Historical discussions of mainland Southeast Asia typically emphasize the cultural and economic base in agriculture, but it is worth remembering that 40 percent of Thailand’s population, and over 80 percent of people in Vietnam, live in areas designated as coastal.[3] As one geographer has put it, “the degree of marine influence over the environment, settlement, communication and development of resources, both in Mainland and Island Southeast Asia, is probably unmatched in any other part of the world.” (Barrow 1990, p. 78)

Các bạn có biết tại sao người dân đánh bắt cá làm ra những chiếc thuyền, họ điều vẽ mắt trên chiếc thuyền không,thực ra tôi cũng không biết,khi tôi còn rất nhỏ tôi hỏi cha ông họ nói rằng, chiếc thuyền với con người điều có tâm linh gắn liền với nhau, khi ra khơi tâm linh về biển khi người dân đánh bắt gặp sóng to gió lơn với những cơn bão dữ dội chiếc thuyền, có mắt sẽ né tránh những con bão kia tìm phương hướng đi trên biển khơi.

Grandfather Fish

"The whale comes into the bay when he knows he is dying. He dies here on our beach because he knows we will prepare him and take care of him for the afterlife." 

Cá Ông worship is believed to have been formed a long time ago when a whale rescued villagers from a monster who was terrorizing the people. Because of the heroic act of the whale, the ancestors of the villagers started to worship the whale, using its carcass and bones in temples.


  • A stop-motion animation made by a group of local kids about the reason people workshop the whales.

  • Interviews with keepers of the whale temple in Mui Ne, Vang Tau, and Hue.

  • Interview with Long Vu about the links between whale workshop and the conservation of marine mammals, i.e. generational gap.



Fish sauce is 


  • A stop-motion animation made by a group of local kids on how to make fish sauce.

  • Interviews with fish sauce maker.


Is there a relationship between belief (in the Vietnamese context - the effort to give an offering to a god or ancestor because you BELIEVE in the power / your relationship with / the degree of respect and reversance you have for the ancestor / deity), so much will watch over you and keep you safe, will you risk more than, say, a fishermen who doesn't have access to the same outlet? Will you subject yourself to hazardous working conditions or participate in illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing practices because you believe your intentions are good - for the betterment of your family. 


Is there a relationship between the risks people are willing to take and the belief in good fortune? Will you risk more because you believe you have offered the gods or your ancestors enough for you to succeed regardless of laws?

Thien Hau: Goddess of the Sea




Vietnam’s long history has been dominated by land and sea migrations, especially from Southern China. The peopling of Vietnam began in the Late Pleistocene era; the Cham kingdom was established in the 2nd century, and Vietnam was under Chinese rule for over 1,000 years. A major Chinese diaspora in the 19th century saw the rise of the Southern Ocean Chinese, leaving the major Chinese trading ports—such as Amoy and Fuchou Hokkien speakers, Cantonese speakers, and Swatow Teochew speakers—in search of work. Overseas, the Chinese established communities throughout Southeast Asia reaching as far as the USA, Canada, Australia, and South Africa. The sea journeys were long, arduous, and dangerous and many did not survive. Upon reaching dry land alive, their first response was to establish a joss house, or Chinese temple, to give thanks to the Goddess of the Sea, Mazu, for safe passage and arrival. In many cases, these early joss houses became permanent temples dedicated to Mazu.