Vietnam, also known as Việt Nam and officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is the rising red star of the east. It is located on the easternmost half of the Indochina peninsula in South East Asia and is the 13th most populous country on Earth.
Vietnam is a country rich in history, culture and beauty. Where it lacks in wealth and human development, it gains in natural beauty and the well- being of it’s people. Vietnam is full of hidden surprises, albeit shrouded in a politically dark and broken past. Individuals with high levels of perception will find Vietnam a beautiful country well deserving of respect, love and acceptance.
Everyone, say xin chào to Vietnam !
( Socialist Republic of Vietnam )
Capital : Hà Nội ( Hanoi )
Official Language : Tiếng Việt ( Vietnamese )
Area : 331, 698 square kilometres
Population : 90, 549, 390 ( 2011 census )
Status : Developing country
Points of Interest : 2 ; Emerging Star, Vietnam is Beautiful
Vietnam is an emerging star. Unfortunately, most people do not realize this. They perceive Vietnam as a poor, war ravaged nation among other things. However, this is not really true. The reality is that Vietnam is gearing up for a major comeback. Today’s Vietnam has come a long way from where it was a few decades ago. Based on the staggering rate at which Vietnam is developing now, it is clearly headed for a far brighter future.
In the aftermath of the Vietnam War, Vietnam was left out and abandoned by the rest of the world. The Vietnamese government were quick to respond to the crisis and swiftly instituted reforms to begin the path to recovery. Like China and India, Vietnam eventually introduced new economic reforms with free market economy elements in hopes of developing the country’s severely crippled economy. This proved to be a ground- breaking move on the Vietnamese government’s part, successfully bringing about the dawn of a new era in Vietnamese history.
Following the reforms, Vietnam witnessed massive improvements in life standards and human development. Foreign investment in Vietnam grew threefold in the 1990s. As a result, Vietnam’s economy [ GDP (nominal) ] grew at an average annual rate of 8% from 1990 – 1997, making it one of the world’s fastest growing economies. It continues to grow at a rapid pace today, averaging around 6% over the last 3 years. It is estimated that the economy of Vietnam would become the 23rd biggest in the world by 2050, where it had ranked 58th biggest in 2010. This massive leap forward could potentially brand Vietnam as a superpower in as little as half a century.
Ho Chi Minh City, formerly Saigon is the economic centre of Vietnam. Today, you can see many tall buildings and skyscrapers in Ho Chi Minh City, such as the Bitexco Financial Tower. In Hanoi, the Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower, which is still under construction as of writing is set to become the tallest building in Vietnam by the end of 2011. Furthermore, it would also become the second the tallest building in South East Asia after the Petronas Twin Towers of Malaysia. The Bitexco and Keangnam Hanoi towers are the symbol of Vietnam’s prosperity in the last 2 decades. Vietnam has sent a strong message to the world with these two buildings and has proven it’s worth as an advanced and capable country.
I find Vietnam a country full of energy and potential. It has come a long way since the war and is likely to go much, much further as time passes. However, we cannot take everything for granted and economic miracles such as the one Vietnam and other similar countries such as China and India are experiencing today will not last forever. All these countries share one thing in common; a strong labour force or in other words, a largely poor population with massive potential energy. Countries such as the United States and Japan invest heavily in Vietnam because of these factors. Hence, we cannot forever depend on foreign investment alone to create a developed nation. Vietnam must be prepared to stand on it’s own feet and take independent steps if it were to maintain this level of prosperity in the coming decades. It is up to the people of Vietnam to take their country to greater heights in the future.
Vietnam is Beautiful
At first glance, Vietnam may look like your average Asian country but dig deeper and you will find Vietnam is full of hidden secrets and beauty. From the breathtaking views of Hạ Long Bay, to the awe- inspiring architecture of Huế City and last but not least, the alluring dresses and costumes, Vietnam has beauty written all over it. Vietnam is truly South East Asia in almost every aspect.
Hạ Long Bay ( pictured above ) is the epitome of Vietnamese natural beauty. It is located in Quảng Ninh Province, in North Eastern Vietnam. The unique limestone karsts and islets of Hạ Long Bay give the bay a sense of tranquillity and beauty found nowhere else in the world. There are literally thousands of them here. The limestone karsts in the bay are the result of millions of years of natural erosion. I first got to know Hạ Long Bay when I watched a special episode of the famous English television motoring series, Top Gear. I was totally blown away by the sheer awesomeness of Hạ Long Bay at first glance. Since then, Hạ Long Bay has established a special place in my heart as one of Asia- Pacific’s most beautiful and unique natural wonders.
The beauty of Vietnam is not only limited to it’s natural wonders, but is also present in the form of tradition and culture as well. Over the centuries, indigenous Vietnamese religion has been mixed with Mahāyāna Buddhism from India, creating the Vietnamese culture we know today. Vietnam is home to a highly spiritual population, largely unaffected by globalisation. As a result, traditional Vietnamese culture and heritage has been well preserved over the centuries.
In relation to the above statements, Vietnam also has some of the most beautiful and awe- inspiring historical buildings in the world. Huế City is the cultural and historical centre of Vietnam. Huế is located in central Vietnam and is home to about 340,000 people. In the past, Huế was the capital city of the Nguyễn Lords, rulers of Southern Vietnam during the 16th – 18th centuries. As a result, Huế was to witness the construction of many magnificent monuments and buildings in honour of the Nguyễn Lords, Buddhism and Vietnamese culture in general. The most well- known of these monuments is the Citadel/ Imperial City, once the seat of the Nguyễn Lords. Only the Lords, concubines and those high- ranking enough were granted access as it was forbidden to commoners. Similar to Hạ Long Bay, The Citadel/ Imperial City is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
The áo dài ( pictured above ) is my most favourite Vietnamese traditional costume. áo dài translates into ‘ long padded coat ‘ and is pronounced as ow-zye in Vietnamese. It is worn mostly by Vietnamese women and believe it or not, also worn by men as well, although very rarely. In the past, the costume was originally associated with the Nguyễn Lords. Today, the áo dài is worn by most Vietnamese women at weddings and other formal events and plain white áo dài is also a common school uniform throughout Vietnam. The áo dài is beautiful, dont you think so ?
I find Vietnam a beautiful country rich in culture, history and beauty. However, I was only introduced to the beauty of Vietnam a year or so ago. Prior to that introduction, Vietnam was not one of those countries which I had held in high regard. However, after learning and experiencing the beauty of Vietnam, I can now perceive Vietnam in a far more positive manner. Having said that, I still have much left to learn about Vietnam and I strongly believe that there is simply far more to Vietnam than meets the eye.
We have reached our conclusion. Vietnam is a country loaded to the brim with surprises of all kinds. Be it the wonderful natural sights, the traditional culture or the one- of- a- kind dresses, Vietnam never fails to impress us. The simple minded individual would find Vietnam a paradise which will fulfil most of his/ her desires. To those of you who continue to hold Vietnam is low regards, my advice to you would be to give Vietnam a chance or two and embrace peace and tolerance. You will find Vietnam a beautiful country well deserving of respect, love and acceptance. Thank you for reading this factual article and have a wonderful day. – Aero
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Message to the fans…
This may be my final article for 2011. I apologize if I am not able to publish any articles in the future. My O Levels national exam is drawing closer by the day and I have to focus on my studies now if I am to score exceptional results. However, I will try my best to update a4rzero whenever possible. Thank you for understanding and I hope you enjoyed the article ! :]