The Good Life: The Wealthy of Ho Chi Minh City
In America, it’s plain as day who the wealthy people are. We see them driving nice cars, we see them with large homes and nice things. These people can go on big vacations all the time, and enjoy the treats in life that few get to experience.
Vietnam is no different… it’s simply sugar coated when public.
The wealthy of Ho Chi Minh City have very nice things compared to the rest of the city. To compare further, those who have money are living in conditions that most people in the United States would love to live in, while those without the financial resources to attain a comfortable lifestyle live within the realms of a lifestyle that a homeless person in Grand Rapids would even feel is unbearable. They live in these conditions anyways though, because it is the life they know, and have accepted as their own.
Today, we visited Hang’s Uncle. His house was actually quite amazing, and was obviously a very expensive living space. Total value of the home was equivalent to well over $600,000USD, which, believe it or not, is roughly HALF of what Hang’s family home is worth. Yet, Hang’s family doesn’t “flaunt” this stuff. They live in a nice family home, and are comfortable with what they have.
Location plays a vital role in the worth of a home, but even so, the Uncle’s place was far more… shall I say, “pretentious” than Hang’s place. They seem to have possessions simply to have them, rather than buying what they need, or want because of some value or use. This is common among successful people though. Don’t take this the wrong way, they were very nice. They aren’t bad or snobby people (at least I don’t think they are). It’s just that they were the kind of people that loved showing off what they have! – To put this into perspective, the tall four-story home has four bedrooms, and six bathrooms.
For starters, the house is a four-story urban home that sits right next to a dozen other homes just as tell. All the houses are very close together. They don’t actually share walls, but the walls are so close that nothing actually goes between them. The homes are located within a gated community, and each house has its very own gate in the front that gets closed before the big doors into the home gets closed.
All homes in Vietnam usually have their front doors wide open all day, unless nobody is home. I’m unsure why this is, but it may have something to do with welcoming other into their home. You do not have to tell people that you are coming to visit them before stopping by. It is natural to simply come over to anybody’s house at anytime unannounced here.
Stepping inside the house, you can tell right away that these people are better off then the majority of the city. They have brand new counter tops, nice white tile flooring (like Hang’s parents do), and the staircase is done with marble flooring… all the way to the top. Think about how much marble costs in America, just for making counter tops. Now apply that knowledge, and build yourself a four-story spiral staircase. Although marble doesn’t cost nearly as much here as it does in the United States, it’s still quite a costly project. The floor was made from rocks from the nearby mountains (marble is a rock originating from mountains with volcanic activity in the past).
On floors two and three, there are two rooms. One bedroom on each side of the building, and each room contains it’s own bathroom, complete with toilet, urinal, sink, and shower. There is also a bathroom on the ground level too. Each bedroom in the home has a flat screen tv, desk, and a small balcony that can be accessed through a door in the corner. On the second floor, is their bedroom, which actually has two separate beds (oddly enough, even to Hang, these people don’t sleep together). The master bedroom along with various other rooms, are constantly monitored with professionally installed CCTV security cameras as well, which can be accessed and watched from any TV in the house.
These people had no problem showing us every detail of what they owned, and also was sure to include the prices of some of their belongings as well. On the roof, they have many plants, and they also have a rather large set of solar-panels, which are used to heat the water, and provide a small amount of power.
Not saying they are the wealthiest in the town… but it’s obvious that they’re doing well, and they weren’t shy about telling me either. Nevertheless, don’t think for an instant that there isn’t people here in Vietnam that isn’t way higher on the income ladder than most Americans.