This Post Brought to You by a Total Disregard for Intellectual Property Rights

Water Puppet Show Hanoi Vietnam

The most remarkable thing about the Water Puppet Show in Hanoi, Vietnam, was the way in which absolutely nobody cared if you photographed it or even shot video.

The performance itself, one of the “must do” attractions in Hanoi, was only vaguely interesting. It’s an hour long display of an art form originally developed by rice farmers as a way to entertain one another after their fields flooded. Staged in a pool of waste-deep water, wooden puppets (controlled via submerged poles manipulated by puppeteers hidden behind a screen) act out tales of rural Vietnamese folklore.

Water Puppet Show Hanoi Vietnam 2

Perhaps it was because I was unfamiliar with the legends or because I couldn’t follow the stories performed in Vietnamese, but, for whatever reason, I found that despite the theatrics on stage my attention kept turning back to all the cameras in the crowd. To be fair, that may have also been because the guy in front of me insisted on holding an iPad over his head for the duration of the show.

But it wasn’t just him. There were so many recording devices held in the air that the Water Puppet Show felt a bit like a Grateful Dead concert; except without the weed or the cool music.

Either the crowd at Hanoi's Water Puppet Show or a Dead concert, it's hard to tell

Either the crowd at Hanoi’s Water Puppet Show or a Dead concert, it’s hard to tell

I even got in on the act. I shot this two minutes of video mostly because I could. I’m pretty sure nobody would have complained if I taped the entire thing. Not that I had to. If you’re wondering what the entire show is like just imagine this, only 30 times longer.

And while I didn’t learn a lick of Vietnamese history during the puppet show, it did help put one thing in perspective. I now have a greater understanding of all the pirated merchandise we saw for sale throughout South East Asia.

If they don’t make the slightest effort to protect their own intellectual property at places like the Water Puppet Show, why on earth would they care about protecting anyone else’s?

This fake Bentley is prowling the streets of Cambodia.

Not even cars are too small to pirate. We saw this fake Bentley prowling around the streets of Cambodia.

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10 Comments on “This Post Brought to You by a Total Disregard for Intellectual Property Rights”

  1. digger666 January 7, 2015 at 9:17 am #

    Reblogged this on digger666.


  2. Incidental Scribe January 7, 2015 at 10:32 am #

    I love your tales. They allow me to learn so much about the world from the comfort of my arm chair.


  3. Anil C. Mandal January 7, 2015 at 11:43 am #

    Reblogged this on Anil's webspace.


  4. Anil C. Mandal January 7, 2015 at 11:44 am #

    Reblogged this on Anil's webspace.


  5. Marie January 7, 2015 at 4:33 pm #

    Hi. I saw a performance in 2006. At that time, or at least at the theater I was at, you had to pay to take pictures. Maybe they gave up charging a fee because of the use of smart phones.


  6. winnymarch January 7, 2015 at 11:34 pm #

    the puppet show also could find in indoensia but not the people one


  7. Furniture Jepara January 11, 2015 at 3:28 am #

    I love your tales
    thank you


  8. The Earth Beneath My Feet January 12, 2015 at 3:33 am #

    Brilliant post. Love the Grateful dead concert reference too 🙂


  9. dunelight January 12, 2015 at 9:16 pm #

    Wow, I did not there was such a thing as water puppetry out there. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. Your photo of everyone recording the show is amazing. Those poles are just starting to show up here. As for rights, may we all be blessed to never have our intellectual and artistic property ripped off by those who would take food from our mouths.


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