The Water Buffalo!

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

Like the Vietnamese hat worn in the countryside the Water Buffalo is a symbol of Vietnam. He plows the rice paddy, he fertilizes the soil and harvests the crops. I remember the buffalo boy riding his back with just a bamboo stick to make him do what the boy wants. A picture of Vietnam! The picture is fading. There is a new water buffalo. He is a machine! You feed him gas and oil. The farmer rides on the rear of the machine. He does not get tired. He can farm much more land. Less farmers are needed. Where will they go? To the cities! I know, it happened here in America. The water buffalo is only a sign of the changes I have seen. The Vietnamese see it too. They don't like the change but love the results. They are loosing part of their culture and are sad. I tell them that moving ahead has a price. We in my country have paid that price. Some of the hatred of America in the world is because people blame the loss of culture on us. They want to go back not forward. They don't understand that one can't go back. The only way is forward. And in a way it is good. We may look different, but at our core we are just humans with the same problems and hopes. The world gets just a little smaller each day and it is past time to look at each other as just another human and end the hate, find the love. I thank the Vietnamese for showing me the way.

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