The Phuket News Premier League predictions The Phuket News Kata Rocks The Phuket News Outrigger Koh Samui Beach Resort
The Phuket News World News
The Phuket News Phuket | Thailand | World | Business | Q&A | Weird World XML, RSS, Feed
The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News

Out with the old in Vietnam

VIETNAM: They formed the charming backdrop to Graham Greene’s sin-filled Saigon in “The Quiet American”, but the colonial-era buildings of Vietnam’s biggest city are fast disappearing – sparking fears it is losing its unique charm.

construction, culture, tourism,


AFP

Sunday 28 May 2017, 10:00AM


They formed the charming backdrop to Graham Greene’s sin-filled city in “The Quiet American” but Saigon’s colonial buildings are fast disappearing, sparking fears the metropolis, now known as Ho Chi Minh, is losing its unique charm. Photo: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP
They formed the charming backdrop to Graham Greene’s sin-filled city in “The Quiet American” but Saigon’s colonial buildings are fast disappearing, sparking fears the metropolis, now known as Ho Chi Minh, is losing its unique charm. Photo: Hoang Dinh Nam/AFP

Any visitor to Ho Chi Ming City, as Saigon is now known, cannot help but notice the construction cranes dotting an increasingly crowded skyline.

They are the most visible symbols of one of Asia’s fastest growing economies.

But like many locals, office worker Tran Trong Vu is dismayed the city’s gleaming new look is so often at the expense of its colonial-era architecture.

“They have cultural value, so we should preserve them, not replace them with high-rise buildings,” he said in the bustling commercial hub.

Others are concerned the demolition of its famed French architectural gems will render Ho Chi Minh City indistinguishable from other Asian megalopolis.

“In the 1960s and 1970s it was very much French, but now it’s very Americanised, McDonald’s on every corner,” said Hiep Nguyen, born in Ho City Minh City and author of several books on its architectural history.

“A streetscape without a story has no value,” he added.

Much of the demolition is happening in the city’s rapidly-developing downtown core, to keep apace with a mushrooming young population hungry for modernity and to feed the demand for more housing and office space.

But those aren’t the only needs being fed, says Nguyen.

“The key is money, the key is interest groups,” he said from Sydney, where he now lives.

Developers with deep pockets have scooped up swathes of land in the city centre, with privately-owned old villas or historic municipal buildings replaced by sprawling construction zones.

The most recent demolition to spark ire from conservationists is the Ba Son ship yard, an enormous French-built military complex on the banks of the Saigon River.

It is now being developed into a series of highrise towers by Vincom Group, owned by the country’s richest man, Pham Nhat Vuong, dubbed the ‘Donald Trump of Vietnam’.

City officials have inventoried more than 1,000 buildings constructed by the French when they ruled the country from 1887 to 1954 remain today, including the famed Opera House, Post Office and Notre Dame Cathedral, all must-sees on city tours today.

A few of the old haunts on Rue Catinat frequented by Greene remain, but the street is now called Dong Khoi and also features Hermes and Chanel boutiques for the city’s growing number of high-rollers.

There is no comprehensive survey of how many buildings have been demolished.

But in one central district, some 50% of French villas have gone down since 1993, according to Fanny Quertamp, the co-director of the urban development organisation PADDI.

The breakneck pace of destruction has prompted some to leap into action.

Former video game developer and conservation buff Daniel Caune is creating a mobile app called “Heritage Go” for city residents and tourists.

The app, which is still in development, will ask users to hold their phones up to colonial-era buildings, and aims to automatically generating images of the edifice in eras past.

“It’s to make people conscious of their heritage,” said Caune, who helps to run the Heritage Observatory website dedicated to archiving colonial-era buildings in Vietnam.

City officials are now writing a nine-point plan to classify buildings and mark some for protection, but admit such a huge task could take years to be implemented.

“Pressure for economic development is very high,” said Tuan Anh Nguyen, deputy head of the architecture research centre in Ho Chi Minh City’s planning department.

He said many developers who scoop up precious downtown land do not value historic buildings, adding that he would like to see the structures incorporated into development plans, as has happened in Old Montreal, for example.

The destruction in Ho Chi Minh City comes even as developers have built a replica French medieval village in the tourist hub of Danang, drawing foreign and local tourists keen for a slice of history.

The city risks losing the millions of tourists that stop into the city every year to soak in its colonial charm, said architect Ngo Viet Nam Sơn.

He said, “It’s like losing the chicken that gives the golden egg.”

 

 

The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Comment on this story
* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.
Comments Here:
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:
    Forget your password?

Be the first to comment.

The Phuket News
The Phuket News The Phuket News The Phuket News
The Phuket News
Share this
The Phuket News
Have a news tip-off? Click here
The Phuket News
Related stories
The Phuket News
Phuket community

Recent Comments


Phuket’s Eva Beach appeal earns demolition reprieve, says Rawai Mayor

Could you help me and tell me what his face expression says about this person{the mayor}?!Is he a good or an evil person? Would a smiling face make h...(Read More)


Phuket’s Eva Beach appeal earns demolition reprieve, says Rawai Mayor

Face expressions of people say a lot about people. Look at the photo, and think. In Rawai and Naiharn is a lot going on. Installed traffic lights, ...(Read More)


Phuket’s Eva Beach appeal earns demolition reprieve, says Rawai Mayor

"... I have to wait for the Court of Appeal before issuing any orders to demolish any parts of the project, despite the initial court ruling...&q...(Read More)


Phuket’s Eva Beach appeal earns demolition reprieve, says Rawai Mayor

and "Rawai Garden" soi Suksan 2... how they can have a permit to build 158 rooms in this quite location with a very narrow access!... ...(Read More)


Phuket’s Eva Beach appeal earns demolition reprieve, says Rawai Mayor

Eva had 6 years in court to prove their innocence, which they did not. At great expense to the Thai taxpayer and waste of government resources. There ...(Read More)


Set Phuket croc ‘Leypang’ free, says poll

We may say that is croc Leypang is not the only croc in thai waters. Set it free in a habitat were he finds enough food, far from Phuket. Anyway he ...(Read More)


Cop in ‘great escape’ link

Oh, and don't forget, on 04 and 06 September General Prawit, the Defence Minister, told the thai press ( see PN articles on those days) that no po...(Read More)


Phuket’s Eva Beach appeal earns demolition reprieve, says Rawai Mayor

Just like Ao sane beach project. Why is the mayor and the Rawai Or Bor Tor planning department head not in jail. How many more building projects in Ra...(Read More)


Cop in ‘great escape’ link

It is funny to read in every newspaper the word 'Escape'. During the time of the travel of Ms Yingluck she was not under house arrest, there ...(Read More)


Phuket lifeguards to strike over budget cuts

Oh, the insanity of it all. At least there will be free wi-fi so when people drown we will see it up on Facebook just as it happens. I'm surpri...(Read More)

The Phuket News
Bangkok Hospital Phuket
PHUKET NEWS
Phuket
Thailand
World
Business
Q A
Weird World
ARCHIVE
POLL
CURRENCY
WEATHER
PHUKET TIDE TABLE
The Phuket News PHUKET LIFE
Phuket Arts
Phuket Community
Phuket Culture
Phuket Dining
Phuket Education
Phuket Entertainment
Phuket Environment
Phuket Health
Phuket People
Phuket Technology
Phuket Travel
World Entertainment
Photo Galleries
COLOURING BOOK
The Phuket News PHUKET SPORT
Phuket
Thailand
World
SURF REPORT
PREDICTIONS
The Phuket News PHUKET CLASSIFIEDS
Phuket Buy and Sell
Phuket Jobs
Phuket Property
Phuket Cars and Boats
Phuket Community
Phuket Services
SEARCH CLASSIFIEDS
POST CLASSIFIED
The Phuket News The Phuket News PHUKET EVENTS
Phuket Event listings
Phuket Event calendar
Buy Tickets
POST EVENT
The Phuket News PHUKET DIRECTORY
Phuket Bars, pubs and clubs
Phuket Hotels and villas
Phuket Restaurants
Phuket Yellow Pages
POST LISTING
The Phuket News BARGAINS
The Phuket News ABOUT US
The Company
Distribution points
Subscribe
Advertise with us
Pay for advert
Contact us
CONTESTS
Content Google Map
Site map
Australian Visa Services
 
Currency - The Phuket News   Weather Report - The Phuket News   Surf Report - The Phuket News
LinkedIn - The Phuket News   Twitter - The Phuket News   YouTube - The Phuket News   Facebook - The Phuket News
Copyright © 2017 Class Act Media. All rights reserved. | Website usage terms and conditions | Privacy and Confidentiality Statement.