I see government posters everywhere in Saigon. Many of them trumpet out government messages about the Party as benevolent protector of the people and vanguard of progress. But others deliver warm and fuzzy messages about the importance of family and children. It took me a little while to get used to these -- they're just so, well, odd.
This one is a few blocks from my house. It's fairly typical, featuring "Bac Ho" (Uncle Ho) and messages about the Party. Bac Ho is the Vietnamese equivalent of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Ben Frankin and all the other American Founding Fathers rolled into one. Judging from the posters, he is absolutely revered here.
Interesting to note that the right billboard features a message for APEC (the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) group. Vietnam is hosting the annual APEC heads of state meeting in Hanoi this fall. George Bush will be in attendence. Given the amount of official billboard messaging devoted to APEC, the Vietnamese are very proud of their role as host.
Not sure what this one is about exactly, but the imagery makes it clear that Bac Ho and the Party are watching over and guiding industrial progress and stability in Vietnam.
Lots of themes here: peace, children, education, the government. I tried translating this. Literally, the words mean "discipline patience strength team build well." Those may not be exactly the right meanings though, since Vietnamese words often have slightly different meanings depending on the context. You get the idea.
I think this one is a traffic safety message. I snapped it in the middle of a big roundabout on Cach Mang Thang Tam. Fewer than 1% of Vietnamese riders wear helmets, although the governement seems to be trying to boost that figure.
Propaganda fascinates me in all its forms. You can see some historical Vietnamese propaganda here. It's interesting to compare and contrast it with American propaganda from World War II, which you can find here. Good propaganda shares universal attributes -- it is simple and straightforward, employs vivid imagery and makes a powerful emotional appeal.