First published July 2016 | Words, photos and film by Vietnam Coracle
For me, Saigon is not District 1: it’s not the Opera House, Notre Dame Cathedral, Ben Thanh Market, the Pham Ngu Lao-Bui Vien backpacker area, the new shopping malls and high-rises of downtown. Saigon, my Saigon, is the local neighbourhood where I live. This is not a fixed location: over the years I’ve lived in many different houses, in many different parts of the city. But, wherever I’ve lived, the local area has always defined my Saigon. The alleyways, the market, the nearest main street and the shops and businesses that line it, the people and pets that inhabit it, and the way it changes during different phases of the day and in different weather conditions; this is my Saigon.
In this video, I’ve tried to capture my local Saigon neighbourhood over 24 hours, on a day during the rainy season. I’ve made little attempt at artifice: there’s no music because I wanted to let the sounds rise and fall with the rhythm of daily life. At 8 minutes long, I realize that this film may not be for everyone. But if, like me, you love your local Saigon neighbourhood, and if, like me, you’re an expat who finds it difficult to describe where you live to friends and family back in your home country, then perhaps you’ll appreciate this little video and perhaps it will help you to communicate where you live and why you love it here.
* This video is best viewed in HD quality
SAIGON, MY SAIGON [8:35]
Watch on YouTube