The Tiger!

by James Murtaugh, Feb 27, 2002 | Destinations: Vietnam / Ho Chi Minh City

During my time in Vietnam, 1967, I saw the tiger. He could do little but try to survive. Now the tiger is free and he is moving ahead very fast. The Tiger is the Vietnamese people. In 1967 I saw how hard working the people were and how smart. Everthing was made into something useful! Now in 2002 Vietnam is alive and moving ahead. People are working two and three jobs. No,not just for money but to make the lives of their children better than theirs were. In many ways Vietnam reminds me of America in 1950's. I remember the young people driving up and down Main Street, on hot summer nights. They want to be seen and to be with their boy friends or girl friends. In the cities of Vietnam you will see the young people on motorbikes doing the same thing every night. I have seen it all before. I have looked for the poor kids that I remember from 1967. The kids wearing rags or no clothes at all. The kids with sores all over and flies in their eyes. I can't find them. I have gone from South to North, East to West, far off the tourist path. I find only kids that look healthy, have clean clothes and show no signs of malnutrition. Poor,yes but not near as poor as the past. I remember the countryside of the Vietnam of 1967. I remember thinking that without war this fertile land could produce enough food to feed all of Asia. Time has proven me right. The Vietnamese are growing every kind of food under the sun. A walk thru a market is a hungry man's dream. I like to get up early in Vietnam just to watch the stream of people going to work. It could be any town in America except they ride to work on motorbikes, not cars. Where will it end. Will Vietnam be as rich as Japan or America. How could it ever end up. I wish I were young so that I could see Vietnam of the future! So much hope. Looking forward! Remembering the past but knowing that they can't go back and change it. Only the future can be changed. It all makes this old man so happy.

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