Friday, May 30, 2014

Translation of article written by Dr. Vasantha Hosabettu,published in Life 360, Kannada Fortnightly dated May 16th 2014

VietnamFour days stay  in Ho Chi Minh, a city that lived with wars

Dr.Vasantha Hosabettu

When I told that I am going to Vietnam many people are sympathetic as  I have a compulsion to visit a burial ground!
 When I said I am going that too to Ho Chi Minh city, I was told it is similar to Mumbai!!
Vietnam (full name Socialist Republic of Vietnam) is a mountainous country with a fertile land. It grows mainly paddy. But for many people outside Vietnam reminds for his “war history”.
War held mainly in southern Vietnam. It started in 1954. It intensified in 1964. War ended in 1974.  North and south Vietnam unified and formed Socialist Republic of Vietnam on July 2nd  of 1976.
War history  may be simplified by saying ,war was mainly between the government which was backed by America and  with communist forces. In communist forces there were North Vietnam’s guerillas, Vietnam congress and arm arms and ammunitions of Russia.
In the war thirty lakh Vietnam soldiers died. This has resulted in the current status of female population dominating Male population by 3:1.
In the war 58000 American soldiers too died. War is said to be mother of invention. So there are underground tunnels which are about 120 kms   in length. Now it is main traveler’s attraction.
I had to stay recently for four days in Ho Chi Minh City . City has a population of more than 80 lakh.
With all my data in my mind, what is my impression after my stay there? It is been given here  If possible you also please visit that city

Ho Chi Minh city is not the capital of Vietnam. Hanoi is the capital, Ho Chi Minh city is a commercial city, Its earlier name is Saigon, Even today the airport is been recognized by that name,  Ho Chi Minh City is renamed  by the name of freedom fighter  Ho Chi Minh

Ho chi Minh is over populated than Hanoi,
In that terms it may seems like Mumbai, But it do not have sea shore, Metro is still under plan 
After the war the people lifestyle is very interesting.  I presume it is it is limited to the urban life.

The Vietnam basically agriculture based country For  rich agriculture there  is support of fertile land and river connections. Interesting here soldiers are being used in agricultural field (why this cannot be used in our country?).
Massage and beauty business( along with cleaning of ear) seems to be main bread for female section in the city. I could see the sales girls selling goods late in the night.

I could see the mobile shoe polishers; Their constant watch is on the foot of the people. They will catch you immediately if something wrong seen footwear and they will initiate their service without permission.
 But I could not see not even one beggar in the city. Surprisingly I could not see any smokers too

One cup of coffee is 80000 dong. Do not be afraid, If you have one rupee you will get  351 dong, Here I observe in all shop they take directly US dollars. It wonders as even a foreign currency like US dollar is itself parallel legal currency. Some of the dong denomination is printed in plastic. I could not see a coin ( even the notes are in value of coins).
But most of the ;people pockets are filled with lottery tickets. Lottery business is found to be strong there
Supper outside the street:
It is found  in a street people are eating outside the street. Is it a custom?.  Is it an event? Or  it is due to lack of space?. I could not able to get a correct answer as the people rarely know English.
Their main language is Vietnamese. It is not easy to learn that language..Even the Indian Counsel General of India Dr Deepak Mithal too do not know Vietnamese. He said he love to learn, but so for not successful
There are very big buildings. But we can  see poor people  too in the city, It looks like there is a large gap between rich and poor ,Even a  normal driver in the city know that  Bangalore is the IT  capital, He said there is a IT hub in Ho Chi Minh city. The city has Pizza hut and five star hotels like Sharaton
I could see that cigarettes are offered as incense stick for god, Coffee is  main source for this country. Vietnam is second largest exporter of coffee in the world.  Perhaps this may be a reason many Karnataka people often visit there, as Karnataka also grows
Internet says there are 878 Kannadigas in the Ho Chi Minh City.   Dr Deepak Mithal of  Indian Consulate  General of India Dr Deepak Mithal said ”Yes there are many Indians in the city. If I had know that you all come in advance I could have arranged a party with them”
Ho Chi Minh city was also under the French rule. French knowing people are also there in the city.  So in that right hand driving exist  which is contrarily to our British left hand driving.
Definition of Vegetarian and Non Vegetarian is unique there. Which we not kill and use is vegetarian. So egg is vegetarian, In a soup they used the wings of a cockroaches, As they did not kill, it is vegetarian for them
They use chopstick. I could see  painting shops where they found to busy in duplicating the original art worksof great painters. When I tried to click the photographs they objected it.
India and Vietnam
There is good diplomatic relationship between India and Vietnam, By  browsing computer itself you can get a visa by paying online 50 % of money here itself. Remaining money you have to pay there, Vietnamese people also can come directly to Bangalore and enter the city by paying Visa fees here,
There are Hindu temples, There are Indian restaurants. Masala dosas, Idly too available there, But there is no stand alone  vegetarian restaurant there, It was the research  report of  Mr Keshwani, one who come two days prior to us,

One of the driver said he love Indian curry very much. Haphazard electrical wires in street electrical poles  in the road reminded  me India
Conical cap is familiar there, It symbolizes Vietnam, But this  is not available in malls of Ho Chi Minh city. A tool use to carry  goods by common man reminds us the tool that used by our mythological  historical  Shravan Kumar that  he used to carry his  old parents
Two wheelers are more there, Scooty type  vehicle takes  majority  share in that, Vespa companies dominates here, Tata Indica cars are seen the streets, But one driver commented that  90% of vehicle are of Japan make.
Even English newspaper  are there , it is rarely available  Among TV channels Vietnamese channels  dominates
I could see a barber could able to use his  mobile apps Translator, He tried to translate English to Vietnamese , and Vietnamese to English  communicate  with me through that.
This the city how it looked me  which fought and lived with  20 years in wars and  which is  being  recovering

(Translation of  article written by Dr. Vasantha Hosabettu, published in Life 360, Kannada Fortnightly dated May 16th 2014)


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