Saturday, April 23, 2011

THE BASICS OF HO CHI MINH'S PEOPLE


If there is one museum which feels so strange yet interesting for me, it would be the Ho Chi Minh City Museum, which others refer to as the Revolutionary Museum.  Since I am not fully acquainted with the history of Vietnam except for the atrocities that it has experienced during the colonial wars of the past, I had no idea what to expect inside. 

Of all the museums I have visited in Southeast Asia, this one is truly depictive of the locals life, both in the past and in the present times.  Where can you find cauldrons, woods, clothes, kitchen utensils, sewing machines and the likes displayed in an elegant museum?  Strange and funny it may seem that even my mother could build a museum of that kind displaying the old fixtures and clothings that we had. But this is what their life is and was.  To understand how the locals live, there is a section in the museum where the theme is mainly on the showcase of these fixtures and utensils, which we neglect to appreciate as it is part of the daily routine of our lives.  Thanks to the person who conceptualize this museum that I am now trying to appreciate the basics of life.
Under the scorching heat of the sun, we walked from the Ben Than Market to the Ly Tu Trong Street of District 1, to pay a visit to this museum.  Finding the museum was not that difficult, the challenging part was walking when the suns rays are deeply penetrating your skin as it was almost noon time when we went there.  Upon reaching this white painted building that looks like a municipal hall in the Philippines, it was a sudden relief that we would be able to take shelter for a moment.  At the entrance gates of the museum, we were greeted by various modes of transportation on display and a well-landscaped garden as well.





The museum exhibits various themes.  These are:  Nature - Archaeology; The History of Foundation and Development; Commercial Port- Service; Industry/Handicraft; The Culture (late 19th-early 20th century); revolutionary struggle (1930-1954, 1954-1975) and the special display.  From the said themes, notable antique collectibles and art works/installations is a must see.  Currency bills and coins of Vietnam were also displayed, as well as the not so ordinary fixtures and apparels of everyday living.






While wandering on the corridors of this two-storey museum, I realize that even the most neglected fixtures and apparels of our day to day living can make up an elegant museum.  Where in the earth could you see sewing machines and cauldrons displayed in a museum? These things are supposed to be displayed on every household, that is why, we always presume that this is not to be expected in a museum, as we are used to expecting something special and different displayed in it.  You see, this only shows how the Vietnamese value the basics of our everyday living.  Undeniably, this museum is true to what it wants to instill in us...that, the history and present times of Vietnam values its people - from their livelihood to their aspirations and struggle for a peaceful country and life in general. 






Museum is open 8AM to 4PM daily
Location: 65 Ly Tu Trong St. District 1, HCMC
    

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