Plot synopsis here.
“Miss Saigon thrives on the corrupting Orientalism that is no longer culturally permissible among people of taste and good will. It is cultural trash that demeans both Vietnamese and Americans. It overflows with the quasi-racial condescension that cruelly stereotyped Vietnamese nationalists as moral midgets. It is an insult to all those who fought and died for freedom and justice for the people of South Vietnam.”
— Stephen B. Young
Former Dean, Hamline University School of Law; Former Assistant Dean at Harvard Law School
Author of The Tradition of Human Rights in China and Vietnam
The musical Miss Saigon is launching in Minneapolis and several other cities, and the London re-staging broke the record for West End box office ticket sales, making 4.4 million pounds in one day. Many defenders of Miss Saigon, a play written by two white men based on a photograph they saw, insist that the play is “truthful” and “historically accurate.” What is especially problematic is that Miss Saigon is the longest running and most enduring pop culture representation of Vietnamese people in the Western world – and to a certain extent and by extension of racism, it presents a narrow lens through which all Asians are viewed.
While we recognize that there are many truths, we also see that institutional racism, sexism, and colonization continually reinforce shallow stereotypes of people of color, and the ‘truths’ that are most often lauded and supported are exploitative works that reproduce and validate harmful power structures and chauvinism that ultimately harms the people they claim to portray. Miss Saigon is such a spectacle: a big budget ode to colonialism that romanticizes war and human trafficking.
We created this photo project to simply create a space where Vietnamese women and men could share their truths, as an act of resistance. Soon, we will add non-Vietnamese Asians, and non-Asian allies.
If you are interested, please contact us. We welcome you to share your truth, but we simply ask that you be considerate and not be racist, sexist, classist, homophobic, ableist, nor use any language or rhetoric that shames or denigrates prostitutes or sex workers.
The logo featured on our site was designed by Eric Sharp and is available for download / use here. Please use respectfully.