Align Cafe

A new cafe in 1st Ma May street, Hanoi, by my friend Viet Phuong of the 3DHanoi.com. Very cool place to hang out. The drink is OK, they need to improve a lot on cocktails. However, the waiters are well-trained, you don’t find that good services in Hanoi often. The design is really cool. They managed to embedded many elements of old Hanoi into a new modern design. The owner is very detailed oriented, after many visits, I was sometimes surprised by some good design.

Align Cafe

Duyên Dáng Việt Nam 19

Duyen Dang Vietnam

I am the right-most person in the picture. For those don’t know about “Duyên Dáng Việt Nam”, it is a music-fashion combo concert, pretty popular in Vietnam. They also did some shows outside Vietnam. In this coming 19th show, they will use some 3D models of Old Hanoi which as developed by “3D Hanoi Group”:http://3dhanoi.com/. Autodesk funded software for the group in another project in which those models are built. I “represented” Autodesk in one of their meetings.

“Link”:http://www1.thanhnien.com.vn/Vanhoa/2007/12/25/220396.tno

Quote of the day

bq. The wedding is the culmination of youth, a fulfillment of its aim. It is a public disavowal of selfishness. The true consummation of the wedding is the birth of the first child.

“Link”:http://jacketmagazine.com/13/dinh.html

Reading List: A Bright Shining Lie

“A Bright Shining Lie”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0679724141/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top by Neil Sheehan.

This is one of classic books about Vietnam War. Solid research, detailed analysis. I read it some time ago and it was a huge book, hence I could not really give a detailed review. However, you can read some of the comments in Amazon page, they are good. The book is excellent, however it is too long.

I think the book gave quite a good understanding about military aspect of the war. It also gave a lot of information about the political situation, yet this is a complex war, keep in mind that this is just one point of view. The author talked very little about the North Vietnam and National Liberal Front (NLF). Without understanding two sides, it is hard to get a “overview” of the war.

Reading List: Perfect Spy

“Perfect Spy”:http://www.amazon.com/Perfect-Spy-Incredible-Vietnamese-Communist/dp/0060888385 by Larry Berman.

A really good book about the life of Pham Xuan An, arguably one of the best spy in modern history. The book gave some good inside about his life and Saigon social atmosphere during the war. The Author tried to project An as a nationalist supported the Communist movement for his love of an independent Vietnam not for the ideology, which is probably true.

However, to understand the politic dynamic of the war, this is not a good book to read. This book, regardless of many opinions in Amazon saying it is anti-American, follows quite closely with the mainstream Western media framework. A better treatment of the war on media and political aspects is “Manufacturing Consent”:http://www.amazon.com/Manufacturing-Consent-Edward-S-Herman/dp/0099533111/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196582985&sr=1-1, to have a good view about military aspect of the war, you can check out “Bright Shining Lie”:http://www.amazon.com/Bright-Shining-Lie-America-Vietnam/dp/0679724141/ref=pd_bbs_2?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1196583169&sr=1-2.

Overall, this a very good book about life of a “perfect” spy.

repost: Friday night’s goodies

Nice song with many beautiful pictures of Vietnam in “motion”:http://www.visualgui.com/motion/BonjourVietnam.html.

Nice sounds of Vietnam “to here when you are quiet”:http://www.quietamerican.org/field_vietnam.html.

“Teaching”:http://amberstar.libsyn.com/index.php?post_category=Thich%20Nhat%20Hanh from a Vietnamese monk.

Enjoy your weekends!

repost: Xuân Bính Tuất 2006

(Bài này viết vào mùng 1 Tết 2006)

Sáu năm xa nhà nhớ cái Tết đến mòn mỏi vậy rồi đây tôi cũng được ngồi trong ngôi nhà thân thương đón một cái Tết trọn vẹn với người thân. Năm mới người ta thường vui vẻ nhưng tôi lại chớm buồn khi nghe bản nhạc “Bonjour Vietnam” của nhạc sĩ Marc Lavoine do cô ca sĩ Phạm Quỳnh Anh trình bầy. Lần đầu tiên nghe bản nhạc này mấy tuần trước tôi đã thấy cái gì đó bồi hồi. Giờ nghe lại bản nhạc này trong khí trời Xuân mới nó lại buồn man mác làm sao, nhưng trong cái buồn đó chứa đựng một niềm hi vọng mãnh liệt. Đã sinh ra trên đời thì con người ta ai chẳng khát vọng. Đã sinh ra trên mảnh đất này thì rồi ta luôn có một niềm yêu thương mãnh liệt vào sự hưng thịnh của đất mẹ. Hy vọng rằng một năm mới sôi động đang đón chờ, rằng ngoài cơm áo gạo tiền rồi ta còn có thể làm được điều gì có ý nghĩa.

Viktor E. Frankl:

bq. Don’t aim at success – the more you aim at it and make it a target, the more you are going to miss it. For success, like happiness, cannot be pursued; it must ensue, and it only does so as the unintended side-effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself or as the by-product of one’s surrender to a person other than oneself. Hapiness must happen, and the same holds for success: you have to let it happen by not caring about it. I want you to listen to what your conscience commands you to do and go on to carry it out to the best of your knowledge. Then you will live to see that in the long run – in the long run, I say! – success will follow you precisely because you had forgotten to think of it.

Bạn có thể tìm nghe “Bonjour Vietnam”:http://www.visualgui.com/motion/BonjourVietnam.html, lời dịch có thể xem ở “đây”:http://nmchau.club.fr/forum/viewtopic.php?t=879&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0.

Ai thích đoạn trích dẫn trên của Viktor Frankl nên tìm đọc “Man’s Search for Meaning”:http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0671023373/002-6450300-8768822?v=glance&n=283155.

Yêu dấu

Yêu dấu,
hãy cùng tôi một lần nghe thêm dòng nhạc này,
dòng nhạc hay tiếng nói của một kẻ ra đi trong lúc vội vàng,
bỏ lại đàng sau chiếc bóng,
chiếc bóng bằng hơi thở dấy lên từ tàn phai nói với chúng ta
mộng vàng thôi đã mây bay
tình người thôi đã lắng nguôi,
dọng cười thôi đã luống tắt
thì tôi vẫn xin yêu dấu một lần nghiêng tai,
một lần lắng tâm đón nhận một lần mùi hường ký ức,
dù cho lắng tai nghiêng, dù cho lắng tâm ngọ,
sự thực cũng chỉ là biệt ly từ giữa thịt da,
và tôi vẫn xin hãy nhận, yêu dấu hãy nhận nơi đây tình tôi kiếp khác.

lời tựa cho bài “K Khúc Của Lê” do Tuấn Ngọc trình bày