August 22, 2019

The child of all nations

Anak semua bangsa, I remembered this phrase when I heard Mita speak Bahasa Indonesia. Mita is the adopted Indonesian name of a young Vietnamese person I met in a small alley in Saigon. I remarked to her that I rarely hear a Vietnamese speak such fluent Indonesian. Mita replied that her curiosity about cultures and religions led her to explore Indonesia. She lived in Surabaya for a year and fell in love with Indonesia.

Most South-East Asian teenagers are keen on Korean or Japanese popular culture, but often in Vietnam, I meet young people who are interested in Indonesia, India or Myanmar. They are the true Anak semua bangsa” - the child of all nations (the phrase is the title of a novel that is set in Surabaya). Suddenly, I miss another Saigon friend who loves Indonesia. We sometimes used to go to the Indonesian/Malaysian enclave to eat Mee Goreng. And I miss Indonesia. What time is the next flight to Jakarta?

Mita, a child of all nations

Vietnam Indonesia People
August 22, 2019

A fair explainer on the Kashmir issue

Kashmir

From the Seen and the unseen” podcast

India Kashmir Pakistan
August 13, 2019

From AirPods to Sony WF-1000XM3

After almost three years, the Airpod’s battery started complaining much too often. I spotted this Sony and decided to get it.

Physical size-wise, Sony WF-1000XM3 is twice the size of AirPods. The device run a lot longer on a single charge. Sony WF-1000XM3, almost twice the size of AirPods

It charges via an USB C port. Sony WF-1000XM3, almost twice the size of the AirPods

The noise cancellation feature is not as good as the elder brother, Sony WH-1000XM3. If noise cancellation is your main aim, do no get this. Sony WF-1000XM3

I like the accessibility features. The L and R marking are colour-coded and there is a tiny bump on the L earplugs. Sony WF-1000XM3 accessibility markings

Travel Gadgets Apple Sony
August 3, 2019

The eyes have it all

The eyes have it all - As I move through different lands, one observation I have is about eye contact. Almost always, eye contact, or the lack of it, is directly proportional to the affluence of the place. In richer places, I find that strangers do not make eye contact unless they are in a defined space and it is considered alright to talk - for example an event or a meetup. In less affluent places, people easily make eye contact.

The eyes have it all

Whenever I see a striking pair of eyes, I remember a story by Ruskin Bond called The eyes have it”. The story is about a blind man who briefly meets a girl on an empty Himalayan train coach. He tries to hide his blindness by making small talk about the scenery. As the girl leaves the train a few stations later, a new passenger arrives. In author’s words:

The man who had entered the compartment broke into my reverie. You must be disappointed’ he said. I’m not nearly as attractive a travelling companion as the one who just left.’

She was an interesting girl’ I said. Can you tell me—did she keep her hair long or short?’

I don’t remember’ he said sounding puzzled. It was her eyes I noticed, not her hair. She had beautiful eyes but they were of no use to her. She was completely blind. Didn’t you notice?

Travel Vietnam Cambodia
July 28, 2019

Understanding a city via what people read

My favourite culture-hack to understand a city is to have a book meet. You learn so much via the discussions on near and far authors from the perspective of participant’s own lived experiences.

July 2019 book meet

July 2019 book meet

July 2019 book meet

July 2019 book meet

July 2019 book meet

July 2019 book meet

July 2019 book meet

July 2019 book meet

Books Vietnam
May 15, 2019

Vijaya

In QuyNhon, the site of the ancient Cham city of Vijaya. Many sites and ruins still remain.

Vijaya

Vijaya

Travel Vietnam