel | 16763143

Lo Lo Chai is a village in the northern province of Ha Giang that has no modern construction.

Advertisement
 Four teen boys probed for gang rape of drunk girl
news 21/03/2021

Four teen boys probed for gang rape of drunk girl

news | 35373140

Four teenage boys in northern Vinh Phuc Province are being investigated for allegedly raping a 15-year-old girl.

 Five Vietnamese men caught for smuggling Chinese
news 18/03/2021

Five Vietnamese men caught for smuggling Chinese

news | 96729679

Three men in southern Tay Ninh Province and two in northern Lao Cai Province have been arrested for helping Chinese nationals illegally enter Vietnam.

Advertisement
 Golden rice season in northern Vietnam village Nam Hong
travel 17/03/2021

Golden rice season in northern Vietnam village Nam Hong

places | 529673

When fall begins towards the end of September and start of October, Nam Hong Village in Ha Giang Province radiates the amber hue of autumn.

Advertisement

Link Tài Trợ - Sponsored Links

Công Thức Vật Lý
Advertisement
Loading…