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It’s always good to get up at dawn to walk around, for you’ll see a less guarded, composed and worn out version of humanity. They’ll still have the rest of the day to blunder, lapse, commit a crime or jump off a bridge. Passing a Nha Trang park, I spot middle aged broads dancing the cha-cha-cha, and an old man clapping his hands loudly as he sternly strolls around its perimeter. Like everybody else, Vietnamese are more or less insane. Always grumbling about the Chinese, they pray daily to Chinese gods.

Ducking into a cafe, I promptly email my friend Niccolo Brachelente in Okinawa, “I’ve been in Nha Trang for a few days. It’s my first close look at this city. Tons of Russian and Chinese tourists, and lots of restaurants serving foreign food. I talked briefly to a guy from Puglia. He owns Da Fernando. You may want to find work in Nha Trang. I think you’d like it here.”

A sommelier then restaurant manager, Niccolo has been in Asia and away from his beloved Tuscany for 15 years. He’d rather go home and teach yoga, but the economy there is bad. Niccolo’s sister toils in Germany.

I always take care of my fellow Italians, capite? I have no idea why il mio padre gave me such a non-Italian sounding name?! Vafanculo to him and his spaghetti barge, if there’s such a thing! Next time I’m in Sicilia, I’ll get La Cosa Nostra to burn down la casa nostra, with him in it. That will teach il coglione to not fuck with a real Italian!

It’s not even 7AM, so I better calm down. Tranquillo, tranquillo! This day might not go well. Like I said, I met Fernando. As I scanned his persuasive menu on Nguyen Thien Thuat Street, the white-haired dude ran out.

“I lived two years in Italy,” I said to him in Italian.

“Me, many more.” Funny man. “I’m from Puglia.”

“I lived near Siena.”


““In Certaldo. The birthplace of Boccaccio.”

“Very famous, Boccaccio. No one knows him.”

A natural comedian, this Fernando. Hardly anyone in the West knows his heritage anymore, and if he does, he’s deeply ashamed of it. For soiling us all with The Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare should be expunged, at least, if not drawn, quartered, decapitated and dipped in chopped liver. Ban that cracker!

In Vietnam, heritage is always stressed, for nationalism is what holds this nation together. Military heroes from centuries past are revered, and key poets have streets named after them. On propaganda billboards, it’s patriotism, national unity and the need to protect the country that are stressed, with nothing ever said about international brotherhood or communist solidarity. That shit doesn’t fly here. Russia and China, too, have become unequivocally nationalistic, and that’s why they’re still confident and strong, unlike a certain bickering, confused and opioid-addled pseudo nation.

In the US, working class bars are festooned with flags, and politicians spout patriotic slogans and concerns for Main Street, but it’s all mindless symbolism and desperate or cynical posturing. There is no emphasis on knowledge of history or preservation of heritage.

In Nha Trang, there’s a street and high school named after Alexandre Yersin (1863-1943), and his house is a museum. There’s even an Association des Admirateurs de Yersin that does a lot of charity work. A great man, the famed bacteriologist is justly honored in his adopted homeland.

Russians and Chinese swarm all over downtown Nha Trang, but do they mingle? Of course not, for they can’t talk, or have anything in common culturally. They both eat dumplings, but one with a thin sour cream, and the other with satay and soy sauce. When I sat in the Russian-owned Killed Kenny Bar for several hours, I met people from England, Northern Ireland, Australia and the United States, but no Chinese or even Vietnamese.

The American was Nathan Mathabane, son of Mark, who wrote Kaffir Boy. Nathan is impressive enough. A geology major who also ran Division 1 tracks, he’s now an Assistant Dean of Admission at Princeton. Nathan’s in Vietnam to check out its diving scene. Happy to run into each other, we talked at length about Oregon, New Jersey, Philly and the sad state of an increasingly angry country. I hope to run into you again, Nathan.

At Grill Yard, there’s a mural of a Chinese and Russian toasting, with the first in a Manchurian outfit, complete with queue, while the second is a rotund tourist, with a camera dangling on his vodka-infused beer belly. The Grill Yard’s cook, though, is a Vietnamese in a New York Yankees cap. Though American culture is still dominant worldwide, Chinese and Russians are consolidating their hold on Eurasia. Fearing to be left out in the cold, Uncle Sam is doing his best to disrupt this.

Now, I must make some hushed confessions. Yesterday, I slipped into a Greek restaurant to regale myself with an indifferent, practically smirking moussaka, and two days ago, I stole into Haus Bremen, to inhale, in near record time, its honest-to-God pork schnitzel. At Swiss House La Casserole, I also stuffed my face with a chicken cordon bleu. A Vietnam-based Swiss who can no longer taste anything, thanks to tongue cancer, told me about this wonderful joint. On its wall, there’s a mural of a Saint Bernard, lounging next to an alphorn, with the Matterhorn behind him.

Twice this week, I planted myself at Red Café to pig on its delicacies, with salty fish and beer on the last occasion. Vobla and pivo, I craved. You see, once you’ve enjoyed something, no matter how briefly, you’ll miss it at some point, so the more you roam and splurge, the more you’re constantly deprived of just about everything. Even in Manhattan, London or Tokyo, life must be local.

So don’t travel, OK? Just stay home with your meatloaf, corn and mash, but I miss that too!

Missing so much, contemporary man makes do with a ruthless stream of colorful shadows. Since he can’t be everywhere, he must welcome the facsimile of everything into his insatiable skull, and that’s the logic of television, the internet, endless pornography and even multiculturalism.

In Haus Bremen, I met 60-year-old Dieter and 50-year-old Hằng. Before opening this restaurant 3 1/2 years ago, they had a beer garden in Siem Reap, Cambodia, for a decade.

Since neither speaks the other’s language, they communicate in a barebone English. It apparently works well enough to keep them together into old age.


Hằng has two daughters of her own. “But I’ve known them since they were this small,” Dieter said as he lowered his right hand to just above his knees. “I taught them how to swim.” He made a butterfly stroke through the air. “They are my children.”

The older is majoring in engineering in Saigon. Already fluent in English, she’s studying German and will go to Germany for her last two years of college.

Each year, Dieter and Hằng go to Germany for a month, primarily to see his mother. Hằng has been to Berlin, Hamburg and Bremen. When I asked if she had seen a German Christmas market, Hằng said no, since they had to be here for their business. “And it’s too cold for her!” Dieter added.

It was only yesterday, it seems, that I strolled the streets of Leipzig and could take a quick train to Dresden. You are everywhere you’ve been and, most organically and essentially, every dish you’ve eaten.

Mao doesn’t quite sell, so the Chinese Communists have settled on reactionary Confucius as their international brand, but they already have a much better weapon in the battle for global stomachs, hearts and minds, the ubiquitous Chinese restaurant. Each plate of pork fried rice bathes the Middle Kingdom in a warmer glow, though this can quickly backfire with acid reflux!

Displaced, Dieter has established roots in Southeast Asia, but he doesn’t pretend to be Cambodian or Vietnamese, and except for too frequent shakedowns from corrupt cops, no one bothers him here. Non integrating whites are welcomed in Vietnam, for there aren’t too many of them, and they don’t cause serious social problems. A case like Gary Glitter screwing 12-year-olds is extremely rare.

Whites in Vietnam don’t prey on local women, but are routinely targeted by cold blooded gold diggers. In touristy areas, pale ones are harassed by motorbike-riding pimps and touts, who offer “boom boom.”

In Vung Tau, there are actually thousands of Russians, there mostly to work for Vietsovpetro, an oil drilling company. They have their own walled compound. A Russian couple own possibly the worst donut shop on earth, for the glaze often drips right off. She’s bald, and he has just one hand, supposedly lost in Afghanistan. They never smile. In Nha Trang, Russians own or work in restaurants, or are employed by tour operators.

There are also hundreds of Aussies in Vung Tau. Thanks to their boozing habits, they’re much more conspicuous than Russians.

Two weeks ago, I met 75-year-old Warren at Ned Kelly. Before coming to Vietnam in 1967, he had fought Communist insurgents in Malaysia, “I got here after Long Tan, so I missed that, but then Tet came. My tour was over, but after the fighting started, they said, ‘You’re not going anywhere!’” The white bearded, glassy eyed man chuckled.

After the army, Warren ended up in Holland and the UK for nearly five years. Illegal in Europe, he mostly worked on an oil rig off Scotland.

“It took me more than four decades to return here,” Warren said of Vung Tau. On his tenth day, he met a woman at a bar, and they’re now married, with two kids, 6-years-old and 11-months-old. She also has a 16-year-old daughter.

Warren rents a three-bedroom house in a choice neighborhood for just $216 monthly. Here, he lives with his wife, their two kids, her 16-year-old daughter, her parents and brother, though this man chips in $43 a month. Warren’s not sure what his brother-in-law does for a living, only that he often leaves the house in a green uniform.

“Is he in the army? Post office? Electrical company?”

“I have no idea.”

Though his wife wants to go to Australia, Warren tells her they can’t afford it. When he dies, she’ll get a handsome war widow’s pension of $2,500 a month. Is she counting the days? Warren doesn’t care. He has no illusions. He’s just grateful for the daily sunshine, sea breeze, endless 86-cent beers and even burgers with beetroot, just like down under.

“The one thing I worry about is getting sick. If I’m too sick, they won’t allow me on a plane, you know what I mean?” Warren won’t be able to go home for free treatment.

When I met Warren that day, he already had six Tigers by noon, so it was nearly time to hobble home for a nap, hopefully not dirt. He had on a bone-colored, embroidered shirt with knotted Chinese buttons, something you’d more likely see on a small boy. “See ya later!” Maybe I will.

With this article, I close my Nha Trang chapter. In two hours, I’ll board an all-night bus for Hoi An, a town that has retained more of its history than anywhere else in Vietnam. Every other place has been well razed, bombed, bulldozed or simply improved. Man doesn’t just befoul, but make much that’s worth preserving, at least until recently. Progress is the heroin of the masses.

There is still time for dinner. I think I’ll pass on the “Lady Beef Pizza.” It’s not all it’s cracked up to be. That bus will rock me to fitful sleep. In the dark, I’ll snake up the coast.

In Hoi An, I’ll meet poet Phan Ba Tho, whom I’ve translated. Twenty years ago, I cleaned his vomit after a drinking bout in Saigon. He’d have done the same for me.

Suddenly, I think of Vallejo’s fortifying yet heartbreaking lines:

I like life enormously
but, of course,
with my beloved death and my café
and looking at the leafy chestnut trees in Paris
and saying:
This is an eye, and that one too; this a forehead, that one too… And repeating:
So much life and the tune never fails me!
I would like to live always, even flat on my belly,
because, as I was saying and I say it again,
so much life and never! And so many years,
and always, much always, always, always!

Much gratitude to Clayton Eshleman for this magnificent translation. One can’t say thank you often enough. May your inner tune never fail you, always, always and always!

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

• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Vietnam 
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  1. I have no idea why il mio padre gave me such a non-Italian sounding name?!

    Perhaps ‘Lino Dino’ didn’t ring true.

    he has just one hand, supposedly lost in Afghanistan

    That phrase has potential.

    Interesting piece, all in all.

    • Replies: @Dumbo
  2. Linh says:

    “Missing so much, contemporary man makes do with a ruthless stream of colorful shadows. Since he can’t be everywhere, he must welcome the facsimile of everything into his insatiable skull, and that’s the logic of television, the internet, endless pornography and even multiculturalism.”

    Here’s Wiki’s summation of the plot of the first Star Trek movie; a great movie even for non-trekkies like me.

    “In the 23rd century, a Starfleet monitoring station, Epsilon Nine, detects an alien force, hidden in a massive cloud of energy, moving through space toward Earth. The cloud easily destroys three of the Klingon Empire’s new K’t’inga-class warships and the monitoring station en route.”

    “…officer, James T. Kirk, has been promoted to Admiral and works in San Francisco as Chief of Starfleet Operations. Starfleet dispatches Enterprise to investigate the cloud entity as the ship is the only one in intercept range, requiring its new systems to be tested in transit.”

    “Enterprise intercepts the energy cloud and is attacked by an alien vessel within. A probe appears on the bridge, attacks Spock……Spock takes a spacewalk to the alien vessel’s interior and attempts a telepathic mind meld with it. In doing so, he learns that the vessel is V’Ger itself, a living machine.”

    “At the center of the massive ship, V’Ger is revealed to be Voyager 6, a 20th-century Earth space probe believed lost in a black hole. The damaged probe was found by an alien race of living machines that interpreted its programming as instructions to learn all that can be learned and return that information to its creator. The machines upgraded the probe to fulfill its mission, and on its journey, the probe gathered so much knowledge that it achieved consciousness. Spock realizes that V’Ger lacks the ability to give itself a purpose other than its original mission; having learned what it could on its journey home, it finds its existence meaningless. Before transmitting all its information, V’Ger insists that the Creator come in person to finish the sequence. Everyone realizes humans are the Creator. Decker offers himself to V’Ger; he merges with the Ilia probe and V’Ger, creating a new form of life that disappears into another dimension. With Earth saved, Kirk directs Enterprise out to space for future missions.”

  3. unit472 says:

    The notion of going to a low cost country to retire seems popular but, unlike your pension, which can be sent anywhere, an entitlement like Medicare stops at the waters edge. The idea that you can live abroad for many years, show up at the airport and throw your US passport down and expect to be whisked off to a hospital and treated the same as a US citizen who has been paying taxes in the US is a notion people should be disabused of.

    In for penny in for a pound ought to be the standard. Want to live in Vietnam and pay $200 per month for rent fine but if you get sick you go to the Vietnamese hospital and get your medical care there. I’m sure there are skilled Vietnamese doctors but they don’t work for free..

  4. @Linh

    Love to hear if you find anything worthwhile in Hoi An.

    It’s a creepy tourist hellhole in my opinion. Watch out for all the Instagramming tourists…

  5. Biff says:

    The idea that you can live abroad for many years, show up at the airport and throw your US passport down and expect to be whisked off to a hospital and treated the same as a US citizen who has been paying taxes in the US is a notion people should be disabused of.

    How does an idiot get that idea in the first place?

    • Replies: @unit472
  6. unit472 says:

    From Democrat presidential candidates among other places. It would be interesting to find out how many US citizens or permanent resident visa holders residing in Meso America ( Fred Reed I’m looking at you) will come back to the US to be treated in that terribly expensive final illness?

    • Replies: @Biff
  7. Ben Gunn says:

    “Progress is the heroin of the masses” good one! Brilliant, even.

    • Replies: @Anon
  8. @unit472

    It is clear that you think that Warren is an American, when it’s obvious he is not. The giveaways are: 1) he fought in Malaysia before fighting in Vietnam (Aussies did that); 2) a war widow’s pension of $2,800 does not exist in the US; and 3) he will get free medical care in his country if he can get back to it.

    The United States Medicare is not free. A pensioner on Social Security must allow $100 or more deducted from his puny monthly Social Security check to “pay” for Medicare. In addition, many medical procedures are only partially covered and/or include a deductible amount that must be paid. And no dental or vision treatment is covered at all.

    If an old person on a puny starvation–level Social Security check declines to have his check dunned monthly for expensive, inadequate Medicare, and then at some later time needs Medicare for a rest home or some major illness? The US will then deduct the monthly payments the old, sick dying person did not have deducted in the years previously, leaving the pensioner sick and broke and near death.

    So much ignorance of those numbskulls who talk about “entitlements” all day and all night. Australia knows how to care for their old people, unlike America.

  9. @unit472

    I worked briefly for a Medical Tourism Company in the Philippines and those are the words of a non-expatriate. Even with insurance, it is cheaper to get medical care in Southeast Asia. Most of the doctors are foreign-educated.

    Many of the US underclass never pay taxes in their entire life. They get medical care. And they have never been employed.

    And why should a retiree or someone who left America relatively late in life after paying taxes for 20, 30, 40 years not get medicaid? Where is the justice in that?

  10. Freud says:

    A very unhappy, and angry person here. First off, the subject cited is an Australian. DUH! as in read the f**king article instead of spouting vitriol. Furthermore American health care isn’t free unless you want to take the crap shoot of Medicaid, and hope to never have to pay off your bill. Off topic rants make this poster look like a silly boomer

    • Replies: @unit472
  11. Dumbo says:

    Very nice text.

    Italians in Germany, Australians and Swiss in Viet Nam.

    I wonder if that’s the destiny of white people in the age of multiculturalism, to become a diaspora of rootless people, the new wandering jews?

    • Replies: @LoutishAngloQuebecker
  12. Dumbo says:
    @Brás Cubas

    Perhaps ‘Lino Dino’ didn’t ring true.

    According to Google, Linh means “soul” or “spirit”, while Dinh means “peace” or “calm”.

    So perhaps something like “Pacifico dello Spirito”? Sounds a bit old-fashioned but could work.

  13. unit472 says:

    I’m aware the article mentioned an Australian which is why I didn’t comment on that nation’s policies except to note that the Australian mentioned said he might need to return to Australia to get his medical care. He even noted that airlines to do not fly gravely ill people so it might not be possible. It is why I mentioned people like Unz contributor Fred Reed, who is in his 70’s and has lived in Mexico for years and other American residents retiring to Meso-America. They aren’t on vacation but permanent residents of another country. Like I said, in for a penny, in for a pound.

    Medicare should not be a ‘forever’ medical insurance policy. To qualify you should have to be an American resident not an ex patriate coming home to die.

  14. unit472 says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Here’s an interesting issue. Let’s say you need hemodialysis and receive it through Medicare. Can you go on a cruise ship. Some cruise ships offer dialysis but it costs ( a lot ) extra and Medicare won’t pay. Or will they? Maybe they will if you take a cruise from Miami to Puerto Rico or from Seattle to Alaska. But if your ship stops at a foreign port it becomes ‘international travel’ and you are own your own.

    I once looked into taking a cruise on a merchant ship. You can and it can be a bargain as many merchant ships have excellent cabins for their executives and they offer them to the public if they are not being otherwise used. Don’t be elderly though and you will be required to have a signed letter from a doctor stating you have no known conditions that might require the ship to make an unscheduled stop to get you to a hospital.

  15. vietwho says:

    If you have paid your taxes in the US, you are still entitled to your benefits that you were promised when you paid into the system. The vindictive sentiment you express is a powerful argument against the idea that big government is benevolent or compatible with individual freedom. Why should a free person need to stay in the US to be eligible to collect what is owed to them?

  16. Biff says:

    From Democrat presidential candidates among other places. It would be interesting to find out how many US citizens or permanent resident visa holders residing in Meso America ( Fred Reed I’m looking at you) will come back to the US to be treated in that terribly expensive final illness?

    I was being sarcastic, but you did confirm my suspicion. A U.S. citizen is a U.S. citizen no matter where they live, and if they qualify for an entitlement, they shall be able to receive it.

    • Replies: @Kim
  17. Kim says:

    Wherever you live and work throughout your working life, they still chase you for taxes as a US citizen.

    • Replies: @Biff
  18. On the topic of Chinese expansion into other countries –

    Interesting piece on Australia, which nearly a decade ago forcibly stopped most of the illegal immigration, seizing the boats and sending people back, so the Africans and Bangladeshis etc who arrived in the early 2000s, are not able to come in large numbers anymore

    But then, for its strong, resource-rich economy, Australia put in a strong ‘legal’ immigration programme for newcomers, which unlike the earlier ‘white Australia’ programme, was ‘not racist’

    The programme welcomed migrants who knew some English, were educated, of good working age, could support themselves for a time etc … the Chinese studied the requirements, and then arrived en masse, ‘legally’, into Australia … Some Australian universities are now 44% Asian in their student composition

    The Chinese immigrants are indeed not causing any great problems re crime, using welfare etc

    But the fact is, nonetheless, Australians feel they are losing their country, despite how ‘well-adjusted’ and English-speaking the Chinese immigrants are, given the massive Chinese arrivals.

    It is just a different culture … Chinese work habits, for example, contrasting sharply with the more happy-go-lucky, party-often Australians

    Australia may not be ‘Anglo’ that much longer, it seems

    • Disagree: Blinky Bill
  19. Biff says:

    Wherever you live and work throughout your working life, they still chase you for taxes as a US citizen.

    You bet! I have learned that foreign banks do not like Americans opening bank accounts for the simple fact that the long arm of the IRS forces the bank to create electronic doors to access accounts, so if the IRS feels a need to scoop away money it can. Nobody would volunteer to live like that.

  20. @Dumbo

    Young white people sure are doing alot of travelling these days to “find themselves”.

    However as Jimmy Buffet says:

    Expatriated Americans feelin’ so all alone
    Telling themselves the same lies
    That they told themselves back home

    Young white girls aren’t going to “find themselves” by going to Spain and taking 20 dicks that’s for sure.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
    , @TKK
  21. @LoutishAngloQuebecker

    Well, you’re Canadian. Presumably things are not quite as bad there as Michigan or Phoenix.

    Some people say that there’s a woman to blame…But I know, I just wanted to GTF away from the she boons, whiggers, redneck tweakers, black thugs, Mexican cholos…

    Find myself? I found out that I was better off overseas than some people I knew in Michigan who are stuck there to this day at the mercy of the ravages of society.

    I managed to miss the grim 9-11 years of Bush the moron, the Great Recession, Black Lives Matter, culture wars…

    Tell me, what would have gained back in the US? Okay, I could live in the sticks like the vampire village in Salem’s Lot and maybe hold some lousy job and at least be safe from these things.

    But who wants to do that when Asian cities have a buzz?

  22. @Jeff Stryker

    I wonder what you actually look like lol.

    As I’ve said before I don’t disagree with the gist of your posts but the amount of time you spend repeating yourself on UNZ suggests that life hasn’t been all that fulfilling for you in Asia either…

    Expatriated Americans feelin’ so all alone
    Telling themselves the same lies
    That they told themselves back home

    • LOL: Biff
    • Replies: @Republic
  23. Maybe a Canadian would be pining for Timmy Ho’s. I don’t know. Obviously, less Canadians are in a situation where a small apartment and low-paying job in Dubai would be better than Canada. Your social safety net is better etc.

    Overall, there are less Canadians who choose to live overseas.

    And there are so many Americans overseas who have the exact same gripes who fit the exact same profile you don’t feel alone. There are thousands of us.

    I am a dead ringer for actor Gary Sinese from CSI.

    • Replies: @Poco

    …Some British senior citizens retiring on a terribly modest pension have told me that the Philippines is much better than an council estate and I believe them.

    However, many of the lowest-income American expats move to Southeast Asia purely for reasons of safety and security that Canadians and Australians and Japanese don’t. For the African-American pensioner, moving to Southeast Asia is the only choice on $1000 a month. There are no gangs, no junkies, no trigger-happy police. You cannot compare an Australian to an African-American from the black ghettos of America, for example.

    …In general, the US underclass experiences much more danger and violence that Australians or Canadians and Southeast Asia or Dubai are simply safer places to live. Ask oil workers from the ghettos of Houston who intentionally live in Dubai for 15 years so that their kids can attend safe international schools. Maybe you cannot drink in public in Dubai and are therefore not as “free” but this does not mean jack if you are from the Houston or Louisiana lower class inner-city areas. Dubai has no drugs, no street gangs, no racial conflict and this suits some oil workers fine.

    …You can start a business in Southeast Asia for $10,000. This is impossible in America. Most pensioners in Philippines have some micro-business.

    …Chinese are the market-dominant minority in Southeast Asia and unlike a certain market-dominant minority in the West, the Chinese family merchant cartels are apolitical shopkeepers. They don’t want to ram some political agenda down anyone’s throat through the Mainstream Media or use taxes to support an ethno-state or anything else. They don’t control the life of an expat.

    …Inner-city black thugs and hoodlums, Hispanic gang members, redneck whiggers or meth addicts, Feminists etc cannot live overseas because a) they are on probation or parole or in prison b) they are dependent on welfare c) they sell drugs * or are addicts who need to be near a dealer c) ineducable people cannot find other countries on a map. There are some lowlife sexpats in Southeast Asia but not dangerous like Bloods or MS-13 or white meth addicts.

    * Some Mexicans did attempt to break into the Philippines drug syndicate and were arrested and jailed for life. So was a white redneck who attempt to introduce Opoids to the Philippine public. I personally knew a French guy who grew marijuana and I thought he was crazy. Beyond a joint, you should not do drugs overseas. Much less sell them. Of course some expats do, but the penalties are harsh.

    …If you are not living in a rural area and are a lower middle class or working class American and have a guaranteed income of only $800 a month then Southeast Asia is the way to go. Outside Southern Philippines that is. Sure, some Asians don’t like Americans or whites and might make a remark, but this is not the same as being attacked by a 6’4 crack-cocaine crazed inner-city Hood Rat who is intent on killing you.

    Australians and Canadians don’t understand this because your country has never had the same level of danger or poverty. Your countries are essentially middle-class.

  25. Capn Mike says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Boyo, you nailed it!!!

    Another happy ex-pat.

  26. @unit472

    Unless you are an illegal immigrant from Uganda.

  27. anon[264] • Disclaimer says:

    Australia knows how to care for their old people,

    They know how to care for their military veterans for sure.
    I know one gent who at 60 years of age gets 60k Aus tax free, plus a DVA gold card to access private hospitals for nix. The DVA card also transfers to the wife after his death.

  28. Anon[424] • Disclaimer says:
    @Ben Gunn

    Progressim is the religion of the west . Spetially of rootless antichristian , antitradition , leftists
    and protestants , of people devoid of spiritual life , sick with materilism , inmanentism , subjetivism , relativism , pride , who want paradise on earth thanks to technical and medical progress which some day will overcome even death . The anti God communists wanted ” paradise on earth ” , the westeners want the same thing .

  29. GMC says:

    When I read Linh , it’s not America or the USA anymore. Anymore, than Germany, France, England and the rest of many places, are not the same old good places that they were. Even his Vietnam. And the good old days – aren’t comin back. Maybe, many of these people that he runs into, from other countries, are, in some form – living and thinking , the same way. It takes a certain type to just leave and live here and there. Especially if you cut all ties from the past. Of course, living on any pension over 2000 a month makes it – just simple.

  30. Alfred says:

    You have no idea how different the world is outside the USA. 🙂

    Any Australian who reaches the age of 65 and has lived in Australia for most of the previous 10 years is eligible for an “Old Age Pension”. Even if he has never worked in his life

    Age Pension rates for non-residents (Australia)

    There are conditions such as not owning too much in cash and having not other pension. However, assets such as property don’t count. You can get a mortgage and buy a house to qualify.

    The rate for a single person is A$18,268 per year (US$12,858). You can get a similar amount if you are no longer resident in Australia.

    This guy can easily get medical insurance in Vietnam if he so wishes. He prefers to drink lots of beer and moan.

  31. Can’t think of a better way to start out the New Year than with an article by Linh Dinh!

  32. Dumbo says:

    Happy New Year Lino Dino!

    Cera un ragazzo
    Che come me
    amava i Beatles e i Rolling Stones
    Girava il mondo e poi finì
    a far la guerra nel Viet-Nam

  33. Republic says:

    the amount of time you spend repeating yourself on UNZ suggests that life hasn’t been all that fulfilling for you in Asia either…

    It seems that this Stryker character has a strong psychological need to justify his
    decision to move to Thailand. He has made over 5,000 comments consisting of almost 500,000 Words since June of 2018 saying essentially the same thing over and over again.

    He was actually banned from Unz for awhile for his obsessive behavior.

    He hasn’t lived in the United States since 1999 and his observations about
    Life there is outdated. He never comments on life in Northern Thailand where he now lives

    • Agree: Marshall Lentini
    • Replies: @Biff
    , @utu
    , @White Monkey
  34. @Jeff Stryker

    I believe I may be a distict outlier here because I really like your postings. However, as any honest lawyer( where is he?)will tell you
    there is no such thing as Justice.

  35. @Alfred

    Agree. I liked his writing at first, but the Asian Kerouac shtick is pretty stale now.

  36. Biff says:

    He never comments on life in Northern Thailand where he now lives

    Because he doesn’t live there. My guess is he lives in Nevada some where…

  37. @unit472

    “Medicare should not be a ‘forever’ medical insurance policy. To qualify you should have to be an American resident not an ex patriate coming home to die.“

    Did you know America is one of the very few countries that taxes you on your income no matter where you reside? The only way to get out of that is to renounce your US citizenship. If someone does that, then yeah, they shouldn’t be entitled to Medicare benefits. But if you are a US citizen, who by definition can return to the US any time, you should be able to receive any benefits you would have received had you stayed in the first place.

  38. TKK says:

    And if you are sent to a nursing home- Medicare comes for your HOUSE and SAVINGS. You have to hire a lawyer to create a family trust and right quick.

    Medicare does not pay for long term care in a facility. They will take your whole check and then come after your assets. Most nursing homes cost about $7000-9000 a month. Best bet is to get on disability and get Medicaid- then you will have long term care and maybe $10 left to buy a candy bar once a week.

    This ain’t no country for old men or women.

  39. TKK says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Medicare is a whole different animal than Medicaid.

    Comparing apples to hammers.

  40. TKK says:

    No- but if they go to say… Hungary or Turkey or Russia and take one dick from an actual alpha male who protects and provides for them, they may not can stomach the soy boys back in the States if they return.

  41. utu says:

    My comment to Jeff Stryker when I still paid attention what he wrote.

    You are making a mistake of mixing categories. Replace Jews in your multi point tirade with the middle and upper middle class whites and this will hold. It is about class, about education and about the cruelty of the neoliberalism of the post Thatcher and post Reagan world which was further cemented in Clinton era. The lower classes were abandoned in this new neoliberal world order. They tossed them few bones like the identity politics and gender fluidity and gay marriage which does not lead to jobs and financial stability but only elevates stress and strife.

    You seem to have a lot of self hate. I suspect you are yourself from lower classes somewhere in Michigan and you constantly bad mouth them. You seem to be oblivious to the fact that there are a lot of good people among them. You are dead inside. No love left in you. Hating who you are is always fatal.

    You want to think that you succeeded escaping your low class predicament however you were not good enough or not lucky enough to make it here in the US (Phoenix. AZ?) so you had to escape even further into the realm of the third world where you can play white American bwana and where your low class origins are not apparent.

    You compensate all the time. Each of your comment is an exercise in compensation for the lack of success that lead to the deadness of your soul. Deep down you feel you are a looser. Every time when you are not drunk walking the streets of the Thai citi you live in or when you look at your Thai girlfriend you do not love and do not trust you feel you are a looser. You live in the transactional world where everything is a pecuniary transaction and people are treated instrumentally including yourself (beware of Kant’s second categorical imperative).

    Your lack of success and your escape left an open wound. This explains why you engage in this amateurish folk anthropology (which you mistake for your erudition) of American society as you can’t forgive America for not granting you the opportunity of success.

    And you are a bully and a coward. You vent your frustration on the weak ones which is very typical of low class Americans of libertarian persuasion who at the same time like to give blow jobs to the successful ones, to their superiors, like Jews. Like libertarians you are incapable to see a bigger picture (that’s what libertarianism does to people). You do not understand the complexity due to interaction of economic and cultural forces. You see the world as a set of atomized individuals who fall into two categories only: losers and winners. But you never question the game. That’s why libertarianism was created in the first place because libertarians will not questions the rules of the game. They are not interested where the game came form. So they will never challenge the system. The system loves libertarian losers. And when the libertarians are frustrated when they hit a wall their only response is to run or in few extreme cases they take a gun and do the mass shooting. You have run.

    Probably you may fall back on the favorite libertarian fetish of IQism to explain why things are as they are. Why there are losers and winners. But there is no curiosity beyond it in you. Secretly you must believe that you are not that smart because you failed that’s why you must compensate. Your folk anthropology is your vehicle for compensation. You read papers, watch news and stupid programs like COPS and draw from it the image of the world on which you can practice your folk anthropology. But it is folk anthropology not science. You have no scientific method. You never challenge your conclusions. Because your conclusions are drawn to validate you and your choices. All you do is follow the path of the least resistance defined by confirmation bias. So it works for you. It is a closed system.

    • Replies: @Commentator Mike
  42. Agent76 says:

    Dec 26, 2019 China, Russia and Iran do naval ‘power rebalancing’ in the Gulf of #Oman

    Washington panics as de facto anti-imperial group – #China #Russia and #Iran – does a ‘power rebalancing’ exercise in the Gulf of #Oman.

    Oct 03, 2019 Russia’s Largest Oil Company Ditches Dollar In New Oil Deals

    As of September, Rosneft is seeking euros as the default option of payment for its crude oil and products, Reuters reported on Thursday, quoting tender documents the Russian firm has published.

  43. The bully US kicked Saddam (not that I liked him) and had Gaddhafi buggered by a bayonet. Lets see what they can do to Putin for ditching the dollar.
    Bring it on. I want to see this Zio Empire go down come what may.

    • Agree: Agent76
  44. Recognized the name “Nha Trang.” Worked with a guy who was stationed near Nha Trang whilst in the army during the late war.

  45. anon[837] • Disclaimer says:

    It seems Vietnamese and Japanese, despite being heavily influenced by Chinese civilization in the past, both have a strong desire to maintain autonomy from any Chinese political authority. This is commendable.

  46. Isabella says:

    There is one condition to taking your Aussie pension overseas with you – you have to lived and worked in Aus for 35 yrs!! They brought that in to stop the Lebanese bringing their parents over to Aus on the Family Reunion Scheme, who got the Pension – which Aussies have paid into via their taxes – and then heading back to Lebanon. Also, you dont get that amount, you get Aus$1750, as you lose your rental allowance and some other pathetic allowance Julia Whatsername brought in.
    If you want to escape the Anglo Empire but aren’t sure that the Orient is for you, lots come to Ecuador, to live in the mountains, if the sea resorts are too hot and noisy. It’s a pretty good option.

  47. @utu


    I think you’re a little too harsh on Jeff. Considering the serial marriages/divorces in the West, there’s not much love in relationships there. And some of the things he complains about in the US have only got worse; just look at the growth in homelessness. If he feels like a failure it’s how the materialistic system makes many feel and I’m sure many in the US have similar problems. Considering there is no collective solution on offer other than voting for politicians who continue to make things worse for the majority, each does whatever they think is best for themselves. We all know what he chose as he keeps repeating and why not just wish him good luck in the future?

  48. Poutine in Vietnam ?

    • Replies: @Linh Dinh
  49. @Jeff Stryker

    Not any more! I would say that Canada in its cities is at about the same amount of disfunction as U$A was 15 years ago, or just before the largest corporate welfare bail-out (2007-8). The Canadian government bailed out GM to the tune of $4 billion, in order for GM to invest that money in tooling up plants in… China!! But just like Uncle Schmuel, KSA and Israel are BFF’s.

  50. You guys will be seeing Gary Glitter types from the UK/US, Canada, Aus, and the likes pretty soon, I reckon.

  51. KeltCindy says:

    I do believe the United States is one of the only countries in the world that taxes its citizens abroad (the other is Eritrea). Reference:

    And, quite frankly, even WITH Medicare, a person can look forward to paying more out-of-pocket for care than they probably would in most other countries… LOL…

    God bless ‘Murka!


  52. A note on the job of running a girlie bar in Southeast Asia that Jeff is touting as an alternative for some desperadoes. Don’t do it! It’s a precarious existence and you need a strong liver. Managing such a bar is fairly easy and for appearances rather inoffensive – your responsibility is mostly just drinking and chatting with the guests as well as taking the nightly proceeds to the bank the next day. But you have no control over what goes on. The local madams, or mama sans, control the girls and if you fire a local, or even complain about their scams and thievery you’re likely to be killed. Essentially you’re working without a work permit, although on appearance you’re just a long-term drinking visitor hanging out in your favourite bar, but when the cops raid the bar, and sooner rather than later they will, then you’ll be held responsible for all that goes on in there and pilloried as a human trafficker, pimp, or worse. Paying off the cops can work sometimes to get you out of jail and stop your deportation, but even so all the boozing could send you to an early grave. Again, as always, there are exceptions, and a few have managed to survive in that business into old age, but usually by letting a trustworthy local or wife run it, but then trust is hard to find, especially in that kind of business. Many have been burned, some very badly – like losing everything, not just their finances but even their lives, especially when targetted by armed robbers for the nightly takings. Many involved in that line of work are criminal fugitives from the West hiding out from the law in their own countries or engaged in money laundering for criminal syndicates but there is the odd naif of good repute, like say an early retiree from the oil industry or even academia, investing their life savings for a place in the sun.

    I did suggest that Linh Dinh could open a bar in one of the Viet resorts, but I was implying one of the regular variety. After all there are many such bars too. Although the taking are less, they’re not without some similar problems for a foreign citizen.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  53. @Republic

    Interesting.I spent about 5 winters in northern Thailand,am in Chiang Mai right now.There is a lot of older white men here,a bit of a geriatric zombie movie.You see them wandering around aimlessly,complete boredom written over all their faces.Over the years,i have met about two(!) that seem to do well here,and they both have been here for more than 30 years.The rest sits in girlie bars,watches soccer games,waiting for death.But for me its quite nice compared to winter in Switzerland,plenty of nice coffee shops to read and write in,you can meet people from all over the world.A police man from Beijing spoke in a very educated way about culture and history,that I have never witnessed from western country police,I was impressed,he said:”I want to work hard to improve my country”.That stuck with me,in western Europe you could probably interview thousands of people and never EVER get to hear that.
    Another difference to western countries that I noticed,is,here,its about we,in the west its only about me.

    • Replies: @Republic
  54. Linh Dinh says: • Website
    @Someone Else

    Yes, and even curry wurst…

  55. Poco says:
    @Jeff Stryker

    Ha, I’ve been told I am a dead ringer for Gary Sinese as well. You and I took diametrically opposing paths in life. I grew up with little in a rural setting, married young, worked my way through college, ( I realize this is unrealistic now) learned a trade. I am now 50 with 2 boys and 2 girls and have been married for 32 years. I’ve been an electrical contractor for the last 16 years. America has been good to me. The key is to get away from the destroyed cities. Going to have to commute. 40 miles a day, one way for me, 40 miles back.
    Sadly, America isn’t what it used to be and the route I took is probably harder than it was. I have been preparing for the collapse for several years now with 3 separate bolthole acreages set up. I hope they are not needed but they probably will be. If not for me then for my posterity. They know the score.

  56. Republic says:
    @White Monkey

    I have read that many Western expats are leaving Thailand and going to Cambodia or Vietnam where the visa situation is easier.
    Have you noticed a reduction of Western expats in CM?

    Marc Faber lives in CM,did you ever meet him.He is Swiss.

    • Replies: @White Monkey
  57. eah says:

    The idea that you can live abroad for many years, show up at the airport and throw your US passport down and expect to be whisked off to a hospital and treated the same as a US citizen who has been paying taxes in the US is a notion people should be disabused of.

    Why should they be “disabused” of it when it is probably true? — i.e. they can just show up and expect coverage/care.

    You only have to work/pay medicare tax for 10 years (link) to qualify for Medicare Part A (hospitalization) — so I would imagine the vast majority of Americans living abroad fulfill that criterion — and even if they don’t, there are other ways to qualify for Part A coverage, e.g. via your spouse, or receiving, or just being eligible to receive, SS retirement benefits.

    What you can’t do is get treatment locally and have Medicare pay for it.

    How does an idiot get that idea in the first place?

    Maybe this way: every US citizen is taxed no matter where they live — Drudge used to regularly report on how many Americans had recently renounced their citizenship due to these onerous tax and reporting laws — if an American is so burdened, why should they be “disabused” of the idea that they ought to be able to expect something in return?

    Many who comment here are obviously abysmally ignorant.

  58. @Jeff Stryker

    Jeff Stryker – Indeed. What people are not getting here is that it’s the US that’s the shithole here. People’s perceptions are decades and decades out of date. The US was state of the art for medical care maybe up into the 70s, but since then a combination of foreigners coming here to learn what they can (and coming from a culture where their family gives a shit about them and helps them through college) and the increasing cost – even for the destitute – and inaccessability to medical care for all but the non-wealthy in the US means …. you’re better off with the local docs in one of these supposed “primitive” countries.

    Example: Almost a year ago, I had a cough that would not go away and I started feeling more and more run-down. Due to my system being weak overall, an infection started on my ear that was looking like it might get dangerous. Since I make barely over the poverty line for an individual in the US, for some reason, it’s been judged that I’m too poor to get Medicaid, called Medi-Cal in my state.

    Since my only access to medical care is the emergency room, that’s where I went. I got white pills for the pneumonia I was revealed to have by a good listen to my lungs with a stethoscope and confirmed by a lung X-ray, green pills for my ear, and in a week was feeling much better. My ear was worrisome enough that I went back hoping to get another course of the green pills – rough on “the system” but by drinking Yakult every day that wasn’t a problem. Instead, though, I was prescribed a very expensive, we’re talking $300, cream.

    My boss kicked in a couple hundred bucks to help out, and I tightened my belt and fought with the Medi-Cal office and in the end, never got back onto Medi-Cal (supposedly I’m back on it now but I’m not sure I believe ’em) and paid about $1000 out of pocket.

    I’d also wanted a hand getting off of alcohol. A $6 Librium prescription used to be the go-to, but they no longer prescribe that under any non-wealthy circumstances but instead want to steer one into a “rehab” program costing many thousands of dollars with a 95% failure rate. My anger, some methodology (diluting my drinks more and more) and kava-kava prepared the traditional way got me off “the juice” so that was that.

    If I’d gone to some literal barefoot clinic in any podunk country, they’d have given my lungs a good listen, Yep it’s pneumonia, I’d have gotten the pills for 1/10th the cost, no worry about expensive creams when another course of pills would have done, and if I’d needed the cream it would have been about $10 – the shit’s made in India for God’s sake.

    Huge, huge numbers of Americans have simply no access to medical care. And most of medical care is really simple shit. Immunizations. Stitching up cuts. Some pills for the kennel cough or a case of the screaming shits or that bug that gives you ulcers (I’m old enough to remember all the profiteering on ulcers back in the day) and so on. Really basic shit. Give me Soviet or Chicom or Ho Chi Minh medical care any day over the nightmare we have here in the US.

  59. @Brabantian

    Brabantian – Well better fucking get used to it, I guess. Han Chinese are the single largest racial bloc on the planet, and unlike whites, there’s some sense of the family working together as a family and then the country being a sort of scaled-up family (Confucianism).

    I grew up in Hawaii where whites – except for the few rich ones, like blacks in the US – are a hated minority. When I was a kid the ruling group were Japanese, but now there are a huge number of Filipinos there. And while more and more Japanese companies have moved in and in a sense Hawaii’s becoming a bit more “Japanese-Japanese” as opposed to “local Japanese”, I’m sure Chinese money’s been moving in bigtime.

    Best you can do is be “one of the good ones” perhaps marry into a Chinese family. One of my older sisters almost did long ago but she wasn’t good enough for his parents.

  60. @Alfred

    Alfred – if I make it to 67, my Social Security will be about $1200 a month, of course adjusted upward by that time (8-9 years) but you get the idea.

    Where I am now, “silicon valley”, it’s just enough to live in a broken-down van parked on the street surrounded by crackheads.

    Where I grew up, Hawaii, it’s enough to live under a roof and in fact somewhat decently but that only applies if you grew up there and know how to live like a local. Most of “America” doesn’t apply – no car, rented room, eating local foods rather than stuff shipped in from the mainland, modest hobbies like fishing.

    My impression is, SE Asia it’s enough to live rather decently. But it’s not home. I suppose if I were a Cajun I’d be pining for the bayou and happily retire back to the home swamp.

    I understand a lot of fairly young people in the US are buying cheap land, maybe ex-farms, in cheap parts of the US and having a go at homesteading. They can grow most of their own food, do some online work, and make it. At least that’s the theory.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
  61. Anonymous[419] • Disclaimer says:
    @Commentator Mike

    Many involved in that line of work are criminal fugitives from the West hiding out from the law in their own countries or engaged in money laundering for criminal syndicates but there is the odd naif of good repute, like say an early retiree from the oil industry or even academia, investing their life savings for a place in the sun.

    Competing with people whose real profits come from laundering someone else’s dirty money is asking for trouble. They don’t need to make a profit from legitimate customers, they just need to break even.

  62. Anonymous[419] • Disclaimer says:
    @alex in San Jose AKA Digital Detroit

    My impression is, SE Asia it’s enough to live rather decently.

    $1,200 a month is a solidly middle class existence anywhere in SE Asia except Singapore.

  63. @Republic

    Yes,its true,many are leaving due to Thai visa bureaucracy and rising cost of living.I was in Pnom Penh for a week,its different there,strong military presence,most houses have high walls around them with barb wire on top.Outside a Starbucks( I would never set foot in one),two young slobs fiddling with AK47`s,pointing them all over the place,while trying to light cigarettes.At first I thought Starbucks needs protection,but they were bodyguards for a 19-year old rich idiot having his dumb-ass latte frappucino or whatever there.The entire atmosphere seemed somehow subdued,hardly any smiles around.Genocide residue.
    Here,in Thai markets,you see people joking with each other,a generally good vibe,and its safe anytime of day and night.I know that smiling can be a sign of distress in Thailand,but it seems mostly genial.The white expat faces in bars in Pnom Penh,I dont want to know their stories.I have never been to Vietnam so far,but maybe I get to buy Linh a beer one day.At least he has one brain that has not been completely fried yet.
    I have seen Marc Faber a few times at his girlie bar,and would have liked to chat him up because I liked to listen to his interviews,but he looked a bit drunk and unhappy,so I let that be.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  64. @White Monkey

    Cambodia cannot be compared to other Southeast Asian countries. It is even poorer than the Philippines, which can support a mega-rich Chinese merchant cartel class. Cambodia is nearly as poor as Africa. To cross the border into Thailand is like going from Mexico into the United States.

    And as you said, part of this is Pol Pot. The country simply never recovered.

    • Replies: @Jeff Stryker
  65. @Jeff Stryker


    The biggest challenge to girly bar owners, according to an Australian ex-cop neighbor of mine who owned one, is that FACEBOOK is replacing it as a way for Asian women to meet foreigners.

    In terms of laundering, some foreigners were in on the huge Filipino meth trade that got Duterte elected and were selling shabu out of their bars. Also, many bar girls were addicts. I even knew a couple of foreign guys-pathetically old to be turned on to meth-who became hopeless tweakers as a result of being introduced to “shabu” by bar girls at age 60. Let me tell you about one named Jonah. Jonah was in his sixties and a typical retiree sex pat from Virginia. Career Air Force, Communications. Jonah was a typical barfly who, out of politeness sake, tried shabu with a couple of bar girls. Already an alcoholic, he was hooked on it immediately. Overnight, this 60 something pensioner went from being a typical older sexpat to being an Ice-crazed tweaker. He lost 20 pounds. He became convinced Japanese had buried gold in his backyard and he hired Filipino miners to dig a 50 foot hole in his backyard…Filipinos knew he was out of his mind on meth but were happy to go along with him. Eventually, he ran out of money and started doing tweaker things. He hired a truck and stole all the AC’s from his German neighbor’s house! Eventually he was busted.

    As far as “living in Nevada” or “Iowa” I’ve never set foot in these states. I have no reason to lie about being an expat.

    I’d be real cautious about too many details regarding where I live or what I do. I wish to remain anonymous. Like everyone else.

    • Replies: @White Monkey
  66. @Jeff Stryker

    If Linh Dinh was real cautious about details regarding where he is,or what he does,his writing would certainly improve a great deal,right?
    Like,I cant tell you where I am right now,but there are one or more restaurants.Or none at all,of course.Also maybe people.It could be cloudy,I wont tell,though.Most importantly,this must remain secret.

    • LOL: Autochthon
  67. Anon[182] • Disclaimer says:

    Mr Dinh, a man functions best when he cultivates his loves. That’s our nature. Natural loves, in a particular order, are: land, family, God. Toss in some domesticated animal. To cultivate is a choice, also an expression of our talents and proclivities.

    Of course one can squint one’s eyes and heart and see what is pathetic. But such a path is as dangerous as becoming a predator. The price a man pays for cutting himself away from his soul is despair.

    You write so very incisively.

  68. Johan says:

    Tips for lunch or dinner today: spaghetti, salty fish (vodka, and beer on the last occasion), vobla and pivo (sounds exotic, are these eatable?), meatloaf, corn and mash, even burgers with beetroot, and so forth. One should never read the articles of Mr Dinh with an empty stomach and refrigerator, and in case of being without a job, he could and should be hired by the food industry.

  69. Johan says:

    “Progress is the heroin of the masses”

    And the ever expandable and renewable bait for the masses, planted by establishments and commercial classes.

  70. RandyL says:

    “Progress is the Opium of the masses” this * 100

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