[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”

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

[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.

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 48] Tamypu

We are now at the age when we have to decide whether we should settle down to be an ordinary person or we should continue being special.” – Tamypu

I don’t know any other person who could possibly say that without appearing pretentious. Pu is special, the kind of special that makes you want to crack her brain with a fine axe to see what is really going on inside.

Continue reading “[Day 48] Tamypu”

[Day 48] Tamypu

[Day 41] Durians to Westerners is like cheese to Asians

A couple of weeks ago, I was walking around London’s Chinatown with an American friend when we noticed a distinct, pungent smell. I was delighted–I hadn’t smelt that for so long.

“Did someone just poop here? This is disgusting,” my friend said.

“It’s durians.”

“What?”

“The fruit. We eat them all the time in Vietnam.”

“You eat them? Eww.”

That’s pretty much the generic reaction you can expect from a Westerner who has never come into contact with durians before. I always find it ironic considering that they eat equally disgusting things like cheese.

Continue reading “[Day 41] Durians to Westerners is like cheese to Asians”

[Day 41] Durians to Westerners is like cheese to Asians

[Day 17] That feeling when you have to be protected from your own country

Since I will be traveling outside the US over the summer, my advisor *strongly recommended* that I visit the travel clinic before I go. So I did. I told the doctor I plan to visit the UK and Vietnam.

“UK is fine but for Vietnam, you’d need to be careful.”

Continue reading “[Day 17] That feeling when you have to be protected from your own country”

[Day 17] That feeling when you have to be protected from your own country

[Day 10] Timeline for all events related to the fish deaths in Vietnam

For those of you who don’t already know, recently there has been some social unrest in Vietnam. A lot of people went out on the street to protest over the mass fish death and the way the government has been handling the situation. As is the case with unrest, there are a lot of people spreading rumors and causing even more unrest. I think it might be helpful to just look at the facts. Below is a complete timeline of all those events: from when the fish started dying on April 6 to today. I only quoted accredited newspapers, and I don’t include rumors spread on social media. Please let me know if there is something I’m missing.

fish death tn
Dead fish drifted into a dam near Lach Giang Seaport, Thua Thien-Hue. Photo: Thanh Quang/Thanh Nien

Continue reading “[Day 10] Timeline for all events related to the fish deaths in Vietnam”

[Day 10] Timeline for all events related to the fish deaths in Vietnam

[Day 5] How to become a CEO at 23

I first met Linh Tran Hai seven years ago when I was still an antsy teenager. At that time, Linh was 23 and the CEO of Lenovo Vietnam. I met him once, added him on Facebook and we went our separate ways. What would the youngest CEO in the country want to do with me anyway?

A few days ago, Linh messaged me saying he’s in Bay Area and would love to catch up. I jumped at the invitation. We had dinner, and I got to learn about his incredible journey from an unemployed college undergrad to a country manager at 23. Continue reading “[Day 5] How to become a CEO at 23”

[Day 5] How to become a CEO at 23