Skip to main content

Cu Chi Tunnels - Vietnam

The cu chi is a fruit, but less well known as the tunnels named after them on the outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. When the city was officially called Saigon, the tunnels were a labyrinth of physical access, supply routes and community living intentionally hidden from society on the surface, as they housed the Vietcong, with which US forces and the South Vietnamese army engaged militarily, in the many years of the war in the sixties and early seventies of the 20th century, now referred to as the Reunification War.  An underground network, the tunnels played a pivotal role to successfully turn the tide of victory for Ha Noi - and was especially critical in the Tet offensive of 1968 on Saigon city itself.  Today the forested area caters to tourists, local and foreign, to echo the harsh and challenging life of the soldier fighting on the side of their leader, Ho Chi Minh.   The tunnels, with air shafts, were used to connect spaces storing weapon caches, those serving as secret field hospitals and corners utilised as kitchens and living quarters.  The nature of the environment with such narrow tunnels nurtured the spread of malaria.  Above photo captures a present day army cobbler making leather foot gear as was practised  during wartime.

Remnants and reminders of the American military involvement can easily be seen in dilapidated tanks
displayed on site (picture above) and in huge craters resulting form the carpet bombing of the area by B52 bombers.   A visit to the tunnels today does not reveal the extent of rats, spiders, centipedes, scorpions and ants that infest such accommodation. Our guide reminded us that the original tunnels were much narrower than what is existing today.  I did not go beyond the first stage of the four phased tunnel climb earmarked for tourists. On coming out of the tunnels, we washed our hands, legs and elbows on a trough with water flowing from a makeshift pipe system.  From Saigon city centre, it easily took  travelling of around 70 kilometres to reach the tunnels.

Visitors can take quiet paced strolls under the canopy of the tropical forest (above), or try their skills in a shooting range and even observe chickens in a placid village-like setting (photo below).  Such calm experiences does not fully reveal the extent of conflict and violence raging on the same grounds a half century ago.  I did wonder how the area would look and feel like on a wet rainy day.  Would the water run into the tunnels, or the drainage has been designed well enough to prevent flooding underground?   We were given rough and ready yam snacks to remind us of the lifestyle for those living in the Cu Chi Tunnels during wartime. Our guide, Mr Hye, also gave a talk to accompany a Government issued movie in a make shift hall on premises.

The Cu Chi Tunnels were laden with punji stake pits and vicious forms of booby traps for the unsuspecting soldier from the other side.   It was an Australian specialist engineering troop (known as 3 Fd Tp) which discovered and realised the significance of the tunnels and passed that information to the American forces.  Grenades were thrown into the tunnel entrances to flush out any hiding forces from the enemy side. The dexterity and passion of the individuals living in such tunnels for a personal belief and cause cannot be under estimated.


Popular posts from this blog

Chung Ling Alumni Association Petaling Jaya Klang Valley

Telephone Contact:  +603 7957 0318

85 Degrees Bakery Cafe Hurstville NSW

There are several outlets of this bakery cafe for several years now in Australia.  Did they coem from the USA?

Each franchised outlet is in a busy area, often in suburbs so-called by a diverse Asian demographic.   The one in Hurstville is rather roomy and lots of baked stuff on its shelves.   The base of Sydney operations is in Chester Hill, a suburb south-west of the Sydney city centre.

Some of the cake creations would be viewed as rather leaning on the East Asian dimension  - Strawberry Angel (with chocolate base and top) and Mango Cheese ( with yoghurt).   However, to counter this perspective, there are also Death by Chocolate, US Cheesecake, Coffee Brulee and Blueberry Marble options.    

The pastries are definitely filled with ingredients more suited to perhaps Anime loving fans and non-mainstream cultures - for example, garlic, pork, tuna, green tea, red bean, shallots, pork floss, coconut, Hokkaido butter cream and Boroh or pineapple buns.   Sung seems to be a variation emphasised…

Penang - Lor Mee

Lor mee is another of those street foods that are not commonly available in Western societies, but are easily found in southern China, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore. The dish is iconic of the Teochew Province in China and has been mainly brought to equatorial climes by immigrants over the last few centuries. It combines snippets of ingredients in a thick savoury sauce. Above, the lor mee with roast pork and sliced hard boiled egg accompaniments at the Fong Sheng Cafe, along Lorong Selamat in Georgetown, Penang - the place was introduced by May Wah and Henry Quah.

The cafe harks back to the seventies or eighties - and maybe earlier - what caught my eye were (above) freshly blended fruit and/or vegetable juices and (below) metal and plastic contraptions of the food trade.

Hot and cold drinks are easily on offer from the cafe (above and below) at very reasonable prices.

Another version of the dish (below) taken whilst Bob Lee was enjoying them in another cafe or coffee shop in Georgetown…