Vietnam

The War Over Vietnamese Cuisine

Andrew Lam

People take pride in the food they eat, and ethnic communities especially form and retain their identities around their traditional cuisines. What’s Italian without pasta? Or Thai without their Tom Yum Goong? For the Vietnamese, it is, of course, pho soup, that delectable and aromatic noodle dish that has had Vietnamese fighting each other over how best to make it—northerners and southerners have their own interpretation—and pho now finds itself in a controversy over a video made by Bon Appétit featuring a white chef telling people how to enjoy the dish. 

Viet Thanh Nguyen Wins Pulitzer Prize for Fiction

John Freeman

Nguyen spent his first three years in the US in a refugee camp in Fort Indiantown Gap, Pennsyvlania and then with a host family in Harrisburg, where he was separated from his mother and father and sister. “Not everyone would take a whole family,” he says, speaking by phone from Boston. “This period had a big impact on me, I didn’t realize how deep until much later.”

Dissidents Imprisoned as Crackdown Continues in Vietnam

Vietnam Right Now

Vietnam is continuing its crackdown on dissents, with four more people sentenced to terms of imprisonment for challenging state authority.Three women farmers were jailed for up to four years for displaying flags of the old government of South Vietnam during protests against land seizures. A blogger, best known by his pen name, Nguyen Ngoc Gia, also received a four-year term for carrying out “propaganda against the state."

The Vietnam War 40 Years Later: How Capitalism Trumped Ideology

Andrew Lam

Forty years have passed since the Vietnam War ended, and a parade was staged in Ho Chi Minh City, formally Saigon, to commemorate that date. Yet despite the fanfare debates rage on both sides of the Pacific as to who really won and who lost that war. While the hammer and sickle and Uncle Ho’s image may still adorn T-shirts it sells to foreign tourists, Vietnam’s heart throbs for all things American, especially Apple. 

Documenting a Changing Vietnam Through Photographs

Andrew Lam

Though the country remained under a one-party rule, Vietnam has since the late 1980s eased its once-iron grip on the economy and cultural life, moving from a socialist to a free market economy. Gone are the days when citizens were required to discuss Marxist-Leninist doctrines at weekly neighborhood sessions. Gone too are the permits needed to buy rice from state-run stores, or to move from one city to another. The drab, impoverished and immobile nation that Catherine saw when she first visited in 1990 quickly shifted under her lens. And fascinated, she kept coming back. 

Iraq Replaces Vietnam as a Metaphor for Tragedy

Andrew Lam

Two-and-a-half years after the U.S. pulled out of Iraq the country has crumbled into a bona-fide failed state, with Baghdad under siege by ISIS (jihadist militants from the Islamic State), who are having a run of Iraq, and some analysts now worry that ISIS will commit mass genocide against Iraq's Shi'a population if Baghdad falls. The war in Iraq started with Operation Shock and Awe but ended in a fizzle and, some would argue, in an epic exercise in human futility. 

Vietnam: A Country of Contrasts

Andrew Lam

Modernity, that is to say, seeps in. You can see it as a river of motorcyclists rushing by while above them looms a Starbucks sign. Or take a look at the farmer standing in his bare feet on the verdant slope: Two oxen graze nearby, but he is preoccupied with chatting on his cell. Or consider the new cityscape of Saigon, my birthplace, now renamed Ho Chi Minh City, with its high-rises being constructed -- and see the once-sleepy town of villas and lycees and tree-lined boulevards transforming itself into a bona fide 21st-century metropolis.

Why Vietnam Should Stand Up to Expansionary Beijing

Jonathan London

No country in the world is as experienced as Vietnam is in coping with China. Indeed, for Vietnamese, maintaining stable and minimally friendly relations with Beijing poses formidable and unremitting challenges. During waves of Chinese expansion, these challenges are doubly difficult. On one hand there is the need to deal with an aggressive neighbor in sensitive but self-respecting ways, without unduly compromising national sovereignty and interests. 

New Generation of American Expats Flocks to Asia

Andrew Lam

Like millions of other Americans, Ted, who also found a new career working in the high-tech end of the film industry, fled America and reinvented himself overseas. And nowhere is the expat invasion more evident than in East and Southeast Asia. In Hong Kong alone the number of American expats is estimated to be 60,000 in 2009, though many say that number is much higher.That is almost the number of expats living in mainland China, which is somewhere around 72,000, according to the Chinese census.  

Vietnam’s Other Dilemma: Smoking

Andrew Lam

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than one in four lights up regularly in Vietnam. Vietnam's Health Education and Communication Center estimated that smoking kills 40,000 people each year and if no measure is taken, nearly 10 percent of the Vietnamese population will have died from smoking-related diseases by 2030. So forget bird flu, smoking is a bona fide epidemic.

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