Heartache for sale at Vietnam’s ex-lovers market

Above, curious customers leaf through old books, love notes, candles and clothes — relics from relationships past now on sale by jilted lovers at the once-a-month Vietnam’s “Old Flames” market. (AFP)
Updated 05 November 2017
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Heartache for sale at Vietnam’s ex-lovers market

HANOI: At Vietnam’s Old Flames market, curious customers peruse love letters and pick through perfumes, candles and clothes — relics from failed relationships put on sale by forlorn lovers.
Entrepreneurial exes meet once a month, bringing their baggage — emotional and literal — to a converted cottage on a leafy Hanoi street to find a new home for items they can no longer bear to look at.
It’s also a means of moving on.
“(After a breakup) I’m very sad, I can’t drink or eat ... but after a while I pick myself up. The past is in the past,” said Phuc Thuy, 29, who was selling clothes, purses and even a tube of toothpaste she acquired during a former romance.
The market has steadily grown since it opened in February, especially among Vietnam’s social-media obsessed youth, unabashed about sharing intimate details of their everyday lives.
“Young people are more open-minded and they want to share deeply and widely to overcome pain, without suffering alone,” said founder Dinh Thang, as a visitor strummed love songs on a guitar nearby.
He started the market after a few bitter breakups left him with unwanted paraphernalia from a now extinguished passion.
He proudly displays love letters, heart-strewn birthday cards and sentimental scrapbooks from his ex as a reminder that such memorabilia need not be painful forever.
He’s also opened the doors to vendors selling new items, and is planning to duplicate the concept in Vietnam’s commercial capital Ho Chi Minh City next year.
For those who haven’t quite reached Thang’s stage of emotional post-breakup enlightenment, he’s set up a message board to pen notes to exes.
“To all my ex-lovers, I’m sorry because I feel like we never really knew each other,” read one remorse-tinged message. Another was more succinct: “I’M FINE!!!“
Thang hopes the market will make the topic of breakups less taboo in Vietnam, a conservative communist nation of 93 million where just a generation ago arranged marriages were more common.
Social attitudes have changed as the country has become increasingly globalized and as its vast young population — more than 50 percent of the country is under age 30 — embrace western dating norms.
That includes Internet dating.
“Many young people meet online, date online and break up online,” said Bui Manh Tien, Youth Programme Officer at United Nations Population Fund in Vietnam.
Today, men and women are waiting longer to get married and divorce rates are also ticking up, according to official figures.
“We don’t want to give up our freedom too early and get tied to family responsibility when we’re young, we want to enjoy life before getting married,” Tien, 25, added.
For some, the Old Flames market is simply a place to make new connections, romantic or otherwise.
“I came here to meet people and to see the goods, explore why they used to be a very beautiful memory,” said Tieu Khuy, before picking up a used copy of Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice.”


French couple tie knot in yellow-vest themed wedding

Updated 11 December 2018
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French couple tie knot in yellow-vest themed wedding

  • The couple met a few weeks ago at a roadblock protest
  • They held the wedding at another roadblock at a nearby tolling station

DUBAI: Out of the madness of the Yellow Vests protests raging across Paris has sprung hope in the form of newlywed bliss.

After having met less than a month ago during a yellow vest roadblock in the Occitanie commune of Tarbes, two strangers, known only as “Chouchoune” and “Coco bel œil”, decided to tie the knot in a bizarre yellow-vest themed wedding ceremony, local media reported.

On Saturday, as violent protests broke out across the country, the couple held an outdoor wedding ceremony during a roadblock at a tolling station in nearby Séméac. The bride wore a tailor-made neon-yellow dress made from the reflective vests, and donned a crown of yellow flowers, while the groom wore a full suit of the reflective neon material.

Pictures of the wedding were posted to Twitter.

200 yellow-vest-clad guests attended the ceremony as the head of Tarbes’s gilets jaunes group presided over the ceremony. She pronounced the couple married whilst wearing a tricolor wig in the colors of the French flag, French daily La Depeche du Midi reported.

Given the roadblocks they’re currently taking part in, the couple’s honeymoon consisted of a “romantic” motorcycle tour around a nearby roundabout.