Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Same Same, But Different

One city, one day.
One person, one deity.
One lens, one photograph.
As many religions as possible.

The intention: Observe how people from different systems of belief worship.

Luckily we were Saigon, a large multi-cultural metropolis that provides plenty of opportunity and variety to catalog the human yearning for the divine.  It all went according to planned.  Well, except that it was a bit too ambitious in terms of the amount of walking involved and we needed two days to finish it.  Nonetheless, it was done. 
The final tally was 5: a Hindu temple, a Theravadan Buddhist Pagoda, a Taoist Pagoda, a Catholic Church and an Islamic Mosque.  The synagogue was too far and we couldn’t find the Saigon branch of “El Pabellón de la Victoria”. 
It was a fascinating couple of days, filled with many unexpected moments, interesting characters, and lots of incense and smoke.  




Plenty of observations gathered along the way of how people interact with each other in these spaces, how they interact with the space itself and how they connect through the representations of their deities.  More than anything, one phrase came to mind.

Same Same,
But Different

Mariamman Hindu Temple

Xai Loi Pagoda
Buddhist Temple

Chùa Ngọc Hoàng
The Jade Emperor Pagoda
Taoist Pagoda 

Notre Dame Basilica

Saigon Central Mosque 

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