Categories
Viet Nam

passion and purpose

Klum Kuh from Buôn Ma Thuột, Karaoke may have been a Japanese invention, but it is big here in Viết Nam. Perhaps the singers are imagining themselves in lights. Maybe they genuinely fancy themselves as melodious balladeers. Or, do they secretly hope a talent spotter will be lurking in the corner, ready to shove a …Read More

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Viet Nam

loud and proud

Klum Kuh from Buôn Ma Thuột, It’s in the Viếtnamese interior, in the highlands, where Viết Nam’s ethnic groups co-exist with the majority Kinh. There are said to be 54 ethnic groups. Whereas in some countries, ethnic tribes are just hanging on against the damaging effects of assimilation and creeping modernity, here they are loud …Read More

Categories
Thailand

hosts and parasites

Sawasdee from Phuket, Isn’t it funny how a casual remark can have a revelatory effect? A student at school says that workers in factories, shops and hospitality outlets appear to be jovial, so they must be happy with their lot. It’s a serious suggestion, borne of a certain ignorance but also of a basic class …Read More

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Thailand

pests and predators

Sawasdee from Koh He in Thailand, When I played cricket at Walgett (north-western New South Wales), during the short nesting season of the magpies, the new mother would occasionally build her nest in the trees adjacent to the cricket ground. This meant that the whites-clad fieldsmen would seem to pose a threat to her chicks. …Read More

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Thailand

wholesale and retail

Sawasdee from Phuket, When an American won the Australian Open tennis championship this year, she said, amongst other banalities, that she would be spending the next little while in Melbourne, shopping. And then, when some Australians had their cruise aborted during the Coronavirus outbreak, after spending two weeks in quarantine in Howard’s Springs, one of …Read More

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Viet Nam

cocoa and rice

Xin Chào from the Mekong Delta, The Mekong Delta is rightly known as the food bowl of the region. It’s where most of the exported rice is grown. Most people might perceive a delta as a fairly featureless landscape, with nothing much to draw the visitor. It’s not true. The homestay experience is memorable. This …Read More

Categories
Oman

oil and gas

Salaam from Muscat, Oman,   Consider the following hypothetical: a country finds itself with a bounty of a natural resource that the rest of the world lacks and is prepared to pay big money to have. This resource is found underground and occurs naturally, having formed over millions of years. The country determines that this …Read More

Categories
Oman

fake vs. authentic

Salaam from Nizwa, Oman, Whilst there are many dangerous and unsavoury side-effects of globalisation, there are obvious benefits. Everything from goods, capital, labour, sport, disease and entertainment cross the international boundaries with alacrity, with good and bad effects. Lots of people are materially better off. Trade has improved their existence, at least from that point …Read More

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Viet Nam

death and destruction

Xin Chào from Mỹ Lai, Occasionally, we all need a sobering history lesson. We are in Mỹ Lai, Central Việt Nam: the site of the infamous, eponymous massacre which – when finally exposed 12 months after the event – shocked the waverers and galvanised opposition to the American War. Nobody needs to visit the site …Read More

Categories
Viet Nam

power and greed

Xin Chào from central Việt Nam,  The recent shocking discovery of 39 young Việtnamese nationals, dead in the back of a lorry near Essex, weighs on my mind more than the average tragedy. It’s not merely because I’m living here in Việt Nam, close enough to know the imperative. The more you get to know …Read More