Glimpse of modern Vietnam

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 27 June, 2007, 12:00am

A group of City University (CityU) students visited Vietnam last month to gain a better understanding of the former French colony's emerging economy.

The 22 students, from the department of East and Southeast Asian studies, went to Hanoi, Ha Long Bay and Ho Chi Minh City during their 10-day trip.

In a sharing session held at CityU last week, the students talked about what they learned from the journey.

Many students said they were surprised by the development of the capital city, Hanoi.

'Although still ruled by a communist government, Vietnam has adopted a market economy, just like China a decade ago when it first embraced capitalist reforms after being influenced by the west,' said Year Two student Magdalene Chan Oi-ki.

'Foreign companies are scrambling to grab a slice of the fast-growing economy and are making a lot of investments in the country.

'Even Hong Kong companies have gained a foothold in Ho Chi Minh City, with the highest skyscraper there built by Hong Kong businessmen.'

The CityU delegation held discussions with university students from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, which helped them gain a better understanding of Vietnam's youth culture.

The Vietnamese students did not show much interest in political affairs, the CityU students said.

'During our discussions, they shunned political topics. When I told them more than 500,000 Hong Kong people took to the streets in 2000 in protest against the government, they were very surprised as no such thing had ever happened in their country,' said Ms Chan.

Compared to Hong Kong teenagers who have embraced western culture for decades, young Vietnamese are much more reserved when it comes to foreign influences, the CityU students said.

CityU plans to organise an annual 10-day cultural excursion for students majoring in Southeast Asian studies.