Saturday, September 03, 2005

Independence day

On the 2nd September 60 years ago a new history page was written about a New Vietnam with an independent government. Looking back to those days, it is evident that we had to fight to get our rights back. I can't believe we did it so well and I am really proud of that. Hooray!

Vietnam has changed so fast in the last 60 years. Of course the changes are bringing us good and bad things, but the good things have brought happiness, confidence, independence and a better life, things our government are still trying to improve. Our longings and dreams are coming true.

On the street these days, you can see the happier faces of everyone. There are so many historical posters and exhibitions that you should come and take a good look at, to see how resilient, brave and intelligent we were, how we triumphed over our enemies in the war and so on.

So many people from different parts of VietNam come to Hanoi on Independence Day to celebrate, all dressed up, driving around the city, laughing. Just looking at them makes me happy for no reason, I wish I can be like one of them now. The simple things in their life make them happy. On such days, they forget about hardship and that's a good thing!

Thanks to JC for his great pictures


Anonymous said...

day la mot viet kieu...

i am the son of two parents who fled vn after the war. they told me of the kind of treatment the "great" communist government did. they said it was absolutely horrible. when they had enough money to eat and a little more for more freedom, they said the communists took their money so that it could be "re-allocated." except it was never re-allocated! the communists killed thousands of innocent people and buried them in piles, all without remorse.

all of you corrupt communists keep the money to yourselves. you bathe in your hundreds of millions of vietnamese dong, while there is a poor man in front of your house begging for water so that he can drink and wash his face. trust me, i know your kind, my dad's cousins are top officials in your government, and they think the exact same way as you do. they buy everything they can, they go to the most expensive restaurants, they keep all the money they steal and do not think for one second about the girl who has to sell lottery tickets in order to help feed her own family. do you have any sympathy for these people? why do you continue to extort your own countrymen? have you ever done anything to help a poor beggar? or do you just believe that it is their fault that they are poor?

look at you, you're so good, you can eat at any restaurant, you can have three drivers for yourself, you can have eight people to clean your house, wash your clothes, and fold and iron them. but let me tell you, at least those people know what it is like to work hard for their money. you-- you just eat off your country, and you laugh and spit in the faces of the poor while you eat yourself full.

wake up! realize that what you're doing is wrong. but if you don't... then the improvements that you hope to see in vietnam will never happen, because all of you fat rich people will continue to be content and forget about the bourgeoise.

do you really believe that when you arrest homeless people and drop them off in the middle of the country with no way of feeding themselves it will help the city for the better? should you just destroy all the people who can't make it to your desired levels? i guess so, since it will be the only way that communist vietnam will ever reach the heights of hong kong, singapore, or america.

please respond and tell me what you think about this.

Preya said...

I wonder why people feel the need to post massive comments...speaking of freedom, why don't go get your own blog and let people express their opinions!

Anyway, Vietnamese God...just wanted to say thanks for the cool pics and "Nhu co Bac Ho trong ngay vui dai
thang..." I miss Vietnam:(

Van Cong Tu said...

Hi ,
First of all, you don’t really know me and your comment seems to be a personal attack on me. You don’t know anything about my real life apart from what you read in my blog and it seems like you are out of touch with what's happening in modern Viet Nam. What you write about in your comment is very sensitive and we obviously have a difference of opinion. However, I'd like to point out that I am not corrupt, I live a very honest life, I contribute to charity and support people trying to make an honest living by buying newspapers, having my shoes shined etc. You comment is very misguided, I dont know where you got your information from. I ride a motorbike like the average Vietnamese person and i live the same kind of life as other Vietnamese people. Perhaps you should visit Vietnam to get a clear idea of how far we've come.
I think if you'd like to respond or leave another comment on my blog, please leave your name.
Anyway, thanks for leaving a comment and take good care of yourself.

Van Cong Tu said...

Hi Preya,
Thanks for your support and I'd love to meet you someday.

JC said...

Well to answer Anonymous (brave that mate, well done)

Answering the brave person's points...

Quote: all of you corrupt communists keep the money to yourselves. you bathe in your hundreds of millions of vietnamese dong, while there is a poor man in front of your house begging for water so that he can drink and wash his face...

Yeah, and which country do you live
in Mr Anon, oh we don't know but just for the sake of the discussion let's say you live in, er...America...just off the top of my in America for example, no rich businessmen roll around in billions of US dollars whilst the poor of America are reduced to nothing...*Cough* New Orleans ring any bells?

Quote: trust me, i know your kind, my dad's cousins are top officials in your government, and they think the exact same way as you do.

Well done mate, that mind reading trick you have done on Vietnamesegod's mind is quite a talent...can you guess what I think of you at the moment?

Quote: they buy everything they can, they go to the most expensive restaurants, they keep all the money they steal and do not think for one second about the girl who has to sell lottery tickets in order to help feed her own family. do you have any sympathy for these people? why do you continue to extort your own countrymen? have you ever done anything to help a poor beggar? or do you just believe that it is their fault that they are poor?

HaHa! Laughable if this arguement wasn't so pathetic...let's just use the point above, so for example in America (just off the top of my head you understand...)a shining paragon about all that is good about beggars, no for not doing anything about the poor, perhaps you will be pleased to know that Vietnam has already completed the Millennium Development Goals set by the UN a full decade in advance of the deadline...but that wouldn't suit your pathetic points would it? Ever heard of Programme 135 - a Vietnamese government programme specifically targeted at addressing Vietnamese and ethnic minority poor in romote rural and mountainous didn't think so...

Quote: wake up! realize that what you're doing is wrong. but if you don't... then the improvements that you hope to see in vietnam will never happen

Yes...of course it's all terrible here, that's why Vietnam has gone from a net importer of rice to the second largest exporter of rice in the world within ten years...and why the average height of the Vietnamese people has increased by 10 centimetres in the last decade...

Why don't you step from behind your pre-conceptions Anonymous and learn a bit more about your country...belated National Day greetings.


JC said...

Don't let the bastards grind you down Tu, the story on National Day was great!

All the best

Van Cong Tu said...

Hi JC and all readers,
Thanks for your support both through this blog and via email. Firstly, I hope everyone likes my blog and secondly, I write this to make people understand more about Vietnam and everything I write is what is really happening in real life in Vietnam, no bullshit, no exaggeration.
Once again, Thanks JC for the encouragement and for allowing me to use your great pictures.

Anonymous said...

This is to remind Anonymous of this little historical detail: when the members of his government fled Vietnam (I'm thinking of Thieu of example) after their defeat, they took with them tons of gold bullions and the best antique pieces they could loot and carry from the national museums. So Anonymous might want to think a little bit before talking about corruption.

Anonymous too (Two can play that game)

Anonymous said...

Ok, this is a very emotionally charged issue for both Vietnameses residing in VN and oversea. Firstly, Vietnam has come a long way and I am happy that it is making progress. There are still a lot of work to do ahead of it as far as being a fair, balanced, and democratic society. Vietnam is correcting its past failed policy and mistakes. However, Vietnam is still years away from democratic. Let just pick a small example. How many of those people who are dressing up and doing parade in the pictures posted are volunteering to do that? I'm sure there are some who want to join the parade but many would like a day off to do whatever they want. I am sure they are told by their boss or district policemen that they HAVE TO participate in those parades. Vietnam will be truly free and democratic when it can reduce the corruption level as well as allowing people more freedom.

JC said...

Addressing Hoang's points...

Almost every country organises a public event to mark their national day, and often they are predominately(if not 100%)military in character - check out the French Bastille Day celebrations- not a civillian in sight!

Those French soldiers are members of the armed forces and obviously will have been told that they are taking part...

However, for National Day in Vietnam the civillian organisations that were on the parade took part because they were invited to...I know this because my workplace took part in the parade 5 years ago, and chose not to this time...perhaps you can put that down to freedom of choice...

Now I think about it, if I was a Vietnamese soldier I'd rather be on a parade in Hanoi, than stuck in some borderpost on the Chinese border!

It's the kind of double standards which always seem to be used in these points that get me, in France on Bastille Day the army 'take part' in the parade (like they had a choice), while in Vietnam the army and people 'HAVE TO', all preconceptions to a large extent I'm afraid...

The points expressed by Hoang also miss one major factor, which is people in Vietnam are extremely proud of their country and do celebrate the fact that it is independent - surely not that hard a concept to get your head round?


Anonymous said...

Response to JC's post.


I have never said anything about military people. Of course, being in the military means that you have to do your duty and it can be 24 hours a day. I am not ignorant about members of the military that have to participate in any parade. It is their job to say "Yes, sir" to the commander and carry out the task. No where did I debate about their participation. It is great to hear that you have a choice as a CIVILIAN (which was the point of my debate) whether or not to participate. Of course, I am Vietnamese by birth, don't you think that finally after years of war and sorrow, I am and as well countless other Vietnameses are glad that the country can enjoy peace and prosperity. I'm proud of Vietnam and its people but I do not have to agree with its system of government.

Anonymous said...

i totally agree with hoang, i love vietnam, i love ho chi minh city (my parents still call it saigon but i've accepted the name since all of the people i met in hcmc call it by hcmc), i love how things are noticably improving every year. its just plain awesome. maybe one day it'll become something like singapore...

but let's get this clear. when jc sides with his commie friend and the communist government without even looking at the kind of corruption that obviously exists today, i wonder if he's a corrupt thief. there's a reason why the government can't open more jobs for its people, there's a reason why kids are selling lottery tickets on the streets everyday instead of going to school. a large part of that reason is that the government doesn't care about its people, it doesn't reach the helping hand that it should and would be able to, but only if it wasn't so selfish and greedy.

it doesn't matter which way you look at this, when you see corruption and greed, you have to call it by what it is. just have an american passport and a vietnamese face trying to get through customs. did you declare everything? oops, we're sorry we have to open your luggage to make sure you're not smuggling in anything. oh, i can't examine your items here. i have to take you to a separate room. oh, what's this item for? are you trying to lie to us? ---i remember my mother gets put into a room for "questioning" and she comes out after 10 minutes to tell me that they let her go once she just gave them 10 usd.

my cousins have positions in the government (i don't want to specify which, don't want to risk the trouble) and have wealth beyond most people's wildest dreams. how did they get it? through greed, bribery, and smuggling. what if another colleague in the govt finds out? oh, just pay them off.

damn. my other cousins (honest people) told me about how they knew a poor couple who lived on the streets. they tried to help them whenever they could and would give them the clothes that we would send over from here. one day, they were awoken by the sound of police who took them away (these people lived near their house in the alley). several weeks later, they came back to tell what happened. they had been kidnapped by communist police, driven away from the city and dropped on the road in the middle of nowhere. i have no idea how these people made it back to the city.

vietnam would launch itself into success only if it were to become more democratic, its corrupt communist government was changed, and people were given the aid that any other first world government would have provided to its people. argue in your smart-ass tone if you must, but you have no idea my friend.

Van Cong Tu said...

Hi Anonymous - Viet Kieu
I don't care where the hell you come from, America or elsewhere in the world. You only think about corruption in Vietnam and try to make a big deal in my blog and talk to my friends in this kind of bullshit way.
I know exactly what life is like in USA and in other foreign countries, I have lots of friends living in California,Portland and Australia. They all work their asses off for shit pay and have no time to do anything else. Life in USA is not as democratic as you make out. Whenever people from USA come back to Vietnam, they always talk about how beautiful life is and how high the standard of living is there, just because they don’t want to lose face. I can’t stand this kind of Viet Kieu attitude. And I look down on the reactionary people who followed the enemy-Americans against their own country in the war; I can't stand and live with these people when they try to be a smart ass and talk bad about my country?
About your relative, I can't believe they can say things like that, I never heard any stories like that? Full of shit.
I would love to let everyone leave comments in my blog but they must be based in reality. There is corruption elsewhere in the world. Why don't you take a good look at the Great wealth divide in your NEW COUNTRY. Wake up mate!
I would appreciate that if you don't leave any more comments in my blog. Thanks

JC said...

Hooray! I've never been called a corrupt thief before, nice one! The quality of anon's argument just gets better and better!

Now back to the facts and away from the preconceptions...

Yesterday the United Nations Development Programme just launched a document on Aid, trade and security in an unequal world. In it, it said the following about Vietnam:

'The 2005 HDR (Human Development Report) applauds Vietnam for ALREADY halving 1990 poverty rates, for reducing child and neo-natal mortality rates and for reinforcing the link between economic growth and poverty reduction'.

it goes on...

'Anybody questioning whether income distribution matters might reflect on the fact that the poorest 10 percent of Brazilians are poorer than their counterparts in Vietnam, a country with a far lower average income'.

As for Vietnam's ability to trade and develop, the report adds: 'The 2005 HDR presents the challenges for countries like Vietnam in world trade and dealing with the 'perverse taxation' of the world's poorest countries. The US import duty for countries like Vietnam and Bangladesh is roughly 10 times higher than for most countries in the European Union'.

'Vietnam has now overtaken China in improvement in child mortality...'

'The Report cites several human development success stories, such as Vietnam, which has cut income poverty by half, from 60 percent in 1990 to 32 percent in 2000 and has reduced child mortality rates from 58 per 1,000 live births to 42 over the same period.'

'Guatemala has almost double the average income of Vietnam, but is lower on the HDI (Human Development Index).'

'Average income is three times higher in high-inequality and middle-income Brazil than in LOW-INEQUALITY and low-income Vietnam. Yet the incomes of the poorest 10 percent in Brazil are lower than those of the poorest 10 percent in Vietnam'

'A commitment to equity. Vietnam collects about 16 percent of GDP in revenue - a high share for a low-income country. As a result, the government was able to DISTRIBUTE THE BENEFITS OF TRADE MORE WIDELY THROUGH SPENDING ON SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC INFRASTRUCTURE'.

How's that anon? Or are the UN Development Programme corrupt commie thieves too?

JC said...

In response to Hoang...

Sorry Hoang if the tone came across as too harsh - it's difficult to make points on the internet without hearing the 'tone'.

It was more frustration than anything else at some of the kind of misconceptions people have about Vietnam and I wrote it in the context of Mr anon's post...which was a rather harsh comment responding to the celebration of the day when Vietnam won independence from the French, which I would have thought all Vietnamese, regardless of their views of the government would hold dear.

Then again, what do I know? I'm just a smart-ass :-)

Anonymous said...


I recognize the problems that you mentioned. But let be fair and don't attack people that you haven't met. For one thing, corruption is everywhere. However, in Asia it is more like a disease. In Africa, it is even worse. You should have known that corruption was a big thing in the former South Vietnamese government as well. It is a big deal in China, Taiwan, Korea, and even Japan. The Europeans have refined corruption to a high level state of the art. It is called donation during election time and lobbying (which is a lot better than petty corruption). Be patient, Vietnam will get better and in the future, corruption will only be something like donation during election time for many democratic candidates. It is a funny topic because like prostitution you can never get rid of corruption. As for Godknows' topic about working too hard in western countries, I think it is a trade off. I notice that many Americans (myself included) will work very hard on Monday to Friday. However, we have 2 days weekend which is great. Vietnameses work harder and only have one day weekend off. It is true that high standard of living requires too many expense to cover things like insurance for car, health, house, and so on. Vietnameses have more relaxing attitude while Americans worry about more things instead of relaxing. Of course, if you are a multi-millionaire, you have nothing to worry about.

Van Cong Tu said...

Well, we only work till saturday afternoon which means we have one and a half days for our weekend. In Vietnam we are always relaxing even though we are in hard times and maybe that's one of our problems

vngriffi1 said...

I am the daughter of VN parents who fled VN in 1975. I can honestly say that I feel bless to live in America, however I also feel bless about having a VN background and the two can co-exist beautifully. Yes, life in the USA can be really hectic at times, but my family work hard and we play even harder.

As a viet kieu I am full of hope for VN and her people for the future. I feel the spirit of the VN when I read the blogs about the Pavement Pounders. Their tenacity and resilience are astounding.

Both my parents have returned to the country countless times and are seeing more progress being made w/each visit. According to their experiences there, true, corruption does exist but the extent is much less than it use to be. I think this kind of thing takes time to remedy and unfortunately as humans we can never wipe it out completely. It happens in the best of countries, America included. I believe that as a country prosper and a solid middle class is developed, the extent of corruption will lessen.

Anonymous said...

Hi all,

This is the first time I posted in this website so forgive me for my mistakes. My friend God.. Don't pay attention to what some mean people may say to you... You are right... Vietnam is much better than USA and other non-communist countries. The regimes in South-Korea (who has permanent US bases that take land from the people), KongKong (colonalized by the UK up to recently), Singapore (english is the national language), Thailand (again permanent US bases that take up lands from the people), Taiwan (protected by permanent US war ships), all these regimes are INFERIOR than Vietnam because they are not Communists and they didn't fight the "enemy-Americans" as you rightly pointed out....... Our Vietnamese-Communists FOR SURE take care of its citizen better than any of those countries, the quality of live of the rural south vietnameses are 1000000 TIMES BETTER than in SINGAPORE..... and these countries's poorest people are so poorer than those in vietnam ... and those mentionned countries are poorer than Vietnam because they never beat the "enemy-Americans" (thank you God for allowing me to repeat your words)...... Vietnam should be the model for all of those countries. If North-Korea had LIBERATED South-Korea, Korea would be 100000 RICHER NOW..... I really hope North-Korea would LIBERATE South-Korea right now, for the sake of the south Korean people. These south-Korean are capitalist and have nothing to eat, compare to the excellent communist north-Korea. Vietnam system is way BETTER THAN ANY SYSTEM IN THE WORLD NOW, better than USA and Singapore and South-Korea and Taiwan and HongKong.... Only North-Korea is PERHAPS just as EXCELLENT as Vietnam.

Continue your excellent work God.
Thank you so much for the nice pics. Hope to hear from you more.

_vn_ (PS: sorry I have no blogger account).

Anonymous said...

...And, that explains the throngs of U.S. illegal immigrants sneaking into the worker's paradise every year for a better life. :P

BIM said...

to anonymous, man. I am a viet kieu too, i know vn is corrupted but its everywhere in the world mate, just dun make a big deal about it, u talk about communist? let me tell u sumthing, HCM went to the western world asking for help for his country but they turned him down, then the Russian help him thats why VN is a communist contry dude. My faminly is similar 2 urs, but i cant stand ppl like ur family that keep bitching about the past and become so extremely stubborn,u know all those "freedom" flag, the parade,"ngay quoc han". WTF man. i think its disgusting and shameful.and talkin bout ur cousin, unless they related to Vo NGuyen Giap then i dun think u know more then me. sO Hav a more open mind anoymous said...

I suppose every person must read it.

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