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August 06, 2020

Most of us are familiar with the famous quotation from John Donne's Devotions published in 1624. Almost four hundred years later, many leaders do not recognize the integral connections not only in a country, but the world itself. For the past four years, the U.S. has pursued a policy of isolation with construction of a wall to protect the "national interests" from an immigration invasion from Mexico and Central America. Oddly, funding from the U.S. Defense Budget was diverted for this heroic effort. However, despite the belief that the Covid-19 invasion would disappear in warmer weather, the pandemic reached a peak in Texas when temperatures also peaked at 106 degrees. Other countries that methodically addressed the pandemic are good to proceed under a new norm of masks and social distancing. Accordingly, those countries are being invited to rejoin the world. On the other hand, the United States has been shunned to become an isolated island.  
I was in Vietnam and Thailand in January and February when Covid-19 first landed in those two countries. The Vietnamese government took immediate control with obligatory masks, contact tracing and lock downs. Vietnam has emerged with an annual economic forecast of 5% growth for 2020. Moreover, the European Union has opened its doors to encourage Vietnamese to visit Europe. Clearly, a failure to address the pandemic situation does not make it disappear. As my company has a significant work force in Vietnam and a close association with the government, we were able to have a front row seat to view the leadership and effectiveness of their efforts.  
Vietnam closed their schools for three months but reopened May 4. As shown below, everyone is wearing masks and the teacher checks the students' temperature daily. Daily temperature checks were the ritual prior to the lockdown to enter our office building in Ho Chi Minh City and a mask was handed to all of those without one. In the meantime, the U.S. debates future school openings given the failure to address the pandemic at the outset.  
The Thai people are a bit more "laissez-faire" about life in general. However, we spent the first three weeks in and out of Bangkok following the World Health Organization recognition of the looming pandemic on January 25. Accordingly, we experienced the precautions being implemented and the growing recognition by the Thai government that they would have to turn their backs on the millions of Chinese tourists that invaded Thailand over the Lunar New Year. Well, the Thai's got it under control and they experienced only 3,227 Covid-19 cases with 58 deaths which placed them at 100th position in the roster of number of cases which is a far distance from the pandemic leaders the U.S., UK and Brazil.  
In actual fact, Thailand has excellent medical care facilities and capable, well-trained caregivers which facilitated the treatment of the few who did fall ill. Some years back, a Thai and Mongolian friend and I opened a clinic facility in Mongolia to direct patients to Bumrungrad Hospital in Bangkok. Given our relationship with Bumrungrad, we saved lives and most notably that of Joey who fell seriously during one of our many trips to Bangkok.  
The Thai's love kickboxing and solved the face mask issue with a unique usage of protective gear as shown below. By the way, Thai's continue to wear their masks despite the absence of indigenous cases.  
Schools are open in Thailand with added protections for the students as shown below.  
Moreover, the handful of Covid-19 cases that Thailand has had in the past several weeks were due solely to the entry of Thai laborers from abroad or foreign diplomats/authorized visitors. The experience caused by an Egyptian military officer who escaped quarantine after having brought Covid-19 into Thailand caused Prime Minister Prayut, shown below wearing a mask, to apologize to the people of Thailand. He is a "real" rather than a "wannabe" former general and military leader with emphasis on "leadership" which has been totally absent in the leaderboard of countries with the greatest number of cases worldwide.  
Given the commendable containment of Covid-19 by Vietnam and Thailand, they began to "re-open" as evidenced by their classrooms shown herein though they continued to follow the protective regime they had implemented in the beginning. On the other hand, when the U.S. began to ease their lockdown situations, mask requirements fell by the wayside very quickly. Moreover, social distancing was abandoned to result in settings such as that shown below. The result should have been expected but the number of cases began to explode.  
At this juncture, Vietnam has become a destination for foreign investment to diversify out of China. Moreover, Europe has taken proactive steps for Vietnam to resume international flights to Europe and promote further trade and interaction. On the other hand, it appears that the failure of the U.S. to adequately address a Covid-19 crisis that is spiraling out of control has resulted in a ban on U.S. travel to Europe. Whereas "no man is an island," the U.S. has become an island as there are very few places in the world where U.S. citizens can travel. Maybe the wishes of four years ago have become a reality. 

Indigo was originally extracted from the varieties of the indigo plants. Indigo is known throughout the ancient world for its ability to color fabrics a deep blue. As you can see, our indigo tie-dye head scarves are appropriate for all generations!

A Thai cultural heritage, Indigo dye is a natural dye extracted from plants that many Asian countries have used as a dye for centuries.  
Discover the beautiful and rich shades of indigo in our collection.
Batik Elephant Print Indigo Scarf
Hand Painted Silk Indigo Scarf
Hand-Painted Indigo Bag
Indigo Bag with Batik and Embroidery

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