Sunday, October 29, 2006

Our newest family member

Aiden Ryan Doloughty with his dad, my cousin Jimmy (named after my dad): Aiden was born on October 27, 2006: eight pounds, three ounces, 21 inches. Mom Shelby is (I hope!) resting. She was in labor for quite a long time.

Friday, October 27, 2006

An American prisoner

From today's Washington Post: A Prisoner of Global Impact: American Held in Vietnam Complicates U.S. Trade Ties. So many Vietnamese-Americans return to visit Vietnam that it must have a positive economic impact in Vietnam. I can't help but wonder if this is discouraging Vietnamese-Americans from visiting Vietnam, and if it is, my guess is that those who would suffer most (economically and otherwise) are the family members of Vietnamese-Americans who still live in Vietnam.

But what really scares me here is the idea of George Bush going into Vietnam and trying to free a prisoner.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Minette's Vietnam Adventure

Check out WQED Multimedia producer Minette Seate's Vietnam Adventure travel diary.

The Tillmans

I was reading washingtonpost.com a few days ago and found an AP article mentioning a piece Pat Tillman's brother, Kevin Tillman, wrote for truthdig.com. So I went to that site and read it, and it stuck with me. (That's a difficult thing for commentary to do for me these days, especially since I'm taking this nonfiction class.)

A few minutes ago I went to my friend Karen Spears Zacharias's blog to see what she's been writing lately. And what's there? A post with the Kevin Tillman piece. You can read it on Karen's blog, here. Like me, Karen knows first-hand what it's like living in a family of a soldier who's been killed during a war. So does Kevin Tillman.

Vietnam documentary-TV update

WQED Multimedia''s documentary "In Country: A Vietnam Story" will air for the first time on Thursday, November 9 at 8pm EST. (It is *not* airing nationally on PBS--if it does at some point in the future, and chances are slim, I'll post it here.)

Chris Moore from WQED, who was on the trip, has invited me to join a panel discussion at 7:30pm November 9 on OnQ, the local news magazine show. For air times, check WQED Multimedia's web site.

If you're in the area and can pop in a VHS tape, I'd appreciate it. There are a lot of folks out of the viewing area who'd like to see this.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Young and hip (hop)

When I was in Saigon, our tour guide there, Bao, asked me if hip-hop was popular in America. We were hearing VIetnamese hiphop blasting from speakers when he asked me. I told him hip-hop is popular here, but it's not the only popular form of music. Bao let out a sigh and said that he'd been worried that they were uncool, too behind the times, or something like that.

There is so much in Vietnam that looks like it's frozen in 1975 or earlier--in some places it's more like 1965, like where the old American barracks-type buildings are outside of Danang. The infastructure is old. But the majority of the people are young, and many are fashion-conscious (they'd be fantastic Target customers, if they had Target in Vietnam).

What struck me the most about that moment with Bao wasn't the hip-hop in itself, it was where we were while we were hearing it: in front of the old South Vietnam presidential palace, now knowns as the Reunification Palace--government property. And today, on a government-run publication, I found this: Sizzling Brit hip-hopper to throw it down in Vietnam.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

A good Thursday

On Thursday at the Friends of Danang meeting, we decided to send $500 to the Danang recovery efforts. And earlier that same day, I met Nam for lunch and we had a nice long talk. I'll be writing more soon: I am on a deadline for a writing assignment for my nonfiction class once again.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Typhoon recovery efforts

I've received a few forwarded emails from aid groups explaining the situation in Danang post-typhoon. The story I've read from the Vietnam News Agency a couple of days ago worries me the most: 1,000 injured people were taken to Danang General Hospital, and part of the roof of the hospital was torn off during the storm.

All day I've been trying to imagine the hospital where I work handling 1,000 injured people--and I just can't. Then trying to imagine it in a damaged building that I'm sure wasn't great to begin with, and with the likelihood of few supplies, no air conditioning, and possible water problems--and it's beyond my comprehension.

You can read the story that mentions the damage to the hospital here.

There's another story here about some of the Vietnamese goverment's recovery efforts.

It's especially sad to me that this has happened at this time of year, the mid-Autumn festival, which is a holiday which focuses on children.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Parachute Boy's Wild Ride

I'm trying to get confirmation/clarification on this from Phuong, just because it seems so unreal. A 13-month old boy in Da Nang went flying (along with his home's roof) through the typhoon and survived with only a minor head injury. There's a story and a photo here.

The family of the boy is calling it a miracle.

Monday, October 02, 2006

More news on Typhoon Xangsane

There's an AFP story on Yahoo! News, Vietnam cleans up after deadly typhoon that is stating the official death toll from Hurricane Xangsane in Vietnam stands at 16.

The damage in Da Nang, a city with a population of one million, is estimated at $200 million. If you do the math, $200 per person, that might not sound all that bad--except not every person is of working age, and in some parts of Da Nang people don't make more than a few hundred dollars a year.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Typhoon Xangsane

Phuong emailed me yesterday to say that she'd taken Roger around Hanoi on her motorbike. Roger, who was on the March Friends of Danang trip, went back to Vietnam a few days ago with all of his camera gear. He'll be traveling the country for the next several weeks.

Phuong said the weather wasn't great for photography, because there was a typhoon moving into a different part of Vietnam, but that they were getting clouds and rain from it.

There are some stories coming across the wire services now on Typhoon Xangsane, and it looks like Da Nang was hit pretty hard. The central coast took the brunt of the storm: Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang, Quang Nam, and Quang Tri. There's more info here.

I snagged this AP/VNA photo from Yahoo! News: