Ngan and I went to play badminton this afternoon. Since the beginning of this month, I’ve had to reduce the number of hours I play due to an increased teaching load in the evening, but I still try to play at least three days per week, a couple hours each day. However, when we arrived at the court this afternoon, we noticed that something was different.

There were people crowded around the door to the building and music blasting from inside. It was a rehearsal for a performance to celebrate the founding of the youth union. Vietnam is really into celebrating anniversaries of the founding of numerous governmental organs, such as the police, the fire department, the army and of course, the youth union.

However, this rehearsal was in the spot where numerous people come to play badminton every day. And the noise levels were incredible. And the singing, of course, was horrendously bad and off-key. And of course there were many times when the wireless microphones exploded with feedback that shrieked through the building.

The songs were long and drawn out, the singing was consistently out of tune, and it was just generally very annoying. And this farce of a rehearsal occupied two of the five badminton courts, so everyone was crowded into three courts and I could only play four sets in two hours.

This whole thing got me thinking about sound men in Vietnam. Their hearing seems to be damaged; this being the reason why they crank up the volume so loud. However, attending so many of these usually ridiculous events seems like it will leave the next generation with damaged hearing as well, and the vicious cycle will continue.

Besides the overwhelming noise level, these men and women who looked to be in their late twenties were running around and wearing their blue shirts of the youth union. They simply looked silly and childish, especially due to the fact that they can’t carry a tune in a basket.

Which brings me to another point: a large number of the Vietnamese people that I know cannot sing in tune. This is weird coming from a country where the language is tonal and where karaoke is a very popular form of entertainment. Thinking back to most of my friends and family stateside, I can only name one person who really cannot carry a tune. Is this only my situation? Or are there also an inordinate amount of tone-deaf singers in the states?

There are some very good singers that I’ve heard in performances as well as in karaoke rooms in Vietnam, which is why I don’t understand why the tone-deaf awful singers are selected to perform in government run ceremonies. Not to mention, these tone-deaf singers also really annoyed me at badminton today.



Too many things on my mind at the moment… It easily puts me in a bad mood or gets me angry for little or no reason. Hope things will be better soon. That’s all I can do, hope.

Mornings this week

It seems like every morning this week I’ve woken up and gone through a similar routine. The following things may or may not be in the exact order that they happened, but they occurred at some point this week.

Snooze the alarm.
Get up.
Plug in the water boiler.
Drink orange vitamin C.
Eat some bananas.
Listen to NPR’s 5-minute newscast.
Make instant coffee.
Read a few pages from The Jungle
Drink the instant coffee.
Go to work.


It’s hot today. I went home at about 11 a.m. and after just changing into comfortable clothes I had beads of sweat on my forehead. I took a restless nap and afterward went for coffee with a couple friends. The heat at the cafe was insane. There was an awning shading the table where we were, and a wall fan providing a little air, and occasionally a breeze would rise and cool us, but even when I leaned back in my chair it was uncomfortable to have my back touch the plastic, simply because the chair was radiating heat. The fabric of my shirt felt hot too. Even though the coffee was cool and refreshing, the way my body felt did not make it a comfortable time. I seem to remember that the heat always gets bad after Tet until the rain comes.

Jobs and planning

As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve taken on a lot of teaching hours in order to finance the move to the big city in few months. That plan was fine. Then, this morning, I got a call from a company in the city that wants me to interview for a copywriting job.

It sounds like something that I really want to do, but should I waste the time and money to travel there for an interview, after I’ve done it so many times and had no success? I hope there will be more email contact and I get more information about the job and also about my chances for it.

The next few months

I’ve started March by moving to yet another place in Long Xuyen in order to save a little money for my planned move to HCMC in June.  The place I’ve moved to is legal for foreigners so I don’t have to worry about being evicted by psychotic Vietnamese women (who I’ve decided really seem to have it in for me, much more so than Vietnamese men) and the price is set so I don’t have to worry about being ripped off/exploited by other greedy and sexually frustrated women (that’s a whole complicated story; ask me for more details if you want to waste some time).

Also in the month of March, I’ve taken on a crazily insane teaching schedule in order to try and save some money for the above mentioned move to the big city.  My schedule is below:

Monday: 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Tuesday: 8:05 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.; 1:50 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Wednesday: 8:05 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.; 1:50 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Thursday: 8:05 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.; 1:50 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Friday: 8:05 a.m. to 10:45 a.m.; 1:50 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.; 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Saturday: 8:30 a.m. to 10 a.m.; 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.
Sunday: 5:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m.

So, if you don’t hear from me or wonder why I don’t hang out much, it’s because of what you see above.