Vietnamese Billionaire to Donate $211 Million to University of Oxford College

An announcement on the International Vietnamese Academics Network's Facebook page jumped off my screen. Ly Le, who posted it, mentioned that while it was Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao's (Nguyễn Thị Phương Thảo) money and she could do what she wanted with it, she was sad for Viet Nam and for the donor. Ms. Thao is … Continue reading Vietnamese Billionaire to Donate $211 Million to University of Oxford College

“Higher Ed as a Weapon” Revisited

Below is a diplomatic cable that was leaked in the spring of 2008 by someone working for the US Embassy in Hanoi. I became aware of this document when it magically appeared in my inbox. Keep in mind that this was in the pre-Wikileaks era. Obviously, someone wanted the world to know (thank you, someone!) … Continue reading “Higher Ed as a Weapon” Revisited

The Latest Chapter in Vietnam’s Valiant Battle Against the Delta Variant

Here's my latest essay for CounterPunch. Reading time: ~17 minutes. The hectic, sun-drenched streets of the capital have fallen silentIn the middle of the dayThe empty parks surrounded by yellow ribbons that exclaim,Keep out! Shuttered stores and barricaded neighborhoodsLivelihoods diminished; plans put on hold; dreams deferredMasked people shuffling around like otherworldly figuresWaiting patiently, resolutely, and … Continue reading The Latest Chapter in Vietnam’s Valiant Battle Against the Delta Variant

VinWonders Vinpearl Safari: Fantasy or Reality?

Location of proposed VinWonders Vinpearl Safari on the outskirts of Hanoi. Here's what's behind Door #3, dear readers, as alluded to in a previous post. This is an example of things that go bump in the night in broad daylight, assuming this Frankensteinian project gets the green light. There are plans to build a VinWonders … Continue reading VinWonders Vinpearl Safari: Fantasy or Reality?

Of Spirits, Martyrs & Legends: the Magic & Sorrow of Vietnam’s Côn Sơn Island

Here's my latest essay for CounterPunch. The tomb of Võ Thị Sáu A short up-and-down overwater flight from Tân Sơn Nhất International Airport and, voilà, you’ve arrived. While your destination is just off the coast of southern Vietnam, it may as well be another world. In less than an hour, you are transported from the … Continue reading Of Spirits, Martyrs & Legends: the Magic & Sorrow of Vietnam’s Côn Sơn Island

Covid-19 silver lining: overseas study opportunities abound for Vietnamese students

Here's my latest essay for VNExpress International. Looking forward to seeing the Vietnamese version for my target audience. Educational institutions in key host countries, most of which bore the brunt of Covid's fury last year, are reopening their doors to international students, including those from Vietnam. One silver lining of Covid-19 and its impact on … Continue reading Covid-19 silver lining: overseas study opportunities abound for Vietnamese students

Words To Live & Die By: The Prologue to Bertrand Russell’s Autobiography

Worth reposting here and reflecting on - again and again. What have you lived for? The key question to keep asking is, 'Are you spending your time on the right things?' Because time is all you have. (Randy Pausch, 1960-2008) Shalom (שלום), MAA What I Have Lived For Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed … Continue reading Words To Live & Die By: The Prologue to Bertrand Russell’s Autobiography

Got the COVID Blues (Lord, Have Mercy on Me)

The fourth wave of COVID-19 in Viet Nam "inspired" me to write the lyrics for a song called...wait for it!... Got the COVID Blues. Think uptempo, piano, saxophone and/or electric guitar, bass, and piano. Can you feel the beat? I'm workin' from home in my gilded cageDreamin' of travel in the post-COVID ageCoronavirus on the … Continue reading Got the COVID Blues (Lord, Have Mercy on Me)

Constructive Criticism Rooted in Respect: A View from Vietnam

Here's my latest essay for CounterPunch. If you like this excerpt, follow this link to read the article in its entirety! I recently penned an essay about the scourge of environmental pollution in Viet Nam that was published by a major media outlet. Shortly after posting the article on LinkedIn, Mr. Pierre, a Frenchman living in Viet … Continue reading Constructive Criticism Rooted in Respect: A View from Vietnam