REVOLUTIONARY leader Ho Chi Minh’s state capitalist regime is nowhere.
The socialist interregnum brought about by the fall of Saigon is gone as the city reverted back to a free market-based economy. The working class is no ruling class as the thread by thread unraveling of the communist fabric reveals a resurgence of Saigon in its former glory.
Russia’s ‘perestroika’ or political and economic restructuring reverberated in IndoChina and gave birth to Vietnam ’s ‘doi moi’ redeeming its old self as it once again embraces the excesses of capitalism.
“Little democracy,” according to an old tour guide called Mr. No, a Vietnamese who once worked for the Americans at the Cam Rahn Bay , now a Russian economic beehive. Mr. No took us for a whole day trip to the Mekong Delta where we sampled coconut candies, honeybee and local produce.
The wide swath of farm land on the way to the Mekong Delta made evident that Vietnam is now the second biggest exporter of rice after Thailand. So sad that most of the farmers learned rice farming technology from Filipinos but the Philippine government now have to import rice from both Vietnam and Thailand.
After only one generation past, the Socialist Republic of Vietnam had restructured its economy taking calculated steps to integrate into the world economy. In 1986, Vietnam embarked on ‘doi moi’ opening up to investors and allowing the development of its tourism.
After the communist victory in 1975, the government in Hanoi took all the land from landlords and peasants but in the 80s they gave back the land to the peasants, according to Mr. No. “Now anyone can buy land and make profits out of it.”
Vietnam has already normalized its bilateral relation with the United States , its former nemesis. In fact, the US military and the Vietnamese Navy had already conducted military exercises in Da Nang to underscore “freedom of navigation” in the South China Sea .
More than 40 years after the war, we could not even see a trace of the great divide that decimated the lives of over 3 million people. The liberal market economy of Vietnam is catching up with the rest of the world.
As Vietnam embraces capitalism, we can still see the great divide between the rich and the poor. The affluent Vietnamese residents drive the Lexus, Camry, Benzes and so forth while the working class numbering in millions drive the ubiquitous motorcycles.
In modern day Vietnam , Uncle Sam defeated Uncle Ho – as the former Saigon reverts to capitalism. The Vietnam War or American War is long forgotten with the liberal Left Hanoi government taking on the ideals of a free market-based economy opposed to the teachings of great communist leaders.
In front of the Saigon Opera House near the famous Hotel Intercontinental Saigon, an oversized photo of Uncle Ho seemed to look at an upscale Louis Vuitton store in apparent submission. Elsewhere in Vietnam, Uncle Ho’s image was commercialized in souvenir shirts like the famous image of Comandante Che Guevarra.
Free enterprise eschewed the socialist dogma – Saigon is back.