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February 11, 2004

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Western companies make a comeback in Ho Chi Minh City. Real McDonalds, Pizza Huts, and 7-11's have replaced fake ones yet Rolex copies remain for under $5. Gucci, Boss, and every other designer label sells wares in chic, glistening stores. American and French labels enjoy the most popularity because the Vietnamese prefer to conduct business with old enemies. In the consumer free-for-all, almost everything goes. The communist government will not protect trademarks, copywrites, or intellectual property. However, they preserve cultural integrity. No one is allowed to open an "Uncle Ho's Hamburgers." And though KFC flourishes all over Vietnam, don't mention any resemblance of Ho Chi Minh to Colonel Sanders.
Wrong clothes and hat to enter the Miss Saigon contest.