One of the things I didn’t expect in Ho Chi Minh City was number of sky scrapers and the vastness of the city. Today, I learned about how the city came to be, and about what urban development is going on right now at Phu My Hung.
After breakfast, we went to UEF to hear from a guest lecturer on the history of Vietnam and urban planning. He went all the way back to how Vietnam itself was made of five ethnic groups united against Chinese invasion. He then talked about the Vietnam War and what followed for the city of Saigon, or Ho Chi Minh City. There was a massive increase in population in the following decades, and there were efforts by the government to modernize the city that wouldn’t come to fruition until the early 2000s, part due to the government finally permitting foreign investment.
After the lecturer we had a Vietnamese class where I learned (and soon after the class, forgot) how to introduce myself, say my name, and ask what someone else’s name is. After this we had lunch at a Japanese restaurant and then we went to Phu My Hung.
Phu My Hung was extremely impressive. They first led us into a white room with a model of Ho Chi Minh City where they showed us a video. The video explained Phu My Hung’s goal to build an upscale planned city in South Saigon (seen in the picture). It was incredible to see how far they’ve come, especially in just 20 years. Additionally, I enjoyed seeing how much greenery was present in the city, showing how environmentally conscious the company was.
Phu My Hung was very impressive but I also felt like their project was not morally just. They were displacing people in South Saigon by raising the standards of the area without raising the current inhabitants. The professor earlier in the day mentioned the maldistribution of wealth in Vietnam, and Phu My Hung’s actions exemplified it.
Overall, the day forced me to see things critically. Phu My Hung, with their ability to build a city in 20 years, is a very cool organization that does a truly incredible work. Yet at the same time, there are ethical questions to consider, and the solution to these dilemmas are not easy to find. Tomorrow we will go on another site visit, and it will be interesting to compare and contrast the two companies.