In Vietnam, motorbikes are an essential means to make a living for poor labourers. Just like humans, every bike has its own soul and fate.
The motorbike is one of the most common symbols in modern Vietnamese life. The country has over 20 million bikes, which are put to use from the most rural corners of the country to the largest cities; from the coastal dunes to remote mountain roads. No other means of transportation has proven more flexible and suitable for the livelihoods of Vietnamese people than the motorbike.
Not only a means of travel, the motorbike cradles a heavy responsibility: “making a living” for so many people. As wheels turn through sun and the rain, dust and the hustle of outdoor markets and city streets, dodging every treacherous corner of hardship, they carry with them the tears of their owner’s determination in the everlasting search for hope and happiness. On and on, the poor motorbikes are squeezed to their last drops.
The bike carries on its back a small world. People burden it with everything and anything they can, including mountains of fresh fruit and vegetables, potted trees and flowers, construction equipment, livestock or the entire extended family—all the while riding it as fast as they can. The bike’s technical limitations don’t matter. Neither do traffic laws. Driven by a natural and irrevocable mission we all share in bettering our own lives, people “bike” their living, knowing that their loved ones are depending upon the wages of their daily journeys.
Using a motorbike in Vietnam has become an art form combining the art of loading, driving, and mapping the safest and quickest way to reach the destination without losing their way.
The bike’s fate is linked to its owner. Many in Vietnam draw their last breaths on their bikes. No longer a senseless object, the bike becomes a shoulder to cry on, a soul to share.
The bike-load has become the bikelihood…
Lê Ngọc Huy
Vũ Việt Dũng
Nguyễn Việt Hùng
Trần Hà Nguyên
Format: 26mm by 18 mm, landscape
Pages: 96 pages with 84 full color photographs of bikes
Paper: 150gsm couche
Ethnic and Cultural Publishing House (2011)
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