March 26, 1999 |
Buoyed by Vietnam's record rice exports last year, Ngo Thi Mui is feeling pretty good about life these days. She is turning a tidy profit from the family's rice paddies, and she and her five children have purchased a motor scooter and a television. "It's been a good crop, thanks to a lot of rain," said the 47-year-old Mui, barely pausing as she worked her way down a row of rice, grabbing a clump of stems in her left hand and clipping them close to the ground with her sickle.
February 3, 1999 |
Not long ago, Vietnamese officials approached Pete Peterson, the U.S. ambassador in Hanoi, with an unusual overture: Might the United States be interested in importing a bunch of Vietnamese laborers to work under contract? Vietnam has been exporting many thousands of its workers, mostly to neighbors such as Japan and South Korea. Officials in Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, recently boasted that they had cut that city's unemployment rate to 6% last year.
December 25, 1998 |
Less than five years after Vietnam became the hot new frontier for foreign investment, many expatriate businesspeople are packing up and leaving in frustration over the slow pace of economic reform and their inability to make money. No American corporation has turned a profit here since the U.S. trade embargo was lifted in 1994, according to U.S. diplomats.
August 17, 1998 |
Vietnam is a country run by the old but shaped by the young. The old are a product of war and communism, the young of peace and economic opportunity. The former fear change, the latter demand it. However the battle for the soul of Vietnam sorts itself out, the reality is that a whopping 80% of Vietnam's 77 million people are younger than 40.
March 3, 1998 |
Last summer, a remarkable event happened in this isolated commune: Peasant farmers protesting corruption, high taxes and government unresponsiveness rebelled against local leaders, taking hostages and disrupting the rice harvest. The uprising, which spread to other locales and lasted several months, unleashed nightmarish visions in Hanoi.
February 15, 1998 |
Government officials in Indochina were almost smug when Asia's economic miracle evaporated last summer in clouds of red ink, bankrupt companies and crashing stock markets. "We're immune," they declared, and at first glance there was good cause to believe that the mini-economies of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia were. None of the countries has a stock exchange. Their currencies are nonconvertible. Their industries are, to varying degrees, state-run and unconcerned with the bottom line.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 1997 |
Two years ago, Hung Phuong Nguyen spent countless hours organizing demonstrations in Little Saigon and writing angry letters to President Clinton opposing normalization with his homeland. Thursday, he met news that the U.S. is proposing to tear down all barriers to trade and investment with the Communist government of Vietnam with quiet acceptance. "Only economics can open the door to democracy," he said.
November 4, 1997 |
The Communists here once viewed them as the enemy--a disgruntled, dispossessed throng of countrymen who had sought refuge in 70 countries, dreaming of the day the Hanoi government would fall and the Vietnam of their memories would be reborn. They had left--more often than not, fled--by boat, by plane and on foot during three of Vietnam's epochal moments: when the French were defeated in 1954, when the Americans were chased out in 1975, when ethnic Chinese here were purged in 1978.
September 26, 1997 |
After several years of heady growth and enthusiastic support from international investors and donors, Vietnam finds itself facing a sobering reality: Those forecasts that it would soon join the elite fraternity of Asian nations known as economic "tigers" were wildly premature.
September 23, 1997 |
OK, so it isn't Saigon anymore. But hold the obituaries. Good times are here again. Strip away the veneer of communism and there, among the ghosts of the past, this former wartime capital still has the heart of a hustler and the soul of a damsel. Actually, the name Ho Chi Minh City never caught on in the first place. It was like turning Boston into John Fitzgerald Kennedy City. It just didn't sound right.