All posts tagged: Genocide

National Trauma, Collective Memory & Recovery: Vietnam & Cambodia

Vietnam and Cambodia are two beautiful and fascinating countries to visit. I was greatly intrigued by the recent violent histories of both countries and how the path to recovery seems to have led Vietnam and Cambodia in very different directions. Politically and economically, these ¬†differences are glaringly apparent- Vietnam technically remains a communist country and is an Asian economic powerhouse; Cambodia has a complicated, ostensibly democratic though often corrupt government with an economy which has failed to match that of its neighbours. But even for the most casual visitor, uninterested in politics or economics, the differences and the impact they’ve had on the national psyche are clear to see. Here, I look at how Vietnam and Cambodia’s recovery from national trauma can be interpreted through one particular lens- that of their attitude and view of foreigners and tourists. The first surprise I had in Vietnam was the abruptness and at times, downright unfriendliness, of the people. As someone who’s enjoyed many a good bowl of pho on London’s Kinsland Road, I was expecting the same …