Lets Go Everywhere


Gun Scare at Central Vietnam computer shop
August 27, 2007, 5:21 am
Filed under: consumerism, expat, media, Uncategorized, vietnam

Two men in central Vietnam Saturday pulled a gun on a computer technician in an incident that was likely related to a dispute over a USB flash drive.

At 1.20 pm, two men walked into the second floor of a computer repair shop in Danang city and one of them pointed a gun at Do Phu Thinh, 26.

The assailant shouted “Motherfu—thought I couldn’t do anything to you!”

Thinh’s girlfriend and sister were present and screamed just before shop owner and retired police officer Tran Van Tu sneak-attacked the gunman from behind. Tu pushed Thinh and himself into a nearby room and locked it from inside.

The other man wielded a sharp knife and banged on the door.

They only left after Thinh called the police from inside the room.

“I heard the gun cocking and knew it was an authentic one”, Thinh said after the quarrel.

He also said that some days earlier, a woman had asked him to repair a 1GB Sony USB but Thinh discovered it was only 128 MB and told the customer.

On Friday the woman’s husband, son and daughter came to claim that Thinh had swapped their USB, he said.

According to Thinh, the next day, two other men came and threateningly told Thinh to return the “true” USB, several hours before the gun incident occurred that afternoon.

Reported by Vu Phuong Thao – Thanh Nien – Translated by A.N.O.N

 By the way, the Vietnamese for “motherfucker” is dich me [deek-may]. Just in case anyone was wondering.

It’s funny, I’ve been in and out of this country for close to three years and this was the first gun story I ever read. Then again, there was that story about the samurai sword wielding policeman who stabbed a parking attendant. Oddly enough, that also took place in Da Nang.

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Freaky
August 24, 2007, 10:28 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

My friend Kate told me her friend saw someone decapitated in a traffic accident near the airport.

Ugh.



Pedesterians of Hanoi beware
August 22, 2007, 10:15 am
Filed under: expat, Hanoi, Honda, motorbike, vietnam

A warning for the residents of Hanoi: I’ve rented a motorbike and I’m driving erratically on your roads!

The first time I drove a motorbike (an 100cc Honda Wave to be exact), I spun off in some sand and crashed into nothing. In the accident I basically ripped off my right kneecap and part of my right elbow, while banging up Scott pretty good too. That was on Phuc Quoc Island about two years ago.

The second time I drove I stayed in 1st gear and did laps at around 10km around the small island of Truc Bach. Though I didn’t crash, I drove at midnight so I wouldn’t have to pass any other bikes or embarass myself in front of the neighbours.

Today, however, I rented my own motorbike to get around in the city. A really close friend from university is coming to visit and I’m hoping to practice enough that I’m competent by the time he gets here. Start praying now Andy!!

The bike is a Honda RS Wave. What that means, I don’t know. All I know is that it’s shiny and red and is lots of fun on empty streets! Today I drove around the neighbourhood, and even ventured out around the larger lake of Truc Bach. No crashes yet. *fingers crossed* Of course, the fastest I accelerated to was a cool 20-22km, and I still haven’t managed to cross over into 3rd gear. All in good time!

Here are some pics, though my bike is red, not yellow. Too bad.

Honda RS Wave

Honda RS Wave 2

Ps. To the thieves that stole Scott and I’s last Honda scooter: Go fuck yourself. This new one has three locks, one of which I’m told actually works.



I’m Back
August 21, 2007, 7:39 am
Filed under: expat, free press, freelancing, Hanoi, News and politics, vietnam

It’s been an interesting, uh, eight months. I left Bangkok for a production editor job back in Hanoi. I quit the new job after a month (*WORST MAGAZINE EVER) and am now freelancing for North American publications and editing at Hanoi’s local investment review weekly. I’ll be updating this space with news of all kinds from Vietnam and Southeast Asia, particularly if it’s funny or bizarre. I’m also about to apply for the Canadian foreign service, so prepare for rants and ravings on that topic as well.

I am currently finishing up a profile of Joe Ruelle, a Canadian blogger in Vietnam, for the Globe & Mail. I’ll link the article when it prints, but for info on Joe check out his blog at Yahoo 360. Hope your Vietnamese-language reading skills are up to par.

West Lake fisherman, Hanoi

Dinnertime

Me & Oprah




Happy 80th Your Majesty
December 1, 2006, 5:19 pm
Filed under: bangkok, coup, empires, expat, News and politics, thailand

King Bhumibol Adulyadej turns 80 on Dec 5, 2006, and I thought I’d post a few pics in his honour. King Poom as I like to call him, or Rama IX, is the longest serving head of state and despite his expression and running shoes in the 3rd photo, is not retarded. He is, in fact, great.

250px-portrait_bhumibol_sirikit.jpg

th02_05b.jpg

King & Dog



There’s Nothing Nice About Martial Law

Thai leaders to relax martial law

BBC

Thailand’s military chiefs have recommended that martial law imposed after the 19 September coup be lifted in parts of the country.

The decision would affect about 40 of Thailand’s 76 provinces, coup leader and army commander General Sonthi Boonyaratglin said.

Martial law has been in place since the bloodless coup, which ousted Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The decision will now be submitted to the cabinet for approval.

“Everybody wants to see peace and order in our country and the lifting of martial law will have a positive political and psychological impact,” Gen Sonthi said.

But he said the measures will remain in place in the troubled southern provinces, and in areas of the north and northeast, where support for Mr Thaksin is strongest.

Gen Sonthi said Prime Minister Surayud Chulanont could decided what to do about Bangkok.

“If we lift martial law and something happens, the prime minister will be held primarily responsible,” the French news agency AFP quoted him as saying.

Few protests

The new government has struggled to gain international recognition, not least because of its refusal to end the martial law, says the BBC’s Jonathan Head in Bangkok.

But in practice few Thais have felt the restrictions, which have been applied sparingly.

Soldiers are still posted outside television stations in Bangkok, around 300 radio stations in rural areas have been forced to stop broadcasting, and political parties have been banned from holding large-scale meetings.

There have been relatively few protests against martial law – in fact the more widely-heard complaint against the new government is over its failure to come up with a convincing case against the former prime minister for corruption or abuses of power.

Still, the fact that martial law will remain in place in pro-Thaksin areas suggests the military is still nervous about a possible come-back by the former prime minister, who has been touring a number of nearby countries recently in a blaze of media publicity, our correspondent adds.

Monks & Tanks

It’s about time! The bad news is that Bangkok is not included.
That means it’s still illegal to gather in groups of 5 or more for a political purpose, hold rallies or broadcast news independently. However, it is legal to detain people without a warrant and without having to press charges. Hmmm.

The atmosphere is so friendly and the people so warm-hearted it’s easy to forget that the Thai government has been capable of some nasty things. Thaksin’s war against drug dealers (how many thousands dead at the hands of trigger happy police?), the southern insurgency and response (dozens suffocating in a truck for the crime of attending a rally while Muslim), historic brutal military suppression, and of course, at least one secret CIA prison — possibly for extracting information via torture.

Of course, no government is perfect. They all have blood on their hands and policies that shame their citizens, except perhaps Switzerland. I love the jai dee of the Thai people so much, and for this reason hope that martial law is entirely lifted and some form of representative democracy is restored as soon as possible.

Since I mentioned jai dee, a translation of which you can find further down somewhere, I’d like to add I noticed a picture on the Thai newswire of a demostration held in Bangkok not long ago. The demostration was against the death penalty (a brutal and frequently used punishment here) and there were six or seven young people dressed in black holding signs that called for an end to the practice. I was so impressed to see it… not only because these people were defying martial law and protesting a political policy… they were also opening eyes about an issue that gets very little play in Asia. The death penalty is not often discussed or thought about, so it’s great to see people questioning its value and usefulness. I’ll track down the photo tomorrow and post it here.

Good work protest kids, keep it up!!

***UPDATE Two Thai men who murdered tourist Katherine Horton have had their death sentences commuted to life in jail.



Helmets: Not Just For Common Folks Anymore
November 24, 2006, 6:19 am
Filed under: Brangelina, celebs, expat, ho chi minh city (saigon), Uncategorized, US, vietnam

A message to ‘Brangelina’:

Whilst in Vietnam, please refrain from riding your fancy-boy Nouvo scooter without a helmet. Sure, no one else is, but that doesn’t mean you have to be wreckless and stupid. Not to mention, wise or not, you are role models. Do to the Viets a favour and slap on a rice-cooker.

Sincerely,

Moi

Brangelina

Hollywood movie stars Brad Pitt (C) and his partner Angelina Jolie ride on a motorcycle on a busy street in downtown Ho Chi Minh city, 23 November 2006. The two are on a discrete stay in the Vietnamese Southern economic hub after a surprise visit to Cambodia where Angelina Jolie pledged to set up a new conservation project. Jolie and Pitt flew to Southeast Asian countries for the filming of “A Mighty Heart” in Mumbai, India. AFP PHOTO