District 4 - My second hometown

Nov 18, 2007

Never have I written about my second hometown in a blog though having been living here for more than 10 years.

As Ho Chi Minh city is expanding geographically to the south and economically as an international city after Vietnam's entry into the WTO, the district certainly enjoys some of the benefits from this. The largest contribution to this rapid transformation, in my opinion, is due to the constructions of the new bridges, which link this surrounded-by-river territory to the other parts of the city.

Located to the south of District 1, the commercial center of Saigon, and north of District 7, the outskirts of this amazing city, District 4 combines the modern scenes of its northern neighborhood and rural settings of its southern brother. Its history has given its the reputation for a hub of crimes and gangsters. Whenever the phrase "District 4" was heard of, people were just getting scared. No one would want to step their foot in this fierce land. As for population, I don't have the exact statistics but it is not so large in comparison with the other districts. Its economy is far behind the wealthy neighbor.

[The H2 Department Block]

All the infamous history is now changing. The building of Ong Lanh and Kinh Te bridges has turned this place into another bridge for District 1 and District 7 as well as improved the traffic problem that Nguyen Tat Thanh street, the one that was previously used as the main route to and forth the 2 districts. Cars and motorbikes are flooding the streets and traffic jams are often to be seen, especially during rush hours and rainy days. In return, branch offices of banks which are headquartered in the center are now turning up. A big Honda service center has been put up. And I must say, I'm very satisfied with it. It has a waiting lounge with cable TV and wi-fi connectivity, which is far more superior to many other fellow Honda stores. The apartment block right next to this end of the Ong Lanh Bridge and 200 meters away from Kinh Te bridge has really become a good business location. Habubank got a piece of business there. A new Highland Coffee shop is now being built. Another Korean fastfood store is being constructed right beside. I must say that I can do virtually anything here without the need to travel to other districts as before.

New schools and colleges have been built to serve education needs of the children here, whose parents are mostly labor workers and families belong to the low-end of the income index. It is those schools that change the face of life here. They improve both the knowledge and ethics of those enrolled and slowly eradicate the Dark side of the force here. Hopefully, not only branch offices but also new companies will create more and more jobs for the local residents and thus raise the standard of living here. Most of them are now working in the Tan Thuan Export Processing Zone but their incomes are very low compared to others'.

All in all, one year after Vietnam's access to the WTO, lives are turning over new leafs.