National Geographic : 1961 Oct
National Geographic, October, 1961 sent direct questions. And you address them by family rank. If a man is third among his brothers, he's Ong Ba, Mister Three. "You see, many people fear that giving their names exposes them to some evil. A pious Vietnamese also has a secret name, known only to himself and his parents." And his wife? "Hardly," said Marcel. "That would give her power over his life. He wouldn't risk it." I could see what Dinh had meant. Ameri can style salesmanship - the folksy approach of the public relations man-was not likely to succeed in rural Viet Nam. And Viet Nam is 80 percent rural. Back in Saigon I found new sights. At dawn, Frenchmen sculling on the river; at night, shoe-shine boys with chalk playing ticktacktoe on the sidewalk. The first rains whipped down, and the pedicab drivers put up canvas to keep their passengers dry. With only a tiny slit to peer through, I felt whizzed along in a fast canvas bag. One night I dined at the air-conditioned Caravelle Hotel (page 449): fair French food, a fairly good American-style band, and a check big enough to meet the cash needs of a family along the Tay Ninh road for half a year. I walked down Tu Do Street to the piers.