Style with 2,000 dollars


 —– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

Suppose I was given 2,000 dollars for a birthday gift, what would I do with it? 2,000 is definitely not little, but not too much, either. With the normal spending habits of the time, the trace of this 2,000 will be in thin air the next month. Worse, I probably have a hard time trying to remember what I bought with the money. I consider this a really sad reality of my memory and state of life. Like this: Continue reading


Tết 2014: Somewhere between the thirties and seventies

 —– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 


Memory is a slice of the soul not to be judged?

I started to collect Tết memories from others two years ago and felt addicted. Somehow, I thought Tết memory was a slice of the soul not to be judged, thus being able to bring Vietnamese everywhere together. You don’t have to tell me – I was completely wrong. Even a single DNA in a Vietnamese body can be viewed against a certain ideology-and-rage-infused lens and deemed unfit. People can really do that! 

Continue reading

Vietnamese jokes for the holidays


 —– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

The holiday season of each year is also the eating season. We hang around the kitchen table and talk and eat all day long.

Think about it: Ordinary people like us these days eat better than kings and queens in the past. Once delicious, rare foods from all corners of the earth reserved for the privileged only are now staple parts of our everyday diet. Food is so abundant we sometimes don’t know what to eat anymore. Continue reading

Two photos, two choices

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—– Bản tiếng Việt —–

Photo 1 (above): Traffic in downtown Sài Gòn.

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Photo 2: Bitexco Financial Tower in downtown Sài Gòn, listed as one of the world’s 25 most iconic skyscrapers by CNN Travel. News here, click on picture 7.

Question: If you need one picture to use in an article about Sài Gòn or Vietnam, which one would you choose, and which one do you think people use more often to talk about Sài Gòn or Vietnam?

My V = Vietnam Days


Photo: Anvi Hoàng

 —– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

Once upon a time, an American friend asked me: “I have been to China and Korea and I can see special things about those cultures that set them apart. Yet, I cannot say the same about Vietnamese culture. What is characteristic of Vietnamese culture?” I was dumbfounded. I am a Vietnamese and have never thought about that all my life. I am sure there are special things in Vietnamese culture that make it what it is, but at that moment I only remembered mumbling something insignificant. For a while, I blamed myself for not appreciating Vietnamese culture enough to brag about it on the spot. Yet, in earnest, people see what they want to see. If my friend could not see beautiful things in Vietnamese culture when they visited the country just because they let their prejudice or biases blind them, there is not much I could do. Continue reading

Driving West in hát xẩm music


Cotton fields (white patch) along the roads.

All pictures were taken by Anvi Hoàng in the car on the move at 70-80 mph.

—– Bản tiếng Việt —–

The fun list of a driving trip is long. No wonder many Americans do it in an… American way. One day, I may do the same thing: getting an RV (Recreational Vehicle) and spending retirement traveling across America at leisure, savoring one sunrise and one sunset at a time. No hotels and no worry about bed bugs and germs are wonderful. I may not like the idea of resting at designated RV parks, instead of wherever I want to stop, but so far that is the best option over here. In the meantime, another American way of experiencing the country’s freedom and bounties is a cross-country driving trip. Our third one, in broad strokes. Continue reading

A teardrop from God

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The poster of “On The Streets.” ©

 —– Watch the film —– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

Within the first twenty seconds, Khúc Tình Phố (On The Streets) is able to hold the viewers’ attention and lead them to the end of the documentary leaving them full of thoughts as their eyes turned from the screen. That is a success. In two words, ‘raw life’ is the main attraction of this 16-minute plus documentary. Continue reading

Sài Gòn-Việt Nam: Feel free to hug!


 —– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

Human beings act on habits. Things one does everyday are all habitual. That means one can initiate a change in their behavior by initiating a change in their habits. Easier said than done. But, by all means, very feasible. With this in mind, I am dreaming that many Vietnamese are soon to pick up a new habit. Here is the reason. Continue reading

One-pillar pagoda: Architecture 401

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—– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

Without pride to anchor in life, we are lost.

Most Vietnamese know that chùa Một Cột (One-pillar pagoda) is an iconic architecture of Vietnam. It makes me wonder what reaction they have on hearing tourists say such things as, “I’ve been there. It is so tiny and not worth the time.” Continue reading

Thanh-Hải: Life is so wonderful!

Portraits of Vietnamese in 21C 

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Still from “Bowls and chopsticks ‘1945’” (2011), installation art. © NSAF.

—– Đọc bài tiếng Việt —– 

Known as the Le Brothers Thanh-Hai, or Thanh-Hải as some of their friends call them, these twin brothers, Lê Ngọc Thanh and Lê Đức Hải, make quite a pair. They collaborate and thrive in union as the best twins can be. They talk loudly and make bold statements that could be deemed offensive to many. After a short conversation with them, one could possibly feel the ‘hate-them’ or ‘love-them’ vibe. But ultimately, their goal is to bring art to Huế people and beyond, and they are doing great at that. Their accomplishments dovetail their stories. Continue reading