9 to 5 in Ho Chi Minh City

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It’s a busy morning in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam’s most populous city. The myriad beeping Vespa horns indicate this is a city where everybody has somewhere to be.

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Jake sketches portraits free of charge in inner-city Tao Dan Park.

“In Vietnam, the young people don’t have enough time to learn about art,” he says.

“With this kind of project, I want to bring the art to them.”

Jake will keep drawing into the evening.

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This street vendor sells miniature sponge cakes, a crunchy breed of waffle, and dried banana pressed into sheets almost as thin as paper.

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Huyen and her media team are doing ‘vox pops’ for a Vietnam Television talk show.

“We work mostly on Saturday and Sunday, because that’s when people have breaks.”

Her production team use a piece of styrofoam as a light reflector.

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 In District 6, construction workers implement a sanitation system along the banks of the Tan Hoa Lo Gom canal.

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“I work two jobs. For one I collect waste paper. For the other I work in transportation.”

This local lives in a well-furnished, three storey home on the Tan Hoa Lo Gom shoreline. 

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She’s concerned about the lengthy construction process just outside.

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Nearby, Dung files away sugar cane stalks for juicing.

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Makeshift businesses like Dung’s line many of Ho Chi Minh’s innermost districts.

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In the Ben Thanh marketplace, you’ll find knock-off Nike, Vans and New Balance sneakers: a stable of brand names likely to attract Western trendsetters.

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Moon is a shoe vendor.

The talented barterer will reduce her VND 2,500,000 (AUS $130) asking price to a lean VND 800,000 (AUS $40).

“Happy birthday!” She beams.

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The markets stretch through a labyrinth of narrow thoroughfares.

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In the food quarter, Lan sells cold drinks and easy-made Vietnamese delicacies.

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Outside, the victuals are just as diverse.

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All around Ho Chi Minh keeps bustling and breathing away into the night.

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About Author

Jesse Thompson

Jesse Thompson is in his third year of a dual Bachelor of Journalism and Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in Film and Television and Media Studies. He flexes his writing skills as a film critic for various local outlets, but he is also passionate about quality radio and video production. Jesse will graduate in July of 2016 and hopes to subsequently take up a career in documentary reporting.

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