Yesterday was a very interesting day here in Hanoi. I had the opportunity to practice my French and recall some history lessons that take me back to infancy when my father was drafted to serve in Germany, and later, when an uncle also served in the German occupation. When I was born my father was a foot soldier in the Army, part of the American forces that landed at Normandy during the D-Day invasion in World War II. The presentation I attended here in Vietnam was by a representative of the Ecole de Management de Normandie. Basically it was a presentation on the use of SMART school management software to Vietnamese staff working at the national Ministry of Education and Training.
I was able to join the discussion and engage in conversation with the presenter, using my limited French conversational abilities. Most of the staff here were quite surprised. The presentation was translated into Vietnamese for the general audience. As a college history major, and someone who is just that old, it was a vivid reminder that the U.S. presence in this part of the world is still primarily remembered as a military one. Even before Vietnam, we lead the allies in wars with Japan, the Philippines and Korea.
The French army left Indochina (Vietnam) in 1954. So now Flench tech entrepreneurs sell software to the citizens of one of their former colonies/enemies. C’est bon, n’est pas?