Saigon heat

Rain and heat, the yin and yan of Saigon.

I saw sugar donuts on sale, so I thought of my niece who used to love those melted brown sugar donuts. I tried one. It chipped away my tooth, which happened to be the base  for neighbouring crown. So I had to plant back all three. Costly donuts in Dakao!

Last night, I saw hundreds of bikers circling the block. People said, No, this was just a dry run. The race will be on Saturday night.

Meanwhile, the McCain carrier is docking in China Beach these days.

I can’t help notice the irony of naming an USS carrier the McCain.

The presidential aspirant was once incarcerated in Hanoi Hilton, cell bound.

Now, the carrier bore his name is free to roam the seven seas, least of which South China Seas.

There is a certain attraction here in Vietnam.

High-end tourist resorts in old Hoi An (featured in Huffington Post). Hanoi celebrates its 1000th year. Hello Vietnam video (Bonjour Vietnam).

WEC, APEC, VN even took turn as one of the UN security council members etc… And recent visit by Madam Secretary all paint a picture of a newly integrated Vietnam. Internet users and mobile phone users grow fast, up there in the top ten. A conference on open source, software testing and automation, strategic venture funds etc…all paint a brighter picture on this new Vietnam wall, one which is not black on marble, but on white canvas. The future is what you make of it.

Math anybody? English then? Everybody wants to travel to Singapore.

Makes me curious as well. The distance from Saigon to Singapore is quite reachable and even affordable. But for Saigon to morph into the like of Singapore, everyone here agrees, takes decades, not years.

It is no surprise that former leader of Singapore is often invited over as consultant. How do you do it? tell us.

The secret sauce which made Vietnam what it is today varies. It depends on who you ask. Some say the country needs not forget the years of hardship before Renovation (85). Others might argue otherwise.

All I know, like the weather here, and the pace of tourism, it comes and goes.

Merchants and Middle-men stay on. Build your brand, invest here, sell that to survive the down turn.

I notice revenue pressures at every turn: from A/C offices to open-air beer stalls. People pour Heineken first, then ask for the main course order later.

Same way they ride their bikes on narrow streets, away from noise, dust, stress, heat and congestion on the street. And surely, the young bikers on Saturday night can’t wait to try out their newly paved race track as well.

It’s good to be young and restless. It’s better to harness that energy to good use. It’s not Saigon that needs to learn from Singapore, but it’s young Saigonese that need role models, not Rebels without a cause (Marlon Brando).

The consensus has yet been reached. Many young people want to go the Korean way. And none want to imitate their neighbor to the North.

Among Vietnam’s former nemeses, it’s the US  that got away clean and clear.

It got docking rights at China Beach these days, and I am sure the USS McCain naval officers are more than welcome to stay in any hotel of their choice. Unbound. And if they can afford the “platform” resort in Hoi An, all the more better. Huffington Post recommends it.


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