We started day two in Vietnam with a guest lecturer who gave us a brief history of Vietnam, explaining the line of its rulers and conquerers and development that later took place after the Vietnam War. The speaker was extremely passionate, relating all that he taught to his personal life as well.
The language class was as hard as ever with lots of voice cracks, strange noises, and absolutely nonsense attempts at saying “My name is…”. At one point, the Vietnamese helping me looked at me, stared, and then absolutely cracked up at the noises coming out of my mouth.
We also went on our first site visit today at Phu My Hung. Phu My Hung Development was not anything like I imagined. Talk about development, the building was full of modern technology, unique architecture, and gorgeous landscaping. Not only that, the presentation regarding the company’s activities was extremely impressive. It felt like Disney World with the full room screen, theatrical music, and detailed floor model of the city of Ho Chi Minh. In regard to the company’s ventures, a lot of their goals also took the same approach, creating a perfect and safe community for their residents and maintaining it. The representative from Phu My Hung emphasized over and over again the importance of planning, building, and managing in order to carry out their Master Plan created to completely transform Ho Chi Minh City.
Going into the province that Phu My Hung was actively developing, I saw a lot of the company’s hand in the area’s development. It was clean, kempt, and modern. The area seemed ritzier than others that we’ve been in. It definitely seemed to be aimed at higher-earning Vietnamese and foreigners. In order to afford such a lifestyle in a city such as Ho Chi Minh where the population way exceeds the economic collateral, a Vietnamese would need to have substantial income. In fact, we heard a very personal story this morning from the guest lecturer at UEF expressing the remorse for the number of low-earning Vietnamese in Ho Chi Minh. Most, he said, can barely afford a car (the reason for a plethora of mopeds), let alone a safe, high-end apartment.
Although there was no direct mention of the Communist government in the presentation, there were definitely underlying concepts that affected the way Phu My Hung Development operated. The most obvious was the corporation’s acquisition of property. Though they could buy property and lease it to private companies, the government still owned the land. The businesses only have a right to the infrastructure on it, not the piece of land itself, being very different than it is in America. In the U.S., if we buy a property, the land and everything on it is rightfully ours, separate from any government control.
The government also has strict control over the environmental influence of Phu My Hung’s development projects. There is a green ratio, requiring an amount of natural life intermixed with infrastructure. There is always a consideration to the human scale compared to the building and park space.
Overall, day two of Plus3 Vietnam was incredible. So many memories made and looking forward to making so many more!