Cholon Is Saigon’s Oldest Surviving Chinatown

It was the Thean Hou Temple in Cholon Chinatown, Saigon I photographed and its history dates back to 1778. Loved the spiral incense coils inside the temple.

It was a bittersweet experience when I met an elderly and kindly local Chinese man outside the temple. We conversed in Cantonese. Finding out that I am from Malaysia, he asked me whether the Chinese are treated fairly. Surprised by the question, I didn’t really know how to reply to it and I told him: “We will survive, just like how your community did in Vietnam” He smiled and nodded his head in agreement. Coincidentally, an old Chinese man in Jakarta asked me the same thing. So did a Chinese man in Manila Chinatown.

For a lone traveler, it was a comforting yet an awkward experience meeting a concerned member of the far flung diaspora.

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