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Loved, Saigon
Hon Ngoc Vien Dong after all these years is still brilliantly beautiful in the soul of every Saigon lover… Please do not know why I am in love with Saigon, I do not know. As writers, I always think about it but do not know how to write it fluently. It is also like a lover without knowing how to express nostalgia. “People love Saigon with a dreamy but intense feeling, but it is like another relationship, not home…” (Dam Ha Phu, 2016)
A distinctive characteristic
You will not be able to find an another place like Saigon. Among the high buildings, there are still substandard corrugated iron roofs which are the living places of many Saigonese... Living with Saigon is living with the intense sun, the sudden rain, the noise, the narrowness... However, there are still people whom attached to Saigon as part of their bodies, going everywhere with a rattan stick (quang gánh), speaking up familiar voices which who had a chance to hear once in Saigon will never forget…
Happiness in Saigon
Saigon is both love and concern of many unfortunate lives… People knew that they are miserable, but nobody intended to find the reason why they are… Sometimes, people defaults that “poor” has the same meaning with “miserable” without knowing that it has its own different happiness. Perhaps because of differences in frequency, and also because of refusing to change, we have not had a chance to find out what the joys of Saigonese are.
Saigonese
Walking together on the streets, we did not go looking for KOLs, famous stars or idols,... For dozens of hours on the roads, we met many faces such as the old lottery ticket sellers, street vendors, drink sellers, drivers and homeless people who did not have a shelter for their own… Saigon is various in people lives with every scene, every story, every good song in its own way. It made us - travelers who come to Saigon - trying to record the small corners of Saigon that people often neglect...
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Saigon through my eyes
About us

We are a group of students at Fulbright University Vietnam who have a common interest in Saigon. Three members of our team do not come from Saigon, but we share the same desire to explore the culture and people of this place.

Our purpose

Yearning for discovering the culture, we decided to learn about this through stories of people who were living and working in Saigon. Therefore, this project is produced by telling stories of strangers, especially manual laborers, whom we randomly met on our ways. We hope that those stories will reveal various aspects of the hustle and bustle of Saigon, thereby persuading people to pay attention to the working class whose people are usually neglected in daily life.

Our audience

We aim to spread stories through people in Saigon who are living, studying, or working in Saigon, especially the youth. Not only those people come from Vietnam, but they also come from foreign countries who are interested in the culture and people of Saigon. Because of its internationality, this project's website will be bilingual so that all people can get access to it.

Dear readers,

First of all, we – “Loved, Saigon” want to send sincere thanks to you for reading our articles on this website. Project “Loved, Saigon” started its journey because of our fates with this “sleepless” city. We all came from different places throughout the beloved S-shaped land, but none of us was born and raised in Saigon. We haven’t been here for a very time, just about three or four months. But somehow, Saigon attracts us in its own way. And therefore, we decided to explore Saigon, as a traveler, as a friend.

Many topics that we wanted to explore were already done. But, it seems that it was also a strange destiny; we met ordinary workers in Saigon who appear in every street, every ward, every district, but usually are neglected. We want to listen and share their stories with people like us and other “Saigonese” to make them understand, appreciate, and love these idyllic beauties. They often are ignored in daily life, so that through telling their stories, we want to make people understand more about their lives and their thoughts. Therefore, we want people to appreciate their personalities, their jobs, and what they are doing. After all, we hope that people will realize these beauties and love them.

Because writing for people like us – people from a far who had been and will always want to come to Saigon, we do not use an extensive survey or research. We all think that whenever a person wants to go to a particular city and understand people there, we tend to prefer listening to the stories rather than looking at massive data. Our stories, therefore, are neither florid nor rigid. We want to create the closest, dearest space like any normal conversation in Saigon so that you can feel “Saigonese” enough. We all think that those small stories are more effective and meaningful than a large amount of data so that we choose this expression to fully meet our purposes. We know that people who are not yet living here or even living but do not have contact with these ordinary laborers might not know much about them. Therefore, to portray pure Saigonese spirits, those real-life stories will help you ponder your thoughts to better understand Saigon.

Of course, we also expect Saigon people to read and love our articles in the “Loved, Saigon” project. You are the ones who have more experiences and memories here than us and who have witnessed the changes of Saigon in nearly half a century so that you are the ones who will understand the emotions that we had experienced more than anyone else. However, we hope, or can also say, that is ambition, you will have different perspectives on Saigon – a brand new Saigon in the eyes of migrants which might be as exciting as the Saigon you already have known. And perhaps, some of the characters we have written about are familiar to you. These untold stories will give you an insight into them.

Last but not least, being a Vietnamese, we are proud to share with our international friends about the beauty of working people in Saigon – where millions of foreign visitors come to visit each year. That is the reason why we are trying to provide an English version for the “Loved, Saigon” project so that international friends can easily access our information. We know that international newspapers have written a lot about bad experiences here, but we want to tell you that there are still many friendly and hospitable Saigonese. We hope that these stories will make you more excited, determined, and willing to say “Hello, Saigon” because we are always welcome you.

Hoping that our shared stories and experiences can help you understand more about the ordinary workers in Saigon to respect, love, and help them when they need it.

Sincere,

“Loved, Saigon”

How we loved saigon
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Our team
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Lam Nguyen

Fulbright UG19

“Keep your face to the sunshine and you cannot see the shadow.”
(Helen Keller)

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Huy Vu

Fulbright UG19

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” (Pablo Picasso)

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Linh Nguyen

Fulbright UG19

“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana)

How beautiful Saigon is...

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