Clones, copies, and the real M’Coy


Just when I thought I was suffering from writers block again, I was encouraged by Yvonne from Oz to keep it going. All it takes is a comment or suggestion to jog the memory or set me off in a direction.

 Is it real or a copy? This is a very common question one has to ask here. There are copies of everything, or so it seems. Back in 1999 I wondered at how carefully cellophane wrappers and plastic bottles were treated. When I asked why, I was told the they could be used again. Huh? I did not get it at the time until I discovered my own niece and nephew refilling some sunlight detergent bottles with a home made concoction that worked OK for washing dishes, but was something that was used locally with a perfume added. To this day I get a chuckle every time I go shopping for household items. Sunlight liquid now has a holographic seal on the cap screw to prevent the reusing of their bottles. There are so many things copied or cloned here that a person has a very difficult time deciding weather it is worth the money. Not only are there copies, but there are different qualities of copies. A person can go to purchase a roles watch. There can be a number of different watches all having a similar look that will be presented with the sales person touting about the quality. I have purchased the top of the line clones for about 30 dollars. I took them back to Canada with me and even had a watch dealer inspect it to see if it was a fake. I was told that if it was a fake, it was one of the best he had ever seen, and in the end, he was not sure. It lasted for years without problems and only started sticking when I returned to Vietnam. I ended giving it to a street person that was genuinely poor but not begging. Her eyes light up even though she new it was not running. I was going to replace it with the same, but it turns out that I no longer need a watch. I do not even know what day of the week it is……. Oh dear me!! I started rambling….. anyway, back to replicas. There are two kinds of copies here. Clones that are exactly made to look if it was original, or copies that also look identical

a small island lane

but the different manufacturer names are visible. Let us take motorcycles for example as I have both. Li’l sissy proudly displays the Yamaha name with all the shiny bells and whistles that come with the honor. A pretty bike that even the Yamaha dealers think their own until……. I need a part. Wait!!!! The part does not fit, or the screw holes do not line up. Hmmmmmm… I have a clone. Li’l sissy is an exact replica in all visual aspects of the original Yamaha, however, it was built in China to look the same and parts have to be custom made to fit. Then there is Puffy… A honda Dream 2. This is a copy. Even though is supports the name Dream 2, there is no Honda name on it. As a matter of fact, someone added the name Hongda (Hong being a persons name) to it and I find it so amusing, I leave it. The engine and body displays the Korean name, but it still looks exactly like the Honda…. It even sports the same

BBQ scallops with peanuts

 model name.

So we have motorcycles, watches, and dish soap that is counterfeit….. What else? In the past… everything, now not so much so. If you go to the market you will find bags by Gucci and clothing by Tommy. Many other trade names that will lure you to the shop. Some of them are very easy to recognize as copies because of misspelling, or other flaws, but some ate excellent copies right down to serial numbers and holographic images. So how can you know if you are buying the real thing or a copy??? EASY!!!!   You get what you pay for…. Even in the markets where you have to negotiate hard. Here is an example of how a reluctant buyer proceeds. (ME)

I was in the Ben Thanh Market. I was upset because I had looked for White


Diamonds perfume in all the high end shops in downtown Saigon and had no luck. I spotted a bottle of the perfume in a small kiosk in the market. It had to be fake!! No way a mom and pop shop could have this rare commodity. They insisted it was real and I of course did not believe them, but because of desperation to please my wife, I fought hard for the deal. There was no way I could get them below 30 dollars which is a large amount in Vietnam for a purchase. If it was fake, they would have probably dropped to 10 or 15. I made the purchase and to my utter delight, my wife declared it authentic.

There are many retail high fashion shops here that now sell the original products (so I assume), but ironically, across the street you can purchase something that looks exactly the same for 1/10th of the cost, but buyer beware….. you get what you pay for…. If you are going to buy the clone or copy….. buy the best, it will do you good.

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

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