Nàng Thơm Chợ Đào (The Virgin Thơm of the Red Market)

The year was 1999.  I was foot-loose and fancy free, traipsing about in northern Vietnam with nothing but my passport and a backpack filled with a few items of clothing and my Canon DSLR.  This was back in the days when I shunned luxurious modes of transportation, wanting instead, to travel with the least amount of riff-raff stuck to me so that I could take … Continue reading Nàng Thơm Chợ Đào (The Virgin Thơm of the Red Market)

Con Nhà Nho Giáo – Children of the Grapes

Con Nhà Nho Giáo Everybody has heard this saying and everyone thinks it means a person who is from a well-educated family.  That is true, to a certain extent, but it does not describe the statement fully. In the old days (oh some thousands of years in the past, all the way up to about a hundred years ago), the kids who could read ancient … Continue reading Con Nhà Nho Giáo – Children of the Grapes

Ancient ties between Taiwanese and Vietnamese

I always knew my family’s spoken language was slightly different than what was spoken on the streets.  There were many terminology which didn’t fit in with the Việt vocabulary that I learned in school and on the playground.  For example, my father called his mother, my paternal grandmother, by the word Bu (母) pronounced as in the English word ‘boo’.  I never understood why.  I just thought … Continue reading Ancient ties between Taiwanese and Vietnamese

Sunken Paradise

Much of the ancient world inherited by our ancestors now lies under water after melting ice caps flooded vast areas at the end of the last Ice Age. New advances in geology and marine technology mean that the great archaeological finds of this coming century will more than likely be found under the oceans. It now looks likely that large populations of early humans were … Continue reading Sunken Paradise

The Trauma of Being Different

(…continued from Damn Stubborn Water Buffalo) This is my firm conviction.  We Vietnamese should not claim folks as our people if they refuse the claim, meaning if they insist that they are not Vietnamese, we should not place that honorific on them…even if it’s true. I remember when I was younger, much younger, I dyed my hair blonde and pretended that I didn’t know Vietnamese … Continue reading The Trauma of Being Different

Ancient Việt: Cradle of Asian Civilization

I was born in Vietnam. As I am writing these words, I reflect upon what that actually means in the truest and deepest sense of the word.  Out of the shadowy recesses of my native land’s past, swirling with mist and cannon smoke, I can barely see the outlines of those who came before me; those fleeting, familiar faces of a thousand years in the … Continue reading Ancient Việt: Cradle of Asian Civilization