Monday, September 17, 2007

From VIR's Timeout: Burning down the house

With the increasing affluence in Vietnam perhaps it’s no small wonder that even votive offerings now cater for the nouveau riche in the next life. Minh Phuong reports...
Now back in the 1980s people would have offered votive money or clothes, which are pretty cheap and simple to make but also conceptually speaking an obvious gesture. Rich families might also have burnt a votive maid when the master of the house died. No one wants to break the habit of a lifetime, even in the next life.
Of course, now that the lives, habits and culture of Vietnamese people are diversifying in the modern world the votive offerings are following suite.
Citizens of the underworld are receiving increasingly sanh dieu (hip) offerings such as fancy cars, stately motorbikes, opulent houses and, to make sure cash is on hand, ATM cards.

Yup, votive money is passé. Now people offer latest electronic goods: Nokia N series mobilephone, a SH motor bike, a laptop, a Plasma TV and an Ipod at prices ranging from VND50,0000 to VND150,000 ($3-$9).

“One night, I dreamt of my father complaining about his car. He asked for a Lexus like his neighbour in the underworld,” says Ngan who owns a silk shop on Hang Gai street. “The following morning, I found the perfect kind, a black Lexus, at the Dong Xuan market. It was a bargain at VND100,0000 ($6.5).”

No comments: