Thursday, February 4, 2010

Surprising Saigon!

Biggest surprise?? Saigon, sorry, Ho Chi Minh , is alarmingly like our Kolkata! It even smells the same. But getting into Viet Nam is a bloody ordeal - the customs and immigration guys are rude and awful, make you feel unwanted and like criminals. Is it just a coincidence that only Indians were told to step aside for additional questioning?? We were asked the most absurd questions, despite having all our paperwork in place. " Show us the money," ordered a cop! Ridiculous. But... that's how Commies run their countries and states - it's all about authority!
The locals are less friendly than the sweet, smiling Cambodians, and not interested in us Desis. Aha - but if you are American, they fall over backwards! Strange, given the history of the war. Our cabbie was a major in the army and could recall the most horrifying stories of American brutality. He boasted with relish about shooting Yankees! " But now we are friends... we want to do business with America," he candidly admitted.
I know I am missing out on some really exciting action back in India, but this is important too. One can see the rapid strides of globalisation in this country. They are coping the same way as India - with confusion and a little fear. Traditional societies are slow to respond enthusiastically to these dramatic changes. KFC is right here, but the Vietnamese don't want McDonald's! Make any sense?
I am enjoying the local cuisine and the motorcycle taxis that whizz around manically, ignoring any traffic rules. To call Saigon congested would be an understatement. Like I said, it is Kolkata minus the mishti! Shabby, decaying and yet forging ahead somehow. The buildings are uniformly ugly - except for the Opera House and the remaining French Colonial structures still standing. It is also crazily expensive - we walked into a Gucci store and asked the price of sneakers. They were marked at close to a lakh of rupees!
The good news is that trade ties are looking up. And Communism here is a lot more relaxed. I refuse to visit the tunnels which are reminders of the war. I am happy enough wandering around the different quarters and striking up conversations with locals - very daunting - their 'English' needs an interpreter!
Dying to rush back. Please do fill me in on all the details - who said what to whom etc. I particularly want to know about the Rahul Gandhi - Balasaheb Thackeray spat. 'Aham' I am counting on you!!

43 comments:

My journey said...

It is always great to listen from you. Keep informing us with your beautiful pen, the glitz and glamor happening around the world.. bbye and Have a nice day!!

goodluck said...

Rahul said Mumbai belongs to Biharis also.
Thackeray said that Rahul belongs to Italy.(What is new
in that?)
Thackeray further said Rahul is a frustrated fellow because he is still unmarried. Then what about Vajpayee? How frustrated must he be?
Big B, meanwhile praised Thackeray and hugged Modi. His Rann was run over by critics and audiences.
Khan is still rooting for Pakistani players and provoking SS. My Name is Khan is now My name is Kaun? (Pakistani or Indian Khan).
Raj T. and Modi joined to bash achcha bachcha Rahul.

goodluck said...

History is repeating itself. It is again marathis versus muslims. This time muslims are winning using cinema and cricket and marathis are winning using fists and words. This mumbai, for whom everyone is fighting is like aged Cleopatra who may root for Julius Caesar(you know who the present one is. Yes, it is Roma Putra).

My space said...

mystical observation :-)


PS:

http://abhishekzblog.blogspot.com/2009/11/beyond-inevitable.html

Apurv's Blog Space said...

I am slightly confused.
The entire contreversy started with the refusal of the IPL teams to pick Pakistani players. Shahrukh condemned it, Shiv Sena called him a Pakistani.

May be i am not intellect enough, but where is the question of the "Marathi Manoos" here?

Then Rahul Gandhi jumped in, perhaps wanting to protect his friend SRK. But again he made stament about the outsider , insider story. I wonder why?

Now Rahul Gandhi has been labelled as frustrated.. I am not sure what is going to happen next.

Rajesh Shetty said...

Shobhaa,

would love to hear your take on Shiv Sena v/s Shahrukh

Dhanu said...

Did u try local coffee there? Order coffee with "So-Daa" (i.e. with Milk n Ice). The milk is sweet n thick as Milk Maid cream and they filter the coffee in front of u. All this is served over ice. This is NOT a cold coffee. "So-Daa" shud be said with Chinese accent with nasal "nnnn" sounding all thru this word. Its amazing in taste, I mean better than any other cold coffee.
To make it more interesting I mixed this with local Rice Vodka and I cud feel the caffeine and Vodka fighting to take over my mind. Well! by evening Vodka took over.

By the way read in todays Saamna.com to know how much Bal T is degraded with age.

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saranga said...

you all people are fools. i think you dont know shahrukh khan mentality.
he has inferiority complex with aamir and salman and he want to make mnik more hit than 3is.
which is not possible nowadays.
bcoz he involved in his own trap.
and i respect his opinion on ipl .in india there is freedom of speech which not be touched by anyone.
but please mr khan if you want to play pakistani cricket player in ipl
why you dont take any single player in your own team.rather than talking about it.
its all game of publicity mrs shobha de knows that very well than anyone else.but nowadays a media is king not shahrukh not rahul and not even balasaheb thackeray was. they are in list of media. and i willnot amazed if i see srk and kjo say sorry to mr balasaheb and shivsena. and make special screenings for him. and then balasaheb said ok the film is
very nice leave that subject.and all is well.and all indians are again made fool.
but my question is is anyone of srk and kjo have listened there andar ki aawaj or they dont have it.
or they lost it? do they understand that they are making fun of constitution and republic and democratic values of india?
and also making a new standards of publicity in biggest industry of films in the world? stop that game all of you. they want you to talk on it react on it and then see a film on it.bus thats it.just like dancing dolls.

Sajid Bhombal said...

Though I fully agree that Vietnamese are not as friendly as, say Thais or Combodians, to us the desis, I am a bit surprised with your experience with immigration. I was there for last three days (returned last night to Thailand)

I have been travelling to Vietnam since 2002 on business trips but didn't really face any such incident so far.

Anyway have a nice trip.

Back home is all tamasha... this whole Mumbai v/s India issue really is. Vital social issues are fully ignored and irrelevenr rhetorics is all we get.

Going by what is happening, I do ot know if I am an India also or just a Maharashtrian (Because I think the fashionable statement like 'Mumbai is for all Indians' can get accoulds to celebrities like Sachin or Mukesh Ambanis, this is too simplistic. We have a serious social problem which relates to (the centre piece) Bombay. And Maharshtra and its people.

We will need much more than Thackreys and Rahul Gandhis to address it seriously.

sonal said...

Its good to let big shots be shot down every now and then. Rahul Gandhi is a novice who has no clue about the dirty politics in maharashtra. And Bala Saheb Thackeray is a seasoned wily politician compared to the raw young man.And it amused me to hear the comments about him, not being married and hence frustrated!ha ha may even have a grain of truth to it.Some indications to The Italian Mom that Baba should get married now.
As for Shahrukh, he may be right in spirit supporting paki players, but given the mood in the country and post 26/11 when tempers are running so high , he should back down, if some people feel he is being unpatriotic!

saranga said...

and on ambanis.
i don't know that mumbai is belong to india or not.
but india is belonged to ambanis.
hi mrs shobha de have a nice trip
and enjoy every single moment of your life in combodia i think.
bcoz when you came back there is a lot of chances that you forgot all those beautiful memeories and golden days of your life. is india gone mad?
to create a nationwide debate on this rubbish subject. do we forget inflation's. do we forget cost cuttings. do we forget global warming. do we forget that half of our population has no idea abt there future.do we forget that youth of today is still fighting for jobs and can do anything for certain amount of lakhs.
again is there any ray of hope?
or we are happy with power saver tube lights?

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goodluck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
goodluck said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
SRK said...

Hiee again !!

Nice blog didi..Such a simple English language.. I liked it..

Well marathichi aag punha petli aahe.. :) well, nothing much new...
But interesting this time... asa vatat kaay to nikal lagelach ata..

aataa sagale paksha uterlet ranangaat ata, comments and all thoes.. u may check SAAMANA MUKHAPATRA online... that'll help you :)

Unfortunately ya muddyala ata IPLpan chikatala aahe..

baki as usual lekh chhan hota... I am also happy to know what is happening out of my countr, Kind of expanding knowledge...

and thank u very much for that reply....

So keep ur fingers typing the laptop-keyboard and expanding our knowledge..

have a good time..

t o m s o n CHERIAN said...

sobhaji,

sab theek hai ithar!

Senile Tiger to SRK: My name is Khan;go to Pakistan!!

SRK to media: Pakistan criceters shud come to Hindustan!!

Senile Tiger to Would-be-PM: Shaadi kar le dakkan, frustration jaaye aaye makkan!

CONGRESS to Senile Tiger: Budda, have you lost it?!Dont behave like a nitwit.

Happy BIGB to Senile: RANN dikhaooga changa, nahi chaayiye Tiger se panga!!


baaki sab kuch theek hai , ji

Nirbhay said...

Shobha,
I have heard a lot about "globalisation" used by you and many Indians.
As of now indians are getting jobs from developed countries, as India is a cheap(cost wise) labour market.
The other side of globalisation is that it is not static and will move the jobs(american and european) away to a different cheap market.
In short don't get happy our your new found cake,it has other side also.

Balvinder Singh said...

Who said what to whom??
Here are some snippets Shobhaa, of course these are unspoken words but carry more meaning than the spoken ones :-

Manmohan Singh to Gilani : "come on let us hold talks that I had promised u at Sharm-el Sheikh. Though i was pressurised by my countrymen to retract from the joint statement that we signed there, they have forgotten all that now, you know, public memory is very short" All this in the backdrop of Pakistan having hosted a terror meet at Muzafarabad.

bindu said...

My two bit verdict-this meaningless
altercation between SRK & the SS is
going to cost K-jo a pretty penny
unless someone goes grovelling to
ole boy Thacks on fours with an olive twig in his beak.

jayaprakash said...

Can you get the first hand information from the locals how the communist movement is faring there and public perception of comunism in this era of globalisation and weaning towards capitalist culture by the communists themselves in some of the countries and the difference between the aged,frail and demoralised Indian communism.

SRK said...

Well, you know, I think communism is way better if proper freedom is given....

I would like all you people to reply,.....

the genius called dali said...

I m always interested in knowing your views on various issues.At the moment I would want a comment on the whole Shahrukh Khan Issue from you.

Scarlett said...

Some of the above comments are hilarious!

What happened is this:

Thackerey said North Indians should be kicked out of Mumbai. (so what's new?)

RSS said: We will protect North Indians from Shiv Sena.

BJP said: We are with RSS.

Crown Prince of Gandhi Dynasty said: Most of the commandos who saved Mumbai on 26/11 were North Indians. Why didn't Shiv Sena ask them to get out of Mumbai then??

Thackerey said: Crown Prince is insulting the sacrifices of Marathi Manoos like Karkare & Salaskar.

While all this was going on, SRK said: I want to bid on Pakistani players. We should welcome everyone to our country as guests.

Thackerey said: We will not let My Name is Khan release in Mumbai till SRK apologizes.

SRK said: I will not apologize. They made me apologize after 'Billu', I will not bow down this time.

And for this, I give credit to SRK. Unlike, K Jo who went groveling to Raj T. over the 'Bombay-Mumbai' controversy during 'Wake Up Sid'!!

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Did u try the restaurants in District 1 or 2? A lot of variety is available. Also in the backpeckers area. There is a lovely French boutique restaurant in District 2 (Forgot the name).

Indranee said...

Hi Shobha,
It's a pleasure finding your blog and going through the posts! I've been your committed reader all these years...glad I found your blog! Will keep visiting:) Take care.

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Anil Kumar said...

You made Aham's day ..:)

Basically if you want to hear the news in black and white then you can continue to read this post. Some bollywood actor named SRK did a double-talk like a typical Delhite person does. He was showing SYMPATHY to Pakistani IPL players while his own KKR team snubbed his brothers from across the border.

An idiot Marathi clan named Thakre & sons objected to his statement and asked him to stop showing brotherly love for those who live close to Azaad kashmir (The place which we normally call POK).

It's a love affair of Bollywood's greed, Marathi politicians from the Thakre clan getting grumpy and loads of news anchors in our elite news media which will bend like a bitch to present it as the most important story of our times.

Hope this helps.

Another Kiran In NYC said...

Rahul and Thackrey: Bal Thackrey can plead senility, but what is Rahul's excuse? Immaturity?

Nonsensical comments on both sides.

And whats SRK's excuse for "Pakistan is a good neighbour"? Until terrorists land on the Carter road shore to terrorise Mannat's door I suppose Pakistan is a good neighbour. Oh I forgot... silly me... he would prefer Shivsena to do that instead (terrorise his house). Terrorised by Shiv Sena sells more tickets for his productions obviously.

Dumb asses all of them!

*Aham* said...

sat naam waaheguru... so much of hatered in cheen... no wonder they show all their gussa.. on poor pashu-pakshi eating monkey khopdi and what else and what not...

-------------------------



and de see na.. u gave me aawaaz..... and today mahurat dekhke... i am late.. hehhehe

lehh! any post that remotely concerns SRK with/without his mention will create such an effect.. by god! 29 comments... for just 2 lines you mentioned...


This is what happened. SRK spoke of his inclusion of pak players in his thakela Back-to-the-pavilion kolkatta knight riders team... and the big T got angry.... a bottle of inflamable substance was reportedly thrown at SRK ka multicrore jannat called mannat.

manohar joshi was seen on tv... openly stating.. "shiv sena se maafi toh maangni padegi" and udhav thackray was telling ndtv that he has absolute pride in his karyakartas... referring to the disruption of the screening of my name is khan... ka dhamki.

agree with kiran anotherwali... end main film ke liye paisa vasool publicity... (but i dont feel it is staged)


-----------------------------------

achaa, now coming to Dimple Gandhi, dimple gandhi did some politicsgiri... he coyly in his dhaasu matter-of-factly stle mentioned about the fact that the people who protected mumbai during 26/11 belonged to several states... many north indian... and that mumbai belonged to india...


and then hearing that tigers at saamna roared and called dimple gandhi...Italian Putra. They first even are believed to have issued a warning to Dimple gandhi.

but while the tigers burnt photus of dimple and had black flages of protest... dimple gandhi... did show some stunts to prove that he is dharti-ka-laal. He was here today... he visited andheri station... stood in the queue... was asked by fellow commuters to break the queue... he naturally refused... he bought a ticket... boarded a local train from andheri to dadar... traveled with the aam janta... he can now compete with Akshay Kumar to do daredevil stuntgiri... Khatron Ke Khilaadi types...

bass, itnaaichh huaa.. the chashmish made a real PR impact... the newspapers will be tattu over him for atleast 2 days now...he is believed to have visit maaroed to pataooo youthwaale (he is 39.youth????) to join congress.

with his cleverly planned PR stunt,,, he was able to shift focus from the usual mehengaai issues...

if i was there in the crowd, id have definitely told him about the REAL issues... like how simran (kajol)said

"kuch kuch hota hai rahul... TUM NAHI SAMJOGE"

Riaz-NJ said...

Did SRK say, he is going to bid for IPL players from Lakshar or other Paki similar organization? I am curious to know howmuch cash got transfered here on this opportunity?

S B Tamare said...

don't be worried.
democracy is being gagged by a fistful men as they are craving for votes, neither serious nor new is happening all around,only the face of scapegoat has been renewed that is now srk.
go and sleep well, be relaxed.after saying sorry by srk, an brand new expedition for a single new scapegoat face would have been .......

ms said...

mz de, love is... never having to say sorry. so, lovers' spat is over and we have moved on...
wonder why KFC is popular and not McD in saigon. easier to pass off crows, herons, eagles, sparrows, pigeons, parrots as Kentucky Fried Bird!

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Abby said...

I went through your light article in The Sunday Times today , about your trip to veitnam. Well too much of hullabaloo has been thrown about the spat between North Indians and MNS/ shiv sena...but its very rare that a marathi takes stand and speaks against the unjust treatment meted out to the residing north Indians in mumbai or elsewhere in Maharastra. I have a firm belief that the elite stratum of marathis do oppose such a callous treatement to north Indians , but these denizens dont seem to voice their concern and which gives us north Indians an illusion that even they are willing to flush us out!!... But I must say that you understand the agony of the hapeless UP Waalas and Biharis and have always stood tall to protect their interest. I am just proud of you!!

Nehha said...

Well, I can only see everyone gain, from SRK to Rahul G to Sena... what else can be said in an era of publicity at any cost; infamous may it be.

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Huong said...

hii, I'm Vietnamese and I was raise in HCM city, well I don't live there anymore, but just curious, which district did you visit? for example saigon is in district one.

Din0410 said...

Dear Shobha Madam,

It has become fashionable now a days to
1. Kill innocent people. We will make movies on subject that will make new records on box office.
2. Preaching through movies to terrorist ( We will say all **** are not bad ! ) you keep on killing innocent !
3. We will support your nation, you see that we get good finance from Dubai.

Jai Ho...

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