Hi, I’m Trang, an ordinary woman in her late thirties. I was born and raised in Hanoi. Accordingly, I am intimately attached to this city. HanoiMinitrue is not only a personal project of mine but also a collection of urban memories for everyone who shares the affection toward Hanoi.

Glorious Past

The photos in this project might remind us of Hanoi in 1980s or earlier. At that time, communism was present boldly in many daily words and activities. Most people were still poor, simple, and full of faith in the “revolutionary ideology”.

Each Lunar New Year or Tet holidays, people had very few options to decorate the neighborhood. Long red banners with paper-pasted slogans or bonsai flowers were for important streets only. As a result, drawing on the public boards would be a great choice. With some colored chalk and moderate skill, the leader of residential group could bring Tet atmosphere to locals. On a single board, people could enjoy both slogans and bonsai flowers. It’s a pity that people hardly had cameras then.

Vague Present

For decades, the boards have played an important role in indoctrinating the locals. But today, the development of modern media has made them pretty outdated. Increasingly, the boards as well as the messages on them become unnecessary. The chalk decoration now surrenders to printing technology.

Nowadays, you still could see those boards, mostly in small alleys. They are usually black rectangles on the walls. During public holidays, many of them still become colorful poster for people to enjoy. However, fewer and fewer people pay attention to them. This year, I realize that several decorators who have been very caring for the boards now feel no longer interested in adorning them. Is it because no one shows appreciation? Or is it because they are fed up with their job? I don’t know.

All I know is to document the boards, post about them online, and hope that someone out there also finds this project meaningful enough to give it some comment or share.