Vietnam: North Versus South, the Oldest Rivalry in the Books

North Korea, South Korea, the American Civil War, if you Google, “North/South Rivalries” the first links you get are, “Australian Regional Divides,” “North-South Divide – England,” and “Why is there a rivalry between north and south Italians?” – it is tale of two sections that is as old as time. 

In Vietnam the Descartian divide happened in 1954 at the Geneva Convention. The French were finally willing to give up their colonies, and so Laos, Cambodia and two halves of Vietnam were established. Vietnam was given two years to work out how to bring North and South together – which never happened, cause well, The War happened.

The South, the Capitalists (supported by the US) went to war with The North, the Communists (supported by the Soviets and China). When the war “started” is debatable, but it ended in 1975, with Northern tanks storming Independence Palace in Saigon. 

A couple of generations later and the divide still remains. It is one country now, the capital is Hanoi, in the north. The main city is in the South, officially named Ho Chi Minh City, but anyone who grew up there still calls it Saigon. 

Since few people want to keep talking about the war, Southerners have a less political theory when it comes to the differences between a Southerner and a Northerner – and it all boils down to boat decorations. 

Like any old canvas whose tale gets turned into a movie starring Tom Hanks will tell you, the clues are in the paint, in this case, the paint around the eyes. 

See, Vietnamese fishing boats have eyes at the front: they help “navigate” and “ward off monsters”

In the South fishing boats reside in the Mekong Delta, a lush warm area full of fish and vegetation. Life is “easy” cause you can always eat. Therefore, their eyes are round and trusting, they don’t have much to worry about.

Southern Round Eyes

But, the more north you go, the colder it gets (way up north it gets so cold they only get one rice harvest a year), the less trusting you can be – and so, the eyes on the boats get slanted. 

Central Vietnam Slanted Eye Boats

And thus, a separation of people is explained by artistic styles. 

Of course, this is just a Southern opinion, I don’t know what a Northerner would say about it – but there is definite truth to the fact that most arguments do all boil down to food. 

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