in In Plain Sight

Hanoi's Largest Indoor Aquarium Is Surprisingly Impressive for a Mall Attraction

I am a champion of the public aquarium. For many people, the aquarium is the only place where they can meet marine life outside of perhaps a wet market or seafood restaurant. Some research suggests that watching fish swim around can reduce stress and lower blood pressure, and that seeing marine life in their (simulated) habitats can inspire people to care more about these endangered species in their besieged environments. For the serious study of marine life, aquaria allow biologists to observe the behaviors of animals that are otherwise difficult to observe in nature. Vietnam has a few public aquaria: the Viện Hải Dương Học and Trí Nguyên Aquarium in Nha Trang, the Vinpearland-branded aquaria in Hanoi, Phú Quốc, and Nha Trang, and a handful of others. When Vietnam’s newest aquarium opened at the end of last summer, I had to go take a look.

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Social Commentary, Empathy in Nguyễn Quang Thân's Short Story Collection

Nguyễn Quang Thân passed away on March 4, 2017, several weeks before I moved to Saigon. So of course I never met him, but I feel like I know him. My first introduction was via An Insignificant Family, the fictionalized memoir written by his wife, writer Dạ Ngân, which includes a description of the 10 years they spent apart, writing letters to one another from opposite ends of the nation, followed by their life together. In the years since I first interviewed her about that novel, I’ve been blessed to be adopted as her son; one of the greatest gifts of my life. No visit with her goes past without him being mentioned. For years, Nguyễn Quang Thân has simply been Ba Thân. 

Paul Christiansen

in Music & Arts

At Bùi Chát's Painting Exhibition, a Freedom to Feel Without Preconceptions

Contemporary art can intimidate viewers. People often think they need familiarity with certain histories, theories, philosophies and biographies to appreciate a painting. I have friends who do not have a formal art education or extensive art background and thus think visual art is not for them. 

Paul Christiansen

in Literature

How Nam Cao Almost Ruined My Favorite Canal Cafe

Spoilers for an 80-year-old story that every student in the nation is required to read: the dog dies, the old man dies, his son's misfortunes show no sign of abetting. Simply, misery abounds at the end of “Lão Hạc.”

Paul Christiansen

in In Plain Sight

On a Boat Ride Through Nhiêu Lộc Canal, a Fish's-Eye View of Saigon

Could your life in Saigon be made into a quirky indie film? 

in Music & Arts

Galuocad's Artworks Create a Universe of Very-Vietnamese Whimsy

Staying in one place for an extended period can lead to what's known as the "boiled frog effect."

in Loạt Soạt

A World of Riveting Medically Inspired Magic in Vanessa Le's YA Debut

Captured by Butchers, the “blackmarket bogey men who deal in rare goods,” Nhika Suonyasan is caged and auctioned off to the city’s elite. A figure in a fox mask attempting to purchase her is outbid by a rich family that carts her off to a mansion that boasts luxury beyond anything Nhika has ever seen. The family immediately commands her to heal a witness to the wealthy patriarch’s death.

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in Music & Arts

Saigon Blog Spotlight: Seen In Saigon

Here comes a new player in your daily surf-for-stuff in Saigon routine.

in Arts & Culture

Saigoneer Sunday Rewind

Saigoneer's staff highlights their favorite articles from the past week.

in Culture

[Video] Parkour Gaining A Foothold in Vietnam

Parkour, or freestyle walking, follows fixies and skateboarding as the latest international subculture to gain popularity among Vietnam’s young urbanites.

in Music & Arts

Saigon Xưa: A Closer Look At Lê Hưng Trọng’s Dreamlike Creations

Author and artist Lê Hưng Trọng picks his favorite illustrations from his upcoming art book, “Saigon Xưa,” to give us a closer look into these fairytale-like drawings.

in Culture

Vietnam Takes Lead on Gay Rights by Eliminating Same-Sex Marriage Ban

On January 1, Vietnam officially abolished regulations that “prohibit marriage between people of the same sex.”

in Culture

[Infographic] Vietnamese Only “Moderately” Difficult for Native English Speakers

Many foreigners living in Vietnam find Vietnamese a challenging language to master, often citing its many tones as the biggest stumbling block. According to the US Department of State’s Foreign Servic...

in Culture

At Least 10 Vietnamese Have Ordered The New $450k Mercedes Maybach

At least 10 wealthy Vietnamese have ordered the new Mercedes Maybach sedan retailing at a cool $450,000 here in Vietnam.

in Culture

[Video] The Gangnam Style Coracle Dancers Of Quang Nam Province

You were probably hoping that Gangnam Style wouldn’t still be relevant in 2015, but a group of Quang Nam Province tour guides has figured out a way to mix the modern, YouTube-breaking dance with tradi...

in Film & TV

January Movies At Saigon’s Alternative Film Venues

International cinema in 2014 was marked not only by a number of solid films, but also by exceptional performances. With ‘award season’ in full swing, Saigon’s alternative film venues have lined up a n...

in Music & Arts

Behind The Curtain: Standpoint Theories

Brimming with creative ideas, the multi-disciplinary Standpoint Theories, which first made an appearance last year at Cargo Bar, will grace Saigon once more for three days in January.

in Arts & Culture

Saigoneer’s 10 Most Popular Stories Of 2014

As the calendar is set to flip to 2015, we’ve put together a list of Saigoneer’s most popular stories from 2014. 

in Culture

Left For Dead, Vietnam’s First Restored Steam Locomotive Makes Miraculous Return

After an 18-year absence from Vietnam’s tracks, it looks like steam locomotives are making a comeback.

in Culture

15 Amazing Moments Captured On Vietnam’s Streets

In Vietnamese cities, streets are where life happens. With few parks available to the country’s urban masses, they serve as everything from entertainment venues to wedding halls to restaurants. They a...

in Arts & Culture

Saigoneer Sunday Rewind

Saigoneer's staff highlights their favorite articles from the past week.

in Culture

Plus-Size Woman Sends Her Photos To Editors Across The Globe, Photoshop Hilarity Ensues

Back in June, an American blogger Esther Honig sent her photo to editors around the globe to be photoshopped. She found that each country (including Vietnam) projected their own cultural values and st...

in Music & Arts

These 8 Saigon Christmas Cinemagraphs Will Get You In The Christmas Spirit

Whether you enjoy Saigon’s frenetic Christmas energy or not, it’s impossible to escape the twinkling light shows in the city’s alleys, Santa impersonators and tinfoil snow.

in Music & Arts

All In: Vietnamese Artists Put A Beautiful Twist On Playing Cards

With an obsession for peace signs, adoration for the hippie lifestyle and an open mind, two young artists, Đinh Công Thành and Ngô Đình Lệ Thuỷ, have started a creative project called “Bài Ta” (Vietna...

in Music & Arts

Saigon Xưa: Young Artist Makes Incredible Drawings to Show Love of Old Saigon

Although born in Ninh Thuan province, Le Hung Trong has grown intimately attached to his second home, Saigon. Working as an architect for past three years, he has put together a collection of drawings...

in Culture

OMG: Use Of Online Acronyms By Vietnamese Youth Blurs Linguistic Lines

Across the globe, the internet has brought about new ways of thinking, interacting and communicating. The latter has been a cause of concern for some in Vietnam who worry about the impact of popular i...

in Culture

[Video] Pro Skateboarders Make an Epic Vietnam Road Trip

Back in 2012, Skateboarder Magazine sent a group of pro skaters on a motorbike journey from Hanoi to HCMC in a quest to find unseen skate spots throughout the country.