Vietnam Gets Reminder of Difficult Past

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HANOI, Vietnam -- A bowl of noodle soup for breakfast was beyond the dreams of most people back in the days before Vietnam's economic reforms...

These memories pour back at an exhibit at Hanoi's Museum of Ethnology titled "Thoi Bao Cap" -- the Subsidized Period...

The show has drawn record crowds and earned praise for its frank depiction of the shortcomings of the past, when the government micromanaged even the smallest economic transactions, consumer goods were scarce, and people lined up for hours for meager rations.

Introduced following the defeat of the French colonialists at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, the system was extended to the whole of the country after the Vietnam War ended in 1975. Then, in the mid-1980s, the government began a gradual program of market-oriented reforms known as Doi Moi, or renovation.

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