Nestled in a leafy park between a rusting Soviet fighter jet and the old East German Embassy, a lonely statue of Lenin stands in the center of Hanoi as a symbol of the Russian revolutionary's inspiration to communist-ruled Vietnam.

Yet in 1986, one year after the statue was erected, Vietnam embarked on its comprehensive program of doi moi reforms, which transformed the country from a war-torn agrarian basket case into one of Asia's fastest-growing economies.

Today, Hanoi's "Lenin Park" is popular not for Vietnamese paying homage to their communist roots, but for a dedicated crew of skateboarders.