Monday, February 26, 2007

New year sabbatical
Mr. Witloof in Brussels tells me he's been worried sick - sleepless nights no doubt - over the recent flatline here at Pittstop HQ. At least we know if a blogger drops dead someone will notice. Eventually over time, alas, they will move on to pastures new and abundant - perhaps in this case to our blog directory neighbours pitstop or even pittstopp.

But fear not Meneer Witloof - We've been busy, busy, busy what with all that Tet Lunar New Year malarkey.

Now that we're back hopefully we'll be posting with the frequency of a 16-year old internet nerd, reassured that despite our sabbatical, we're still ahead of the print press. Then again you wouldn't have to get out of bed too early in the afternoon to be quicker than the Seattle Times (and also CNN - both pieces via AP) who finally caught wind of the North vs South furore that a teenage blogger kicked off aaaaaaagess ago. In November to be exact.

The Seattle Times article has a few cliches I groaned at:
Southerners with money take their friends out to dinner; northerners tend to be thrifty and prefer to visit friends at home, said Kim Dung, a journalist who moved to Ho Chi Minh City from Hanoi 12 years ago. (She obviously hasn't been back to Hanoi since.)

and...

But northerners generally are more concerned about status and will buy one expensive motorbike while the southerner is more likely to buy two cheap ones, she said.

??????!!!!!!!!!!!!!????

The article concludes with one man from the south comically complaining... "The service is terrible [in the north/Hanoi]!" he said. "If you go to a restaurant and ask for an extra chopstick, the owners get angry at you."

Which if you were this poor couple who dined out in TPHCM one night a while ago, you'd probably find a wee bit hard to believe.

12 comments:

elliott said...

I saw this in the paper this morning too, attributed to AP. Personally, I suspect this is a case in which a "journalist" (and I use that term loosely) read what he/she perceived to be an interesting bit of news in the local Vietnamese press (and perhaps later online) and decided to file a "proper" story that laid the facts bare by essentially hitting the streets and re-enacting the circumstances of the original story by asking the most leading questions one could ever imagine. Let's face it: this is only an issue because of the historical division of vietnam. Back home in good ol NZ, people from Christchurch abuse their Auckland neighbors something terrible (using terms of endearment such as "Dorkland" etc) and THAT doesn't seem to make headlines – let alone become a lead story on page 3 of The Japan Times today. What a load of dribble. What's the real truth Pittstop? We want to know...

pittstop designer said...

Yeah, too true Elliott-o san.

Not sure what lots of people from the Socialist Republic of Cork say about Dubliners but I'm sure it ain't nice.

There's also plenty of northerners I know who love it in TPHCM too, which the article fails to assume.

The difference in dialect for Vietnamese moving from one end of the country to the other is no doubt tough, but it's the same for everyone, everywhere in Vietnam - a friend from Hoi An was checking into a hotel in Hanoi and he was chatting to his parents in law when the Hanoi receptionist interuptted, armed with a big smile, and asked: "Are you all from Taiwan?"

Needless to say the Hoi An-folk weren't too impressed.

Hercé said...

when the Chicago Trib ran a story on Belgium it was big news over here. I think it generated interest for three reasons:
1. nobody ever talks about belgium
2. if they do they talk unrelenting drivel
3. the title of was excellent. check it out....

http://antwerp.wordpress.com/2007/02/13/trapped-in-a-loveless-marriage-called-belgium/

not wanting to get snooty or anything but can you imagine if everytime somebody wrote something on ireland it was reported in the irish times...

oslo davis said...

What I want to read is the differences between East and West Vietnam. I have heard that the divisions are quite strong - especially in central Vietnam where land is scarce. Apparently they've had no end of trouble - especially when the east/west line runs through bedrooms - as it often does there.

elliott said...

True Oslo, I've heard that the east/west line divides some sections of National Highway 1, meaning that you're in West Vietnam when travelling to HCMC and East Vietnam when driving to Hanoi whilst on the same stretch of road. Where does that leave you when overtaking?

pittstop designer said...

That's when east meets west. Or versa vice-vice versa.

oslo davis said...

The historic and cultural divide between East and West Vietnam is massive. For example, in the East they eat lots of fish. In the west they go for animals found running about the forest. In the East they swim a lot, in the West they spend most of their time hauling themselves up hills. Easterners are lazy beach-bums, westerners surly old mountain folk. (Or pleasure seeking hedonites vs slow life organic naturalists - depending who you talk to.)

elliott said...

Most Popular Karaoke Song in West Vietnam: "The Sound of Music". Most Popular Karaoke Song in East Vietnam: "Sailing Away".

Most Popular Film in West Vietnam: "Brokeback Mountain". Most Popular Film in East Vietnam: "Baywatch: The Movie".

pittstop designer said...

As recently deceased west-side rapper Tu Pak from rap label Dak Lak Attack famously, er, rapped on his album "Shout out loud on the Western front": Uh, uh, Those east coast beach bums, uh, uh, khong biet shit, uh, uh, yeah...

Word.

oslo davis said...

APP News:
Vietnam Establishes the Vertical DMZ.
Thousands of people remain displaced and confused after the Vietnamese Government swiftly marked out and enforced the Vertical DMZ last week.
The Vertical DMZ runs in a ten km-wide line from the Chinese border down to the bottom of the Mekong Delta. At some points, in central Vietnam, the no-go Zone takes up the the entire land from the Laos to the coast.
Farmers, especially those in the areas around the traditional Horizontal DMZ, are especially confused because they feel they have no where to run.

Hercé said...

sheeeeit, i thought vietnam was about 10km wide....?

elliott said...

FAQ to Vietnam Immigration Authorities 1: Can I take liquids in my hand luggage when travelling from East Vietnam to West Vietnam? Answer: Mostly Yes. Please check with Vietnamese Immigration Authorities for more details.