The bad Vietnamese: Culture minister schools the public on morals, blames market economy International

The Vietnamese culture minister, Nguyen Ngoc Thien, did not mince his words about what he called an “ethical downfall” in the country. In a parliamentary session on Monday, he lamented the disappearing “traditional values” and blamed the market economy, educators and even law enforcement for failing to give the public a new moral compass. “Selfishness, […]

It’s cool to be a nerd: Why cosplay is making it big in Vietnam International

Venturing into a Japanese festival, one summer morning in Saigon I am met immediately by two curiously fantastical figures. Scanning from the bottom up I see they are dressed in U.S. style police uniforms: thick black utility boots laced securely at the ankle and durable blue pants of a less than flattering variety. So far, […]

Holy hog: Vietnam’s culinary love affair with pigs International

The Vietnamese lexicon recognizes pork as the standard meat. In the mind of a native speaker, the word “meat” simply means the flesh of a pig. Traditionally, Vietnamese people did not raise cows for meat or dairy products. Researchers have pointed out that unlike many Western countries, Vietnam did not have the rich meadows conducive […]

Hanoi rejects idea of building turtle statue as new icon International

Hanoi’s culture department has nipped the idea of building a turtle statue, saying the thousand-year-old city doesn’t really need a new symbol. The proposal is “unsuitable,” the department said on Friday in an official response to Asia Friendship, the company that wants to build a gold and bronze turtle of 3.5 meters tall next to […]

Hip-hop is life: The Vietnamese rappers pushing cultural boundaries International

Stepping inside one of Saigon’s underground nightspots one hot and sticky Friday night I find a huddle of young Vietnamese men all jostling for space in a tightly packed, coven-like circle in front of the DJ booth. Kitted out in baggy t-shirts, hoodies and jeans, baseball caps and bandanas, they pass the microphone around, taking […]

Auction houses see signs of art market uptick ahead of spring sales International

As auction powerhouses Christie’s and Sotheby’s gear up for their New York spring sales, hopes are high that a host of major works the likes of which have not hit the block for several seasons will reap strong, even record, prices. After years of gangbuster results marked by soaring prices, both auction houses staged relatively […]