According to Vietnamese tradition, 1974 is the year of the tiger, and if two of the country's leading fortune-tellers are to be believed believed, it will bring heavy fighting to South Vietnam.
GV Pagoda in Saigon
SV People giving money to beggars outside pagoda (2 shots)
SV TNT Two women worshipping
SV Woman worships by burning joss sticks
SV Children worship
SCU & SV Fortune teller and woman client (2 shots)
SV People buying New Year cards and decorations
SV Women in street
SV People looking at flowers for New Year gifts (4 shots)
AERIAL VIEW Saigon and surrounding countryside, showing villages and rice fields
SV Troops on patrol in village (2 shots)
LV Boat bringing villagers into shore
SV Soldiers waiting on river bank
SV Soldiers check villagers' documents before allowing them to land.
Initials BB/2354 CG/PN/BB/0014
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Background: According to Vietnamese tradition, 1974 is the year of the tiger, and if two of the country's leading fortune-tellers are to be believed believed, it will bring heavy fighting to South Vietnam.
Like the Chinese and Japanese, the Vietnamese denote each year with an animal. The tiger apollo trouble, and Professor Minh Nguyet and Professor Huynh Lien both say that President Nguyen Van Thieu of South Vietnam will have more problems their year. But they say he will emerge unscathed and successful if he tackles the problems in an honorable and humanitarian way.
The vietnamese new year begins on January 23rd and it is a serious time for the South Vietnamese military. Ever since they were caught unprepared by the Viet Cong Tet offensive of 1988, the occasion has been celebrated with wariness. Tet, the lunar new year, comes about three weeks later.
This year, with the January peace accords officially keeping the two warring sides apart, the scene in South Vietnam is more relaxed. Even so south Vietnamese government troops have been dispersed to the villages and rice fields to guard against communist infiltration.
Hopes for a resumption of prisoner exchanges before the new year festival faded earlier this month when negotiations between the South Vietnamese and Viet Cong became bogged down. More than 4,000 prisoners are held by each side. Fighting in the South continues and the South vietnamese government itself estimated that last year the losses each month for both sides totalled 5,000 men.
1973 ended the presence of United States fighting men on the ground and in the air, but the american budget continues to finance President Thieu's efforts to win a victory against the communists.