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.

Back Arts & Culture

in Arts & Culture

[Illustrations] 20th Century Vietnam by Thang Trần Phềnh

Time for a bit of history.

Paul Christiansen

in Music & Arts

Saigon Designer Envisages Classic Vietnamese Transportations With Some Pizzaz

What if your motorbike had rocket propulsion?

in Arts & Culture

14-year-old Vietnamese Painter Earns $23K from NFT Painting

 Xèo Chu, a 14-year-old Vietnamese artist, recently auctioned his first non-fungible token (NFT) painting on the platform Binance with the winning bid of US$22,899.

in Quãng 8

The Flob, a Band of '6 People Playing Together'

The Flob — a band of six guys who are still in college — has chosen to turn the most memorable chapter of their lives into music.

in Arts & Culture

It All Started With 100 Boxes of Cookies

Food is anything but apolitical.

Paul Christiansen

in Loạt Soạt

Saigoneer Bookshelf: 'Luminous Nights' Explores the 20th Century Literary Landscape

Why haven’t some of Vietnam’s most famous early 20th-century short stories been translated into English?

in Music & Arts

Covid-19 Propanganda Posters Re-imagined as Đông Hồ Paintings

Sourcing inspiration from the traditional art of Đông Hồ, a group of young artists put a modern spin on classic paintings to deliver anti-pandemic messages through cheeky illustrations.

in Film & TV

Phạm Gia Quý, the Gen Z Film Maker who Took on International Festivals

Phạm Gia Quý is a young filmmaker born and raised in Saigon and an alumnus of the prestigious Savannah College of Art and Design.

Paul Christiansen

in Arts & Culture

[Illustrations] Mesmerizing Modern and Mythic Vietnam Re-Imagined

in Arts & Culture

Saigoneer Podcast: Tourist Attractions & Who They're For; The Debate Over 'Essential' Goods

A new episode of the Saigoneer Podcast is now available!

in Arts & Culture

How Vietnam's Street Artists Have Made a Global Medium Their Own

Graffiti, street art, urban art…living in Paris before settling in Vietnam, they were part of my daily life and wonder. Riding the metro, graffiti is everywhere along the way. Wandering around the Fre...

in Music & Arts

To Celebrate the Olympics, Japanese Artists Reimagine National Flags as Anime Fighters

As nations gather in Tokyo for the summer Olympics, a group of Japanese artists have shown their support by creating anime characters based on the participating countries' flags.

Chris Humphrey

in Music & Arts

Review: On Debut EP 'Low,' Ho Tram Anh Sings Like a Poet Laureate for the Disconnected

Is anyone else in Hanoi creating music as stark and affecting as Ho Tram Anh? 

in Film & TV

Giang Còi, Hanoi's Beloved Actor and Comedian, Passes Away at 59

Last night, beloved actor Lê Hồng Giang, commonly known by his stage name Giang Còi, passed away after months of battling with cancer.

in Music & Arts

The World at Your Fingertips: How Vietnamese Studios Lead the Art of Artisan Keycaps

Although custom keycaps are somewhat of a recent development in Vietnam, some local artisan studios have become key players in making these tech-art fusions that bring the world to your fingertips.

in Music & Arts

Vietnam's Art Spaces Find Silver Linings in Moving Online Amid Pandemic

When in February 2020, Đỗ Tường Linh’s exhibition "Foliage III," a celebration of Global South-led art, wrapped up at the Vincom Centre for Contemporary Art, so did most other events in Vietnam’s art ...

in Culture

Vietnam's Female Comics Show How to Unapologetically Be Yourself on Stage

In recent years, Vietnamese women have gained a foothold in Vietnam’s comedy scene, despite it largely being dominated by men. But as the industry grows, the evidence of a gender gap seems to be incre...

in Music & Arts

Hanoi Indie Band Bluemato Launches Crowdfunding Campaign for First-Ever Music Video

Following the release of their first album “Gió Thổi Mạnh” earlier this year, Bluemato is reaching out to fans and friends again with a crowdfunding campaign to make their first-ever music video for '...

in Music & Arts

This New Vietnamese Lo-Fi Video Is Making Us Feel All Sorts of Emotions

After countless hours spent doing assignments alongside the OG Lofi Girl, Vietnamese netizens might find this new study companion an especially poignant addition to their daily routine.

in Music & Arts

What Happens When Artists Turn a Fishing Village Into Their Canvas?

Imagine if your home village was suddently transformed into a giant canvas for murals.