Happy 1st Birthday, Little Soldier!

This has become a custom among some members of Vietnam’s nouveau riche.

I took this photo at a five-star hotel in HCMC. I grimaced when I saw this baby dressed up in a military uniform. The teddy bear adds a special touch. Talk about an alienation effect!

The formula is simple. Rent out a large room or part of a ballroom, hire an MC, organize entertainment, wait for the magical day, and party hearty with free flow of wine and whiskey for all! I’ve attended some of these birthday bashes.

Of course, the party is not so much for the birthday babies, who will have no memory of the event, as it is for their family and parents’ friends.

A 1st birthday as a large-scale and very expensive public event. It’s just another way of flaunting one’s wealth.

Shalom (שלום), MAA

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