From a Chinese City : In the Heart of Peacetime Vietnam

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9781879434004: From a Chinese City : In the Heart of Peacetime Vietnam

A French traveller recounts his experiences living in Cholon, a city near Saigon with a predominantly Chinese population that in the 1950s was more typical of traditional Chinese culture than anyplace in China.

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About the Author:

CULASI

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

It is one o'clock in the morning. The square beneath my balcony is dark and deserted. Suddenly the silence is broken by a melancholy clanging. A moment later a shadow emerges, that of a man on a tricycle. In the middle of the square, he stops his vehicle. A small lamp goes on, needling the darkness with a red flower. Hardly has it started gleaming than five or six shadows surge up from nowhere and surround it, and all at once the night is peopled. But night in the Orient is never totally empty. The man has dismounted and removed a little stove from a drawer in his stall. In no time at all there is hot food, a lamp, and above the lamp, a bouquet of flowers. An entire spectacle has risen up as if conjured from a hat like a rabbit or a lighted cigar. By the time I had got a notebook to sketch the scene, the man had extinguished his stove and folded up his bag of tricks. All was still again.

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