Thương nhớ thời bao cấp
Thương nhớ thời bao cấp - Memories of the Subsidized Era
Nha Nam Publishing - Writers’ Association Publishing House

Art by Thanh Phong & Huu Khoa
Captions by Trác Phong, Hoàng Oanh
Editor in chief: Thụ Nho
Idioms collected by Trác Phong, Hoàng Oanh, Thành Phong, Việt Tiến, Xuân Thành



Two weeks before lunar new year in Hanoi, a book of cartoons about daily life during the war-time years sold out within days of its launch. Memories of air raids, forced conscription andration tickets hardly seem like subject matter that would lift a sentimental smile from the people’s lips. But in Hanoi today, nostalgia for the subsidized era of ‘high Communism’ in the 1970s and 80s has crept into the popular imagination.

The hipster socialist-realism décor of Cộng Café heralded the beginnings of a rethink on
Vietnam’s olive-drab-ensconced recent past. Hanoi youth are at least branching out from
fixations with the latest phones and brand-name fashions to learn more about the modest
conditions under which their parents and grandparents came of age.

Even so, the sell-out success of Thuong Nho Thoi Bao Cap (Memories of the Subsidized Era) surprised everyone, including the authors. The book is not merely nostalgia. It took five years to publish, given a long battle with censors – who pulled out some 20 cartoons before finally granting a printing license.

Memories deals directly with the politics of the day by illustrating the stock phrases, idioms, slang and mannerisms of the subsidized era. This is done in an unmistakeably satirical manner, with the authors walking readers through an alphabetically arranged critique of the rampant bureaucracy, nepotism and inefficiency of the times – subject matter that still resonates soundly today.

...

Even today, government agencies blend propaganda into media and entertainment productions
in a manner far less effective than they imagine. In its revisionist look at the stock phrases and
nation-building slogans of the war-time years, the book exposes the anaemic core of much of
the propaganda/entertainment produced in Vietnam. This is a type of critical education youth
don’t receive in secondary school classes. As a work effectively combining nostalgia, satire and
education, Memories of the Subsidized Era is a triple threat.

Nostalgia, satire and education prove a triple threat in Memories of the Subsidized Era
By Michael L. Gray

Thương nhớ thời bao cấp
64
508
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Published:

Thương nhớ thời bao cấp

Thương nhớ thời bao cấp (Memories of Subsidized Era) is an art book of illustrated idioms and slangs from Vietnam Subsidize Era (50-80s of 20th c Read More
64
508
1
Published: