SHRINES

SHRINES TO FAILED LOVE

On Banana Island under Long Bien Bridge, there’s a shrine dedicated to two young women found dead of suicide. Supposedly, they had both taken their lives due to heartbreak.

Many shrines throughout Vietnam are dedicated to the memory of those who died too young, in tragic ways. The one on Banana Island is called Hai Cô, and it’s bathed in soft light at night, feeling of both solitude and romance. Wild dogs sometimes run through. It’s a place for the community and these adopted lost souls.

The bodies of those who’ve committed suicide sometimes wash up on the island, where its soft muddy banks hit the Red River. A couple lives on the island, and has taken it upon themselves to rescue these nameless bodies, and give them burials. Many on the island and its surrounding areas are undocumented migrant workers.

They’re an older couple, trash pickers by profession. One day they met, and the man asked the woman to stay with him, and late in life they found a home with each other.

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