Each week, one of our readers tells us about his past self isolation in Saigon.
On March 25, 2010, I was flying from France to Hanoi in Vietnam to make a one-year trip in Southeast Asia and, as it’s often the rule during a long trip, things never go as planned. After only a week in Hanoi, I bought a motorbike (125 Classic Honda) and my road trip around Asia therefore began. I did not imagine that day how much this motorbike would change my life, to the point of settling myself in Bangkok ten months later and to be finally here today in Saigon.
After spending nine years in Bangkok, I moved to Saigon on December 1, 2019 to develop a project in Vietnam. I just hadn’t foreseen the unthinkable, the collapsing of our world under our helpless and dumbfounded eyes, placing us in front of our responsibilities. Was our beautiful planet suddenly giving us feedback about what we deserved ? Possible. A virus has been sufficient to place most of the world’s population in quarantine and has atomized an infernal machine to pauperize: the neoliberal ideology.
That was the surreal beginning under strange circumstances of my new life here in Vietnam, my new host country. However, there are many ways to experience a drama and I think we remain in control of our own destiny. So I entrenched myself in an art deco bunker located in Thao Dien, D2, La Rosa Service Apartment, a haven of peace in the heart of district 2, fifteen minutes by motorbike from the business district of Saigon.
There on the rooftop, a magnificent swimming pool is located with a breathtaking view of the Landmark 81 tower and Saigon and from which I was watching the world fall apart. Even if I felt a little guilty about this privileged situation in such luxury confinement, for me it has been a real opportunity that came at the right time. First, I took the time to live, read, write, think, cook, listen to music, watch films and documentaries, play sports, create, re-read Nietzche, Aurèle, and other classic philosophers as well as some contemporary thinkers like Michel Onfray, Eric Zemmour, Natacha Poloni, Alain Finkielkraut, Régis Debré, Michel Houellebecq…
It was also a good time to delve back into art history to remember how great humanity is when it comes to give the best of itself, to think about the notion of time, and how it’s necessary to take it to be able to think properly. Then I worked on the projects that led me to settle in Saigon: The opening of La Rosa Art Gallery, a contemporary art gallery located at La Rosa Residence scheduled to open July 1, 2020 and Art Consulting Asia, a company aiming to link the hospitality business with artists, designers, and interior decorators.
The moral of this story? The Covid 19 has had at least one positive consequence: The regeneration of our ecosystem, but for how long? What will come after Covid? This time, mother nature forced us to this introspection but I doubt that there will be a second warning.
We have to remember that nature has all the rights and that we remain at its disposal. This health crisis dramatically shows the ideological weakening of the neo-liberal West in front of the Asian tigers and in front of a Confucian persuasion, which place the interest of the community before individual rights. The demonstration of the management of the Covid-19 crisis by Vietnam was flawless, and shows that with limited defenses the country proved its capacity for resilience, its double sense of organization and the art of mobilizing its population to fight against a common enemy.
Pics Eric Monteil – La Rosa apartments