The war-weary people of South Vietnam's capital, Saigon, have been preparing for the Chinese Lunar New Year--when traditional good cheer is tempered by memories of the Viet Cong offensive in 1968 which nearly captured the city.
GV PAN ACROSS Guests at reception.
SV Guests chatting.
SV & CU General "Big" Minh with guests. (2 shots)
CU Balloons carried by boy.
SV ZOOM INTO CU Decorations on sale.
CU & SV Stall holders selling wares. (3 shots)
GV & CU Flowers on sale.
CU Balloons ZOOM OUT TO GV Street scene with coach.
Initials VS 3.30 VS 3.40
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Background: The war-weary people of South Vietnam's capital, Saigon, have been preparing for the Chinese Lunar New Year--when traditional good cheer is tempered by memories of the Viet Cong offensive in 1968 which nearly captured the city.
Since the war became an everyday part of Vietnamese life, the build-up to the New Year, or Tet--which falls this year on Tuesday (February 11)--has become as much an occasion for political solidarity as family reunion.
At the home of General Duong Van "Big" Minh, the former Chief of State who unsuccessfully opposed President Thieu in the 1971 Presidential elections, the country's leading opposition figures attended a reception on Friday (February 7).
What have, in the past, often been sombre gatherings of South Vietnam's political rejects was this time injected with a new optimism--reflecting the growing breadth and appeal of the opposition movement.
Meanwhile the capital's shopping markets are filled with colour and excitement--at least for the time being.
Tet, like Christmas in Christian communities, is mainly an occasion for the children. But in these hard times, the gifts often have to be more practical than childish.
And for those who are determined to travel into the provinces to be with the family for Tet, there is the continuing threat of ambush and violent death.
Very ware of the dark history of the Tet holiday, the government has stepped up security chocks in an around the city Many families are taking their own precautions--stock-piling provisions as rumours spread that the communists will strike again.