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Frequent Fliers and The Hanoi Hilton

Feb 13, 2017 | 0 comments


Back during the Vietnam War era, the last hotel you wanted to visit was "The Hanoi Hilton" or what was officially known as Hoa Lo Prison. When the author started visiting Hanoi in the early nineties, the "Hanoi Hilton" was still standing. It would have been on a great jogging route from the Metropole Hotel but too depressing because of the bad spirits that resided there and the author chose another jogging path around Truc Bach Lake. The "Hanoi Hilton", shown below in a photo surreptitiously taken by the author on an early morning jog, was formerly a French prison...

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Just Like Chinese Checkers

Feb 06, 2017 | 0 comments


In a very positive move, China, namely President Xi Jinping, has banned the commercial ivory trade which could dramatically diminish illegal elephant poaching in Africa. Apart from illustrating the environmental awareness of China, it helps eliminate corruption as ivory was often used to bribe Chinese government officials. Moreover, the action builds credibility with African countries where China is attempting to strengthen their resource control of oil and minerals. The Chinese demand for ivory has been staggering. In broad terms, China represented some 70% of the worldwide illegal ivory trade; has an existing stockpile of "legal" ivory valued at $150 million...

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The Old Soldier Who Faded Away but Left a Big Footprint

Jan 30, 2017 | 0 comments


Recently, Arthur Herman, the author of "Douglas MacArthur: American Warrior," wrote an article in the "Nikkei Asian Review" entitled "The Father of Modern Asia." Quite accurately, he portrays General MacArthur as the man who not only shaped modern east Asia but had the foresight of where it was heading many years before. As your author has lived and worked in most of the countries in this region, it was as if a light bulb went off. Douglas MacArthur began his Asian experience by joining his father, General MacArthur, a Civil War hero on an official tour of Asia in 1905/1906....

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CITES Compliance Comes to Coup Ville

Jan 23, 2017 | 0 comments


Now where to begin with the title? "CITES" is the Convention on International Resources and Environment which is a great thing.   Conservationists believe that the issuance of computer chips to provide ID and DNA verification will eliminate the incentives for people to capture baby elephants in the wild while killing the more difficult family members so that baby elephants can then be raised and passed off for domestic elephants. In the old days, experts would merely offer sugar cane to distinguish the origin of baby elephants. The babies from the wild would not eat the sugar cane because they...

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Activism in Buddhism

Jan 16, 2017 | 0 comments


We think about Buddhism being a kind of a passive religious faith but the author would describe it as a form of spirituality from a deeply revered enlightened one whose teachings were not radically different than those of Jesus and Mohamed in their recognized religions. Moreover, despite the massive bloodshed in the past over alleged religious reasons, the precepts are all pretty much the same. So what has caused Buddhist monks to be less than the passive, quiet folks, they are supposed to be? In the final analysis, when things are woefully wrong, they step up and react. Without going...

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