The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
 BlogviewLinh Dinh Archive
Whatever Your Hands Find to Do
🔊 Listen RSS
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Search Text Case Sensitive  Exact Words  Include Comments
List of Bookmarks

I painted houses for a decade, and on our crews, we always knew of each other’s relative competence, willingness to work, sense of responsibility, substance addictions, if any, and, ultimately, character. My roommate, Jay, for example, really didn’t give a fuck, for he was often late, but somehow always rehired, for our boss, Joe LeBlanc, was a softie. Once, Jay and I left our rather pitiful, unheated apartment at exactly the same time, yet Jay somehow managed to miss the bus, thus work for that day.

Chuck was a narcoleptic who had gotten into a car accident, so was more or less one-armed, but still, he was a pretty good worker, and always cheerful. Standing on a 40-footer, Chuck exclaimed, “Hey, who farted?!” Many a poet have never come up with a more memorable instance of philosophy and wit. Pure Zen. If he hadn’t wiped himself out, along with a car or busload of innocents, I hope Chuck is doing well.

Smooth was a junkie, so moved very slowly, hence his nickname. Joe paid him accordingly.

Laura could never make it up any ladder taller than herself, so only scraped or painted baseboards and first floor windows. In the kinder and gentler working environment of the 80’s and early 90’s, even a fat broad could join a housepainting crew.

I’m sure I must have talked about at least some of the above characters, but as you get older, you repeat yourself, not because you’ve run out of stories, far from it, but that some have imprinted themselves so strongly, to become iconic in your mind. Milan Kundera says that from all of our sexual experiences, only two or three encounters linger persistently. Something like that. Broke, I sold that book a long time ago.

Now that I’m a foreman at a plastic recycling plant, memories and habits from my housepainting days return, and though Ea Kly is 10,000 miles from Philly, I can readily detect, once again, similar character types, as in who move fast and efficiently, who lumber along, and who are just faking it.

My brother in law brought me in so I could, in his place, observe what was going on, and immediately, I recommended letting a loafer go, and this even before I knew Tuan had a raging drinking problem. Like Joe LeBlanc, my brother in law is a softie, so he hesitated, but Tuan promptly fired himself this week. Hung over, Tuan missed two days without saying anything to me, and not only that, he drunkenly called our bookkeeper in the middle of the night to demand that he be paid in full immediately, for he was quitting. Sobering up, he came to me to apologize, but it was too late. “I have marital problems, brother Linh, and that’s why I drink.” Much of the world, then, men and women, would be boozing nonstop. Even Tuan’s wife, Thu, who is also employed by us, is not defending this charming dude.

One of Thu’s duties is to cook for up to six people, whoever happen to live at the recycling plant at the time. We have an improvised kitchen of two hot plates. Lunch and dinner are served on the floor. The dishes are washed in a courtyard out back, with the pots hung up on a wire fence to dry. Twice a day, the neighbor’s dogs drop by to eat our food scraps, and sometimes even a chicken forages around. The cow, love of my life, merely looks on.

My wife is in Saigon working for her sister. Our marriage is strengthened, or at least saved, by these spells apart. Knowing that I’m alone, a few of our workers are joking that I should look for a local mate. While women like to gossip or fantasize about other people coupling, most men only conjecture themselves in action. Lien, a woman in her early 30’s, joked to me after work, “We have a few middle-aged women here. You should get yourself one, uncle.”

“Oh, I’m old, sister, so I don’t need an old woman. How tiresome is that?! I need someone young, even the youngest. Now, that would be a good match!”

“There’s Coi [Tiny].”

I had no idea who Coi was, but I went along with it, “That sounds great!” Just as in Philly, the Vietnamese working class will joke and banter most inappropriately, for it makes their long, exhausting day goes a little faster.

One of our best employees is Vinh, a mother of four. Tough and responsible, she’s the perfect supervisor. At home, she grows a few crops, keeps a few goats, chickens and two cows. Eight days ago, she limped into work after hurting her foot doing some farm work. Take a few days off, we suggested, until you feel better, and when she didn’t return after a week, a couple of us dropped by with a small gift of money, as is customary, to help Vinh recover. We have some sad houses in this village, and hers is among the most dismal, I was rather surprised to see, since I have talked to her boastful husband, Binh, a a few times. I thought they were we doing OK, at least.

Vinh’s two kids still living at home were dressed very shabbily, with the girl, about twelve, had on a dirty T-shirt with a smiling cartoon figure, with this bizarre English caption, “What Shall I Make for Dinner?”

We found Vinh bedridden, and about to go to the hospital. Binh whispered to me that his wife had “female problems,” a situation that had persisted for years, so it’s not the injured foot that had kept her home.

ORDER IT NOW

Within hours, however, I found out that there was a huge commotion at their miserable shack recently, that Binh had likely beaten his wife, as he has done many times before, and, moreover, that he’s a good for nothing who gambles compulsively, and that’s why they’re broke. Worse, they’ll soon be kicked off their small plot, since it’s slated for some development. Though they’ve been fairly compensated for it, that money is long gone, to pay off Binh’s gambling debts.

As we erected our factory, Binh came by in the middle of the night to steal some of our gravel, a fact overlooked by my brother in law, since he didn’t want to make enemies among the locals.

Unlike the Vietnamese, the Rade are matriarchal, meaning women own and inherit all properties, and a husband must move into his in-laws’ household, so there must be many Rade women who get to pummel their husbands.

Since there are Vietnamese laws against domestic abuses, Vinh can go to the authorities for help, but she doesn’t want to see her asshole husband go to jail, thus breaking up the family. Plus, she wants to maintain a facade of marital concord, as if the entire village doesn’t already know.

Some Vietnamese women take matters into their own hands, and this week, there’s a news item about a Thanh Hoa woman who kept her husband in a cage for three years, for he was a heroin and crystal meth junkie who had often beaten her and their two kids, she defiantly explains to authorities. “I cured him.” She never mistreated him, she elaborates, for she always fed him properly, and even gave him a glass of beer with each meal.

Yesterday, we hired two new guys, and they both came in wearing brand new military uniforms, as if ready to shoot up the place. Vietnamese have the unenlightened and deplorable habits of judging people by how their look, so one guy would be said by most to “resemble an executive,” for his face is wide and robust, with regular and intelligent looking features. Although he doesn’t seem stupid or like a beaten down coolie, he’s happy to be hired to do a very dirty, tiring and poorly paid job, but that, too, is hardly unusual in this upside down world. Some of the world’s most undeserving are paid most handsomely.

Since some of the women here have matched me with Tiny, I’ve made it a point to not even look in her direction, since I don’t want to creep the young lady out. I am married and try not to be an asshole. I do what I must, and for now, it’s returning to work. Grinding along, our machine breaks down hardy, eternal plastic. The men in military uniforms are covered in dust and grime, and so am I. Bent over, Tiny sweeps.

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

 
• Category: Economics • Tags: Poverty, Vietnam 
Hide 91 CommentsLeave a Comment
Commenters to Ignore...to FollowEndorsed Only
Trim Comments?
    []
  1. Truth says:

    Good for you for making the best of what you have Old Sport, and doing what is necessary to put food on the table. You’re a real old school American!

    OK, cue up the “pooor, pooor, pitty Linh” responses in 3…2…

    • Agree: Talha, jacques sheete
    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @Jeff Stryker
  2. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi Truth,

    I feel blessed being here, and that’s no exaggeration or posturing. It’s 4:40AM, almost time for coffee at the three way intersection depicted in the first photo. It’s a very pleasant place to sit, and the conversations are always interesting to overhear.

    Linh

  3. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Truth

    Hi Truth,

    “Old school” is the best compliment ever, so thanks. Philly used to be much more old school. Joe Frazier and Bennie Briscoe were old school. The next time you come to Philly, head straight for Pennsport Pub, the only old school go-go bar left in town.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Truth
  4. swamped says:

    “In the kinder and gentler working environment of the 80’s and early 90’s”…you could even call a fat broad a fat broad! whatever your hands find to do & whatever your mouth wants to say: ah, what a life!

    • Agree: Stick
  5. “Bent over, Tiny sweeps.”

    Lead into the next of the series?

    Funny, but I don’t recall you mentioning you had a wife. I’m slipping in my skills of observation.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  6. Biff says:

    some of the women here have matched me with Tiny,

    Whatever your hands find to do.

  7. @Linh Dinh

    I sincerely hope your there is a correlation between the quality of your writing and your contentment with life because since your move to Vietnam your writing has been really good. You excel at character studies whether it’s in working class neighborhoods of Philadelphia or rural Vietnam.

    All I hope for your sake is you can find a bar that serves Yuengling and has a good enough WiFi connection to show Eagles games. As long as you have those two things, you live anywhere and still hang on to the best parts of Philly.

    Thanks for the good articles.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  8. Isn’t life on this diverse rock a buzz? We’re only coming by this way once, enjoy it while you can.

  9. Truth says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Well that is the good attitude to have. Things go up, and they go down, but every day breathing is a gift and an opportunity.

    • Agree: Talha
  10. Stump says:

    Thank you for another fine article.

    Somewhat off topic but I’d like to know if in your travels you have spent any time in the Phu-Bai area.
    I was stationed there in 69′-70′ with the Yankee Army.

    Met some interesting local folks there and I often wonder how they were treated after the war and what their lives might be like today.

    Many thanks for your gifted work. – Stump

    • Replies: @Another German Reader
  11. Since some of the women here have matched me with Tiny, I’ve made it a point to not even look in her direction, since I don’t want to creep the young lady out. I am married and try not to be an asshole.

    Stick at it! It is a wise decision. You will undoubtedly regret it if you don’t.
    Thanks for the very interesting articles. They are one of the chief reasons I keep coming to this site.

    • Agree: byrresheim
    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @jacques sheete
  12. Linh Dinh says: • Website

    Hi Stump,

    I have never been to the Hue area, but will get there soon, I hope. There are quite a few places I need to visit, such as Hoi An, Da Nang or Nam Dinh, my father’s home province. Here in Ea Kly, the most tempting destination is rural Cambodia or Laos, about seven hours by car away. FULRO used to fight the Vietnamese from their bases in Cambodia.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Stump
  13. Stump says:
    @Linh Dinh

    Thanks for getting back to me. I’ll be looking for a future piece. – Stump

  14. Talha says:

    The cow, love of my life, merely looks on.

    Honestly, that is a beautiful cow. The color is remarkable. May she give you many more smooches!

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @songbird
  15. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Talha

    Hi Talha,

    I’ve already been told that cows don’t bite, but yesterday, the broad nearly bit my arm off, such was her ardor. The bottom teeth and hard top gum can certainly feel like some serious chomping. We have a five-year-old girl living at the plant, the daughter of a worker, and the kid ran away in terror.

    When I lived in Norwich, England a decade ago, I used to love having my hand licked and nibbled by horses. Oh man, I am sick.

    In the pond behind the recycling plant, there are also ducks and two white herons. I have yet to see or hear a frog, unfortunately, only cooked ones served with Saigon beer.

    We need animals around to feel more human, Canetti said somewhere, but they also make us feel more like animals, and this kinship is very comforting. Vietnamese folk poetry and proverbs are filled with the merging of the human with the animal, but this is common to all traditional world views.

    Only postmodern man thinks he can transcend or negate nature, as in, “Although I have a penis, I’m a woman!” Sheer madness.

    Linh

  16. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @Linh Dinh

    We need animals around to feel more human, Canetti said somewhere, but they also make us feel more like animals, and this kinship is very comforting.

    You are so right, Linh. Where I live, we have the street dogs. They’re very friendly and each one has their own unique character. Lots of fighting and politics, as they work out how to divide up the area.

    I’d like to get a cow. That would be great.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  17. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @foolisholdman

    Stick at it! It is a wise decision. You will undoubtedly regret it if you don’t.
    Thanks for the very interesting articles. They are one of the chief reasons I keep coming to this site.

    Linh Dinh’s wife has already given him her best years and now she needs him to look after her. It seems like breach of contract to find another now.

  18. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    Funny, but I don’t recall you mentioning you had a wife. I’m slipping in my skills of observation.

    He doesn’t mention her often, but she apparently does exist. I think she follows him around the world too. No idea if they have Children.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  19. @Truth

    TRUTH

    Perhaps you worked for an American company. But in the end, expats are expats. They have to do what they have to in order to get by.

    Some, like yourself, imagine that house in New Mexico at the end of the day and X off the calendar dates. Others are glad to stay overseas forever.

    But it is a choice that expats make and they are fortunate to be able to make it.

    When you go downtown today can you imagine the St. Fe townie who has never been anywhere; whose choice of employment boils down to low-paying retail or restaurant work? Having to live with two other roommates when they are 40 or in with their mother in a double-wide trailer?

    At least we have the choice to get out of the place we are born.

    • Replies: @Truth
  20. @NJ Transit Commuter

    NJ

    I moved to Dubai back when internet was still dial-up and believe me, it was a worthwhile trade-off.

    There were a few television shows I liked back then like SOPRANOS or LAW AND ORDER and it was way before Netflix but much better than being around tweakers or Cholos or other fine US underclass specimens.

    The views from Dubai and the relative tranquility of public transport more than made up.

    Besides, there are many fascinating things to see and experience overseas. You lose interest in television.

    The reason Americans watch so much television is because there is nothing more interesting for them to do and they are living vicariously through sports or reality TV.

    When you are an expat overseas, you don’t have this problem. You feel alive.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  21. @Linh Dinh

    MR LINH

    True about Norwich. It is all cow pastures and windy roads. Even the river that runs through it reminds me of Bangkok.

    During misty winter day in the cold monsoon season the roads of Southeast Asia through sugarcane and rice paddies could pass for rural England.

  22. There is hope.
    Thomas L Thompson, who wrote a ph d thesis about wrong parts in the bible, (mis)translated from the Torah, by mistake or intentionally, was rewarded with nine years of house painting.
    Thomas L Thompson, ‘The mythic past, Biblical archaeology and the myth of Israel’, London 1999
    How his painting period ended, do not know.
    Do know that in the first years of being a lecturer at Copenhagen university he feared for his life.
    His interpretation of the Adam and Eve story, marvellous, but not to christians.
    The USA Journal of Biblical Archeology was not amused, around 2001 or so.

  23. @Linh Dinh

    Only postmodern man thinks he can transcend or negate nature, as in, “Although I have a penis, I’m a woman!” Sheer madness.

    Happened to have well known a Dutch endocrinologist, who confirmed that mentally being a woman can happen in a male body.
    ‘Just’ hormones.
    He decided about ‘transformations’ by the, at the time, only Dutch surgeon willing to do these things.
    Or other ‘transformations’.
    Does anyone really think that someone has for example his male genitals removed for fun ?

  24. @Stump

    How about checking it out for yourself?

    850 – 1200US$ for Los Angeles International Airport- Hue Phubai International Airport (two-way)

    400 – 1000 US$ for 2/3 weeks (hostel/street-food/taxis/local guides)

    If you are too chicken to go alone, than travel with other vets:

    http://www.vietnambattlefieldtours.com/

  25. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Anonymous

    My wife doesn’t travel well, and can get into a testy mood just packing or going to the airport, so I take most of my trips alone. When she does take a trip, however, she’s likely to talk about it very enthusiastically months or years later, as if she actually enjoyed it. Her favorite countries are Italy and Spain, and her favorite neighborhood anywhere is the Italian Market in Philly.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Anonymous
  26. @Linh Dinh

    MR LINH

    What nationality is your wife? Is she Irish-American or of Vietnamese descent?

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  27. @Anonymous

    Street dogs in Asia are not always friendly. Especially in the Philippines. They can be quite dangerous and feral.

  28. @Biff

    some of the women here have matched me with Tiny,

    Whatever your hands find to do.

    That’d be Rosie. 😉

  29. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Jeff Stryker

    Hi Jeff,

    She’s Vietnamese, and actually grew up in one of my childhood neighborhoods, Phu Lam. Before 1975, this was the outskirts of Saigon, but the city has expanded way past it. When in Saigon, I stay at my mother-in-law’s house in Phu Lam, a block away from my mother’s old pharmacy, named “Linh,” after me. After more than four decades, I’ve made a complete full circle!

    Linh

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  30. @Jeff Stryker

    Besides, there are many fascinating things to see and experience overseas. You lose interest in television.

    The two are both true, but not necessarily related. I know because I’ve done more than a little traveling and living overseas and can never get enough, but there is plenty of fascination to be had at home as well, as long as one is willing to get up off his tusch.

    I’ve never had any interest in teevee, nor have I ever owned one. I loathe the annoying, vapid trash even when exposed for brief moments in, say, an airport. Same goes for radio and all other mass media. I strongly recommend that people trash the flippin crap and read stuff such as LD’s fine work.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  31. @jilles dykstra

    Does anyone really think that someone has for example his male genitals removed for fun ?

    No one claimed they did it for fun. “Just” hormones, or whatever, it’s still sheer madness.

    Check out the “galli” for instance. Here’s a link since I can’t get hyperlinks to work on this site, though they work fine for me in Word. https://gnosticwarrior.com/enoch-priesthood.html

    • Replies: @Bombercommand
    , @Truth
  32. @foolisholdman

    Stick at it! It is a wise decision. You will undoubtedly regret it if you don’t.

    A very wise decision.

    Especially since the women are no doubt just teasing or bantering with him. Although I wouldn’t rule out the idea that there are a few who stir the pot just so they can watch any resulting fireworks.

  33. It’s all the same in America. Except everybody in the plant has one or more college degrees and a former life as some kind of professional.

  34. @Linh Dinh

    MR LINH

    Your references to Philly hoods that were traditionally Irish-American and to heavily Irish Norwich, UK along with your Catholic faith led me to sort of assume your wife was Irish.

    Sorry to seem weird.

  35. @Biff

    Sounds like an invitation to Roman hands and Russian fingers. And the wrath of an angry wife.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  36. @jacques sheete

    MR SHEETE

    I’m not saying that everybody should spend their entire life overseas, but being away from the media (Whoever controls it) gives a person a bit of perspective.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  37. Just a note that I continue to enjoy your snapshots of everyday life from Vietnam.

    You America reporting was also great, but it’s a very overcrowded genre, so I didn’t read most of it. Material from outside the wealthy Anglosphere is much rarer and I do read this.

    Keep it up!

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  38. @jilles dykstra

    What you describe is a mental disorder, that our society feeds their mania with attention and encouragement. 46 percent of the trannies who do cut off their johnson or have a crude one fashioned out of leg fat end up killing themselves. I wouldn’t trust a medical procedure that results in half the out patients killing themselves. Google transgender dilation for fun, turn off the safe search.

  39. Anonymous[221] • Disclaimer says:
    @Linh Dinh

    What about children, Linh? Did you two have any?

    Sorry to pry, but you’re famous now and we kind of feel like you belong to us 😀

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  40. @jilles dykstra

    Nobody said that madness does not exist. But calling it normal is also madness.

    • Replies: @Truth
  41. I’m neither a psychiatrist nor an endocrinologist or a surgeon.
    Purely private connections made me realise that those who feel that they’re living in the wrong body have horrible lives.
    If surgery, or whatever, gives them better lives, I do not know.
    I, at the time I knew the mentioned doctors, it was in the seventies, from the stories I then heard, often wondered if these treatments changed anything for the better.
    My comments here have as sole purpose to warn against underestimating the problems these people have.

    • Replies: @Anon
  42. @Jeff Stryker

    I know you’re not saying that. I was just agreeing with and reinforcing what I perceived you said. No need to be defensive here.

  43. @Unrepentant Conservative

    Sounds like an invitation to Roman hands and Russian fingers. And the wrath of an angry wife.

    And besides that, something tells me that “Tiny” is a “candidate” for a reason. It’s all typical of working class fun.

  44. Truth says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    LOL, Dude why are you mad at me? I didn’t write anything about expats.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  45. Truth says:
    @ploni almoni

    I want to see you tell “The Ultimate Gloria” that.

  46. @Truth

    I’m not mad at you at all. I’m saying once an expat, always an expat. We’re a like a fraternity. Some of us return to the US and some of us don’t. But people who have lived their whole life in one city cannot relate to us.

    • Replies: @The Alarmist
  47. Talha says:
    @jilles dykstra

    This was classified as “gender dysphoria” back in the day – as a clinically diagnosed mental disorder – which makes sense, people can really think they are Napoleon, too.

    But it was seen as an issue to be diagnosed and treated or dealt with as best as one could – it wasn’t celebrated.

    Peace.

  48. Talha says:
    @Linh Dinh

    the broad nearly bit my arm off, such was her ardor

    LOL! Any time I took my kids to the petting zoo/farm, I was always afraid of this when offering up their cows the celery. It’s funny because you don’t want your fingers mauled, but your kids are watching so you have to make sure they see that it’s OK to be around animals and be brave. All the while hoping nothing crazy happens and they do not have a traumatic experience like that five-year-old.

    We need animals around to feel more human

    I agree. There was a visiting hakim (traditional healer) to our group in UCLA who spoke about this; that if man has naturally been around certain animals for thousands of years (he brought up the horse), that we have no clue what such a sharp separation from them in such a short time will have on our species. In Cairo, I was very happy to see the odd horse or donkey here or there. Growing up in a sector of Karachi, you would still see goats being herded along.

    Peace.

  49. schrub says:

    Linh:
    You used to be an acquaintance of writer and RT television host Chris Hedges. Considering your present situation, how is that working out.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
    , @Linh Dinh
  50. Linh Dinh says:
    @Anatoly Karlin

    Hi Anatoly,

    Thanks! I hope to make it to Russia before I drop dead. Twenty years ago, I used to hang out in Saigon with a professor/critic who studied in Russia, but couldn’t get her PhD, so invented for herself the title, “Associate PhD,” which got a howler from a few of us who could see through her nonsense. One day after dinner at her apartment, another guest sang in Russian.

    Russians are visiting or living in a few Vietnamese cities in sufficient number so that many shops in nearby Nha Trang, for example, have signs in Russian. Many Russians live in Vung Tau, and in Saigon, there’s a Russian supermarket. The biggest embassy in Hanoi is Russian.

    Linh

    • Agree: Anatoly Karlin
  51. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Anonymous

    No kids, and this was a conscious by both of us since our financial life in the States, or even now, was/is so uncertain. Plus, my rather horrific childhood in a broken home made me very cynical, and at times bitter, about the parent/child relationship, and this undoubtedly influenced my decision about not having a child. It’s not healthy, I know, but I’ve softened with age, and to partially compensate for this, I tend to be very drawn to other people’s small children, when they’re around. When I’m in Saigon, I would spend a few hours each day carrying or pushing my brother in law’s 18-month-old son around the neighborhood, since he enjoys Vietnam’s street life as much as I do, or we would sit in our favorite cafe, where he’s hugely popular. When I called my wife recently, my nephew heard my voice so kissed the phone, my wife told me, and the kid was visibly upset when my voice stopped.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Anonymous
  52. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @schrub

    Hi schrub,

    Hedges blurbed my Postcards book and brought me on Russia Today although he knew we disagreed on 9/11, so hats off to him. On the show itself, we had a disagreement about nationalism, so that’s another issue. As for Jewish power, Hedges was fired from the New York Times for his opposition to the second invasion of Iraq, then not long after, was prevented by a Jewish group from speaking at UPenn, so surely Hedges knows about the power of Jews, though my stance on it may be too extreme for him, especially now that I’m rejecting the Holocaust narrative.

    Linh

  53. Thank you once again. I know far too many people who call themselves writers; I’m tempted to think that in a more just world, they’d be working in a factory and you’d be enjoying their success.

    But one of the best things about your writing, even more apparent lately, is the sense that you are (as the latter-day mystics say) “right where you are meant to be.” I’m reminded of Henry Miller and Bukowski, without the stench of decadence.

    Americans have a mania for looking for a thing called happiness, and when they fail, for cursing a thing called luck. I’m old enough to understand that true success has nothing in common with such things. All I can wish for you is to continue to do what you do in good health.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  54. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @schrub

    Hi schrub,

    Also, my take on black crime does not jibe with Hedges’, since he attributes all of it to poverty and racism.

    Linh

  55. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Sollipsist

    Hi Sollipsist,

    Thanks! The truth is, whenever I was teaching at a university, I would stay away from the English department and other professors, for I really didn’t like them. I did my job and got along fine with the students, for they were just regular people, and not academics, not yet anyway.

    In Missoula, I got in trouble for an incident I might as well relate here. After a party at the home of the director of creative writing, I went with a bunch of my students to a sort of cowboy bar, where they shot pool, but then a female student pulled out a pair of panties, filched from the director of creative writing’s house. Everyone goofed around with it, as expected, especially since we were well trashed by this point. As their professor, however, I wasn’t suppose to go along with this, so when word got out, I had to apologize to the entire apartment.

    The University of Montana’s writing program was founded by Richard Hugo, a raging drunk, and Montana ranks fourth in the country in alcohol consumption, behind only North Dakota, Wisconsin and Alaska. Plus, poets should be allowed some goofiness, if not absurdity, I thought, but clearly, the rest of the English department didn’t agree with me. In short, I was never meant to be in academia, and not even as a student, for I had dropped out of undergraduate school.

    Years after this, I returned to Montana and, in Wolf Point, happily hung out for a few days with much less stuffy or uptight Assiniboine and Sioux, though their constant drinking is nothing to joke about.

    Linh

  56. @jacques sheete

    The author of that “link” is either stupid, or purposely spreading gay/trans propaganda, whatever it is, he is spreading falsehood. Eunuchs did not have their penis cut off, but their testes. It was a technique borrowed from animal husbandry. Male cattle with intact genitals, a bull, is impossible to control. However, if you remove the testes(castrate) before puberty, you get a “steer”, docile and it fattens up marvelously. All beef cattle are steers. Same for pigs, a boar is a nightmare, a stoat produces excellent bacon. Same for human slaves, castrate before puberty, you get a docile male slave who never sexually matures, can’t even get an erection. Useful as guards for hareems, and as clerks. Mature war captives for slaves were occasionally castrated, but that was to prevent them from reproducing, they could still get an erection.

  57. Truth says:
    @jacques sheete

    Practically every famous “woman”, whom you could identify by name today, is in fact a eunuch, or an “androgyne” as they say.

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  58. Do you have relatives in all those provinces to readily provide you with employment, Linh?

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  59. @Jeff Stryker

    You wake up one day and realise you are more foreign than American.

    Someone above mentioned going abroad and not watching so much TV because there is so much to see in real life: My experience is that most expats have limited language skills, and most foreign hotels have a few or many local channels supplemented by a broad array of other language channels, so if you don’t understand the local language, you have rather slim pickings in languages you might understand. One of the strange epiphanies I recently had, after four decades mostly abroad, was that I understood nearly every channel I was presented with … not much really worth watching, but I could if I wanted to. Having wandered into a couple no-go zones in European capitals in recent years, TV is becoming more appealing than walking around in some places.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  60. @Bombercommand

    The author of that “link” is either stupid…

    I thought so too, but it was handy and provided some info on the galli; that they existed, and that people do really “amazing” things was my point.

    You are correct about the rest too, wether (no “h”!) anyone else agrees or not. 😉

    Besides, I didn’t think anyone would bother to follow the link!!!

  61. @Bombercommand

    However, if you remove the testes(castrate) before puberty, you get a “steer”, docile and it fattens up marvelously.

    I know. I used to act as an unofficial vet for a neighbor and have “banded” more than a few bull calves in my day.

  62. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @jilles dykstra

    They aren’t removed. The penis is slit, the flesh removed and the tube of skin is inserted upwards between 2 muscles and then dilated to create an artificial vagins. The urethra is re arranged.

    The balls are sewn into something the trannies think looks like the outer vulva. The big problem is that pubic hair continues growing into the artificial vagina hole and causes itching and infection

    Then there’s the overdoses of estrogen and other female hormones they have to take for a year before the operation. And the anti nausea pills they have to take during that year to moderate the morning sickness.

    It’s not for the weak, especially the life long female hormone treatment

    But at least they don’t have to shave every morning; hopefully

  63. Anon[257] • Disclaimer says:
    @jilles dykstra

    The whole transition operation and afterwards is really rough.

  64. songbird says:
    @Talha

    Talha,

    I hope you are just going through a phase of bucolic appreciation and haven’t converted to Hinduism.

    • Replies: @Talha
  65. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Reuben Kaspate

    Hi Reuben,

    My brother in law has relatives in Dak Lak, the province where Ea Kly is located, and he also knew a few people in this villaege before opening his plastic recycling plant. I know people in Saigon, Hanoi and Vung Tau, and that’s about it, but in Vietnam, if you need to go or move somewhere, you can ask around, and someone will know someone who can introduce you to someone, that kind of thing. When I visited Hanoi for the first time in 1995, I was promptly placed inside the home of a stranger, because someone who knew someone who knew someone knew my cousin, whom I myself hardly knew.

    Knowing that I’m in Dak Lak, a Vietnamese American friend, poet Phan Nhien Hao, has already suggested I contact a couple of poets here, but I haven’t, since I’m not particularly drawn to poets.

    I’m getting to know quite a few people, most of them very pleasant and warm, and many more locals have gotten used to seeing me around, since as a newcomer I stick out very conspicuously. When I took an early morning walk the other day that took me past a funeral at least two miles from home, someone back at the recycling plant mentioned it to me the next day, “Hey, you walked down to the funeral yesterday, right?”

    Linh

    • Replies: @Reuben Kaspate
  66. Talha says:
    @songbird

    I like cows and can appreciate ones that visually stand out; the one Mr. Dinh caught on camera was quite a beautiful reddish hue. God thing she wasn’t born in Israel:
    https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/7217719/bible-prophecy-apocalypse-firs-red-heifer-born-israel/

    I don’t feel the need to worship them or join #CowLivesMatter though.

    I do appreciate the concern.

    Peace.

    • LOL: songbird
  67. Antiwar7 says:

    Hi Linh,

    Are you a working manager, or just a manager?

    I enjoy your writing as always; thanks.

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  68. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Antiwar7

    Hi Antiwar7,

    My job is to oversee everything, but I do whatever is needed wherever or whenever there’s a manpower shortage. In a place like this, there’s no clear separation between management and grunts, and when my brother in law is here, el supremo sleeps on a bed in our kitchen/dining room, even as we’re still eating, for the dude is exhausted, and sometimes with a headache, from too much thinking.

    If you strut into a place like this like some effete asshole, you’ll only earn the contempt from everybody here, men and women, who are all incredibly tough.

    Linh

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @Antiwar7
  69. @Linh Dinh

    DEAR MR. LINH

    An expat male can have kids at any age.

    I’ve observed that Third Culture Kids often have adjustment problems.

  70. @Linh Dinh

    Amazing! Thank you for the detailed response… stay well and I will be looking forward to your next post.

  71. @Linh Dinh

    DEAR MR LINH

    I sell lottery myself but why wouldn’t you teach English at a university?

    Just curious.

  72. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @Linh Dinh

    I had no idea about your childhood. My time also wasn’t great and I’m a bit ambivalent about marriage and kids.

    It’s ok.. In Vietnam, you’re surrounded by little kids and you can be everyone’s favorite Uncle.

    Cows and little kids .. all’s well that ends well 🙂

    • Replies: @Talha
  73. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @The Alarmist

    My experience is that most expats have limited language skills

    Most expats are either parachuted in from the West to do a specific job (English teachers, upper management, technical consultants) or they’re just party animals on holiday. The former have no time and the latter have no willpower.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  74. Swan Knight says: • Website

    You’re a great writer. Philly misses you. Next time you’re in town, visit McCusker’s Tavern on 18th and Shunk

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  75. @Anonymous

    ALARMIST

    True. When I struck up conversations with ex-military who had been stationed overseas before I got there they had nearly no recollection of the place at all.

    Tourists cannot really be considered expats. They never held a job overseas.

    Upper-management and technical types are different. Some of them choose to live in another country for years and years. I met one guy in Bangladesh who’d been there since 1975. I lasted three months. I don’t know, to this day, what he liked about the place.

    Then there are hippies in India who somehow managed to get by and lived in Goa for twenty, thirty years.

    They spoke Hindi fluently.

    It all depends on who you are and what you are overseas for. And this varies from place to place. Very few expats plan to retire to the Aramco compound in Saudi. But many choose to live in Southeast Asia.

  76. Talha says:
    @Anonymous

    surrounded by little kids and you can be everyone’s favorite Uncle.

    Sounds like a line from The Catcher in the Rye…

    Peace.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  77. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Swan Knight

    Hi Swan Knight,

    Thanks! With my buddy, Felix Giordano, I used to hit several neighborhood dives on each excursion, and there were many promising ones we never got a chance to check out. Since Felix is getting up there, and I’m over here, feeling none too young myself, it’s not likely we’ll be able to resume our Philly bar survey. Should I be able to make it back, however, I’ll head over to McCusker’s.

    Cheers!

    Linh

  78. @Talha

    Expats who live in other countries are all like Holden. We are cynical.

    • LOL: Talha
  79. I want to echo what others have said here about your writing, Linh. You’ve always been a special writer, but it seems to be…sharpening since you moved to ‘Nam. And Geez H…a *plastics recycling factory*? That’s what it has come to? It’s like Steinbeck having to work as a stock clerk at a grocery store…or Pearl Buck manning a cash register at a 7-11. Would it help if we sent you some money? (It would be worth it, to keep reading your thoughts and observations.)

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  80. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @AnonymousToo

    Would it help if we sent you some money?

    Hi Anonymous Too,

    I’ve been relying mostly on PayPal donations to survive and write since about 2011, so it would certainly help. The PayPal link is at the top of my blog.

    James Howard Kunstler, Dmitry Orlov and John Michael Greer are among many important writers who are directly supported by readers, since the mainstream media don’t much care for their opinions. Instead, they shine their spotlights on the likes of Cardi B!

    Linh

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  81. @Linh Dinh

    since the mainstream media

    Arrrggghhh!

    Not you as well???!

    Mainstream? Since when is the huge steaming pile you’re probably referring to mainstream in any way, shape form, or intention? What part of it is mainstream? Just because it’s forced in our faces 25/8/366, doesn’t make it or it’s destructive messages mainstream.

    How can you not see that using the term as the masters of BS intend lends subtle but effective legitimacy to their sewage? Kindly consider calling it anything but “mainstream;” instead call it what it is, i.e., corporate, coprophagic, sewer, or mass or whatever truly describes it.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Sparkon
  82. Anonymous[392] • Disclaimer says:
    @jacques sheete

    Kindly consider calling it anything but “mainstream;” instead call it what it is, i.e., corporate, coprophagic, sewer, or mass or whatever truly describes it.

    Well if it’s the main steaming pile of BS, then how about… the mainsteam media?

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  83. Sparkon says:
    @jacques sheete

    What part of it is mainstream? Just because it’s forced in our faces 25/8/366, doesn’t make it or it’s [sic] destructive messages mainstream.

    Not this again!?

    Where do you get the gall to come into the comments under Linh Dinh’s article and grandstand about your trivial objection to his use of standard English? This is fast approaching delusions of grandeur territory, or at least chutzpah.

    In fact, I think I shall now coin a new term just for you, Sheete, and I’ll call it “delusions of chutzpah.”

    How can you not see that using the term as the masters of BS intend lends subtle but effective legitimacy to their sewage?

    No it doesn’t. Your monomania about the term is a mistaken fixation based on your seemingly fuzzy understanding of its meaning.

    Linh Dinh is a lyrical and stylish writer with excellent command of English. Like it or not, the term “mainstream media” is in standard usage, and everybody but you seems to know what it means. It’s merely a descriptive and certainly not necessarily a complimentary term at all, as you seem to think, so get that misconception out of your head, get down off your matchbox, and give it a rest.

    Anyway, I thought you didn’t have a boob tube, so how can it be in your face 8 Days a Week?

    The proper words in the proper places are the true definition of style.

    — Jonathan Swift

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  84. Where do you get the gall to come into the comments under Linh Dinh’s article and grandstand about your trivial objection to his use of standard English? This is fast approaching delusions of grandeur territory, or at least chutzpah.

    You think it’s trivial?

    Bwaa haa haa haaa!

    This is fast approaching delusions of grandeur territory, or at least chutzpah.

    Yeah, whatever.

  85. @Anonymous

    Well if it’s the main steaming pile of BS, then how about… the mainsteam media?

    Yup. I like it.

  86. Linh Dinh is a lyrical and stylish writer with excellent command of English.

    True dat. better command then ‘Ol JS, even.

    Like it or not, the term “mainstream media” is in standard usage,

    Yeah, but why should it be? See, it’s working as intended.

    and everybody but you seems to know what it means.

    As a brainwashed dolt would do, you got that exactly bass ackwards.

    It’s merely a descriptive and certainly not necessarily a complimentary term at all, as you seem to think, so get that misconception out of your head,

    Yer wrong, and for the reasons I’ve stated many times before, much to your frustration.

    get down off your matchbox, and give it a rest.

    Why, you want it instead, or do you just wanna dance?

    Anyway, I thought you didn’t have a boob tube, so how can it be in your face 8 Days a Week?

    Ha! Ya caught me in a boo-boo. I meant 9 days a week.

    Hey, you got this right, right down to the initials. And thanks for making my case.:

    The proper words in the proper places are the true definition of style.

    — Jonathan Swift

    I wonder if his middle name was “Sheete?”

    (PS, your lack of logic is showing along with your hilarious histrionics. But please keep ’em coming.)

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  87. @jacques sheete

    JACQUES

    Mr. Linh makes a living as a writer. I simply describe the sad realities for working white middle class males. They are pure facts.

    Mr. Linh returned to his birthplace. I would live most anywhere besides the rust-belt.

    Mr Linh writes about Americans with a Steinbeck sort of wistful melancholy. I just don’t want to be subjected to things many working middle class whites have to-the fear of a chimpout in Popeye’s; a new drug that hits the market and sends redneck trash and blacks out of their minds like crack and then meth and now Opoids; Cholo gangs on the street…

    • Replies: @jacques sheete
  88. @Sparkon

    Hey Sparkie,

    Have a look at this.

    The Fetishization of the Corporate Media
    – C.J. HOPKINS
    http://www.unz.com/chopkins/the-fetishization-of-the-corporate-media/

    Is it chutzpah to claim that my lobbying is paying off?

    Isn’t “Chutzpah” “antee-Sumitik?”

  89. @Jeff Stryker

    Mr. Linh makes a living as a writer.

    While I acclaim him as a great writer, it’s a shame that in this (bleep) of a world, he is apparently unable to so far. The only way to make it as a writer is to have corporate (coprophilic) backing, it seems, and that’s why he’s making a living as a manager in a plastic recycling shop. I applaud him for his tenacity, his decision to leave the world’s most disgusting dump, his excellent writing (long ago I also compared him to Steinbeck, as you did), and many other things.

    Thank you.

Current Commenter
says:

Leave a Reply - Comments on articles more than two weeks old will be judged much more strictly on quality and tone


 Remember My InformationWhy?
 Email Replies to my Comment
Submitted comments become the property of The Unz Review and may be republished elsewhere at the sole discretion of the latter
Subscribe to This Comment Thread via RSS Subscribe to All Linh Dinh Comments via RSS