Saigoneer | Arts & Culture https://saigoneer.com/ Sat, 24 Feb 2024 03:32:10 GMT FeedCreator 1.8.0-dev (info@mypapit.net) From Tò He to Tamagotchi: Local Designer Brings Our Childhood Toys to Stamps http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26822-from-tò-he-to-tamagotchi-local-designer-brings-our-childhood-toys-to-stamps

For Vietnamese kids today, when it comes to games, there’s a possibility that their childhood is entirely confined to the digital world. From phone applications like Temple Run and Pokemon GO to blockbuster releases on the Nintendo Switch, making your own entertainment is much less of a concern for modern children.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer. Illustrations by Nhi Nguyen.) Sat, 24 Feb 2024 03:19:13 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26822-from-tò-he-to-tamagotchi-local-designer-brings-our-childhood-toys-to-stamps
Meet 90-Year-Old Huỳnh Văn Ba, the Father of Hội An's Foldable Lanterns http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26818-meet-90-year-old-huỳnh-văn-ba,-the-father-of-hội-an-s-foldable-lanterns

In his 90s, Huỳnh Văn Ba’s hair has turned completely silver, but when he was telling me stories about lanterns, his voice and eyes sparkled with a particularly lively hope. Thanks to Ba’s invention — collapsible lanterns — Hội An’s distinctive souvenir can easily follow the footsteps of international tourists to all corners of the globe.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Xuân Phương. Photos by Xuân Phương.) Wed, 21 Feb 2024 09:50:15 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26818-meet-90-year-old-huỳnh-văn-ba,-the-father-of-hội-an-s-foldable-lanterns
In Hà Nội, a Martial Arts Master Preserves the Century-Old Tradition of Dragon Dancing http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26796-in-hà-nội,-a-martial-arts-master-preserves-the-century-old-tradition-of-dragon-dancing

In Vietnam, during festive occasions such as Tết Nguyên Đán (Lunar New Year), mesmerizing dragon dance performances serve to eloquently spell the people's aspiration for fortune, abundance, and propitiousness.

A glimpse into the art of dragon dancing

The dragon has been a symbol of great cultural and spiritual significance in Vietnam since ancient times. Standing at the forefront of the Four Divine Creatures (Dragon, Unicorn, Tortoise, Phoenix), the dragon embodies strength, authority, opulence, and good fortune. Consequently, there is a prevailing belief among elders that the Year of the Dragon, denoted as "Năm Thìn," will usher in a period of substantial prosperity. The dragon also represents ancestral roots due to the folklore of Kinh Vietnamese being descendants of a dragon king and a fairy princess.

The dragon, synonymous with strength and prosperity, has been a defining symbol in Vietnamese culture throughout history.

Given its sacred status, dragon imageries have appeared across different art forms, from architecture, painting, and sculpture to folk theatrics like dragon dances. These vibrant performances take place during festive occasions such as the Lunar New Year, Mid-Autumn Festival, and other celebrations, symbolizing the collective desire for prosperity.

Tracing its roots back to China, dragon dancing has since sprawled across much of Asia. Ancient Hà Nội, known as Thăng Long, is considered the first place in Vietnam where the art took off. Research suggests that dragon dancing in Thăng Long dates back to the 10th century during the Lý Dynasty. Over time, it fused with traditional martial arts and folk dances to become a unique form of art embedded in Vietnamese culture. With its enduring legacy, dragon dance continues to be a popular activity in community events from northern to southern Vietnam.

Dragon dance continues to be a popular activity in community events from northern to southern Vietnam.

Among various forms, fabric dragon dancing prevails. In the South, this variation is believed to have first emerged within the Chinese community around 1944-1945, when Hokkien businessman Trần Bội, owner of Trung Nam soap company, started a troupe comprising his factory workers in Sa Đéc. Another source, however, suggests that the first fabric dragon troupe appeared a few years earlier at Ông Temple in Phan Thiết, where remnants of a revered dragon head remain. After the war, the practice suffered a subdued period until 1987, when the former Hokkien troupe regrouped, establishing its base at Ông Bổn Temple in District 5. Since then, dragon dancing performances have continued to embellish local celebrations.

Preserving Thăng Long's Dragon Dance Tradition

In Hà Nội, particularly in localities such as Chương Mỹ, Thanh Trì, or Sơn Tây, the age-old practice is still cherished by locals. The resounding drums and graceful dragon movements remain a staple during Tết festivities. In its modern iteration, Hà Nội's dragon dancing stays true to its traditional roots while adapting to evolving contemporary tastes, with more than 30 styles developed.

Master Bùi Viết Tưởng Crafting His Troupe's Costume.

In Chương Mỹ, Hà Nội, a young martial arts master dedicates his career to championing the tradition of lion and dragon dancing. As the year of the dragon approaches, amidst busy preparations, Bùi Viết Tưởng and his apprentices find themselves working overtime to meet the surging demand for dragon displays in Hà Nội and neighboring regions. In the biting cold of January, Tưởng's workshop hums with activity, its presence a rare bastion for lion and dragon heads crafting in the capital.

Having started his martial arts training at a young age, Master Bui Viet Tuong later focused on studying the intricate art of lion and dragon dancing. He returned to his hometown to establish a martial arts school and form the Tưởng Nghĩa Đường troupe, hoping to pass on this tradition to future generations of his community.

The making of a dragon costume.

At the workshop, the master and his apprentices diligently cut, sew, and adorn their creations with intense focus. "The dragon-making process involves multiple stages, demanding artisans to be truly patient, meticulous, and appreciative of traditional beauty to spend hours each day decorating every detail, adjusting each part until the dragon takes shape," Tưởng candidly says. Dragon costumes vary in size and color based on the routine, thus allowing for appropriate creativity and variations as needed.

Each fabric dragon costume consists of three parts: head, body, and tail, all attached to bamboo legs. Dragons often sport vibrant colors like red - symbolizing luck, and gold, which represents prosperity. Each dragon head requires 5 to 6 days to complete, while the body and other parts take up to 10 days.

The dragon head is a combination of bamboo, straw, fabric, and decal paper. After being mounted, the dragon head is intricately decorated. Tưởng notes that the material used for the dragon head must be able to withstand all the weather changes through the seasons of the North. Each paint stroke is emphasized to evoke the majestic spirit of this revered creature. The dragon body is crafted from fabric, with scales printed thermally or raised with decal paper. The number of scales can reach thousands, creating a sparkly effect.

In addition to crafting dragons, rigorous training sessions at the club are held well before the Giáp Thìn Lunar New Year. As Tết looms near, the training at the club becomes increasingly rigorous.

Artists performing dragon dance should be experienced in martial arts.

"Dragon dance is a highly artistic form of performance art. It requires artists to skillfully create movements that accurately depict the majestic and powerful aura of the dragon. Therefore, a seamless blend of fluidity and decisiveness is essential for a dragon dancer.

In addition to performance skills, a background in martial arts is crucial," shares Tưởng who draws from his 15 years of experience in both martial arts training and dragon dance. "Anyone looking to engage in dragon dance must undergo a tedious process. Good physical health is a prerequisite to meet the demands of constantly changing movements. Flexible reflexes and resilience are equally important qualities. Hence, those with a martial arts background, adept in various stances and techniques, will quickly adapt to this art form," he explains.

Good coordination determines the success of a dragon dance performance.

The ability to coordinate within the team also determines the success of a dragon dance performance. "How well the team harmonizes to create continuous transformations, maintaining a tight connection among members, is something I always emphasize to my students." The number of members in a dance troupe varies depending on the size of the dragon. For Tưởng Nghĩa Đường, a typical performance involves 9 members. Each member plays a crucial role, although the positions at the head, number 5, and tail are the most physically demanding.

As the one controlling the dragon's head, Đỗ Văn Tới explains, "To make the dragon move gracefully and execute visually appealing movements, the leader must practice sharpness and agility. Precise movements enable other members to follow suit. Additionally, this position is pivotal in handling any unexpected situations during the performance."

Đỗ Văn Tới, the dragon head bearer.

With each Tet celebration and the arrival of spring, rhythmic drumbeats echo through community gatherings. Against the backdrop of village courtyards, majestic dragons coil and sway, a testament to the enduring power of this traditional art form. Dragon dance performances evoke not just fond childhood memories but also the people's aspirations for luck, success, and the ambition to rise resiliently. As long as the younger generations embrace this cultural legacy, its enduring charm remains steadfast.

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uyendo@urbanistvietnam.com (Xuân Phương. Photos by Xuân Phương.) Wed, 07 Feb 2024 09:25:30 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26796-in-hà-nội,-a-martial-arts-master-preserves-the-century-old-tradition-of-dragon-dancing
On Delving Into Vietnam's Eras of Tết Firecrackers via My Family History http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26795-on-delving-into-vietnam-s-eras-of-tết-firecrackers-via-my-family-history

Is it a valid reverie or just mere misguided nostalgia to feel a sense of yearning for lives you’ve never lived?

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Khôi Phạm.) Mon, 05 Feb 2024 04:34:41 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26795-on-delving-into-vietnam-s-eras-of-tết-firecrackers-via-my-family-history
Xông Đất and the Art of Not Letting Randos Into Your Home on Mùng Một http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26794-xông-đất-and-the-art-of-not-letting-randos-into-your-home-on-mùng-một

Tết permeates all areas of life this time of the year, from TV programs to online memes and highly detailed charts, tables, and infographics that guide people to participate in a popular new year activity called xông đất.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Khang Nguyễn. Graphic by Yumi-kito.) Tue, 06 Feb 2024 12:26:53 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26794-xông-đất-and-the-art-of-not-letting-randos-into-your-home-on-mùng-một
In the Year of the Dragon, Confessions of a Supposedly 'Auspicious' Dragon Baby http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26793-in-the-year-of-the-dragon,-confessions-of-a-supposedly-auspicious-dragon-baby

During high school, I learned that babies born in years of the dragon were thought to be “fortunate” and thus, highly sought-after.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Ngọc Hân. Photos by Alberto Prieto.) Fri, 02 Feb 2024 08:39:13 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26793-in-the-year-of-the-dragon,-confessions-of-a-supposedly-auspicious-dragon-baby
On Warmly Welcoming the Whimsy of Wonky Tết Zodiac Statues http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26745-on-warmly-welcoming-the-whimsy-of-wonky-tết-zodiac-statues

Every Tết arrives accompanied by netizens sharing collections of poorly constructed statues of the year’s zodiac animal. Viewing the online collections with colleagues is one of my favorite holiday traditions.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Paul Christiansen. Image by Yumi-kito.) Thu, 01 Feb 2024 08:39:25 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26745-on-warmly-welcoming-the-whimsy-of-wonky-tết-zodiac-statues
When Lịch Bloc Is Gone, What Will Vietnam Use to Keep Discarded Fish Bones? http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26777-when-lịch-bloc-is-gone,-what-will-vietnam-use-to-keep-discarded-fish-bones

I have never bought a lịch bloc, or tear-off calendar, for personal use, because every new year, I'm bound to be gifted a brand-new one. In Vietnam, a calendar is often something one purchases as a present for others.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Khang Nguyễn. Photos by Cao Nhân.) Sun, 28 Jan 2024 01:19:18 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26777-when-lịch-bloc-is-gone,-what-will-vietnam-use-to-keep-discarded-fish-bones
It's Tết: The Liberating Magic of Using Tết as an Excuse for Everything http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26749-it-s-tết-the-liberating-magic-of-using-tết-as-an-excuse-for-everything

I hate excuses.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Paul Christiansen. Photos by Alberto Prieto.) Thu, 01 Feb 2024 03:36:09 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26749-it-s-tết-the-liberating-magic-of-using-tết-as-an-excuse-for-everything
How Choosing My Own Áo Dài Tết Healed My Trauma Over Áo Dài Uniform http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26770-how-choosing-my-own-áo-dài-tết-healed-my-trauma-over-áo-dài-uniform

High school can be a frustrating time in virtually every culture, as seen from the myriad of coming-of-age movies depicting the range of clichés, stereotypes and expressions of teenage angst we all go through. To a female high school student in Vietnam like me, a unique cultural feature that adds another layer to the growing pains is the áo dài uniform I must wear every Monday.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Ngọc Hân. Graphic by Yumi-kito.) Tue, 30 Jan 2024 03:32:08 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26770-how-choosing-my-own-áo-dài-tết-healed-my-trauma-over-áo-dài-uniform
From Vintage Album Covers to 'Bolero,' a Set of 6 Typefaces for Nostalgic Souls http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26752-from-vintage-album-covers-to-bolero,-a-set-of-6-typefaces-for-nostalgic-souls

If you’ve paid attention to shop signs and brand visuals across Vietnam’s cybersphere, you’ve probably come across one of Nguyễn Thế Mạnh's typefaces.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer. Images courtesy of Manh Nguyen.) Mon, 19 Feb 2024 04:34:11 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26752-from-vintage-album-covers-to-bolero,-a-set-of-6-typefaces-for-nostalgic-souls
Revisiting Vietnam's Bootleg DVD Stores, the Dethroned King of Local Entertainment http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26727-revisiting-vietnam-s-bootleg-dvd-stores,-the-dethroned-king-of-local-entertainment

Once upon a time, it was really, really hard to halt the growth of pirated DVD/CD stores in Hanoi. Nowadays, if you take a peek into the window of Hàng Bài Street’s former counterfeit/bootleg DVD stores, here are a few things you will see: CD covers of Taylor Swift albums before her bleached-haired era, a copy of “Now That’s What I Call Music 54,” a Dawn of The Planet of the Apes knock-off, a recording of “Cats” (the musical album, not the film). The entire store is stuck in a not-so-distant past, without any seller or customer. In a bustling Hanoi, the once so-called “Capital of Bootlegs” now lies humbly, nestled quietly in a dormitory’s front corner.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Thùy Trang.) Tue, 23 Jan 2024 05:45:24 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26727-revisiting-vietnam-s-bootleg-dvd-stores,-the-dethroned-king-of-local-entertainment
TIMEZONES Podcast Spotlights Soundscapes, Sound Artists of Hanoi http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26738-timezones-podcast-spotlights-soundscapes,-sound-artists-of-hanoi

The 18th episode of the TIMEZONES podcast series focuses on Hanoi's soundscape through the lens of three female artists. More carefully produced and artistically arranged than the average podcast, the episode layers reflective musings about sound, noise and artistic practices from Nhung Nguyen, Ho Tram Anh and Hoang Thu Thuy atop electronic warblings and urban noises. The three sound artists share their thoughts on the importance of listening despite sonic pollution; how the capital city's auditory topography has been altered in recent years; collaborative musical endeavors; and coping with ongoing gender discrimination. 

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paul@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer. Photos courtesy of TIMZEONES.) Wed, 10 Jan 2024 07:40:57 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26738-timezones-podcast-spotlights-soundscapes,-sound-artists-of-hanoi
Saigon-Based Artist Trần Trung Lĩnh Returns With Pop Art Exhibition http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26713-saigon-based-artist-trần-trung-lĩnh-returns-with-pop-art-exhibition

Following the resounding success of his previous exhibition, Saigon-based artist Trần Trung Lĩnh will present a freshly painted collection of paintings at an event this weekend.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer. Images courtesy of SiLart Station.) Fri, 29 Dec 2023 07:29:46 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26713-saigon-based-artist-trần-trung-lĩnh-returns-with-pop-art-exhibition
The Tale of 2 Vietnamese Christmas Songs: 'Hai Mùa Noel' and 'Bài Thánh Ca Buồn' http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26702-the-tale-of-2-vietnamese-christmas-songs-hai-mùa-noel-and-bài-thánh-ca-buồn

When it comes to local Christmas music, any Vietnamese will hear the melodies of either ‘Bài Thánh ca buồn’ or ‘Hai mùa Noel’ a couple of times every holiday season. Though Christmas is not a native holiday, we adore celebrating it. And of course, Christmas cannot be without music. Though the country has no shortage of festive songs, these two remain pillars of the holiday season. So why not take a trip down memory lane and revisit the songs, or be prepared to have your neighbors karaoke it down memory lane for you.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Ngọc Hân. Graphic by Yumi-kito.) Sat, 23 Dec 2023 14:54:45 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26702-the-tale-of-2-vietnamese-christmas-songs-hai-mùa-noel-and-bài-thánh-ca-buồn
On Searching for Rươi Vendor Street Calls, Hanoi's Harbinger of Autumn http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26706-on-searching-for-rươi-vendor-street-calls,-hanoi-s-harbinger-of-autumn

Embedded in the street call of rươi vendors is the conjuring of autumn, when delectable cuisines from across the land of Vietnam come together on a dinner table.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Thùy Trang. Graphic by Monbu Mai.) Fri, 12 Jan 2024 08:14:48 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26706-on-searching-for-rươi-vendor-street-calls,-hanoi-s-harbinger-of-autumn
The Curious Subculture of Vietnamese New Wave http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/19467-the-curious-subculture-of-vietnamese-new-wave

You never know where a story idea is going to come from.

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matatarski@gmail.com (Michael Tatarski. Top image by Hannah Hoang.) Thu, 21 Dec 2023 03:39:38 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/19467-the-curious-subculture-of-vietnamese-new-wave
How an ABBA Classic Becomes the Anthem of Vietnam's New Year Celebration http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26701-happy-new-year-how-an-abba-classic-becomes-the-anthem-of-vietnam-s-new-year-celebration

Somewhere along the way, an ABBA’s sleeper hit ‘Happy New Year’ has emerged as the go-to musical choice for Vietnamese broadcasters and countdown parties when a new year rings in.

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uyendo@urbanistvietnam.com (Uyên Đỗ. Top image by Yumi-kito.) Thu, 21 Dec 2023 22:24:49 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26701-happy-new-year-how-an-abba-classic-becomes-the-anthem-of-vietnam-s-new-year-celebration
Hem Hem Lights up Saigon With the Electrifying Riffs of Japanese Ska http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/18586-hem-hem-lights-up-saigon-with-the-electrifying-riffs-of-japanese-ska

The cheerful ska tunes combined with insanely energetic and quirky dance moves packed every inch of the indoor space of Indika with heat and pure joy.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Jae Shin. Photos by Alberto Prieto.) Tue, 19 Dec 2023 03:40:09 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/18586-hem-hem-lights-up-saigon-with-the-electrifying-riffs-of-japanese-ska
Saigon, East of New Orleans: The Surprising Global Roots of Vietnam's Funeral Kèn Tây http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/7972-saigon,-east-of-new-orleans-the-surprising-global-roots-of-southern-vietnamese-funeral-marching-bands

Of all the forms of music one hears on the streets of modern-day Saigon, the sounds of the marching bands accompanying funeral processions stand out as absolutely unique.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Craig Duncan. Photos by Lee Starnes.) Thu, 21 Dec 2023 08:57:42 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/7972-saigon,-east-of-new-orleans-the-surprising-global-roots-of-southern-vietnamese-funeral-marching-bands
In Remembrance of Saigon Street Calls Past http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/20840-in-remembrance-of-saigon-street-calls-past

Drowned out by the noises of modernization, sounds that once served as the background to a simpler time have begun to shrink, and eventually become lost in the wheel of progress. Tiếng rao, or street calls, happen to be one of those dying noises, but they remain a poignant reminder of the past for many.

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uyendo@urbanistvietnam.com (Như Quỳnh. Graphic by Hannah Hoàng and Phan Nhi.) Mon, 11 Dec 2023 08:01:52 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/20840-in-remembrance-of-saigon-street-calls-past
In Dialogue With Trần Nữ Yên Khê on Her 'White Blank' Art Exhibition http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26691-in-dialogue-with-trần-nữ-yên-khê-on-her-white-blank-art-exhibition

Tran Nu YênKhê may be most well-known to Vietnamese audiences because of her unforgettable performances in Tran Anh Hung’s Vietnam Trilogy. However, in recent years, YênKhê has become increasingly established as a contemporary artist. In 2019, her sculpture ‘Borderline’ became the first contemporary artwork from Southeast Asia shown at Paris’s Guimet Museum. Upon returning to Vietnam this year, she continues her artistic journey with the solo exhibition “White Blank” at Galerie Quynh in Saigon from October to December of 2023.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Thùy Trang. Images courtesy of Galerie Quynh.) Sat, 09 Dec 2023 22:58:01 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26691-in-dialogue-with-trần-nữ-yên-khê-on-her-white-blank-art-exhibition
In Tây Hồ, an Artisan Community Holds Fast to Their Lotus Tea Traditions http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26690-in-tây-hồ,-an-artisan-community-holds-fast-to-their-lotus-tea-traditions

Every sip of lotus tea encapsulates all the essences of the natural landscapes of Tây Hồ.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Xuân Phương. Photos by Xuân Phương.) Fri, 08 Dec 2023 13:52:01 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26690-in-tây-hồ,-an-artisan-community-holds-fast-to-their-lotus-tea-traditions
Inside the Bình Thạnh Depot Where Retro Military Knick-Knacks Live http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26677-inside-the-bình-thạnh-depot-where-retro-military-knick-knacks-live

“This furniture has been around for many decades, but you can use them normally without the fear of breaking them. Because they are industrial equipment made for the military or office buildings, they were manufactured to be hard as a rock,” explains Hoàng, a vintage military interior enthusiast. This durability is one of the many qualities that made Hoàng fall in love with the furniture, going so far as to set up a unique shop dedicated to them.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Khang Nguyễn. Photos by Cao Nhân.) Thu, 30 Nov 2023 09:41:17 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26677-inside-the-bình-thạnh-depot-where-retro-military-knick-knacks-live
The Haunting Beauty in Một Mét Studio's Vintage Photography Experiments http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26669-the-haunting-beauty-in-một-mét-studio-s-vintage-photography-experiments

“With the wet collodion process, when you get your portrait shot, it really cannot lie; it really reveals the story of your life on your face. You will see through your make-up, through the tattoos; there are no wrinkles, no scars that can be hidden. People really see themselves in a new light,” Hugo Armano, the assistant at Hội An’s Một Mét Studio, explained to Saigoneer. 

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paul@saigoneer.com (Paul Christiansen. Photos by Một Mét Studio.) Wed, 29 Nov 2023 09:18:29 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26669-the-haunting-beauty-in-một-mét-studio-s-vintage-photography-experiments
Art Direction of Ngọt's Gieo Album Nominated for Best Package at 2024 Grammys http://saigoneer.com/saigon-arts-culture/26648-art-direction-of-ngọt-s-gieo-album-nominated-for-best-package-at-2024-grammys

Over the weekend, the Recording Academy unveiled the coveted list of nominees for the 2024 Grammys. Amongst the likes of Taylor Swift, Olivia Rodrigo and SZA, a Vietnamese name stood out, much to the delight of local netizens.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer.) Mon, 13 Nov 2023 09:02:59 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-arts-culture/26648-art-direction-of-ngọt-s-gieo-album-nominated-for-best-package-at-2024-grammys
In Quện's Live Sets, Đà Lạt's Everyday Corners Turn Spontaneous Stages http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26644-in-quện-s-live-sets,-đà-lạt-s-everyday-corners-turn-spontaneous-stages

All attention was aimed towards the same direction, the one where an accident had just taken place. Near 24C, Hoàng Diệu Street in the city of Đà Lạt, two vehicles collided. The shock and chaos attracted the curious looks of pedestrians and drivers alike. Timely isolated percussion further enhance the puzzling scene that was captured from multiple angles. You can see the whole thing for yourself at 41:30 in “Quện Mix Nhã Nhạc Vol 5,” a recording of a live vinyl DJ set, at an old-school hair salon in Đà Lạt. This accidental cinematic moment of real-life spontaneity juxtaposed with a passion for good music captures well the spirit of Quện - Sound Collage

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Nguyệt. Photos courtesy of Quện.) Tue, 14 Nov 2023 12:50:28 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26644-in-quện-s-live-sets,-đà-lạt-s-everyday-corners-turn-spontaneous-stages
Bodies of Work Shred, Re-Shaped at 'White Noise' Exhibition http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26633-bodies-of-work-shred,-re-shaped-at-white-noise-exhibition

A dystopian setting where the human body appears scattered, its parts eerily dismembered, its desires and beliefs examined by the hands of a machine is fictionalized in the “White Noise” exhibition, now on show at the Nguyen Art Foundation (NAF). Within the imagined route of an ant, the gore and glory of a distant past, once dominated by humans, slowly reveals itself.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Elise Luong. Photos courtesy of Nguyen Art Foundation.) Fri, 03 Nov 2023 04:28:49 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26633-bodies-of-work-shred,-re-shaped-at-white-noise-exhibition
Local Illustrator Recreates Saigon's Convenience Stores as Adorable Cartoon Houses http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26573-local-illustrator-recreates-saigon-s-convenience-stores-as-adorable-cartoon-houses

In the early 2010s, convenience stores emerged as an affordable alternative for Vietnamese youths, especially those with limited disposable income, to chill. A decade later, the widespread mushrooming of these corner shops is proof that cửa hàng tiện lợi is now an indispensable part of the local urban tapestry, and they are here to stay.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer. Illustrations by Nguyên Sinh.) Fri, 06 Oct 2023 09:20:23 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26573-local-illustrator-recreates-saigon-s-convenience-stores-as-adorable-cartoon-houses
How Richie Fawcett's Saigon Sketches Illuminate a Decade of Change http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26551-how-richie-fawcett-s-saigon-sketches-illuminate-a-decade-of-change

It’s been hidden right there in the heart of Saigon for over half a decade. 

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Garrett MacLean. Photos by Alberto Prieto.) Thu, 28 Sep 2023 12:27:19 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26551-how-richie-fawcett-s-saigon-sketches-illuminate-a-decade-of-change
Phan Thiết's Vibrant Whale Worship Festival Reflects Vietnam's Rich Animist Traditions http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26550-phan-thiết-s-vibrant-whale-worship-festival-reflects-vietnam-s-rich-animist-traditions

Whale worship started from a folk belief harbored by fishermen seeking help from the gods to endure the arduous days spent at sea, but over time, it grew to become one of the most prominent spiritual practices of Vietnam’s fishing communities, especially in Phan Thiết. This reverence of whales reflects the people’s fervent passion for life, and a benevolent coastal culture that seeks harmony between mankind and nature.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Xuân Phương. Photos by Xuân Phương.) Wed, 27 Sep 2023 10:46:47 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26550-phan-thiết-s-vibrant-whale-worship-festival-reflects-vietnam-s-rich-animist-traditions
In Gò Vấp, a 'Floating Temple' Stands the Test of Time and River Currents http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26528-in-gò-vấp,-a-floating-temple-stands-the-test-of-time-and-river-currents

On an isle amid the Vàm Thuật river in Gò Vấp District, Phù Châu Temple, colloquially known among locals as the “floating temple,” has welcomed religious practitioners looking for a serene quarter in fast-paced Hồ Chí Minh City for over three centuries.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Khang Nguyễn. Photos by Alberto Prieto.) Tue, 19 Sep 2023 14:15:03 GMT http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26528-in-gò-vấp,-a-floating-temple-stands-the-test-of-time-and-river-currents
On the Hunt for One-of-a-Kind Treasures in Saigon's Thriving Thrift Shops http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26511-on-the-hunt-for-one-of-a-kind-treasures-in-saigon-s-thriving-thrift-shops

In the summer of 2021, Hương Nguyễn decided to pivot away from her office job and launch an online thrift store called Vintage Hearts. She was motivated by how difficult it was to find clothing in Saigon that reflected her personal style — what she used to describe as “inspired by foreign pop singers on Pinterest,” she tells me, but what is now known as “Y2K,” or “year two thousand.” 

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Elyse Phạm. Graphic by Mai Khanh.) Sat, 16 Sep 2023 06:55:14 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26511-on-the-hunt-for-one-of-a-kind-treasures-in-saigon-s-thriving-thrift-shops
Ocean Vuong Brings Vietnamese Text, Original Photos to Helmut Lang Collection http://saigoneer.com/saigon-arts-culture/26510-ocean-vuong-brings-vietnamese-text,-original-photos-to-helmut-lang-collection

Peter Do, the recently named Creative Director of the storied fashion brand Helmut Lang, enlisted writer Ocean Vuong to provide text and photos for his debut collection.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer.) Wed, 13 Sep 2023 09:30:02 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-arts-culture/26510-ocean-vuong-brings-vietnamese-text,-original-photos-to-helmut-lang-collection
In Huế, an Interdisciplinary Exhibition Opens Literal and Metaphorical Doors http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26497-“behind-doors-the-melody-of-rain”-opens-literal-and-metaphorical-doors

“I cannot stop opening doors,” Phan Lê Hà said in regard to the physical objects that reappear throughout her creative works.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Paul Christiansen. Photos by Trần Quang Trung.) Mon, 11 Sep 2023 10:23:08 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26497-“behind-doors-the-melody-of-rain”-opens-literal-and-metaphorical-doors
The Artist Preserving Saigon's Cultural Tapestry Through Hand-Painted Signs http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26496-the-artist-preserving-saigon-s-cultural-tapestry-through-hand-painted-signs

"In the early 2000s, the market experienced an exodus of painters due to the shift to digital; it was difficult to retain customers otherwise. I didn't want my craft to be forgotten, so I started everything all over,” Nguyễn Hoài Bảo told me in Vietnamese when I visited his studio.

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uyendo@urbanistvietnam.com (Như Quỳnh. Photos by Alberto Prieto. Top image by Tú Võ.) Tue, 05 Sep 2023 08:33:52 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26496-the-artist-preserving-saigon-s-cultural-tapestry-through-hand-painted-signs
Train to Biên Hòa: A Day Trip Into Suburbia From Saigon http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26479-train-to-biên-hòa-a-day-trip-into-suburbia-from-saigon

When Saigoneer first announced a few weeks ago that Vietnam’s railway network would be the centerpiece of our next themed article series, a number of readers joked in the comment section that who in their right mind would love Vietnamese trains.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Khôi Phạm. Photos by Cao Nhân.) Sun, 27 Aug 2023 03:07:59 GMT http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26479-train-to-biên-hòa-a-day-trip-into-suburbia-from-saigon
A Mosaic of Vietnam's Landscapes Through the Windows of the North-South Train http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/18254-a-mosaic-of-vietnam-s-landscapes-through-the-windows-of-the-north-south-train

Traveling on the Reunification Express from Saigon to Hanoi feels like a ride through history and time.

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matatarski@gmail.com (Adrien Jean. Photos by Adrien Jean.) Tue, 08 Aug 2023 04:33:37 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/18254-a-mosaic-of-vietnam-s-landscapes-through-the-windows-of-the-north-south-train
Adventuring Across Quy Nhơn’s Diverse Tourism Experiences http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26422-adventuring-across-quy-nhơn’s-diverse-experiences

Quy Nhơn has far more to offer than beautiful beaches. Travelers up for some adventures and a willingness to traverse into greater Bình Định Province will discover some of Vietnam’s best museums, aesthetically stupifying artifacts, oddities and opportunities to engage with cultural traditions.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer.) Fri, 11 Aug 2023 03:02:13 GMT http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26422-adventuring-across-quy-nhơn’s-diverse-experiences
The Majesty of Crossing Myanmar on Colonial-Era Trains http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/21879-photos-the-majesty-of-crossing-myanmar-on-colonial-era-trains

Whether on the slow train carving its way through the Shan Hills near Kalaw, the Mandalay to Yangon Express, or the 4am train to Hsipaw that crosses the great Goteik Viaduct, traversing Myanmar on gritty, swaying trains is the way to go.

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chris@saigoneer.com (Chris Humphrey. Photos by Chris Humphrey.) Tue, 01 Aug 2023 09:33:19 GMT http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/21879-photos-the-majesty-of-crossing-myanmar-on-colonial-era-trains
Vignette: On the North-South Train, a Pastiche of the Human Condition http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26449-vignette-on-the-north-south-train,-a-pastiche-of-the-human-condition

“Heavy with the thick smell of misery and before even leaving the station, the odor of urine would be palpable throughout the car,” writes author Dạ Ngân of the North-South Train in 1989. Back then, a hard seat berth cost nearly a month’s salary and one had to be wary of thieves and sexual assault for the entirety of the jostling journey.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Paul Christiansen. Photos by Paul Christiansen) Tue, 01 Aug 2023 04:24:50 GMT http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26449-vignette-on-the-north-south-train,-a-pastiche-of-the-human-condition
An Homage to Rastaclat, the Coolest Bracelets of Our High School Years http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26445-an-homage-to-rastaclat,-the-coolest-bracelets-of-our-high-school-years

During my teenage years when a lot of us were trying new things, I can remember certain trending items affected our lifestyle. For me, amongst the most memorable was the Hypebeast culture that caught my friends' attention. In high school, many tried to dress like their favorite rappers by mixing sneakers and hoodies with the school uniform. While I was not much of a fashion enthusiast, I did have a personal fascination with Rastaclat bracelets.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Khang Nguyễn. Photos by Cao Nhân.) Fri, 21 Jul 2023 09:33:21 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26445-an-homage-to-rastaclat,-the-coolest-bracelets-of-our-high-school-years
Ukiyo Concert to Bring Iconic Scores of Makoto Shinkai Movies to Life This July http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26412-ukiyo-concert-to-bring-iconic-scores-of-makoto-shinkai-movies-to-life-this-july

This month, fans of Japanese auteur Makoto Shinkai will have a rare opportunity to watch the soundtracks of his hit movies come alive during three concerts in Saigon and Hanoi.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer. Images courtesy of 8 the Theatre.) Tue, 11 Jul 2023 06:20:01 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26412-ukiyo-concert-to-bring-iconic-scores-of-makoto-shinkai-movies-to-life-this-july
Vignette: How Bình Định's Nón Ngựa Gave Me Hope for the Tourism Industry http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26387-vignette-how-bình-định-s-nón-ngựa-gave-me-hope-for-the-tourism-industry

In 1964, when Đỗ Văn Lan was only 14 years old, a group of American soldiers spent six months at his family’s Bình Định home learning how to make nón ngựa. Once he learned that I am American, he told me this story. More than once.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Paul Christiansen. Photos by Alberto Prieto.) Fri, 30 Jun 2023 05:06:53 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26387-vignette-how-bình-định-s-nón-ngựa-gave-me-hope-for-the-tourism-industry
Vietnam Officially Extends E-Visa to 90 Days, Allowing Multiple Entries http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26377-vietnam-officially-extends-e-visa-to-90-days,-allowing-multiple-entries

Beginning August 15, tourist visas will be extended from 30 days to 90 days.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer. Photo by Alberto Prieto.) Mon, 26 Jun 2023 08:59:00 GMT http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26377-vietnam-officially-extends-e-visa-to-90-days,-allowing-multiple-entries
Trần Trung Lĩnh's Latest Art Collection Is an Homage to Saigon and Van Gogh http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26370-trần-trung-lĩnh-s-latest-art-collection-is-an-homage-to-saigon-and-van-gogh

Van Gogh’s distinctive palette is perhaps one of the most recognizable personal styles in the art world, and viewers of Vietnamese artist Trần Trung Lĩnh’s artworks are sure to be amused to see these classic techniques applied to very familiar Saigon moments.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer.) Thu, 06 Jul 2023 09:01:18 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26370-trần-trung-lĩnh-s-latest-art-collection-is-an-homage-to-saigon-and-van-gogh
Cá Hồi Hoang to Disband After National Tour Marking 10 Years of Making Music http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26345-cá-hồi-hoang-to-disband-after-national-tour-marking-10-years-of-making-music

On the cusp of their current nationwide tour, indie band Cá Hồi Hoang abruptly announced that they would disband after touring finishes.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer.) Tue, 06 Jun 2023 05:11:05 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26345-cá-hồi-hoang-to-disband-after-national-tour-marking-10-years-of-making-music
The Hanoi Village Where Making Folding Fans Involves Every Family http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26341-chàng-sơn-the-hanoi-village-where-making-folding-fans-involves-every-family

One summer day, I made a trek into suburban Hanoi to Thạch Thất District. Walking along the dirt road surrounded by green maturing rice fields, I reached Chàng Sơn Village.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Xuân Phương. Photos by Xuân Phương.) Mon, 05 Jun 2023 13:55:04 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-culture/26341-chàng-sơn-the-hanoi-village-where-making-folding-fans-involves-every-family
Art Exhibition 'Ngẫu Biến' Invites Viewers to Find Their Own Meaning http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26321-art-exhibition-ngẫu-nhiên-invites-viewers-to-find-their-own-meaning

“When you write, you go inside yourself, when you paint, you go outside,” said poet and painter ng. anhan.

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paul@saigoneer.com (Paul Christiansen. Top image by Phạm Hoàng Ngọc Mai. Photos courtesy of ng. anhanh.) Thu, 01 Jun 2023 14:55:42 GMT http://saigoneer.com/saigon-music-art/26321-art-exhibition-ngẫu-nhiên-invites-viewers-to-find-their-own-meaning
Vietnam Airlines Sells VND14bn Worth of Inflight Bubble Tea Last Year http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26261-vietnam-airlines-sells-vnd14bn-worth-of-inflight-bubble-tea-last-year

Gone were the days of brackish peanuts and lukewarm apple juice, today’s flyers can satiate their sugar cravings right in the air.

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khoi@saigoneer.com (Saigoneer.) Tue, 25 Apr 2023 10:25:21 GMT http://saigoneer.com/vietnam-travel/26261-vietnam-airlines-sells-vnd14bn-worth-of-inflight-bubble-tea-last-year