Saturday, 8 September 2012

Ho Chi Minh City Part 4: Discover the Rest

I was told not to miss either one of these two while in Ho Chi Minh City: Cu Chi Tunnel and Delta Mekong. I did visit Cu Chi. Later, I noticed that there are more things Ho Chi Minh can offer to us. 

War Remnants Museum

While American soldiers returning from World War II were celebrated as heroes with glory and pride, American soldiers returning from Vietnam were labelled as "baby killers". Why? 

On our way back to the city centre, I requested for the bus driver to kindly drop me by the War Remnants Museum where atrocities, mass killings of the innocent people and torture were comprehensively documented as visual display. 

Photos of the victims, shortly before all of them were shot to death. I do not own these photos. 

Early one morning, the local inhabitants of My Lai (regarded as Viet Cong stronghold) were having breakfast with family while some of them were preparing to go to their paddy fields. The US army's Charlie Company descended down from helicopters onto the land on the mission of "search and destroy", targeting the Viet Cong. 

Within four hours, 504 innocent souls, majorly consisting of unarmed and defenseless women, children, babies and old people were brutally slaughtered to death. 

Participating soldiers were warned to keep their mouth shut but some finally decided to reveal the truth. Publication in the media, portraying atrocities in My Lai caused public outrage, questioning the military morale. 
I do not own the picture of the girl on the left. It is a photo displayed at the museum. 

This is where we should learn that in every war, there is always a price to pay – by the innocent people who wish to have nothing but a peaceful life that was denied from them.

Abandoned tanks, helicopters, jets and unexploded bombs were on display outside of the museum. I am not sure whether they are the real ones or not. There were also photos of innocent children, physically affected by chemical weapons used in the war.

While photos displayed here may appear to be one-sided, the whole inconvenient truth is that war had successfully claimed casualties from both sides. What had happened should not be the reflection of the whole American people. 

Notre Dame Cathedral

The largest and the main church in Ho Chi Minh City. The materials used to construct the building were all shipped from France. For photographers, the best time to drop by is early in the morning. As the sun was crawling up, the colors of the building went into light. I went out from hostel early in the morning, took a cab (which cost RM 8) to this spot. 

The peaceful statue of Regina Pacis (Queen of Peace) were once said to shed tears that caused massive traffic all around the building. 

It is one of those building in Ho Chi Minh city that retained its unique and historical architectural design. Hence, it is reasonable to expect there would be five to six couple dropping by for their wedding photo shoot. (Out of five couples, I really like one of them who decided to wear Vietnamese traditional outfit i.e. Ao Dai). 

Saigon Central Post Office

Just nearby the Notre Dame Cathedral, Saigon Central Post Office is located. Operating hours are 8:00 am to 8:00 pm. This is another great architectural piece of Mr. Gustave Eiffel, the same person who built Eiffel Tower in Paris and Statute of Liberty. 

Community Park Nearby Pham Ngu Lao Street
One of the reason why I found taking a walk to Ben Thanh Market along Pham Ngu Lao Street District 1 is the community park nearby. Everyday I walked passed the street, under the shady trees, watching hundreds of motorbikes passed by. 

Here, you may able to witness kids playing around in the play ground, while their mothers sat down on the bench gossiping the hottest story. I can still see some teenagers playing traditional games. The scenery became so lively with live band playing traditional Vietnamese song using traditional musical instruments. 

No one is stranger here. They would smile at you. Kids would wave at you. Malaysia was like these 20 years ago. Sad. 

Highlands Coffee

Is a must. Chocolate Mint. Dem. There are everywhere. Drop by a least once. Sit down. Relax. 

These are the places I've visited recently. (I did not manage to drop by at Reunification Palace). Hope one day I will be here again. 

Till then, 
Hairi Tahir

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