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Paul Christiansen

in Natural Selection

Khỉ Vàng: The Shit-Stirrer, Snack Thief, and Petty Criminal of Vietnam's Forests

I’m not a fucking idiot — That’s what I thought while looking at the sign hung from the door of my hotel room in Đà Nẵng.

Paul Christiansen

in Natural Selection

The Prehistoric Permanence of Cá Sấu, Vietnam's Farmed Predator

I’ve always hated cá sấu. Not because they’ve threatened my safety or had any real impact on my life whatsoever, but simply because they survived. When a meteor cratered into Earth 66 million years ag...

in Natural Selection

Gõ Nước: An Endangered Tree That Offers Hope for Conservation Efforts

Is it true that the more names something has, the more beloved it is? Consider all the nicknames you have for your best friends, or the myriad of terms people have invented for deities. If one can ass...

in Natural Selection

Đom Đóm: Why the Light Is Going Out for Fireflies in Vietnam

Much like their brief existence on Earth, once-common fireflies are quickly disappearing from Vietnam’s natural and oral histories.

Michael Tatarski

in Natural Selection

Mangroves: The Everyday Superheroes Protecting Vietnam Against Climate Change

When you think of ways to combat the inevitable ravages of climate change and sea level rise, what comes to mind?

Paul Christiansen

in Natural Selection

Kiến Ba Khoang: A Harbinger of Dread and Divine Punishment

People’s skin erupted with horrific boils that burst open, spilling stinging pus across vicious rashes. According to the Christian Bible, along with water turning to blood, frogs, lice, gnats, disease...

Michael Tatarski

in Natural Selection

Cầy Vằn Bắc: Caught in the Crossfire of the Cà Phê Chồn Industry

While Saigoneer’s Natural Selection series has already covered a number of iconic species and types of animals, including the tiger, Asian elephant, dogs and cats, there’s a good chance most of the pe...

Khoi Pham

in Natural Selection

A Eulogy for the Last Wild Cọp of Vietnam

The story of Vietnam and cọp is not one where we will come out looking good.

Paul Christiansen

in Natural Selection

Cá Chuồn: The Fish That Dreams Beyond Its Realm

Insects, pterosaurs, birds, and bats: flight evolved on Earth independently four times, so why do you think it’s so unlikely that you’ll find love again?

in Natural Selection

Bồ Kết: When Nature Dreams of Bubbles and Silky Hair

The first memory I have of bồ kết was when it was concocted into something completely different from its unassuming, modest self.

Khôi Phạm

in Natural Selection

Lêkima: The Flower Worthy of a National Heroine

Don’t you find it bewildering when you have existed for centuries, and are suddenly thrust into stardom due to a small cameo in a nationalist saga?

Michael Tatarski

in Natural Selection

Chó: The Four National Breeds of Vietnamese Doggos

It’s an inarguable fact that dogs are the purest of animals.

Paul Christiansen

in Natural Selection

Voi: From Hai Bà Trưng's Fearsome Companions to Tourism Servants

Does art need a purpose?

Khôi Phạm

in Natural Selection

Lá Dứa: The OG Queen of Vietnamese Desserts

There’s a 99% chance that a Vietnamese child’s first exposure to lá dứa, or pandan, is in the form of rau câu.

Paul Christiansen

in Natural Selection

Sao La: The Real-Life Unicorn of Vietnam

Disney’s Aladdin, Super Nintendo, digital fingerprint technology: the outside world was familiar with all these by 1992. Sao la, however, remained unknown. 

Paul Christiansen

in Natural Selection

Cò: The Symbolic Soul of Vietnam's Countryside

Is Chim Lạc based on a real bird?

Michael Tatarski

in Natural Selection

Voọc Cát Bà: The Endangered Primate of Karst Land

Imagine being born one color, and growing up into a very differently hued adult.

Khôi Phạm

in Natural Selection

Trái Thị: The Fruit of Heavenly Smell and Infernal Taste

If you had to pick a national smell that represents Vietnam, what would it be? There are a host of strong contenders: durian, lotus-scented green tea, fragrant pandan sticky rice, that enticing aroma ...

Paul Christiansen

in Natural Selection

Trái Vải: The Intoxicating Harbinger of Summer

Is scarcity a source of beauty?

Paul Christiansen

in Natural Selection

Mèo: A Complicated Love Affair

Of all the Asian and Southeast Asian countries that use the animal zodiac, only Vietnam has a cat in place of the rabbit. One theory for why is that while Chinese has a word for rabbit, it also has a ...