The New York Times
As a magnet for the young, Saigon, as the city in Vietnam is still locally known, is a place of opportunity, fun and increasing affluence.
HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam Taking a puff from a hookah and a sip from her beer, Thuy Truong, a 29-year-old tech entrepreneur in a black cocktail dress, pondered the question: What were her thoughts on the 40th anniversary of the fall of Saigon?
Forty years ago? she yelled over the body-rattling roar of nightclub music. Who cares!
Four decades after the victory of Communist forces, the soul of this city, still known locally as Saigon, seems firmly planted in the present. For the young and increasingly affluent, Saigon is a city that does not want to look back, loves having fun and perhaps most of all is voraciously capitalistic.
The apartment building where evacuees clambered up an outdoor staircase to board a C.I.A. helicopter in a chaotic rooftop operation, a scene captured in an iconic photograph, is now at the heart of a neighborhood filled with luxury shops selling $1,000 Rimowa suitcases and $2,000 Burberry suits.
A newly paved walkway runs down the median of nearby Nguyen Hue Street, a magnet for teenagers on skateboards and in-line skaters who swoosh past a temporary display of photographs honoring a deceased senior official of the Communist Party. A statue of Ho Chi Minh, the Communist revolutionary leader, is sandwiched between a luxury hotel and a refurbished French colonial building that will soon house a Brooks Brothers store.
Two-thirds of the Vietnamese population was born after the fall of Saigon and the reunification of Vietnam in 1975.
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Among the young there is gratefulness that they are coming of age now, when the country is at peace after so many centuries of wars, occupation and entanglements with foreign armies.