1. In 1903, the modern part of Hanoi was struck by Bubonic Plague. The large sewers in the modern part of the city, a symbol of modernity, were an ideal and protected breeding ground for rats. These sewers served as a great transport system, allowing them to move around the entire city and even entering the homes of the French.
2. A ‘Rat Hunt Scheme’ was started to stem this invasion and the French hired Vietnamese workers and paid them for each rat they caught. As the rats began to be caught by thousands, those who entered the sewers to do this dirty work, found that they could come together to initiate a higher bounty.
3. They also discovered innovative ways to profit from the situation. As the bounty was paid when the tail was given as a proof of the killing of the rat, the rat catchers took to just clipping the tails and releasing the rats, so that the process could be repeated over and over again. Some people also began raising the rats to earn a bounty.
NOTE – The spread of Plague in the city of Hanoi forced the French to launch the rat hunt scheme. However, cleverly, the Vietnamese took advantage of the situation in calculating their benefits. In these ways, they not only tried to manipulate the French rulers but also expressed their anger towards colonization.
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