Travelling gives you wisdom and experience that is beyond words and I am extremely lucky to have been able to tour to various parts of the world, though, most of it has been work related; Lollypop has made me explore European and Western world mostly to meet either new clients or catch up with the old ones. And, this time I feel like I have struck a jackpot – Vietnam!
This city has energy and vibes that is so enthralling that you have to take a step back and let the moment sink in. It’s fascinating how this place has witnessed endless battles, survived worst of the times and yet is one of the south-east Asia's fastest-growing economies. Honestly, humans and economies never fail to appal me, Vietnam, labelled as a third world (by Western Economy) has fought three decades of bitter wars against them itself to gain independence. It just took me mere FOUR days, to have an absolute new outlook of this country. I have gained an unparalleled respect and love for this country. The constant urge to explore and discover this city made me dig a bit further and I have broken this article into 3 parts that amused me the most – City, People and of course Design.
CITY – Ho Chi Minh
Fresh and sparkling; it just makes you fall in love with it. Though, it is 10 times poorer than India, it is way cleaner and better. I have nothing against my country but I have to mention this here because really it’s just about individual’s efforts and attitude that speaks for one’s country and we Indians need to learn this. Another amazing thing about this beauty is BIKES, I personally am a biker by heart and it was an unusual experience to realize that Bike here is the basic medium of travel with no social tags. Be it rich or poor everyone is on bike, there is absolutely no concept of classic, sports or adventure bikes, A Bike is A Bike, simple and plain. And, yes the best way to discover this city is to hop on a “Bike Taxi”.
Next thing that leaves you gaped is the Food; it is just everywhere for dirt cheap. You can gobble all the food you need for less than a quarter and I am talking about healthy, good and nutritious food, now that is what I call a heaven! The city has developed much beyond my expectations and I even heard that everyone is developing a good traffic sense. Unfortunately, during my travel it was raining and I had to travel mostly on taxi which was bit expensive.
A country is made of its people and the beauty of Vietnam equally reflects in its masses. The warmth and welcoming nature of everyone leaves a never fading smile on your face. There is a massive difference between Bangkok & Vietnam; Vietnamese are extremely soft, welcoming and warm hearted. But, the challenge here is of language and communication as not many are well versed with English and one can get stuck if you are outside the city limits. City thrives on service driven attitude and people love their 9 to 5 jobs with 2 hours of break; yes! 2 hours, 1 for food and another for quick power nap. They believe in moving with the flow and have little appetite for innovation. However, when you interact with locals, the keenness to learn and grow throws you off guard and you feel as if you are in a diamond mine, surrounded by precious gemstones.
DESIGN & IT
The best designers are generally rooted in the artists and Vietnamese art has a long and rich history, the earliest examples of which date back as far as the Stone Age. They are amazing when it comes to art and it is wonderful to discover how they are exploring new arenas of branching out; few have opted for print and animation but majority of them have chosen digital design. I was lucky enough to meet few designers and phew, saw some real exceptional work! The most marvellous thing was to know that all designers there knew UI Development by default; an artist turned designer with technical know-how, now that is what I call a master stroke. Here are some of the design samples from the designers I met:
1) This Designer here is amazing visualizer and perfect with design tools, the only challenge was communication gap.
2) This one blew me away! Literally, think of anything that is related to design and she knows it all; an amazing artist, designer, animator and brilliant communicator. One of the jewels, I was talking about.
Though, designs and designers had great impact on me, one thing that did offset me a bit and that was lack of individuality and their own identity; the designs there are predominantly influenced by Western world. However, the willingness of Designers to explore this part of the world given the right opportunity has my hope pinned.
To conclude my experience, all I can say is that a little guidance now to these emerging designing sensations will most definitely take world by design storm. And, I am extremely glad to be discovering them at an early stage. And, I am definitely over-whelmed to realize that Designers around the globe are realizing their worth and they know this is there era.