Saint-Saëns In Saigon

One of the great figures of western classical music, French composer, conductor, organist and pianist Camille Saint-Saëns is remembered for a range of works, including The Carnival of the Animals, Danse Macabre, Symphony No 3 (The Organ Symphony) and the opera Samson et Dalila. But few people know that he was also one of the earliest “celebrities” to visit colonial Saigon.


Street Cred: Nguyen Van Linh

Driving around Saigon, it’s easy to lose sight of the city as it appeared 25 years ago. So many buildings have been leveled into dust and in their place, stand shiny new high-rises shimmering of glass, steel, and in some cases, massive LED displays. Whole neighborhoods have been demolished to pave way for new roads, while swathes of farmland have been redeveloped into new residential districts.


[Photos] Old Time Saigon Street Eats

Part of what makes up Saigon’s special and gritty character is the amount of activity on its streets and sidewalks which are full of vendors who sell everything from soup to fruit. Not only are these sold on the street, but also consumed there. Eating on the street has long been a part of the city’s DNA as we can see though this set of old photos. 


Street Cred: Hai Ba Trung

When tyrants take your husband away and execute him for protesting high taxes, you tend to take stuff like that personally. That’s how Trung Trac took it when the Chinese killed her husband almost two millennia ago.


[Photos] Old School Vietnamese Education

An elephant in Biology class? Now that would have made me actually pay attention in school. Apparently Vietnamese education used to be a lot more hands-on back in the day compared to our current world of stale standardized testing. Take a glimpse back to the past to see how our forefathers straight-aced it.


Street Cred: Path of Poets

If Saigon was a battlefront and its street signs served as territorial markers, then it’s clear that the revolutionaries and martyrs have won. Everywhere you look, the names of fallen heroes lead the way, guiding you through the combat zone known as Saigon Traffic.


Street Cred: Ham Nghi

“Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.” This quote from Shakespeare’s Henry IV basically sums up the political climate of Vietnam in 1883. In that year alone, four different men played the part of the Emperor of Vietnam—none to critical acclaim. 


When the Japanese Occupied Vietnam: Part 2

Read When the Japanese Occupied Vietnam – Part I here.

Japanese occupation breathed new life into a Vietnamese independence movement that had seen little success after the failed Yen Bai Mutiny (1930) and Xo Viet Nghe Tinh Uprising (1931) which were swiftly and brutally put down by the French.


Street Cred: Yersin

If you’ve been following this column, then you’ve probably noticed the pattern of folks getting famous for taking a stance and sticking up for Vietnam. By now, you should know that Vietnamese people are a fiercely proud bunch and they’re not predispositioned to back down from a fight.


Dung Ha: Vietnam’s Lesbian Mob Boss

Among the infamous women of Vietnam’s criminal underworld, Dung Ha was one of the most notorious. Though her reign was short, it was characterized by wealth, power and love affairs that still draw curiosity to this day.


Street Cred: Phan Xích Long

Like a page straight out of Bizzaro World, fast food franchises have a heightened social status here in Vietnam.


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