Most public places in Vietnam, especially the brick walls of pagodas, churches or large stone pillars, have sadly become the ‘noticeboard’ for mainly young people to ‘mark’ their arrival at the sites or express their love for boyfriends or girlfriends, according to an opinion piece published in Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Tuesday.
Though writing on public walls is banned in the country and some even call for stricter punishment to prevent it, young people still like committing vandalism, Kim Son and Nhat Nguyen, two readers, said in the column.
The Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica in downtown Ho Chi Minh City is a clear example, with its red brick wall built in the late 19th century marked in cramped handwritings.
The ‘authors’ of the handwritings are mostly young couples expressing their love or arrival at the sites. Some handwriting declares the ‘eternal friendship’ of a group of high school students.
Warnings reading ‘Solemn Site – No Littering’ hung on the wall of the church have failed to prevent vandalism.
The violations have recently become worse with more and more handwriting on the walls.
Another iconic site in the city is the roundabout commonly called ‘Turtle Lake.’
Other public sites such as bus stops and walls along alleys become ‘the place of bad language’ written on them.
Authorities have been urged to mete out stricter punishment, such as community service and even jail terms, to protect architectural sites like the Saigon Notre-Dame Basilica.