Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Saigon and my AK-47 experience



Last weekend I went on a trip to Vietnam and tried out shooting this AK-47 in the jungle near Ho Chi Minh City.

This was a very exciting experience; mainly because I was aware that the AK is a legendary weapon. This machine gun has transformed the history of many countries; put up & toppled many dictators and has been used in countless revolutions and atrocities throughout the world.

So my hands were shaking with excitement (and respect) the minute I held that gun. The shots were surprisingly loud even though I was wearing ear-protection. But after 2 rounds, I asked the instructor to put it on auto and then fired away a whole clip. Must I say that was probably one of the most exciting 10 seconds of my life.

My trip to Vietnam was also full of other surprises. I didn't expect to see Ho Chi Minh city being cleaner, neater and more pedestrian friendly than Jakarta.

Many luxury cars and 2-door coupes wandered around which kinda reminds you of Singapore. Old cars were very hard to find; perhaps this had something to do with fact that gasoline there was sold at an equivalent of around Rp8,000/liter, which is double Indonesia prices.

Many people say Saigon is "Jakarta in the 1980's". I disagree. Although it has fewer high-rise buildings, it seems much better organized.

Vietnam has a GDP per capita of around $3000 ppp dollars, lower than Indonesia at $4000. However the vibe there feels very different... everybody seems to be busy doing something; whereas in Jakarta u can't help but see many young people hanging around on the street, wasting time doing nothing.

This dichotomy shows up in the statistics; Vietnam's GDP growth can easily exceed 7%; whereas here we only get 6% in the luckiest of years.

Interestingly all the progress in Vietnam is happening despite it still being a communist country. This makes me wonder whether democracy is really a gift or a curse for Indonesia.

Yesterday I returned to Jakarta, and today it's back to the sadness of seeing many stalled reforms. Sadly with Indonesia facing a status quo and acute leadership deficit, it could be a matter of time before the tables turn and the country becomes "Vietnam thirty years ago."



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20 comments:

KrisMcmillen07星美 said...

成熟,就是有能力適應生活中的模糊。.................................................................

ToryO_Viss鈺雯er0316 said...

路過--你好嗎..很棒的BLOG...................................................................

童雅 said...

工作,是愛的具體化~~~~努力吧!............................................................

陳韋夏陳韋夏益東富益東富 said...

一個人就像一個分數,他的實際才能是分子,他對自己的評價是分母。分母越大,則分數的價值越小。..................................................

玉苓玉苓 said...

及時行樂-快樂不需要理由..................................................................

吳婷婷 said...

看著你的BLOG 好多朋友都回應 真厲害............................................................

楊儀卉 said...

道歉是人類一定必要的禮節.......................................................

陳佑發 said...

知識可以傳授,智慧卻不行。每個人必須成為他自己。. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

呈婷呈婷呈婷呈婷 said...

「仁慈」二個字,就能讓冬天三個月都溫暖。..................................................

RicoLisi0802志竹 said...

喜歡這裡-支持你的更新............................................................

毛彥宇毛彥宇 said...

缺少智慧,就是缺少一切..................................................

文王廷 said...

人應該做自己認為對的事,而不是一味跟著群眾的建議走。..................................................

建邱勳 said...

生存乃是不斷地在內心與靈魂交戰;寫作是坐著審判自己。. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

蔡曼鄭美玉屏 said...

幸福不是一切,人還有責任。............................................................

孫邦柔 said...

好東西要和好朋友分享--感謝您..................................................................

阮艳 said...

開懷幸福的生活,是每個人的夢想~~希望大家都能夠實現!...............................................................

翊翊翊翊張瑜翊翊翊 said...

第一忠誠,第二勤奮,第三專心工作。..................................................

淑蕙春蕙春芬 said...

Subtlety is better than force. ......................................................................

洪勳劉耀德劉耀德華 said...

我們必須先有哭泣,才有歡笑;也必須先感到人生的悲哀,然後才感到人生的快樂。................................................................

張王雅竹欣虹 said...

Learning makes life sweet.......................................................................