[Day 247] Tourists to Saigon: “Are you f**king kidding me?”

Ho Chi Minh City administrators just released a video that is supposed lay out some etiquette dos and don’ts for tourists. Wonderful idea in theory, but the universal reaction I’ve received from foreigners living in Vietnam is:

video1.jpg

Continue reading “[Day 247] Tourists to Saigon: “Are you f**king kidding me?””

[Day 247] Tourists to Saigon: “Are you f**king kidding me?”

[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture

Over the years, I’ve noticed three things about books about Vietnamese culture:

  1. They are all written by foreigners. A guidebook to a country written by a foreigner is like a cookbook written by someone who has only had experience in looking at the food. There needs to be a book about Vietnamese culture written by a real Vietnamese.
  2. They all start with the war. Come on, the war ended 4 decades ago! There are so many more cool things in Vietnam.
  3.  They all read like textbooks at best and phonebooks at worst. I believe that books should be not only informative but also entertaining.

I’ve spent the last two years interviewing many people: foreigners who have traveled in Vietnam, foreigners who have lived in Vietnam, foreigners who have never been to Vietnam, Vietnamese who have lived overseas, Vietnamese who have never been outside the country, etc. I’ve combined their opinion into a book called “How to not get your ass kicked in Vietnam: The native’s guide”. But I still need more input to make the book as comprehensive as possible. So please help me through this short survey:

Survey for non-Vietnamese

Survey for Vietnamese

Thank you very much! The prologue to this book can be find below.

Continue reading “[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture”

[Day 235] I need your input to write a bad-ass book about Vietnamese culture

[Day 232] Patriotism for sale

I just finished reading “I am Malala” and I realized that I’m not patriotic. I never talk about Vietnam the way Malala talks about Swat valley, how she yearns for the mountains, the trees, the people of the valley. If she is traumatized that she is displaced from her homeland, my whole life I’ve been working to be able to be away. If she talks to her friends in Pakistan every day when she’s in England, I talk to my family probably once a month and my friends back home around once a year.

I don’t miss home. I don’t have that overwhelming sense of pride when I tell people that I’m Vietnamese. It doesn’t matter to me if I was born in Vietnam or in England or in Malawi. I took no part in deciding where I was born, therefore I deserve no pride in my nationality.

Continue reading “[Day 232] Patriotism for sale”

[Day 232] Patriotism for sale

[Day 207] Quick update on what I’ve been up to

As some of you have kindly pointed out, I haven’t blogged for a while. Here are two possible explanations:

  1. Juggling school, teaching, writing, and a decent social life is rough.
  2. I’m an unmotivated, lazy piece of sh*t.

So, to keep you up to date with my life, because you know it’s sooo exciting, here are some of the things that have happened to me recently, via Facebook:

Continue reading “[Day 207] Quick update on what I’ve been up to”

[Day 207] Quick update on what I’ve been up to

[Day 69] Help me name my book

I have just finished writing a fun culture guidebook to Vietnam. I was thinking of naming it “Vietnam for Dummies”, but I realized that I had no legal rights to use the “for dummies” trademark. I need your help to choose a new name.

learn365project_vietnam1.jpg
Photo by Hung PM, originally seen on Vietnam Streetlife Photography

Continue reading “[Day 69] Help me name my book”

[Day 69] Help me name my book