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Local Website Saigoneer Puts Calendar on Sale in Mid-March, Confuses Readers

In Saigon, the sweltering heat of March and April usually drives city-dwellers to take refuge in air-conditioned coffee shops and seek out refreshing thirst-quenchers like đá me and sugarcane juice — rarely does it inspire new desk calendar purchases.

Yet, local media outlet Saigoneer announced on March 17 that its first-ever fully illustrated Saigoneer Calendar is now available for purchase, a move that no doubt will delight some, but bewilder others. In Vietnam, there are typically two peak seasons for new calendar shopping: in December of the previous year for the general population, and right before Tet for households that rely more on the lunar calendar.

“I’m very confused by this new product, my mom bought our 2021 calendar as early as November last year,” a Saigoneer intern who wishes to remain nameless divulged. “As a consumer, I feel that my precious time in January, February and half of March was disrespected. All months matter.”

According to Saigoneer, each month of the desk calendar features a colorful illustration that graced an article in its editorial archive and a QR code that will take readers to the original post. March, for example, is adorned with an adorable illustration of a vendor at Hôm Market, Hanoi’s iconic fabric trading place, taking an afternoon nap in her textile-filled kiosk. September, meanwhile, is a month for some delicious mid-autumn bánh pía, the Mekong Delta’s special take on the traditional mooncake.

“We originally printed a limited number of these [calendars] as Tet gifts back in early February for our company clients and friends of the website,” Saigoneer Co-Founder Brian Letwin explained. “They were quite well-received and there were many requests for more, so we decided to print another batch for everyone.”

When queried about the questionable timing of the sales launch, Letwin declined to comment, and only vaguely quipped: “What is time but an arbitrary human construct?”

Both the illustrations featured and the calendar design were the brainchild of Saigoneer Graphic Designer Hannah Hoàng, who’s been with the team since 2017. “Some of my proudest works are featured on this calendar, such as the one for May with its big blue rose and the November cat one,” she shared. “The best editorial illustrations are those that can complement the writer’s work well without detracting from it, and I’m glad that we worked well together to conceptualize them. My only regret is that I can’t always add cats into them. Cats make everything better.”

The Saigoneer 2021 Calendar is available for purchase at VND180,000 plus shipping. We’re very sorry that we can only deliver them within Vietnam. To place an order, fill in the Google form here.

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