Saturday, September 26, 2015


"It’s no coincidence that the aesthetic of 1989 is that of the Polaroid: a technology that, in its contemporary manifestation, connotes thick feelings of authenticity, immediacy, and wistful nostalgia not unlike Instagram’s own filters. Look closer, though, and the Polaroid, while tangible, is still just an overexposed image, flattering vis-à-vis its limited technological capacity to show the fullness of the moment. From far away, a Polaroid can communicate bold strokes of fun, bliss, friendship. But get closer, and you see it’s flimsy, unclear, and impossible to replicate."

Source: Buzzfeed

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Secret Life of The Vietnamese Woman: Religion

July 2007, the last time I went to a Buddhist temple (my parents' faces are blacked out because they don't want to be on the Internet)


There are two main religions in Vietnam: Catholicism and Buddhism. Catholicism is mostly found in the North, and Buddhism is mostly found in the South. However, most Vietnamese people who self-identify as Buddhist on American questionnaires aren't actually Buddhist. There are some really religious Buddhists that actually go to temple and stuff, but for the most part, Vietnamese "Buddhists" don't really know much about the religion and practice more of a folk religion composing of Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, ancestor worship, etc.


The "Buddhist" version of praying is offering food and incense to the Buddha and other Buddhist gods at temples or at home. Most Vietnamese Buddhists have a Buddha at home, and more often than not, it is the laughing Buddha. Buddha is vegan, so we only offer fruit, tea, and water to him. After lighting the incense, we put our hands in praying motion and motion three times, whilst reciting the prayer in our head. To take food off the altar, we also do the same. In addition to worshipping the Buddha, Vietnamese "Buddhists" also pray to their ancestors, more specifically their parents. These shrines face the front of the house so that the ancestor spirits can come through the front door. Thanks to modern technology, Vietnamese "Buddhists" can now use electric incense instead of wooden incense. Vietnamese "Buddhists" usually recognize their ancestors or the Buddha on weddings, a baby's first month (Đầy Tháng) and birthday, the Lunar New Year (Tết), funerals (đám ma), and death anniversaries (đám giỗ).

A Higher Being

Vietnamese "Buddhists" also believe in a higher being called God or trời, so when you hear people say "Trời ơi!," they're actually saying "Oh God!," a common expression used by all Vietnamese, not just "Buddhists."


Vietnamese "Buddhists" also think Vietnamese Catholics sound like they're rapping when they're reading the Bible.