- Articles by Expatriate Employees - World Report

Ho Chi Minh City / Vietnam

Ho Chi Minh City - a City Filled with People, Motorcycles, and Hope

Tadashi Otsuki / Acecook Vietnam Joint Stock Company

The first thing that takes people aback when they visit Ho Chi Minh City is the incredible number of motorcycles on the roads.
The mode of transportation here in Ho Chi Minh is, above all, motorcycles. In a city where they use motorcycles even to go to the shop next door—just a few meters down the road—motorcycles are the veritable legs of the people in Ho Chi Minh City.

During the morning and evening commute times, the traffic becomes chaotic, as the abundance of motorcycles overflows from the streets onto the sidewalks, and motorcyclists ride against the flow of traffic.

Another characteristic of Vietnam is the positive outlook of the people. I am not sure who researched the statistics, but they say that Vietnam has the highest percentage in the world of people who think that “tomorrow will be better than today,” with over ninety percent of the people thinking this way.

You can tell that these statistics are accurate when you live here, though. Vietnamese truly are forward-looking.
This is evident in the way they ride their motorcycles as well—for starters, when they ride their motorcycles, they literally have no choice but to look forward!

And the same is true emotionally as well. When it comes to traffic jams or in any situation, Vietnamese try at all events to go forward as far as they can without knowing what lies ahead and without thinking of the consequences.
This is why the phenomenon of gridlock caused by motorcycles packing in between the rows of cars in a traffic jam is a daily occurrence.

If a traffic accident or something occurs and people need to back up under these conditions, it is a really tough situation. The motorcycles that pack in between cars make it impossible for cars to move out of the way, and the motorcycles can’t back up either, so there is nothing to do but to back up bit by bit. And with motorcycles coming forward one after another from the rear as well, the situation is very tough to resolve.

But after experiencing this throw-caution-to-the-wind positive outlook and energy, all of those who visit from Japan say, “I feel that I have been energized, somehow” when they go home. I plug away at work every day, as I feel energized in the same way.

Marubeni Group magazine "M-SPIRIT" VOL.63 (May, 2011)

  • A familiar scene in the morning: a car surrounded by a swarm of motorcycles.
  • Nearly everything is transported by motorcycle - some people even transport refrigerators this way.
  • Pandemonium breaks out when the traffic light changes, as motorcyclists rush forward, vying to go ahead of the others.
  • During a traffic jam, there is no moving forward or backward.

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