Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder
Have a good look at this image of a new $5 billion development in the beach town of Phan Thiết in southern Viet Nam, about a four-hour drive from HCMC, that’s being built by a well-known Vietnamese real estate company. Does it inspire you to buy a unit or even just to visit out of curiosity, assuming you’re not a journalist whose bailiwick includes such projects and overdevelopment in general? This and a few other images were used in a Facebook ad to sell a piece of this tropical paradise.
I visited the area long before the development that is currently taking place. Frankly, I was appalled and depressed to see this and other images knowing what was there before the army of bulldozers and workers moved in. I see environmental degradation. From an aesthetic perspective, I see sameness and designers who are utterly devoid of imagination. I see a place that is no longer Viet Nam, stripped of cultural identity, that could be anywhere. I also see the political and financial power of the developers who were able to secure that much land for their project. Yes, money talks and people listen.
Wait, it gets worse. Have a look at the images on the company’s website. You’ll see a lot of foreigners but that’s mainly to appeal to locals. This is not the kind of setting that most foreigners are interested in seeing and spending vacation time in. Check out exhibit A below.
At the end of the day, I see more garbage, more water pollution, and a select group of people who are a whole lot richer. This is not sustainable development. This is moving as quickly as possible to cash in and out in the short-term. It’s sowing the seeds of environmental destruction and an eventual downturn in the number of tourists flocking to Viet Nam.
Shalom (שלום), MAA
P.S.: Here’s the whole enchilada. Oh. My. God. This is nothing short of an environmental nightmare.