Constant struggles with traffic jams and flooding make me doubt the value of Saigon life

By Duc Tan   May 24, 2024 | 11:00 pm PT
Constant struggles with traffic jams and flooding make me doubt the value of Saigon life
A motorcyclist gets stuck in the floodwater during heavy rain on Duong Van Cam Street in Thu Duc City, May 20, 2024. Photo by VnExpress/Quynh Tran
As Ho Chi Minh City entered the rainy season, I've been facing a daily ordeal of heavy rain, traffic jams, and flooding.

Twice every day, once in the morning on my way to work and again in the evening returning home, I endure this challenging combination. It makes me wonder if it's all worth it.

I live in Thu Duc City and work at an office in a central district, earning about VND10 million (US$393) a month. I do not dream of buying a house or owning a car. However, the other day, while stuck in traffic, I saw a metro train on a trial run, heading from the downtown area toward Suoi Tien in Thu Duc. High above, the train moved swiftly and smoothly, while I and hundreds of others were crammed below.

Many, like myself, probably thought: If only public transport were more developed, we wouldn't have to suffer like this.

Heavy rain, traffic jams, and flooded streets have become all too familiar each rainy season. They are a nightmare, especially for those who, to save money, accept living far from their workplaces.

One evening, riding home in the pouring rain and through flooded streets, I thought again: Should I continue living in the city? But the next day, I still went to work, jostling among the crowd.

Like many migrants in the city, I do not have the choice to just leave, as we might not be able to find a job that pays as much back home. But we just hope life in the city could be easier.

The concept of a smart city seems very distant. I just hope that soon there will be a complete public transportation system, giving people like me safer and quicker travel options.

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