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​Saigon old signage: proof of the city’s subtle charm

Sunday, December 10, 2017, 17:04 GMT+7

Roaming the street web of Saigon, the nostalgic name many call Ho Chi Minh City, one can easily spot shop front signs and direction signposts that convey the city’s grace.

Alongside the glamorous modernity the city boasts, its graceful touch prevails, predominantly manifest in its age-old signs.

These hand-drawn, discolored signs from decades ago still exist to inject a bit of elegance to Southeast Asian city.

Plain contrast small sign of a grocery, indicating the simplicity of the Saigonese
Plain contrast small sign of a grocery, indicating the simplicity of the Saigonese

Some owners have decided to keep their century-old signs hanging out of pride.

Some meticulously painted each and every single word on the signs they so cherished.

Some used just plain black text against a white background, pointing to the simplicity and straightforwardness of the Saigonese.

A century-old shop front sign of a tailor. Photo: NGHIA COCO
A century-old shop front sign of a tailor. Photo: NGHIA COCO

Many have pictured the city as a place of congestions, flooding and robbery. In fact Saigon is not always that welcoming.

Above the overt negativity, though, the city is laden with hidden charms traceable deep in the mazes of alleys: the appealing handcraft stores, coffee houses and pottery shops.

A well-known sweet soup seller made a poem to call customers to his delicacies. A coffee shop owner set his wifi password as itismorefuntotalk as a kind reminder for those device addicts.

Beholders simply will be carried away by the charm surrounding the vintage signs.

A coffee shop owner set his wifi as itismorefuntotalk. Photo: NGHIA COCO
A coffee shop owner set his wifi as itismorefuntotalk. Photo: NGHIA COCO
A poem describing a delicacy in a sweet soup restaurant
A poem describing a delicacy in a sweet soup restaurant
A barber’s sign gracefully self-painted by owner in an alley in District 11. Photo: NGHIA COCO
A barber’s sign gracefully self-painted by owner in an alley in District 11. Photo: NGHIA COCO

A city of kindness

The Saigonese are just so kind. And they reach out for each other through their signs.

A roadside bike serviceman will be pleased to offer a 50 percent discount to university students and free service to the disabled.

People living near major hospitals set up prominent signposts that guide people to their desired destinations, with the most friendly of word choice.

A signpost pointing to a popular obstetrics and gynecology hospital in District 1. Photo: NGHIA COCO
A signpost pointing to a popular obstetrics and gynecology hospital in District 1. Photo: NGHIA COCO

Those residing in a hem, the local word for an alley, put up signs that remind motorcyclists to slow down and watch out for little kids.

Clearly, the economic growth of the southern metropolis has not done away with the deep-rooted grace scattered all over the place.

The old signage are obvious signs of a subtle charm Saigon can pride itself in.

An alley sign that reads: “Narrow alley. Slow down and watch out for kids.” Photo: NGHIA COCO
An alley sign that reads: “Narrow alley. Slow down and watch out for kids.” Photo: NGHIA COCO
A signpost giving directions to a children’s hospital hanging on a key repairman booth on 3 Thang 2 Street. Photo: NGHIA COCO
A signpost giving directions to a children’s hospital hanging on a key repairman booth on 3 Thang 2 Street. Photo: NGHIA COCO

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