​In Ho Chi Minh City, New Year’s Eve means extra business to laborers

These laborers took to the sidewalk in search of extra business or worked longer hours than usual to make the most of the influx of people flocking to the downtown area on Sunday night, New Year’s Eve. At 7:00 pm, Tran Van Tan, 52 and his wife pushed their cart loaded with bike-fixing tools to Dien Bien Phu Street, Binh Thanh District. Bong and her mentally retarded son’s cart was loaded with more scrap than usual. Photo: Tuoi Tre Around 11:00 pm, when the clock was about to strike midnight, his hands and clothing were stained with lubricants. “We generally go home at 11:00 pm, but we’ll stay on longer tonight to earn some more,” Tan said, adding he also called on his younger brother to share the increased workload. Tan normally does different menial jobs to eke out a living, from fixing motorbikes, delivering goods, repairing household appliances to working as a xe om (motorbike taxi) driver. A sanitation worker is busy clearing the streets of trash as usual. Photo: Tuoi Tre Meanwhile, a small-built woman with a bent back was painstakingly picking up scrap on Tang Nhon Phu Street, District 9. The woman, in her 80s, was Bong, who weighed less than 35kg and could not remember her full name or real age. Her mentally challenged son, who was about 45 years old, was pushing a home-built cart loaded with scrap. A Russian woman peddles pictures on Nguyen Hue Pedestrian Street in downtown Ho Chi Minh City on…

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