Today was one of my favorite days of the trip because we got to be outside the whole time while also experiencing some Vietnamese culture. I also thought the lunch was one of the yummiest ones we’ve had so far. I glad I went in all of the tunnels because I feel like I pushed myself and didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. The tunnels actually ended up being really enjoyable and less scary than I thought they were going to be. I even saw a bat!
When we got to the tunnels we learned a little bit about them. We learned the Viet Cong used the tunnels to travel underground without being seen by the Americans. They would use them for sneak attacks or to quickly get away. They could also use the lower levels as bomb shelters. They used them as bunkers, as health tents, and a place to be with no fear of being attacked. They made them very complicated with lots of booby traps if you took the wrong turn so even if the Americans were to find the hidden entrances they wouldn’t know where to go to without getting killed.
The tunnels were very skinny, and this is post being widened for Westerners. They were very dimly lit and I’m sure they were darker when they were in actual use. They were damp and hot and again, before being widened and frequented by tourists I am sure they were worse. I saw a couple bats in them and I wonder if there were more bugs and animals when they were in use or less since there were so many people moving throughout them. We also learned how some of the tunnels exited into the Saigon river which allowed them to escape without being seen. This sounds so scary to me I can’t imagine being in those tunnels and being underwater for even a second.
Drawing off what we learned at the War Remnants Museum, you can tell the Vietnamese display the war with the American’s in a very negative light. “The American Devils” is a common phrase, and the video talked about there being medals for killing the most Americans. As for the victors writing history, I think that being in Vietnam we are going to see a different portrayal of the war than we would see in America. I think this is true for any war however, no one likes to write about the bad things they did, only about the bad things the other side did.
The young Vietnamese that we have been hanging out with on this trip do not seem to feel the same way. When we were at the museum they were trying to cheer us up and make sure we weren’t sad. This is different from the government position, the museum did not hold anything back when it came to blaming Americans.
I think this relates to development and globalization because the younger generations don’t hold any grudges about the war, and that will make them more open to interacting globally. They won’t have reservations about trying to work with American companies which will cause more development. I was also interested in some of the questions the Vietnamese students were asking because I assumed they would learn a lot about it in school. I would be interested to see the lesson plans the government created to teach the war and compare them to ours. I am sure that would be interesting.