This article examines the role of rickshaws in colonial Hà Nội and Sài Gòn. The rickshaw was the most popular form of transportation between 1910 and 1935. Rickshaw circulation gave rise to issues of hygiene, safety, traffic control, taxation, convenience, comfort, aesthetics, accessibility, uses of public space, and morality. These increasingly contentious issues were debated within municipal councils, and also by the press and the public. Large French companies dominated rickshaw manufacturing while the downtrodden condition of rickshaw pullers sparked a debate among Vietnamese journalists and intellectuals who urged the suppression or reform of the trade.
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