At home with strangers: social exclusion and intimate labor in Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo (2013)
10 Sep 2018
Tunnels and Traps
12 Jan 2012
12 Jan 2012
There is something awry about this tourist site, a few miles away from Ho Chi Minh city. We had a spare day to spent in Vietnam before hopping on a bus en route Cambodia, so a short day trip in Cu Chi Tunnels seems like a great idea. It is an interesting historical site because while it documents the violent struggle for survival of the Vietnamese during the war, the site felt like it was packaged as a “fun” tour, where visitors can play around fitting through the narrow tunnels or looking at how improvised traps ‘work.’ It does not help that some of the ‘traps’ designed by Vietnamese tunnel dwellers are meant to poke fun at American soldiers. Small pendulum swings that target unsuspecting enemies’ genitals and little legholds that do no more than just annoyingly cling unto their enemies’ boots. The remains of shells, rows of hole traps with spikes at the bottom and abandoned army trucks do not hide the brutality that have taken place in the middle of this jungle. Yet there is a glint of humour in the narrow tracks that they have elaborately built underground to ingeniously get away from American airstrikes. These network of subterranean channels connects to underground shelters, schools, hospitals, infantries where they crafted their own armaments by recycling the war weapons of their foes.