Paul Christiansen

in Culture

An Ode to Photo Booths, the Korean Trend Preserving Our Memories in Time

How can photo booths be a new trend if they’ve been around forever?

in Trích or Triết

The Life, Death and Legacy of 7 Pillars of Vietnam's Quốc Ngữ Literary Wealth

When I first started as a writer, I noticed that I couldn’t write in Vietnamese very well, despite the fact that I was born here. Most of my English vocabulary comes from books, so in order to improve my mother tongue, I began reading Vietnamese texts. The first one I chose was Hà Nội Băm Sáu Phố Phường, or The 36 Streets of Hanoi, by Thạch Lam. This book had been lying on my bookshelf for a long time, but that day was the first time I picked it up.

in Quãng 8

Thành Đồng's Music Is a Breath of Fresh Air in the Era of Overproduction

Inspired by life 's simple joys, Thành Đồng delivers a sense of familiarity, earnestness, and narrative richness with every song.

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? 

Back Arts & Culture

in Music & Arts

Everyone's A DJ Presents: Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop

Everyone's A DJ presents 'Shimmy Shimmy Coco Pop' - a 50s/60s rock'n'roll/motown dance party! From the organisers:

in Music & Arts

A Musical Journey with Henry Saiz

You wonder through the deserted landscape…it’s not a dream, not a nightmare, your mind is empty of memories as if you have always been here, since the beginning of time...you are afraid of yourself, y...

in Music & Arts

'Beautiful Saigon Project' Explores Saigon Through HipHop

Hip hop has a special place in our hearts so when we see the style gaining popularity in Vietnam, we get pretty excited. We just stumbled upon this extremely entertaining and well-produced hip hop vi...

in Culture

Working Multiple Jobs: A Trend for Foreigners in Saigon?

It’s been almost a year since I first arrived in Saigon. Now, when looking back on my search for jobs in the city, I think that my personal experiences carry some value and may come in handy for those...

in Music & Arts

“Long way home” - Asia - Europe Short Story Contest

"They called her The Big Girl, sometimes The Lost Girl, but among themselves The Strange Girl. In her own world she was a little girl. But she stopped being little when she went travelling and decided...

in Music & Arts

Saigon Players Are Back and Calling for New Cast Members

“Saigon Players” will celebrate its 10th anniversary as a community theatre in Saigon. It is a non-profit theatrical group composed by amateurs and professional foreigners and Vietnamese who share the...

Brian Letwin

in Music & Arts

Dope Vietnamese Rap Mix

Over at Bodegapop, Gary has assembled a dope mix of Vietnamese hip hop tracks. Gary, always on the hunt for unique international music, was driven to find some Vietnamese hip hop at his local Vietnam...

Brian Letwin

in Culture

Vietnam Struggling to Keep Treasure Hunters in Check

Since 1998, numerous ancient vessels have been found of the coast of Quang Ngai Province. The ships hold thousands of ancient artifacts, mainly ceramics as these waters were once part of the ‘Ceramic ...

in Culture

VietPride Arrives in Saigon

Tomorrow, August 24th VietPride - "share the pride" will arrive in Saigon for the very first time. The LGBT community has prepared a series of activities and events to raise awareness about sex...

in Music & Arts

San Art Laboratory: Open Studio Session 3

Have you ever been in front of a painting, a photograph, a video installation or any other form of artistic creation, for that matter, and asked yourself “What was the artist/author thinking?”, “What ...

Brian Letwin

in Film & TV

New Web Series Captures the Vietnamese Diaspora Seeking a New Life in Vietnam

A new web series, Employed Identity, explores the phenomenon of the Vietnamese diaspora returning to the country of their parents’ birth, to find both themselves and successful careers. Directed by Ba...

in Culture

Today is Vulan, the Day of Mother Worship and Welcoming Ghosts

If you're wondering why the Buddha flags are out and why all your Buddhist friends are eating vegetarian today, that's because it's one of Vietnam's coolest holidays - Vulan.

Brian Letwin

in Culture

Saudi Man, Exiled for Being Too Đẹp, on His Way to Vietnam

You may recall hearing the story of Omar Borkan Al Gala, a Saudi man deported from his home country for being too handsome. Well, luckily this is no crime in Vietnam and the exiled, really, really ri...

Brian Letwin

in Film & TV

Films Coming to Vietnam This August

We know we’re a few weeks late, but here’s a list of films being released in Vietnam this month. Descriptions from IMDB.

in Music & Arts

Beautiful, 100-year-old Water Paintings of Vietnam

You know how much we love to post old photos of Vietnam. But every now and then it's nice to switch up the medium a bit, so today, we present some beautiful, turn-of-the 20th century water color paint...

Brian Letwin

in Music & Arts

Vietnam in the Frame for New Season of BBC World News Programmes

The BBC will be televising a number of stories relating to Vietnam starting August 24.

Brian Letwin

in Music & Arts

The Flaming Lips - Zaireeka Listening Party --AND-- a Special Screening of the Rockumentary, The Fearless Freaks

An evening of music and cinema.

Brian Letwin

in Music & Arts

Lush Pajama Party

From the organizer: Time to dress up again! Ladies and gentleman get ready for the sexiest and funnest pajama party ever. Join us for an amazing evening as Mr. Jolly and the Pajama Jam Sexy Dancers ...

in Film & TV

South East Asian Portraits - A Documentary Series

Sunday 5 p.m - I have just finished work and I look outside the window like a child on Christmas morning, hoping that the rain has stopped. No luck. I prepare myself for yet another ride under the rai...

Brian Letwin

in Music & Arts

Event: Japandroids Bringing Euphoric Rock to Saigon

From the Organizer For the 4th installment of Loud Minority, the Saigon based club night will host acclaimed Canadian rock-duo, Japandroids at Cargo Bar.