Urbanist Hanoi

Turn Over a New Page in Hanoi's Hidden Libraries

I focused my attention on an amplifier lying on the shelf behind Hieu, the founder of Go West Library. He left his seat to retrieve a cable, and after returning he plugged his phone into the machine, which stood out from the rest of the room. A familiar tune blasted out, followed by Neil Tennant's high-pitched, yet delicate vocals — "Go West, where the skies are blue!" Hieu's striking answer to our inquiry about the library's name came in stark contrast to our earlier encounter with one of his staff, the librarian, who was startled by our visit because she doesn't usually expect readers to pop by in the morning.

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The Discomforting Poetry of Vietnamese Cursed Image

The page description of Vietnamese Cursed Image (VCI) has a single line: “how did you get here?” — a question I find myself asking often.

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[Video] Watch the Impressive Trailer of Nguyen Dynasty Historical Drama 'Phuong Khau'

Phuong Khau is an original series set during the Nguyen dynasty, chronicling the life of Empress Dowager Tu Du, the mother of Emperor Tu Duc.

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[Photos] After Bánh Mì, Altar Might Be Vietnam's Next Miss Universe National Costume

Remember the bánh mì dress? She’s dead, and this horrible design murdered her.

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Filmmaker Nong Nhat Quang on His New Docuseries 'Queer Asia: Vietnam'

For 22-year-old filmmaker Nong Nhat Quang, growing up gay in Lao Cai Province, a conservative region of many ethnic groups, was tough. Being noticeably camp meant bullying and abuse were commonplace, as was the paranoia of being “outed.” He used Grindr to meet strangers or tourists 20 kilometers away in Sapa, but with high expectations from his parents, he kept his true identity secret to avoid rejection. The idea that he would go on to direct LGBTQ documentaries for an international audience was, at that time, impossible to conceive.

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[Photos] How Vietnam's Muslims Celebrate Ramadan, Eid Al-Fitr in Chau Doc

Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, yet Vietnamese Muslims represent as little as 0.01% of the country’s population. Most are ethnic Cham, while a few are foreigners and a few converts. After traveling to Chau Doc in An Giang Province, where the majority are located, I was mesmerized by the unique cultural mix this community represents.

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[Video] Stop-Motion Animation Project Retells Vietnam's Starfruit Tale With a Hint of Horror

As a common saying goes: "tham thì thâm" (grasp all lose all).

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The Pink, Minimalist Aesthetic Enticing Hanoi's Millennials

At the intersection between Hang Bong and Phung Hung streets, there is a bakery whose lavender armchairs look as if they are made from giant ladyfingers. It’s called Baked by Julie and, since opening last August, has constantly appeared on Instagram thanks to its predominantly pink palette, which is featured on its velour, mitten-shaped armchairs, ceramic teapots and garlanded entrance.

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[Illustrations] An Idyllic Southeast Asian Childhood Through a Thai Artist's Illustrations

Thanks to the region’s similarities in biodiversity, climate and society, a childhood in rural Thailand isn’t that far off from that in the countryside of Vietnam.

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Scaling the Dragon: An Urbexer's Guide to Long Bien Bridge

Urban exploration, urbex or UE, is a form of recreational urban trespass. Urbexers find a way into anything from derelict theme parks, sewers and asylums to factories, skyscrapers, missile silos and power stations. Usually, they begin in abandoned ruins, searching for beauty in dereliction.

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The Legends of Tam Nương: Why You Shouldn't Start a Business on the 7th Day of Tet

There’s little doubt that superstition is still deeply rooted in Vietnamese culture. These silvery threads of mysticism are woven into a plethora of aspects of locals’ daily lives, ranging from rather innocuous do’s and don’ts regarding food to serious rules one should follow when selecting a wedding date.

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