I agree with the writer of “Much to gain for S’pore to invest more in Vietnam” (April 11).
I am impressed by the way Vietnam has risen from ruin and developed robustly despite joining the fray late. Its people are hardy and personify the indomitable spirit that overcomes hardship, despite having little.
Their ethic of hard work, which they take pride in, shines through. No booking is too late for a next-day city tour. They are courteous and attend to guests quickly. They overcome language barriers with an enterprising spirit.
Many restaurants insert pictures in their menus to help one order one’s food, and that opens up the array of Vietnam’s culinary offerings to the less seasoned.
The streets of Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi are abuzz with life and motion amid the dust from demolition and construction. It is only a matter of time before the motorcycles are replaced by cars and subways.
The same buzz fills many of Asia’s streets. In New Delhi, hawkers are jumping on the bandwagon of cashless payments. In Jakarta, one can hail a cab via Grab at short notice.
In Kuala Lumpur, a network of trains connects the city to the suburbs. Shenzhen has become a hotbed for technological start-ups. For a getaway and much-needed respite, Sanya offers great sun and sand.
With warm hospitality, Sapporo turns its cold weather into a draw for tourists. Yangon may be slow in coming, but its desire for progress shows in the bookshops and street stalls selling books and magazines from afar.
Asia’s people are peace-loving. Many places are multi-ethnic and multi-religious, and different people have coexisted for generations.
At this stage of development, many are caught between modernity and tradition. But this has not stopped them from advancing.
The future holds them together. It seems that ideology has yielded to economic progress, as if countries in Asia have awakened to a new dawn together. They are confident in making strides forward.
They have cast aside the shackles of the past — of having to play a subservient role, of being apologetic for who they are, of being the subject of slums and poverty — a narrative that has misshaped the imagination of many who have yet to see Asia.
I mostly feel safe and welcome in this part of the world. The pulse and optimism energise me. It frees me of the narrow-mindedness I had perhaps mistaken for liberalism until recently.
The new frontier is for the taking, and it is happening in Asia.