Scottish War Blinded Member Samples Vietnamese Culture

Posted: 17/04/2014 | Scottish War Blinded


Scottish War Blinded member Dr Raymond Donnelly visited Vietnam recently as part of a business trip working for Herriot Watt University. He has provided us with a report of his experience.

“Recently I had the opportunity to visit Vietnam on business. While there I took the chance to visit three cities Hanoi, Hue, the ancient capital, and Ho Chi Min City, also called Saigon. The people throughout the country are charming and couldn’t do enough for us. The three cities are very different but the people are the same wherever you go.

Hanoi is chaos on wheels. Swarms of motor cycles and mopeds roam the streets and never seem to stop even at night or for people trying to cross the road. Yet they never hit either a pedestrian or another moped. Once you get used to it is a little less terrifying and eventually becomes amusing. You cross the road by keeping a straight line and steady pace. They will avoid you, unlike our cyclists in this country.

Hue was a complete contrast. Very historic very quiet and most refreshing. It was a pleasure to be out of the smell of diesel which pervades Hanoi.

Saigon is very French. Broad streets and pavements and French cooking. I visited the tunnels used by the communists during the war and was amazed at the way they could live work and travel so far in tunnels less than four feet height. You have to be really committed to the cause to live and fight like that.

Vietnam is booming. Construction is taking place everywhere. Japanese, Chinese and other foreign firms are investing rapidly. Sadly there was little evidence of British firms investing. A great visit, lovely people, healthy food and a lesson in economic development, not bad in return for giving a few talks about Scotland.”

Dr Ray Donnelly.