Painted manhole covers in Saigon hoped to increase environmental awareness

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A painted manhole covers in Saigon

Around 30 manhole covers in District 5, Ho Chi Minh City have been turned from cement and metal eyesores to exquisite paintings by a group of young people hoping to raise awareness of the city’s battle against litter.

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Old, hideous manhole covers on Hai Thuong Lan Ong, Tan Da, and Trieu Quang Phuc Streets have become relics of the past, replaced by scenes of fish ponds and nature’s beauty.

The project was initiated by Youth Union members from the district’s Ward 10, with fine art students from Saigon University serving as the primary artists for the campaign.

“We have ask private businesses and individual donors to sponsor the paintings,” said  Nguyen Ngoc Uyen Phuong, deputy secretary of the ward Youth Union,

“If we are able to raise more funds, we can expand the program to other streets in District 5.”

It is not uncommon for manhole covers to double as dumpsters in districts throughout the city.

“Since the covers were changed to art, people have stopped littering on them,” Nguyen Phuong Hoa, a 54-year-old street vendor on Tan Da, said.

“It is also relaxing to look at the paintings while I sell here every day.”

Architect Ngo Viet Nam Son said artwork and its contribution to the urban landscape should be respected.

Vo Thi Minh Hue, a psychological expert, believes the beautiful manhole covers, as well as walls featuring colorful murals, will encourage more walking amongst local residents.

“Residents will also feel the need to keep the street clean,” she said.

However, some are concerned that the paintings will do more harm than good.

“Many Vietnamese like to stop and watch anything unusual they see on the street.  These people will cause traffic jams if they’re distracted by these exquisite manhole covers,” one Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reader said.

Another reader believes that it is more important to have clean sewages and safe manholes than beautiful covers.

Below are some pictures of the new artwork.

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This entry was posted in Du lịch - Tourism, Giáo dục môi trường - environment education, Hội họa - Painting, Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Môi trường - Environment, Văn hóa - Culture and tagged , , , by Trần Đình Hoành. Bookmark the permalink.

About Trần Đình Hoành

I am an attorney in the Washington DC area, with a Doctor of Law in the US, attended the master program at the National School of Administration of Việt Nam, and graduated from Sài Gòn University Law School. I aso studied philosophy at the School of Letters in Sài Gòn. I have worked as an anti-trust attorney for Federal Trade Commission and a litigator for a fortune-100 telecom company in Washington DC. I have taught law courses for legal professionals in Việt Nam and still counsel VN government agencies on legal matters. I have founded and managed businesses for me and my family, both law and non-law. I have published many articles on national newspapers and radio stations in Việt Nam. In 1989 I was one of the founding members of US-VN Trade Council, working to re-establish US-VN relationship. Since the early 90's, I have established and managed VNFORUM and VNBIZ forum on VN-related matters; these forums are the subject of a PhD thesis by Dr. Caroline Valverde at UC-Berkeley and her book Transnationalizing Viet Nam. I translate poetry and my translation of "A Request at Đồng Lộc Cemetery" is now engraved on a stone memorial at Đồng Lộc National Shrine in VN. I study and teach the Bible and Buddhism. In 2009 I founded and still manage on positive thinking and two other blogs on Buddhism. In 2015 a group of friends and I founded website CVD - Conversations on Vietnam Development ( I study the art of leadership with many friends who are religious, business and government leaders from many countries. In October 2011 Phu Nu Publishing House in Hanoi published my book "Positive Thinking to Change Your Life", in Vietnamese (TƯ DUY TÍCH CỰC Thay Đổi Cuộc Sống). In December 2013 Phu Nu Publishing House published my book "10 Core Values for Success". I practice Jiu Jitsu and Tai Chi for health, and play guitar as a hobby, usually accompanying my wife Trần Lê Túy Phượng, aka singer Linh Phượng.

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