Does a combination of capitalism and climate change spell twilight for the Mekong? (Credit: Chris Williams)
Red flags flutter from every building and lamppost, surrounded by a sea of giant cranes scarring the skyline. Wherever one looks, buildings are under rapid construction. Car showrooms full of gleaming Western luxury vehicles wait silently, ready to be driven off the forecourt by the small segment of newly affluent Vietnamese with tens of thousands of dollars in disposable income. Funded by Western and Japanese banks, ultra-modern airport terminals rise among the paddy fields, as urban expansion explodes across a countryside still dominated by small farmers tending six acre plots.
Residents of the southern city of Can Tho unload vegetables and fruit from an early morning floating market. (Credit: Chris Williams)
Emblazoned with the symbol of proletarian unity and emancipation, it's clear that the worker's hammer crossed with a peasant's sickle, sown into the corner of each red flag, is a long way from the national guiding principle of the Vietnamese Communist Party, in a country which has strayed very far from Ho Chi Minh Thought.