Jobs are quite comparable all over the world, but not the setting. When coming to Vietnam I was instantly fascinated by the presence of ambulant hairdressers. You’ll find them almost everywhere, in back alleys, on sidewalks, in parks, next to markets, on bicycles. Half a century ago dozens of outdoor barbers would line a street, bringing along essential tools to get the job done. Time has slightly changed. There is still a demand for low-cost haircuts, furthermore not anyone can afford the rental fees for a proper barbershop. The more the country develops, the more these nostalgic scenes vanish. One of the Vietnamese outdoor barbers within my photo set is a former machinist. As the son of a UN-worker, Cường alias „Mr. Libor“ (so his Czech name) had been educated in the Czech Republic. Besides Russia, Cuba and China one of the countries having excellent ties with (northern) Vietnam. When returning back to Hanoi from his venture, he could not find a well-paid job within the field and life felt just too hectic anyway. So he decided to avoid the system and to become an outdoor barber. Done within one month. He currently gets around 5 to 6 hair jobs done a day, the rest of the time he watches movies on his phone. If he wants to improve, I asked Cường. He’s more than happy he told me, even he’d like to own a nice shop one day. Since so many Vietnamese are in need of a cheap haircut, his self-taught proficiency lets him survive well. Cường is just one out of thousands of Asian outcasts, who are working as self mades without a work registration. Many Asian countries allow their citizens a lot of space to survive. So does Vietnam. Paying governmental taxes is sort of „not compulsory“, therefore a good amount of street sellers are going for the risk. Social insurance pensions are insufficient to live on, and the vast majority of elderly people in Vietnam still depend on their families to care for them regardless of whether or not they receive a pension.
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