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Seeing both sides in Ken Burns’ ‘The Vietnam War’

The Vietnam War begins like so many Ken Burns films before it: by listing, in the inimitable voice of Burns’ go-to narrator Peter Coyote, a series of dichotomies that the ten-part, eighteen-hour behemoth will inevitably toggle between, and struggle with, for the

Vietnam’s National Assembly elections plagued by biased vetting, intimidation

When Vietnam elects its National Assembly this weekend, voters will find that, by and large, the choice has already been made for them. The country’s ruling Communist Party blocked more than one hundred independent nominees from running—an unprecedented number whose

What ‘communist chic’ really means

It is one of the most common sights on the streets of Vietnam. In Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, Da Lat and Nha Trang, tourists abound whose style might best be described as ‘communist chic’. You will have seen

Vietnam’s lowlands to go under with climate change

When it comes to climate change, Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh City is one of the world’s ten most vulnerable cities. As a result, around 70 per cent of its urban area may experience severe flooding in coming decades, according to

Keeping tourists safe in Vietnam: Calls for foreigners’ police force

Ho Chi Minh City authorities have again raised the prospect of establishing a tourism police force to make the burgeoning travel industry safer after a reported surge in street crimes. Just last week, one person was killed and at least

“We have America on our side”: How times have changed for Vietnam

Americans are often pleasantly surprised, upon arriving in Vietnam for the first time, by how little the Vietnamese seem to care about the war these days. They might feel a pang of guilt or two, or else an off-putting sense

The train to Quảng Ngãi

It was in the canteen car of the late-night service that the Vietnam veteran finally told me his story. We’d been friends for months, regulars at a Louisiana-themed bar off Saigon’s Bùi Viện backpacker strip, but his time in-country was,

A ramble ’round Hội An

Named for Vietnam’s ubiquitous dish of water spinach and garlic, Morning Glory in Hội An’s ancient town regularly packs them in. One of local restaurateur Trinh Diem Vy’s four local eateries (Ms Vy, as she is known, also runs Melbourne’s