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The Philippines

notes and coins

Mabuhay from Manila, We humans are obviously herd animals; very gregarious and much more comfortable in the company of lots and lots of others from our own species. Crowded cities are testament to our desire to be with others. But there are some contradictory forces at play in our unconscious decision to live in urban …Read More

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Australia

up close and personal

Rainbow Lorikeets are the most exquisite creatures on Earth. They are native to Magnetic Island and lots of other places on an Australian continent heavily endowed with such marvels. At Horseshoe Bay, someone has instituted a daily feed for the birds and the birds are taking advantage. At 4:15 every afternoon, these beautiful and engaging …Read More

Categories
Australia

flora and fauna

G’day from Old Geehi in the Snowy Mountains, The biodiversity argument is not winning. As perplexing as this is for logical thinkers, there’s a blockage in the transmission. It’s a strong argument, based on evidentiary science, but it’s not winning the argument. What’s happening is that a majority of the population are not buying it. …Read More

Categories
Australia

life and death

G’day from the northern suburbs of Wollongong, Sometimes it takes a near-death experience to crystallise our priorities: between what we value and what we don’t; between life and death even; in short, between what’s important and what’s not. When a group of business owners in the northern Illawarra put profits over community safety, they were …Read More

Categories
Australia

real or imagined

G’day from the Illawarra in New South Wales, Australia, The Illawarra has some of the best beaches in Australia. There’s a story with enduring currency hereabouts that sand from some of these beaches was sold to the Americans and shipped to Hawaii. So, is it true? All Australians know the legendary stories of Les Darcy …Read More

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Viet Nam

the good and the bad

Xin Chào from Hồ Chí Minh City,    Yesterday I had the misfortune of overhearing a tawdry conversation between two American businessmen. It was downstairs in the café, to which the dear reader was partially introduced in the last epistle. It just so happens that I was at that moment reading an autobiography by an …Read More

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Viet Nam

tar and cement

Xin Chào from Hồ Chí Minh City, Who would want to live in a city? This is from Linda, possibly oblivious to the fact that most people do. She’s looking out over the rooftops where the monsoon storm is brewing, lighting up the layered sky, and the neon lights are punctuating the skyline in every …Read More

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Viet Nam

dedications and sacrifices

Xin Chào from Việt Nam, When certain elements of a society clamour for the removal of certain statues, it’s all about the actions and ideologies of the individual. And how those actions might appear to be anachronistic or hurtful in a modern context. Leopold II in Belgium is spattered with bloody red paint. Robert E. …Read More

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Viet Nam

risk and reward

Xin Chào from Nha Trang, Where did we get the idea that businesses and sectors badly affected by external forces need to be propped up (rescued) by the taxpayer? the invisible hand The capitalist system has many shortcomings – and aren’t we seeing those in their grim profusion right now? – but one of the …Read More

Categories
Viet Nam

physiology vs. sociology

Xin Chào from Cam Ranh, “It’s disappointing to see so many people catching the buggies.” This is Linda, staying in 5-star luxury for her last week in Viết Nam, overlooking the resort from the 12th floor balcony, watching the rich locals moving around the massive resort, where there are ten swimming pools, a long beach, …Read More