Photographer's Note

Road table at Cho lon
Cho lon is a big chinese place in Saigon
The Vietnamese name Cholon literally means "big" (lớn) "market" (chợ). The Chinese name (and original name) of Cholon is 堤岸 (pronounced Tai-Ngon in Cantonese and Dī'àn in Mandarin), which means "embankment" (French: quais). The Vietnamese reading of the Chinese name is Đê Ngạn, but this is rarely used. Vietnamese speakers exclusively use the name Chợ Lớn, while Chinese speakers (both inside Vietnam and in China) are the only users of the latter.

In 1778, the Hoa (Chinese minority of Vietnam) living in Bien Hoa had to take refuge in what is now Cholon because they were retaliated against by the Tay Son forces for their support of the Nguyen lords. In 1782, they were again massacred by the Tay Son and had to rebuild. They built high embankments against the flows of the river, and called their new settlement Tai-Ngon (meaning "embankment" in Cantonese).

Incorporated in 1879 as a city 11 km from Saigon, it had expanded and became coterminous with Saigon by the 1930s. On April 27, 1931, the two cities were merged to form Saigon-Cholon by the French colonial government. By 1956, the name Cholon was dropped from the city name and the city was known primarily as Saigon.

During the Vietnam War, soldiers and deserters from the United States Army maintained a thriving black market at Cholon, trading in various American and especially U.S Army-issue items.

Today, Cholon especially attracts many Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese tourists. It was a primary setting of Marguerite Duras's autobiographical novel The Lover (1984), where the young French girl makes love for the first time with her Chinese lover, and Gontran de Poncins wrote a description of his time living there in From a Chinese City (1957).

mikeyeats ha puntuado esta nota como útil.

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Additional Photos by Bernard Decaudin (bernardec) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 161 W: 0 N: 46] (2241)
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