Archive for February, 2018

Is It an Art Collective or a Vietnamese Ad Agency? Yes and Yes – The New York Times

“HO CHI MINH CITY, Vietnam — In 1978, when he was 2 years old, Tuan Andrew Nguyen was on a plane to the United States. He and his parents were “boat people,” postwar refugees from Communist Vietnam. They were lucky: After a week at sea in a small, open craft, they made landfall on Bidong Island, a speck of land that would soon become the world’s largest refugee camp. Then an American church group offered to resettle them in Oklahoma. When Tuan started crying somewhere over the Pacific, a flight attendant gave him a Dennis the Menace comic book. It’s his earliest memory.

Today, at 41, Mr. Nguyen is living in the city his parents fled, one of eight million souls careening around its overheated streets on motor scooters. He is a Viet Kieu, an overseas Vietnamese, who came back with alien influences like hip-hop, graffiti art and comics. He is also a member of the Propeller Group, an artists’ collective that offers a sly commentary on contemporary Vietnam through works like “Television Commercial for Communism,” a 60-second spot that purports to repackage the ideology of Marx and Lenin as a sleek, egalitarian, consumer-friendly lifestyle. It comes with a manifesto, of course, but also with a 24-page booklet of “brand guidelines.” The logo for the new Communism “has been carefully crafted to be fair to every letterform,” the guidelines specify in deadpan fashion. “Equal spacing is important.”

Source: Is It an Art Collective or a Vietnamese Ad Agency? Yes and Yes – The New York Times

Posted in: Art Culture and Folklore

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S.E.C. Blocks Chinese Takeover of Chicago Stock Exchange – The New York Times

“Supporters of the Chicago Stock Exchange proposal said it could help bring more Chinese companies to United States financial markets. And it would also have helped revive a marketplace where activity was dwindling. The Chicago Stock Exchange handles only a small fraction of the stock trades that take place every day.”

Source: S.E.C. Blocks Chinese Takeover of Chicago Stock Exchange – The New York Times

DL: This deal was approved by the SEC under Barak Obama. It was approved by the staff of the SEC. The new Trump head of the SEC has terminated against the advice of the SEC staff. Make America Great Again continues to hold us back. These are the same idiots who cancelled the US participation in the TPP, the Trans Pacific Partnership.

Posted in: Business and Finance, China

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Yes- There Were Antiwar Officers – The New York Times

“There are six of us. There were many more at the time, but now there are six of us who see one another regularly and talk about what we did and why. What changed us, what turned us from all-American boys into antiwar resisters and rebels?

We were junior officers in the United States Navy during the Vietnam War. We were Ivy Leaguers, graduates of the Naval Academy and respected colleges, from big cities and small towns all over the country. We manned the conn on giant ships, we flew fighter jets off aircraft carriers, we were handcuffed to secret war messages traveling up Vietnamese rivers, we trained pilots for war. And then, we didn’t — we wouldn’t.

Will Kirkland was the son of an Annapolis graduate. In June 1961 he stood with 1,300 others on the grounds of the Naval Academy, sweating, worrying as a deep amplified voice began, “Gentlemen, raise your right hands.” He already had misgivings. He had recently learned that American boys and girls had been taken from their homes; their parents from their work as farmers, store owners, teachers; and they were sent to barbed-wire camps during World War II. The jolt of that had stayed with him. He had lived in Japan for a year earlier in his life. He had played with Japanese kids, had a crush on one of them.

What was he swearing to do? To follow all orders? Would he be ordered to do something he thought was wrong?”

Source: Yes, There Were Antiwar Officers – The New York Times

Posted in: Vietnam-American War

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72 wild animals rescued in January – Environment – Vietnam News

A loris is rescued from a restaurant in Đồng Nai Province. – Photo courtesy of ENVViet Nam News

HÀ NỘI – At least 72 wild animals were released in their natural habitat in the first month of the year, according to Education for Nature Việt Nam (ENV).They include pangolins, monkeys, turtles, lizards, lorises and birds. Some of these animals were rescued by people and some by police after busting cases of animal trafficking.Illegal breeding of wild animals in homes and restaurants have been prevalent in the country. Many such cases were found out through ENV’s hotline number 18001522, ENV representatives said.On January 16, competent forces in southern Đồng Nai Province’s Thống Nhất District freed two lorises which were kept in a cage for show at a rest stop.

A monkey was rescued from a coffee shop in Đà Nẵng City and was released in Sơn Trà nature reserve centre on January 19.

Source: 72 wild animals rescued in January – Environment – Vietnam News | Politics, Business, Economy, Society, Life, Sports – VietNam News

Posted in: Environment, Wildlife and Nature

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Getting ready for Tet in Vietnam – Feb 16 – Tuoi Tre News 

Getting ready for Tet in Vietnam

“Cleaned the house? Made the Kitchen Gods happy? Busy making cakes? Then you’re on the right track to a great Lunar New Year or Tet!

The cleaning is not just about starting the new year on the right foot. Apparently Vietnamese believe that luck clings to dirt and dust, so when Tet comes you are collecting the ‘new luck’ of the new year. It’s also why they don’t usually sweep the house during the first four days of the lunar year! It’s probably the best excuse I’ve ever heard of being lazy about housecleaning!

Have you got your Vietnamese phrase memorized yet? ‘Chuc Mung Nam Moi’ is roughly spoken like ‘Chook Muung Nam Mooi (‘oi’ sound)’. It doesn’t matter about what the gold and red banners are saying, it’s pretty obvious – mostly making wishes for the coming year.

Keep in mind that the actual holiday stretches out over 1 day before and about 3 to 5 days after the real date (the 16th of February) so lots of shops, banks, and importantly, visa offices will close earlier and re-open later. I often check with my local pubs and favorite shops about this so there are no nasty surprises.”

Source: Getting ready for Tet in Vietnam – Tuoi Tre News

Posted in: Religion Festivals and Culture

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A Surprise (?) at the Winter Olympics: It’s Really Cold – The New York Times

PYEONGCHANG, South Korea — Officials from the Korea Meteorological Administration sat behind microphones in front of an overflow audience of journalists. Interpreters converted the officials’ words through the headsets of those unable to speak Korean. There was anxiousness. People put their thumbs to their phones, ready to share the news on Twitter immediately. It was as if Punxsutawney Phil were making his Groundhog Day weather prediction in a teeming conference room. The message was hardly a revelation:

Source: A Surprise (?) at the Winter Olympics: It’s Really Cold – The New York Times

Posted in: Korea - North and South Korea, Sports and Martial Arts

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The Olympic Moment When South Korea Left the North Behind – The New York Times

“In 1988, the last time South Korea hosted the Olympics, North and South Korea were more alike than different, separated by an arbitrary line yet joined by history, language and the bonds of family.

Both Koreas had come a long way, emerging from colonial rule and rebuilding their economies after a devastating civil war.

But the Olympics in Seoul in 1988 ended up being a turning point. Over the past 30 years, the two countries have diverged sharply — economically, politically and culturally.

South Korea rapidly industrialized, growing at one of the fastest rates in the world. The North stagnated.”

Source: The Olympic Moment When South Korea Left the North Behind – The New York Times

Posted in: Korea - North and South Korea

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The Uninhabitable Village – by Geeta Anand and Vikram Singh – NYT Oct 26 2017

Beautiful photography, heartbreaking story:

Each sentence below has a photo video clip:

“This is S. Periyanayaki in the rice field in southern India where her husband died.

The worst drought in more than a century killed his rice crop, and he blamed himself.

A farmer found Periyanayaki’s husband, K. Suresh, lying in the barren field. He had drunk pesticide.

Hundreds of thousands of Indian farmers have killed themselves in the past 30 years, and some climate researchers believe hotter weather has driven crop failure and made the problem worse.”

Source: The Uninhabitable Village – The New York Times

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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Feature: Heat and drought drive south India’s farmers from fields to cities – April 2017 Reuters.com

NAGAPATTINAM, India (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Vinod Kumar remembers a time, not so long ago, when the fields in his village in the southern state of Tamil Nadu were green all year round.

His family lived comfortably from its farmland of just over 2 acres (0.8 hectares), growing vegetables, coconuts and millet irrigated by the Cauvery river and the rain.

Kumar grew up believing the farm would be his life.

But today, the 30-year-old drives a car for a living in the city of Chennai, 250 km (155 miles) away. His family joined him two years ago, abandoning what had been for generations their home and their land.

On a recent journey back to the area where he grew up, he said he was far from the only migrant.

“At this time of year, these fields should be green with paddy shoots – but no one seems to be farming,” said Kumar, as he drove past arid fields overgrown with scrub and thorns one sweltering July afternoon.

“We haven’t had enough water for many years. It has become impossible to make a living from farming, and a lot of people have moved to cities to do other jobs.”

Source: Feature: Heat and drought drive south India’s farmers from fields to cities

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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India drought: ‘330 million people affected’ – BBC News 20 April 2016

I am looking for evidence to support the report in the NYT last month, that 100,000 Indian farmers had committed suicide because of the drought in Southeast India.  This old article in the BBC sheds some background light on the disaster.

“At least 330 million people are affected by drought in India, the government has told the Supreme CourtAuthorities say this number is likely to rise further given that some states with water shortages have not yet submitted status reports.The drought is taking place as a heat wave extends across much of India with temperatures crossing 40C for days now.An 11-year-old girl died of heatstroke while collecting water from a village pump in the western Maharashtra state.

Yogita Desai had spent close to four hours in 42C temperatures gathering water from the pump on Sunday, local journalist Manoj Sapte told the BBC.She began vomiting after returning home and was rushed to hospital, but died early on Monday.Yogita’s death certificate says she died of heatstroke and dehydration.

The pump was a mere 500m from her house, but a typical wait for water stretches into hours.India is heavily dependant on monsoon rains, which have been poor for two years in a row.The government said that nearly 256 districts across India, home to nearly a quarter of the population were impacted by the drought.Schools have been shut in the eastern state of Orissa and more than 100 deaths due to heatstroke have been reported from across the country, including from the southern states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh which saw more than 2,000 deaths last summer.”

Source: India drought: ‘330 million people affected’ – BBC News

Posted in: Climate Change, India

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