Introduction to SAIGON – THE PEARL OF THE FAR EAST

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       Saigon, as understood by the Saigon people “roam the world”, the “Sai” was just a kind of “firewood” and “Gon” is a kind of tree with long fruits, wrapped in thick yarn, used to make the pillow. Be temporarily forget the historical evidence “hundreds, thousands of years ago” that many researchers of history, culture have left in the historical and literary books – Saigon, could be supposed of a kind of firewood which is said in folk:

Firewood, she put in the chest
Who could touch her Agarwood

       Firewood was buried in the soil, and now it is detected, has turn into pearls which its boundary is determined in the far east in the southeast Asian region.

       Saigon is known as the Pearl of the Far East. This flowery name is dignified by men of letters, intellectuals, writers, journalists, found the truth and tested by history. The work The Life and Teachings of Far East Guru gives directions for the Western world. Baird T. Spalding1 said that the Western people entered the Eastern world through the thread of clothes until now they like to be worn the angel robes angel to go into a “labyrinth”. However, the touring explorers entering Saigon were rumoured that the Westerners seem to find The Pearl in Bagua in the farthest eastern world.

        In other words – also the T. Spalding’s language, Westerners only “polish lamps’sockets”, while the Eastern people “fan the flames”. So how about Saigon people? They are “the flame holders” for tamanu oil lamp to burn forever in a page of the historical book of humanity.

       These “ornate and flowery words” offended the “Pearl of the Far East” nickname of Saigon although this place is still boorish (Figure 1), not to polish it to be brighter.

A campaign of Saigon illustration from agri-Vietnam culture
Figure 1: A campaign of Saigon illustration from agri-Vietnam culture – Press Agency from the Association special executives engineers and engineers farms No. 2, Episode 1 – 11/1966

According to T. Spalding’s language (Figure 2) – when Hindus see the Pyramids – they look from the “bottom to top gradually”, while Westerners look from top to bottom. Therefore, the vision of the Westerners has been diverted because their eyes have to expand. Now, going into Saigon – Vietnam, the travelers need to focus on a point in each moment, each place to feel the glare and the value of the Pearl through the hands of goldsmiths! That is Saigon residents – “the skillful players”.

Life and Teaching of the Masters of the far East - Baird T. Spalding
Figure 2: Life and Teaching of the Masters of the far East – Baird T. Spalding (source: www.abebooks.com)

     According to explaining by Saigon residents – six provinces of Southern Vietnam, “the skillful players” means players who have moral principals. To explain the full content of this phrase, we have to ask dogmatics and cultural researchers basing on the source of materials in 300-years Saigon history to show the meanings. That meaning could help us to form a Saigon sub-culture type – sparkles in The Pearl of the Far East.

       Saigon subculture gradually construct during the evolution of time history in the foundation of six provinces of Southern Vietnam! That subculture has interacted with a variety of other subcultures2 – some of them have been saved on the spot – others have been charismatic other dominant cultures to integrate into the unique culture called Saigon Hybrid subculture. This issue is a topic that we would like use for a small set of the Pearl of the Far East later.

HUNG NGUYEN MANH
Associated Professor Doctor of History

NOTE:

1. Baird T. Spalding – Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East – Devortss & company USA.

2. Sub-culture

ADDITIONAL NOTE:

◊  Bold, italic, and colored letters are set by Ban Tu Thu.

◊  Figure 1, 2 – Source: Saigon – The Pearl of the Far East – HUNG NGUYEN MANH, Associated Professor Doctor of History – TRUC NGUYEN PHAN SON.

◊  Featured image – Source: A. F. Decoly – Alexandre Francis Decoly –

Mr. Decoly collects cartes of postales and publishes images – in black and white and color – in Saigon from 1905 to 1924 but he is not a photographer but only a businessman. Photo of Mr. Decoly’s cartes postales with the symbol of a small pagoda in the corner is Mr. Decoly’s company, then the symbol of the temple tower becomes the trademark of “Edition La Pagode Saigon”. According to the 1910 Indochina Yearbook, Decoly resided at 36 Legrand de la Liraye, “Decoly, employé de commerce” (now Dien Bien Phu street) – Source: hiepblog.wordpress.com – Nguyen Duc Hiep, Atmospheric Scientist, Office of Environment & Heritage, NSW, Australia.

BAN TU THU
09 /2019

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