Why HanoiMinitrue?

Why I chose the name HanoiMinitrue for this project and website? “Hanoi” is easy to understand. But “Minitrue”?

What is “Minitrue”?

Those who have read George Orwell’s dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four could tell you immediately what “Minitrue” is. Its full form is “Ministry of Truth”. Being involved with news media, education, entertainment, and fine arts, Ministry of Truth is the state agency that the main character Winston Smith works at. Its existence is to maintain the illusion that the Party is absolute.

Minitrue plays a role as the news media by changing history, and changing the words in articles about events current and past, so that Big Brother and his government are always seen in a good light and can never do any wrong. The content is more propaganda than actual news.


Well, in some way, that sounds exactly like the role of the notice chalkboards I have been documenting!

“Nothing exists except an endless present”

On the other hand, the way those boards exist and survive in this day and age is also somehow similar to the “victims” of Minitrue in the novel. As I wandered around the cramped old residential areas of Hanoi, I couldn’t help thinking of a day when those small alleys would disappear. In fact, there were many old residential areas disappearing to make way for massive urban transport projects or apartment blocks.

Every record has been destroyed or falsified, every book rewritten, every picture has been repainted, every statue and street building has been renamed, every date has been altered. And the process is continuing day by day and minute by minute. History has stopped. Nothing exists except an endless present in which the Party is always right.

George Orwell, 1984

At the end of the day, the subway or skyscrapers would leave no room for the rustic chalkboards. (Even an old residential area prefers printed posters). Furthermore, the development of modern media would make the old propaganda style no longer effective. Consequently, those boards would gradually fade in everyone’s life. Then would come one day, they would disappear like never before.

So I chose this name to remind people that memory hole always works quietly.