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During my two months in Ea Kly, I have not seen anyone read a book or even a newspaper. TV watching is not compulsive, and canned music is not a pervasive, nearly nonstop pollution, as it is in much of the world. No one here is rigged to a mind scrambling headphone. Though FaceBook has made inroads, it hasn’t become a serious addiction. With life much less mediated, people derive their knowledge of the world from direct experiences. In Ea Kly, birds twitter, not men. Here, many people raise chickens, ducks, pigs, goats and/or cows, so they still know how to slit a throat, gut an animal.

Though a hundred pound Ea Kly woman can lift her weight, down shots of rice wine and tell an asshole to fuck his own mom, she will also cook heartwarming meals for her husband, children and guests, then do the dishes afterwards. Men have other duties.

Though it took Cúc a decade to build his house, he stuck with it, doing all the brick pointing, cement mixing, plastering and painting himself. As a young man, he shot to kill at some of his current neighbors. Taking me through three Rade villages, Cúc greeted everyone. “I know them all, have worked with them all. I can stop into just about any house, at any time, and be invited for lunch.”

The Rade waved and laughed back at him. At a barebone, dusty store, we had a round of Saigon beer with several of his Rade buddies.

Should war come, these men will fight, against each other if necessary, and not online either. They retain a healthy, measured dose of masculinity. Balls matter. Though notorious for their fierceness and bravery, Rade were grossly outnumbered by Vietnamese, so had to yield. For their part, Viets don’t go on about historical injustices they have suffered, for it’s only natural that everyone leverages his power, whether he’s black, white, Chinese, American or Jewish.

Even if this wasn’t coffee country, there would be cafes all over, like the rest of Vietnam. At Mr. Trang’s, Ngo Quang Truong’s name came up, which gladdened me, for this general on the losing side was still remembered with admiration nearly half a century later. In the US, Truong opened a modest restaurant in Northern Virginia, but it didn’t do too well, for many Vietnamese were embarrassed to be served by a man they held in awe.

At Mr. Trang’s, the men also talked of a Rade leader who had fought ferociously, and was only killed when he was trapped in a cemetery. “He couldn’t be killed with bullets, you know, because he had on this vest. He had to be shot in the head. We sent in an assassin. A guy volunteered.”

Land eaten away, the Rade could only retaliate with isolated acts of revenge, as when they shot a Viet former foe and strung him up. “They dared us to come cut him down. We knew it was a trap, so it took us a while.” Those days are gone. Now, Rade kids go to schools to learn the Vietnamese language and history. Trading with Viets, some Rade have gotten rich. Even herding cows, some are fashionably dressed in baseball caps and hoodies. Tearing down their long houses on stilts, they erect brick and concrete ones. Poor Viets grumble that Rade get housing and educational subsidies. “They’ve gotten smarter too. We used to con them. Now, they con us!”

A middle-aged Viet praises, “Rade never steal, and they never turn on a friend, not even a Vietnamese one! If you can speak their language, even a bit, then they’ll really love you.”

Viets prefer Rade raised chickens since they’re healthier and tastier. Knowing this, some Rade now buy chickens from Vietnamese, to resell to other Vietnamese at a healthy mark up.

At a Viet house the other day, I had chicken that was so tough, it’s a miracle my poorly maintained teeth didn’t all tumble out. It was still a lovely lunch, however, for I was with the sweetest people, nearly all of whom work at our plastic recycling plant.

The home owner, Liên, grew coffee, raised ducks and chickens, and had tilapia in a tiny pond. Though delicious, eels can’t be domesticated, for they’ll just burrow their ways out. In her neighbors’ rice fields, I could see the bright red clumps of snail eggs. In the distance, lanky herons flew.

Full, I claimed the hammock to doze off, as the chattering, laughing women went to sit under a tree, by the pond. Coming to, I had no idea where I was for a few seconds, then realized I was home, so to speak.

Upon leaving, I jested, “Now that I know where you live, sister Liên, I’ll come by often, at any time, even uninvited.”

I’ve only lived in a place this small once before, in Certaldo, Italy, population 16,000, and though I was clearly an outsider, those two years were the happiest of my life, for I felt grounded and was sucked into the community. Not everyone wants that. This week in Ea Kly, there was a neighborhood dinner, to which each household contributed $10.78, though many gave more, to pay for extra beer. If you were a prick during the year, however, you would be excluded from this get together. These year-end dinners are common in Vietnam, especially in rural areas.

The men, women and kids sat at separate tables, though holding a baby and a beer, a woman came over to toast us. We ate roast pork, boiled chicken and fried spring rolls. An already drunk man leaned over, “You always eat at my mother’s banh mi place. You like to take pictures of beautiful things, I know.”

A cafe owner whispered in my ear, “Don’t let him bother you. He’s always talking nonsense.”

A man with a squarish face, like mine, asked, “Are you Chinese?”

“No, no, Vietnamese!”

“I am Chinese.”

“Where are you from?”

“Lang Son,” a province bordering China, “but I was born here in Dak Lak.” When Vietnamese speak of home, they often mean where their ancestors are from.

The gas station owner sought me out, “You lived in America, I know. I haven’t been there, but I’ve traveled a bit in Asia. We like to drink more than they do. In Indonesia and Malaysia, they hardly drink.”

“They’re Muslims!”

“But even in Thailand, they’d only drink a couple of beers, and that’s enough, and they don’t get loud, like we do. In Cambodia, they drink like us, and in China too.”

“I’ve never been to China.”

“You know, their cities there are very impressive, but their rural areas are hardly better than ours. If they’re ten, we’re nine!”

ORDER IT NOW

We had to shout to be heard over the karaoke singing. The drunk man was dancing alone. Those who think that group behaviors have no roots in genetics should watch, just for a minute, a typical Vietnamese dancing. He’s thinking too much and can’t let himself go. Instead of freeing his legs or pelvis, he’s wrestling with his brain. Under incredible stress, the Oriental face often becomes impassive, but it’s not because he has no emotions, as often interpreted by whites, but because he has lots of self-control, at times too much. An overabundance of spontaneity, though, can get you jailed.

Though my neighbors have come from many places, they’re bonding here, for it’s only natural, and pleasant to them, to do so. As one explains, “To be neighborly is the Vietnamese way. You come to me, I come to you, we’re here for each other.” It’s also the traditional way, everywhere, though many have come to consider this arrangement confining or insufferable.

A table for one, please, and a bedroom, bathroom, karaoke parlor, bowling alley and football stadium for one, too. Shunning all that’s nearest to me, I just want to be constantly plugged to my social programming. From cradle to grave, I need to be socially engineered nonstop, like all of my Republican, Democratic or Antifa friends.

Speaking of cultural collapse, Dmitry Orlov points out that if random folks, thrown together in public, don’t converse spontaneously but become aloof and fearful, and if children fear strangers instead of seeing them as surrogate family, and if people can’t maintain a soft, gracious or respectful tone when conversing, but are loud, shrill, rude, foul mouthed and “fly into a rage at the slightest provocation,” then that culture is pretty much fucked. Sounds familiar?

Those born into Asshola may balk, “How can it be otherwise? It’s all good.” I’m old enough to remember when the goofy Gong Show was the rudest program on American television, so the USA hasn’t always been this toxic, and there are many other ways to exist.

In The World, The World, Norman Lewis describes being taken by a Burmese into his parents’ rural home, where all six inhabitants slept on one bed. Lewis was given his own camp bed in a separate room, however, but “it was a solution the dear old mother completely failed to understand and she complained at length at the family’s affront to good manners, and the decadence of the times.” The father also got Lewis some moonshine. “The drinking of alcohol came close to a deadly sin in such an environment, but the old man trudged down to the nearest stall-owner’s house and came back with a pint of country spirits. ‘For your friend, who has now become my son,’ he said to Tin Maung, handing it over.”

The main aim of modernism was to wrench you from your context, as in family, village and nation, and with those mostly accomplished, postmodernism’s purpose is to divorce you from yourself even, so as you wake up with another boner staring up wistfully at your stubble, you can forlornly squeak in your freshly minted genderfluid voice, “I wish I could be a side of beef in a white bandage dress, just like Caitlyn Jenner.”

The centuries-long war against reality began as a campaign against the lower body, where nature is most frank, gaping and unruly, but as the browbeaten masses are gang pressed into an increasingly antiseptic, hypocritical and unreal universe, perverts lowjack the farting, fornicating and cuddly lower body. This colonization must be reversed.

The war against reality and nature has also targeted rural places, for they are most resistant to progress, as implemented, sometimes most violently, by a centralized and distant power. Just think of all those peasants whose lives were utterly destroyed by cosmopolitan Marxist zealots, yet this zeal persists, for it’s sustained by new generations of rootless hypocrites.

If a saner world is to be recovered, it will be built on the foundation of places like Certaldo and Ea Kly. Here, men haven’t gotten the latest global bulletin about the obsolescence of race, borders, nation or gender assignment at birth. “What the crippled cunt are you talking about?” they would snap, these deplorable, salt of the earth hicks.

It is, again, dawn, and I’m at the corner cafe, hunched over, bouncing my legs and rubbing my arms, like the rest of them, with only my hand warm, palming a cup of tea. Jovial as usual, the owner shouts at an arriving regular, “We’re out of coffee!”

When an old man shows up on a bike that belongs in a First World junk yard, she laughingly yells, “You can park that here, and if you lose it, you won’t have to ride it again!”

Several of my table mates have been here since about three to offer rides to bus passengers, coming home for Tet. As a thin one with short hair disembarks, a man asks the rest of us, “Is that a boy or a girl?” He doesn’t know how to address hir to make his pitch.

“Boy!”

“Girl!”

“You can’t always tell these days,” I conclude without judgement, as the stick figure trudges down the dusty road, pulling, with much effort, hirs luggage.

Linh Dinh’s latest book is Postcards from the End of America. He maintains a regularly updated photo blog.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Vietnam, Vietnamese 
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  1. Charles says:

    Before reading Lihn I never had the desire to visit Vietnam.

    • Replies: @Charles
    , @washo
    , @anonymous
  2. Charles says:
    @Charles

    Excuse me – LINH, not Lihn.

  3. An excellent article. I would like to see the author revisit this theme in a year or two when he is more used to his village.

  4. Franz says:

    The centuries-long war against reality began as a campaign against the lower body, where nature is most frank, gaping and unruly, but as the browbeaten masses are gang pressed into an increasingly antiseptic, hypocritical and unreal universe, perverts lowjack the farting, fornicating and cuddly lower body. This colonization must be reversed.

    Then Localists have to reverse it as fast as possible. Some have been.

    Far back, in the 1970s, a small Iowa town was asked by a national news agency “What’s the best thing that can be done for your community?”

    Most common answer: “Blow up the off ramp to the interstate highway.”

    The interstates were mostly new at that time, but regular people knew it as a problem. They saw how vulnerable all this wonderful faraway stuff made them and realized it was a Devil’s bargain. And by now they, or their offspring, are certainly Deplorables.

    While in the beginning the modern transportation/communications grid offered promise of “more life” the bill came due quickly and the cost was way too high. First the “cheap” gets expensive, and then you discover you’re dependent on strangers for things you need. And your future, the young, pack up for the phony sophistication that intoxicated them on teevee.

    The only chance we got is maybe some sort of massive disruption that allows people to see they got what’s close to them to depend on, and not much else. The sooner it happens, the easier the transition back to local laws, local lives, will be.

  5. The uploads on YouTube channel Mars Hartdegen are mainly about Vietnam and include some cab rides such as Saigon – Bien Hoa (46:08) and Hue – Da Nang (2:22:39).

    • Replies: @Biff
  6. I have rarely had the privilege to read a piece of literature so masterful, so almost perfect. What a delicacy in this time of coarse stupidities.

    What a beautiful, evocative piece of writing that appears spontaneous yet so clear so focussed.

    Thank you. There are glimmers poking through the shroud.

    • Agree: Rabbitnexus
  7. potwash says:
    @restless94110

    “glimmers poking through the shroud”….oh my, made my day.

  8. @restless94110

    I had begun to despair that I was the only one on UNZ to appreciate Linh’s beautiful prose.

  9. swamped says:

    How about Qatar, knocked off UAE by a whopping 4 to NIL in Asia Cup yesterday!What a surprise package they’ve been! Saudi Arabia & UAE couldn’t stop Qatar with a boycott or on the pitch. And next up on Fri. in the final, traditional Asian powers Japan, who easily dispatched Iran 3-0. Should be an interesting match; see if Qatar’s luck runs out or not; only one more to go, to a most improbable championship run. If Qatar can do it, why not the Golden Dragons? But they may have to do it without Park Hang-seo, who’s had a pretty impressive tenure with both youth and senior squads but may be ready to cut back. Will they make it to the WC in three years? Qatar will!

  10. Biff says:
    @Johnny Rottenborough

    Dude, those vids on that site are pretty cool, and well done.
    Thanks for the heads up.

  11. washo says:
    @Charles

    I have visited Vietnam and Linh explains a lot

  12. anonymous[191] • Disclaimer says:
    @Charles

    Before reading Linh I had no desire to visit Vietnam and after reading Linh I still have no desire to visit Vietnam.

  13. Linh Dinh, I’m a convert.

  14. Tom67 says:

    I am like always much thrilled by your writing. You express exactly what I am thinking about man and community and the toxic ways of the American way of life. At least the American way of life as it is now. When I last came to the US I couldn´t help but notice that the places where I found the sort of community you are writing about in Vietnam were to be found in black places. I walked a lot in NYC and the only area where people were having that kind of life was in Harlem and the South Bronx.
    I wonder whether it is not an instintive reaction of black people in the US to reject all the madness of modern American life. That in reality they are the sane ones and the denizens of plastic suburbia the mad ones. I am by the way of the unpopular opinion that the best American writing is disproportionally black. Give me James Baldwin, Richard Wright and Chester Himes any time over the likes of Saul Bellow and Updike. The only exception would be Faulkner.
    I have also talked on the street a lot with black people and they might be uneducated but they certainly don´t swallow the bullshit of the man like their white countrymen do. But that seems to change…
    Anyhow dear Mr, Linh: have thoughts like these never occured to you? I am really curious and would be very happy if you could just honor me with a short reply

  15. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Tom67

    Hi Tom67,

    I agree that black Americans retain more of a village mentality, but absurdly high crime rates prevent black neighborhoods from being vital villages. Instead, you find wrecked homes and churches, broken windows, graffiti and stores with bullet proof plexiglass, nearly all run by non blacks. Next time you’re in Chicago, take a train to Gary, and if you’re in Philly, take a long, leisurely stroll through North Philly. Better yet, just book your next vacation in Detroit or East St. Louis. Harlem has become very gentrified, and even Oakland isn’t half bad.

    I’ve gotten a lot of heat recently for talking about black crime and dysfunction, but I’ve actually documented the current state of black America more thoroughly and with more nuances than practically all of my critics combined, white and black!

    Here are my postcards on Jackson, Chester, Atlanta, Trenton, Wisconsin, Point Breeze, North Philly and Camden. And here are my extensive interviews with Eddie the housepainter, Hank the Christian Constitutionalist and Rudy Dent a 9-11 first responder. Finally, here’s a parable on the black/white dynamics in the USA, Stewart Crenshaw.

    Here are my articles dealing with blacks in the USA, Who’s Racist?, Blacks, Cops and a Sinking Economy, Death of a Nation and Blacks, Jews and You. One on black culture in Germany, Black and Blonde. And a couple that touch on black matters, Musical Omens and Scitan in Mind.

    Linh

  16. Linh Dinh says:
    @Tom67

    Here’s the link to my interview of Rudy Dent a 9-11 first responder. For this, I had to travel to the Nation of Islam’s annual conference in Detroit.

  17. That’s funny Linh Dinh, When I was a small boy my father bought twenty old hens for meat and put them in the freezer. During the winter my mother would cook one for dinner. It was like trying to eat a rubber tire. We ate them all eventually. Keep up the good writing sir.

  18. MBlanc46 says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Maybe an Asian guy can get away with walking through the places that you mention. A white guy would be lucky to get away with his life.

  19. Tom67 says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Hi Linh
    Thank you very much for your detailed reply. I have to admit I am German and have only lived in the States for any length of time in my youth. I went to Kindergarden and primary school in the Bay Area and my favourite kids to play with were black. The reason being that I came from a mining area in West Germany where fighting was the norm in the Sixties. Not anything really harmful just boys wrestling. I was used to that and frankly I liked it a lot. As I did when I grew older as well. Now in the bay area in the Kindergarden and primary the white kids didn´t do that. They were all very well behaved and I got into a lot of trouble. As did my brothers. (We were six kids and my Dad was a Mathematician who for a time worked in Berkeley and also the Lawrence Livermoore laboritories).
    How happy were we for the black kids that were bussed in. They got into lot´s a trouble as well. But how much fun it was with them. They just liked the wrestling and fighting just as much as we did and didn´t get into lines. They also kept their fingers behind their arses during the morning singing of the anthem just like we did.
    I have to say that ever since I have liked black people.
    But I must also admit that my later stays in the US where all rather short. No more than a few weeks at a time doing research for books I was writing. Last time was in 2008 when I visited Amherst College, Washington DC and NYC. In Amherst College I witnessed the life of the upper class. Mind blowing tuition and real toxic PC. Even if I was paid a College prof salary I wouldn´t want to live there even one day. Basically you get lobotomized there. I talked to some poor people who worked around the College and they very well understood that not only were they poor but also lesser beings in the eyes of those rich kids there. To understand that you just listen to Hillary and her talk about the deplorables. These people who have all the privelegs really think they are morally superior.
    I was then one week in NYC where I stayed in the apartment of a poor Russian immigrant who made do with an impossibly small pension. That is when I walked around Harlem and the South Bronx. I then kept thinking to myself: ok, those peoplee might be poor but at least they have some fun and talk to each other. I was called to come over by some big black ladies and old guys who then quizzed me on the world. I quizzed them back on life in Harlem. I found their sceptissm about the US refreshing.A very cynical take on politices and life. Alright, probably I wasn´t in the really bad areas.
    Then I went on to Washington DC where I worked in the National Archives. I stayed with a friend who worked as a stubstitutes teacher and had really horrible stories to tell about public schools in DC.
    What saved me and made me so happy was to meet a black young lady. She went to the cinema with me and then showed me around life music bars in black DC. But we were in the “better” parts of black DC. No slum and we weren´t afraid to walk at night. Fantastic music and great talks with her.

    So really my limited experience in the US has strongly prejudiced me to have a good opinion of American blacks. On top there is my liking for black music and black writing and culture. Again I will be stoned on this blog but to my mind the only original (not an imitiation of European culture) contribution of American culture to the world is black. (Ok, there is Hank Williams and William Faulkner but one is from Appalachia and the other one from the South)
    In fact in many ways I believe that black Americans (and Whites from the Appalachians for whom I also have a great liking but that is another story) are among the only “real” Americans. By “real” I mean people who have a visceral relationship with the land. People who are not “transplants”. Their scepticism and the fact that they don´t buy the American dream reminds me of working class people in Europe. The average whites buy (or did buy) the American dream. This dream basically means that your place in society only depends on your own efforts. Maybe it was true in the past but it is definately not true today. In Germany your chances to “make it” are much better for a person from a poor background. If only because college is free.
    But the propagation of the “American dream” is the best way to destroy any solidarity or community. The best way to rule.
    You write in your last article that you send that nobody is hurt more by immigration than Blacks.
    And I believe it immediately. Same in Germany. It is the working poor who are suffering and being destroyed by immigration. I also think that black society was (ironically) destroyed by the cicil rights movement. The lesser part of blacks gave up their culture and language and were rewarded.
    The rest sank into bottomless dispair.
    But as I said: American culture is toxic. It is great for immigrants but terrible for people who have been there longer as it makes you dumb. The immigrants are like wolves who come among lambs. But by the third generation they are dumbed down by US culture and have become lambs themselves.
    Trum is a sign of great convulsions to come as the American dream is ending.If there is a basis from which to rebuild US society after the end of the American dream it is to be found in certain rural white areas and among black Americans. Maybe that is complete hogwash and I don´t know enough. But that is my reading of American culture.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @republic
  20. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Tom67

    Hi Tom67,

    Washington Heights is a somewhat black neighborhood, with lots of Dominicans. As much of Manhattan becomes increasingly sterile and even more snobbish than before, Washington Heights is refreshingly alive and down to earth.

    The first book of poems I ever bought was a collection of Langston Hughes, and I started to read Malcolm X in high school. Going to Philadelphia for college, I then met Etheridge Knight, and his outsider status served as an early model for me. He belonged to the streets, not the academy.

    Also in high school, I started to listen to jazz, and saw Wynton and Brandon Marsalis at DC Space, before either one became really famous. Brandon looked so young, I thought he was a last minute fill-in, perhaps some high school kid! I also saw Charlie Rouse, Monk’s sax player, in DC. In Philly, I saw The Art Ensemble of Chicago, and they drove the audience wild. I have not seen another concert like it.

    DC was the murder capital of America, and even parts of Northwest (downtown) was pretty messed up. The basketball team had to change its name from Bullets to Wizards. With gentrification, most of the ghetto blacks have been pushed into the suburbs.

    In Philly, I met a relative of Joe Frazier in a bar, and Joe was on his ass to get a job, so he said if I pretended to be his boss, he’d take me to meet Smokin’ Joe. I was drunk enough to accept his offer, so I met Joe at his North Broad Street gym and made up lies on the spot, as in how much I was paying his relative, and where we were working.

    Joe then gave me a photo that’s signed, “TO LEE! RIGHT ON!”

    The relative took me upstairs to Joe’s living quarters. He showed me Joe’s wardrobe and his huge bed.

    Philly has been a huge boxing town for a long time. At Dirty Frank’s, I saw Jeff Chandler, ex bantam champ. Meldrick Taylor, though, may have been the best of them all.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Tom67
  21. republic says:
    @Tom67

    Tom67

    was reading your old postings. Very interesting. Hope that you can write an article for Unz someday.

  22. Stick says:

    I was in rural Azerbaijan at a roadside tea and fruit stand and wandered to look behind the hanging cloth fence. Behind it were the women of the farm busy doing simple tasks. It struck me how impressive and almost magical are people that can sustain themselves from dirt. It really is an amazing thing to watch. It wasn’t so long ago that my people did these things. Azerbaijan, Thailand, or Jamaica, the fundamentals of life are simple but skilled. When dealing with farm folks they are all universally happy. Ukraine was the only place I’ve travelled where being happy is rare.

  23. georgia says:

    Lovely! You made my day -by describing yours!

  24. Tom67 says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Hi Linh
    Thanks again for your reply. I read an awful lot of your writings but evidently not all. I will read your recommendations with great pleasure.
    Tom

  25. Anonymous[403] • Disclaimer says:

    FYI, in case you haven’t seen it, Linh —

    “He was a penniless, traumatized Vietnamese teenager with a fifth-grade education when in 1980 he arrived in the U.S. He knew how to survive in the jungle, evade checkpoints and control the terror he often felt.
    But he couldn’t speak more than a few words of English and had little practice in how to live a regular life.
    Yet within seven years after his American arrival, Lap The Chau had a new name, a degree from the Virginia Military Institute and a career as “an officer in the greatest Army on Earth,” as he put it.
    Brig. Gen. Lapthe Flora, as he’s now known, is deputy commander of U.S. Army Africa and assistant adjutant general of the Virginia National Guard.
    He is thought to be the only Vietnamese “boat person” to become a general officer in the U.S. military.”

    https://www.stripes.com/news/the-american-dream-is-real-once-a-desperate-refugee-now-a-us-army-general-1.566868?fbclid=IwAR1FHTWO2iBuCZ4LoX_JAoQ33F7AUJe3j70qfvRU2XRtez6KqG5liwiiCxw

  26. @Franz

    ‘Then Localists have to reverse it as fast as possible. Some have been.

    Far back, in the 1970s, a small Iowa town was asked by a national news agency “What’s the best thing that can be done for your community?”

    Most common answer: “Blow up the off ramp to the interstate highway.”… ‘

    There’s more than one way to look at this. Back then, here in California and Oregon, US 101 and 99 snaked through each successive town, giving the local businesses a shot at the business of the travelers: motels, food, auto repair, forgotten socks, fishing tackle, whatever.

    Now, increasingly, those business districts are bypassed, and the traffic on I-5 and the new bypasses on 101 just sees the purpose-built chain fast-food joints and high volume gas stations. You don’t go through town.

    The difference is very apparent. There was some ice cream place that would usually get my business when I went thrugh Cloverdale. Now I bypass the town, and can’t be bothered to stop. The old motels along 99 in Roseburg are obviously clinging on by their fingernails, offering rooms for the week and such. On the other hand, 101 still makes you trek through Coos Bay (home of Steve Prefontaine!). I eye-balled the Blue Heron German Restaurant once or twice, and finally gave it a try. Pretty good, if not exactly worth going out of your way for. The owner’s a nice guy.

    These roads used to distribute wealth — and human contact. Now, increasingly, they isolate us from each other.

    • Replies: @Franz
  27. Logan says:
    @Franz

    Of course, those farm country towns that didn’t get an off-ramp are free of its negative effects mostly because they dried up and blew away. Both my parents came from small prosperous Kansas towns (in one case very small) that aren’t really there anymore.

  28. @Franz

    I notice you did not mention the evisceration of local production or local business, leading to the concentrated wealth of the globalist economy. Even in the Sixties, the America South was a lot like this article. I have heard about it from older white people and older Black people, but by the time I had any cognizance, the culture was already mostly homogenized, even in a small Southern town and long before smartphones.

    • Replies: @Miro23
    , @Franz
  29. i love this one,and the world you are in is so much a good world..shame all those geniuses we’ve known,haven’t got the common sense to realize it.

  30. Waitemata says:
    @restless94110

    Mouthwatering prose indeed. Linh Dinh you are a tonic.

  31. @Linh Dinh

    I lived in an Asian village and any villager who carjacked, operated a crack house, pimped underage girls or simply ran a street gang would be jailed/shot in a minute.

    Blacks are fairly lousy criminals compared to the relatively few Asians that choose to be criminals. Asian criminals in Asia are more discreet about their criminal activities.

    For example, I lived in the Philippines at the height of meth abuse and while meth was sold/used everywhere in Cebu City, Philippines at that time during the day the streets were relatively safe. Pick pockets and burglars were rife in Philippines but actual violent crime towards pedestrians was much less than the US black inner-city areas.

    There is also far less gang rape in Asia than in the US.

    The idea of a village in Asia-and I live in one-being as dangerous as a black neighborhood is absurd. Otherwise I would have never left Detroit.

  32. @Linh Dinh

    DEAR MR. LINH

    I have found that Asian criminals don’t really bother people who are not in the Ya-Ba or Shabu trade.

    When I lived in the Philippines, there was only one case of a meth-addicted local barfly attempting to rape a Finnish female tourist bar-hopping girly bars at 10 pm. I say attempt because the Finnish girl was bigger than he was and fought him off. The Filipino was the nephew of a police captain, so there was no consequence.

    Police corruption could be a factor. US blacks cannot bribe police and therefore they have a cowboys and Indians relationship with them while Asian criminals can.

    But Asians involved in the meth trade do not generally bother whites. Pick-pocketing and stealth crimes are fairly common but rough car-jacking and violent strong-arm muggings with or without a firearm are rare in Asia. Gun crime is fairly low in Asia.

    The AIDS rate is also much lower in Asia despite the sex industry than it is in the ghettos of the US. Some ridiculous number of black female teenagers have herpes or syphilis, and yet most bar girls who have been on the game in Asia for years don’t.

    I live in an Asian village outside Chang Mai and my wife is an ethnic Chinese store owner. If my village were anywhere nearly as dangerous as Detroit or Phoenix, two places I came close to getting seriously injured or killed, I would of course not live here.

    And while meth addiction is an issue in Philippines or even Japan and Vietnam is near the Golden Triangle you rarely encounter “tweakers” or “hypes”. Anyone who has ever lived in a US city has been followed around by some scabby desperate wired meth head or some heroin addict. Never happens in Asia.

    I’m not a professional writer and only possess a Bachelor’s degree. I’m simply giving the expat-on-the-street opinion of things from the perspective of working middle-class white guy.

    • Replies: @Biff
    , @Commentator Mike
  33. A refreshing sense of de javu of my early years in Kenya where I was born and raised. Reality grounded in spontaneity, neighbourliness and almost instant, informal bonding with newcomers. Strangers were revered not frowned upon, greeted with hostile reception or left to fend for themselves. An unprecedented and generous spirit of sharing with precious little to share.

    That is the reality that the modern neoliberal “civilisation” is diligently chipping away at. And with it comes the inevitable diminishing of our humanity which is being slowly consigned to dreams of better times in the past. Perhaps the vast majority of humans living and existing in their nearly destitute conditions may hold the ultimate hope for humanity’s collective sanity and survival. Mr. Dinh does bring out all of this so effortlessly and with such eloquence and grace. Thank you Sir! A lingering question remains in my mind: would you have been able to write such endearing pieces had you continued to live in the States uninterrupted to this day?

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  34. Anonymous[364] • Disclaimer says:

    Early globalization fooled a lot of internal migrants in America from the country to cities based on bogus promises of prestigious careers that require extensive education, usually those with absurd and abusive working hours and cost of living bias and travel requirements, especially for heavily indebted college graduates. Law, medicine, computer science, lobbying, finance, consulting, sales, etc. It was one big white collar bubble.

    Now, “Generation Z” is content with trade school and much of the degeneracy of the cities is now universal. At least they have a shot at the local community ideal because they have reasonably fair economic information the millennials never did. Without migration to the major cities, suddenly immigration into the heartland begins to look offensive rather than just filling a population vacuum. Politicians haven’t figured this out yet, and they probably never will.

    I truly think the universities push their cultural Marxism so their students move to the most leftist cities, where they can pretend to be successful because the local cost of living is so high. Their salary statistics are badly lacking in context, and often completely bogus. Providing the best value degrees doesn’t actually provide the highest nominal salaries, so foreigners fill this niche.

    Villages will come back. Nature finds a way. Even ghetto blacks have a more persistent culture than the latest yuppie wave.

  35. Biff says:
    @jeff stryker

    and Vietnam is near the Golden Triangle

    The National Geographic in your Mama’s basement must be a bootlegged version of reality, and like you – completely wrong.

  36. TKK says:

    “Though a hundred pound Ea Kly woman can lift her weight, down shots of rice wine and tell an asshole to fuck his own mom, she will also cook heartwarming meals for her husband, children and guests, then do the dishes afterwards.”

    Eye Roll. These women would run from this life in a nano second if a Western/European man showed up with enough cash. This bucolic paradise you paint is silly to people who have actually lived in South East Asia.

    Cash is king, and money rules the day. These women perform hard word due to necessity – not a fairy tale love of the land.

    They are not loafing through life, as you are. (No judgement. I don’t buy into the consumer trap). But we both know these women would leap at the chance to be pampered and shopping at the Platinum Mall in Bangkok rather than farm eels.

    The cliche of the Asian woman as an ideal is a weak writing prop.

    • Troll: Biff
  37. Biff says:
    @TKK

    Eye Roll. These women would run from this life in a nano second if a Western/European man showed up with enough cash.

    Gawd. There is simply no shortage of presumptuous idiots roaming the globe. You and Stryker should get a room.

  38. @TKK

    TKK

    True, but the expectations of Asian women fall very short of what a Western woman would expect. My wife’s wedding ring only cost me $1000, for example. One or two trips a year to the Platinum mall and a honeymoon in Pattaya did not break me financially. Being married to an American woman would probably work out to $300 a screw.

    I’m talking about Southeast Asia. Marrying a woman from Tokyo is another kettle of fish.

  39. Biff says:
    @TKK

    if a Western/European man showed up with enough cash.

    Some American white women like black dudes who show up with enough crack. Do all American white women like black dudes with crack? In your mind – yes.

    How do people get so simply stupid minded?

  40. @jeff stryker

    Mind you there is that Koh Tao, nicknamed “death island”, in Thailand where many foreigners have been murdered, and many were lucky to escape alive. Some horror story that place.

  41. Viets prefer Rade chickens thus get taken in by chickens produced by their own re-labeled Rade chickens… there is a sucker born every minute!

  42. @TKK

    Actually you can’t generalise like that. Depends who you meet and where, and I’d say most people in the world are happy to stay in their own communities where they feel comfortable with their surroundings and confident in their knowledge of the inner workings of their society. And globalist of course would love to disrupt this state of affairs.

    Sure some Thai girls are happy to move to a western country but I have known many who just couldn’t stick it out and came back home because of extreme homesickness missing just about everything in Thailand, from the food to the casual and more natural social atmosphere, but especially their family and friends. You know there is such a things as “Asian values” and it involves more than just slaving away for an obnoxious arrogant Jew (oops! capitalist pig then so as not to offend) in some unfriendly, alienating, hells-scape of a dystopia, amongst miserable looking and frowning lonely neurotics who think they’re all so important because of I really don’t know what.

    I once even met an ethnic Chinese girl holidaying on Thera/Santorini who was from New York (native or a transplant immigrant I didn’t query) who couldn’t imagine herself living anywhere except New York and just kept going on about New York, New York while we were driving along the serpentine roads of this magical Greek island enjoying spectacular views. Man she had me laughing as she couldn’t drop her New York uptightness and fastidiousness to the easy-going level and laid back, relaxed style of this Aegean island. And she couldn’t even conceptualise or comprehend why I wouldn’t want to go and live in her New York. And I was glad enough to have flown out of London and missed absolutely nothing of it, least of all its crowds.

    • Replies: @Miro23
    , @jeff stryker
  43. Anon41 says:

    What an excellent writer Dinh is!

    The best insight into Scranton, Pennsylvania, comes from reading any of his dispatches from Vietnam.

  44. HiHo says:

    This writer has read a lot of Graham Green of the Quiet American and many other similar books.
    He’s lucky to be normal enough for strangers to enjoy his company.
    Vietnam is not a place I’ve ever wanted to visit though I’ve read extensively on certain aspects of the nation. Great respect for how they dealt with American occupation.

  45. The theme of modern alienation is over a century old now. Think about the fact that people who moved from the country to the city 100 years ago were wondering how things could get worse… which could mean that a century from now, we may be yearning for this simpler time.

    Once, that thought might have comforted me, enabled me to laugh off talk of the good old days and point towards man’s ability to adapt to necessary and beneficial change. Now it mainly makes me realize how shortsighted we are about real history, and indoctrinated we are to accept insidious erosion and conquest.

    • Replies: @Che Guava
  46. Che Guava says:

    Well is it is head Tet. Almost all of my Viet colleagues are there now.

    It is strange, the office/lab is almost empty.

  47. Che Guava says:
    @Sollipsist

    A century from now, you will not exist, at least on this plane. .

    • Replies: @Sollipsist
  48. Franz says:
    @Colin Wright

    These roads used to distribute wealth — and human contact. Now, increasingly, they isolate us from each other.

    True from what I saw from my place on old Route 20.

    In the beginning we got good deals in we wouldn’t have had otherwise as the Interstate streamlined the economy. Work was actually more plentiful from the start.

    But that which can streamline can also eliminate. The charming mom & pop restaurants and shops were replaced by fast food pits, corporate chain eateries, big box stores and… final stop: the now universal Dollar stores.

    No matter how much money it pumped into local economies at first, it wasn’t worth pumping out all the life, customs, and relationships that came later.

    Installing the system was financially rewarding. We’ve got to find a way to reverse it that will create opportunities the same way. There are corporations quietly working on this. They have a feeling that the placelessness of the 21st Century might be driving lots of our problems. I agree and hope there’s some good solutions coming.

  49. Miro23 says:
    @Endgame Napoleon

    I notice you did not mention the evisceration of local production or local business, leading to the concentrated wealth of the globalist economy.

    This is so true. Anything that can fit in a shipping container is sourced in Asia and delivered directly to big box category killing stores.

    It’s a profitable game for the globalist elite, but poison for local manufacturing and employment, and whole sectors of skilled trades.

  50. @Che Guava

    That’s one of my few remaining hopes. I hope it doesn’t go the way of the others!

    Then again, maybe lucid longevity would encourage more faithfulness to history. It takes more work to convince someone that they haven’t experienced something than it does to convince them that their grandfathers didn’t experience it.

    But it can certainly be done. Plenty of boomers deny the relatively idyllic conditions they were born into, while embracing a mythic exaggeration of the times they participated in. It wouldn’t help anybody for that kind of person to live another 250 years.

  51. Miro23 says:
    @Commentator Mike

    … and I’d say most people in the world are happy to stay in their own communities where they feel comfortable with their surroundings and confident in their knowledge of the inner workings of their society.

    Another thing about local communities looking after their own affairs (like their own taxes and spending) is that they won’t vote or pay for ME wars. If there was little power left in Washington, (and the FED had gone) there wouldn’t be anyone to pay for the wars, and the MIC would also usefully be shut down.

  52. iffen says:

    Dude, you’re gonna git fired. You forget the “fuck dem Jews” paragraph.

    Good piece on the Viets and their country, give us more.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  53. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Simplyreal

    A lingering question remains in my mind: would you have been able to write such endearing pieces had you continued to live in the States uninterrupted to this day?

    Hi Simplyreal,

    I really don’t know. Had I stayed, I would have continued to make car, bus and train trips to American places, all of which I did find fascinating. The increasing rancor in the US can wear one down, however, as does the heavily wiped up hysteria over minor or bullshit news, as more important developments are routinely ignored. There are so many American towns I never got to visit, and so many places I’d gladly see again. I’d love to have a chance to revisit West Texas, for example, spend time in Presidio, Terlingua and Candelaria, etc., hang out in El Paso with frequent crossings into Juarez.

    I came to Ea Kly strictly for work, and wasn’t sure how much I could write about it, but so far it has proven to be a very rich source, so I’m certainly grateful.

    Linh

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
    , @Justsaying
  54. Charles says:

    Hello Linh,
    With your link in an ealier comment to your blog entries, I read “Reading Crimes” and took notice of your description of Vietnamese hospitals which the poor must use. Have you ever read George Orwell’s “How the Poor Die”, which is an account of his stay in a French hospital in 1929? If not I would very much recommend it. It will sound very familiar.

  55. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi Charles,

    Yes, Orwell’s “How the Poor Die” is amazing. I love all of his non-fiction. Years ago, I read his Down and Out in Paris and London and it certainly taught me much.

    And do read Jack London’s People of the Abyss if you haven’t. Here’s one particularly memorable passage:

    By seven o’clock we were called away to bathe and go to bed. We stripped our clothes, wrapping them up in our coats and buckling our belts about them, and deposited them in a heaped rack and on the floor—a beautiful scheme for the spread of vermin. Then, two by two, we entered the bathroom. There were two ordinary tubs, and this I know: the two men preceding had washed in that water, we washed in the same water, and it was not changed for the two men that followed us. This I know; but I am also certain that the twenty-two of us washed in the same water.

    I did no more than make a show of splashing some of this dubious liquid at myself, while I hastily brushed it off with a towel wet from the bodies of other men. My equanimity was not restored by seeing the back of one poor wretch a mass of blood from attacks of vermin and retaliatory scratching.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Charles
  56. @restless94110

    Linh Dinh is becoming the Studs Terkel of SE Asia. And Philly.

  57. great, great, thank you, jack london,.. less is more.. I am gelous of you,,, for living down to earth, and poverty

  58. @Linh Dinh

    MR LINH

    Out of curiosity are you a dual citizen of Vietnam and the United States?

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @republic
  59. Charles says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Thanks Linh. Orwell and London were two of the very best the English language ever had.

  60. @iffen

    I’ll insert that, from Orwell’s Down and Out:

    “Trust a snake before a Jew and a Jew before a Greek, but don’t trust an Armenian”.

    So there are worse than Jews. But somehow I doubt this’ll raise a brouhaha amongst the Geeks and Armenians out here on UR.

    Not a full paragraph, just a sentence, but let’s hope it keeps Linh employed as our favourite writer.

    • Replies: @republic
  61. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @jeff stryker

    Hi Jeff,

    Just American, which means I must leave Vietnam at least once every six months.

    Linh

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  62. @Commentator Mike

    I am glad my own wife has expressed no interest in the United States or becoming a US citizen because I would never want to leave Asia.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  63. @Linh Dinh

    MR. LINH

    I asked because most people born in a country retain both the citizenship of their birthplace and the United States. For example, Dennis Leary was born in the United States but also has an Irish passport because his parents were born in Ireland.

  64. @Linh Dinh

    Thank you Mr. Dinh. My question is prompted by your vivid descriptions of characters the likes of which are found in abundance in Vietnam. Also true in nearly all traditional societies in the Third World, where behavioral patterns, spontaneity and social freedoms have so far escaped the tendency to homogenize behaviors, which IMO renders citizens in the West more amenable to control. Pure speculation on my part. Still, behaviors in such societies seem far less regimented than in the West.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  65. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Justsaying

    I just noticed I wrote “wiped up” instead of “whipped up”! It’s Tet here, so there’s lots of talking and drinking. Last night after hours of drinking, I was interviewed for two hours for a podcast, and that’s the most English I’ve spoken in months. I’m exhausted.

  66. @jeff stryker

    Good on you mate. But the pace of change in this world is affecting everywhere and you never know what tomorrow may bring. I remember urban areas in the UK where many decades ago a black person would have been beaten up by the white residents if he appeared on the street, and if a white person today went into the exactly same area he’d get beaten up the now black residents. Or some idyllic small town in the third world with pleasant caring people who all knew each other transforming into a busy polluted metropolis full of complete strangers and unknown criminals in the few years I was there, as the pace of development accelerates. Other countries I enjoyed exploring in my youth now completely devastated and transformed into war zones. And race relations and gender relations worse than ever, police repression, surveillance, government control of absolutely everything, mistrust between people, atomisation of society. And I do get the impression that the traditional values of the more traditional societies are being eroded as this assault of globalism on every pore of society continues unabated.

    And in Thailand and some other countries of Southeast Asia the feminist movement is almost completely absent due to the traditional matriarchal nature of the society which didn’t exclude women from playing a significant social role. Also, although the gays and transexuals have long been present there, and generally socially accepted, they have not been politicised like in the west. It is funny to see some youngish white NGOs turning up trying to stir up things. How long this will last in the few remaining pockets I have no idea.

    Who can ride the tiger good on them but in the west many whites who can afford it are joining the white flight into small white towns and villages, or heading east into Slavic countries. And some like you and Fred who writes on this site choosing even to settle among other races. It’s getting tougher for all. Sometimes I think the younger people, having been born into this postmodern global society will adjust better but I have my doubts.

  67. MIKE

    If I wanted to live in a cold grey rundown Slavic place with prickly drunks and mercurial Eastern European women I would have stayed in Polish Detroit. Eastern Europe just doesn’t do it for me.

    I worked for NGO’s in Bangladesh and Cambodia on short-term contracts for disgusting fat Lesbians and local moochers trying to siphon off US tax money. Apart from allowing local bureaucrats to “dip their beaks” they will never change anything.

    My only joy was seeing Leftist idiots from California gradually become disillusioned as they realized that other countries don’t care about their agenda and simply want them to piss off.

    As for UK, Jamaicans seemed like nutters there. Somehow when Jamaicans or Pakistanis or Irish get to the US they seem to become workaholic consumers and money-obsessed. In London they simply loaf around estates losing their minds.

    As for gender relations, I am thankful that my college girlfriend broke up with me-I had nothing to prevent me from leaving the US at 25 in 1999. No kids, no wife, no house payments. I later heard she married and divorced some other guy. He got to pay $300 a screw and not me.

    Police surveillance in the US is sort of a double-edged sword. You don’t need it in Britain as much but in the US our black and Hispanic gangs are so bad and so well-armed that there is no choice but to live in a police state. It is the only thing keeping our homicide rate below that of Brazil.

  68. republic says:
    @Commentator Mike

    I have had good experiences visiting Armenia,found the Armenians to be very hospitable to visitors from the West.

  69. I’ve been thinking about Armenia. Sure would love to visit some day. Thanks for the tip.

  70. republic says:
    @jeff stryker

    Do Viet kieu get special privileges that American citizens do not get?

    Viet kieu means overseas Vietnamese.

    • Replies: @jeff stryker
  71. @republic

    I never went to Vietnam in my life.

    So I would not know.

  72. Franz says:
    @Endgame Napoleon

    I notice you did not mention the evisceration of local production or local business, leading to the concentrated wealth of the globalist economy.

    Thing is, there’s so much wrong with the policies that kicked in after the politically inspired “oil shocks” of the 1970s that listing them all would make for an article (book?) by itself.

    In the 50s-60s-70s almost anyone with some spunk and a few bucks could buckle down and start a family restaurant and lots did. Making deals with local farmers/ranchers and finding a good location were key, and I had relations in both Canada and the USA who had no trouble with either.

    Important to know that on both sides of the border it all dried up before the 1980s. The economics of scale inherent in the interstate “hub” markets destroyed the interior. Starting with Howard Johnson “motor eateries” and devolving to MacDonalds (etc) meant the market now favored Big Chains to the exclusion of mom & pop.

    Libertarian arguments in the 70s were cogent: They noted health codes, employment rules and all that had proliferated to a point that a Taco Bell (say) would pay off all their necessary fees out of pocket change, but the small business was shut out because it often amounted to tens of thousands of dollars. Libertarians simply didn’t fight this position; they needed corporate donations to survive and small businesses were just not up matching that anymore.

    That’s not to mention the obvious: From the mid-70s on, liability laws everywere simply drove anyone without deep pockets out of the game. The libertarians were stymied; it was clear to everyone else that Big Biz and Big Gov had fixed the game. Since libertarians simply must by pro-biz and anti-gov, they could only squak impotently against one side; the side with the smaller bankroll. They were not morons; their own ideology had tied their hands.

    I do recall hearing much from the small businesses everywhere how the iron trinity of Maggie Thatcher, Ronald Reagan and Brian Mulrony then solidified the game. They were infuriated, because from now on it became “How can we shake some Trickle Down money from the winners”, instead of going back to the earlier system where ideas and risks could make anyone a small winner in an energetic local economy.

    The critical years seem to have been from 1973-1984. Photos from the era are revealing. A photo essay from the era called Journey to Nowhere: The Saga of the New Underclass by Dale Maharidge showed quite clearly the prosperity that had fueled the vigor and ingenutiy of the post WWII years was totally gone.

    Most revealing part of Maharidge’s book: The first edition, long out of print, came out in 1985. That would have been the peak earning years of what he called the Out Generation, the millions of downsized people from that era that just plain got dropped out of history.

    Simpler: Global Finance squashed Small Town Free Enterprise. The libertarians should have been the main critics here, but they were blinded by Silicon Valley and you know the rest.

  73. They retain a healthy, measured dose of masculinity. Balls matter.

    ‘Nuff said! And thank you for the concise declaration.

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