Thursday, January 31, 2008


I found a saying in Vietnamese, that reflects what we face. It takes more than just lip service to make things work. Despite the severe limitations faced, I believe in it.

"Có Chí Thì Nên" ~ Where there is a will, There is a way

Most importantly, no matter which we we look at it, we apply "nhập gia tùy tục" both sides.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Banh Chung

This is a Chinese New Year delicacy, named Banh Chung.
A colleague's family made this.
Traditionally there's 2 shapes -
Square represents Land (Earth is the more accurate term, I presume)
Round represents Sky (It could be Heaven).
So today, we're having Land.

The sticky rice is wrapped in leaves and boiled in water until it is cooked. Hence the slight green tinge.

A smart way of dissecting the goody. Use the leaves.

The contents would be chunks of pork, mashed green beans, and spiced with pepper. The Banh Chung is quite similar to the Malaysian rice dumpling, both in texture and taste. Only the timing's different.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ice Cream for dessert

Ahhh... indulgence.

I have to spoil myself a little. It was quite a long day (long trip actually), but I felt good. I managed to get more things done, and made the productive. This is what keeps me going.

No matter that I have to deal with stubborn people. Hey, Ujin don't get upset easily. But once I reach my limit, there's no apologies to be made. I'll teach, but you better be ready to learn.

Oh well, not gonna let the day spoil my ice cream. Yummy.....

Quick meal on way home

Alvin and I tried a new place today. Wanted a quick dinner, and decided to try out the corner lot near our apartment.
With apprehension of not knowing how to order our meal, it was a real relieve when they gave us a menu with photographs.

My rice and oyster dinner.

Up close, the little oysters that were boiled in a soup. The soup's quite nice, with the oyster aroma, but a little bland. A small brownish plate of sauce was a no no for me. Yucks. But the chili.... wooooo... now that's some chili. REALLY HOT!

Took this picture to show how they provide electricity to premises and homes in Ho Chi Minh. This is the smaller version. There's places with great veins of cables all over, and filling up at least 2 metres of the pole.

Monday, January 28, 2008


Introduction to a Vietnamese dessert - "Che"
It's a coconut milk concoction of beans, some sort of jello and some bean paste. Nice, and sweet.
I find it quite similar to the Malaysia Cendol, or Ice Kacang.

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday, Poh Chin!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Vietnamese Chinese Food

Sunday morning...

"Shoe shine, sir? "
"I'll shine your shoe whilst you take breakfast."
"No matter that you're wearing slip-on nylon trainers. I'll shine it for you"

Free parking. That's how you do it in Vietnam. You park where you visit. That even applies to the roadside stalls.

Local pastime. Getogether, lay the ponchos, sit and chat. For hours. No matter that the temperature's 30C, or there's hardly any wind. It's cooling under shade.

Watermelon juice, and Manana (Banana + Pineapple) juice.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Banh Mi Bo Kho

Stewed Beef, with carrots and tomatoes, and a large loaf of bread.
This has strong aroma of spice, parlsey, and some leaves which I've yet to ascertain (suspected basil, though it's much larger)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

It's my Birthday today!

I promise myself, nothing's going to make me upset today. Take things as they come, do things as it should. And just let go.

Moving on to 31. Another year gone by, another chapter to work on. And this year, I'm celebrating my birthday in a foreign land.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


At last. The Viettel technician made a house call at 9:00pm to rectify the broadband connection.
Know what he did?

Accessed the D-Link setting.
Punched in the user ID and password.

Voila. Sigh, why couldn't they just give me that earlier. I would have been in weeks back.

Anyhow, many thanks to Ms. Giac for making all those calls and get this thru. She can see how important this connection is to me.


I just got back from the apartment, with the landlord and the ISP technician. They came, with an attempt to rectify the broadband problem. By seeing this post, my reader would have guessed that things went badly wrong.

The day started off problematic. First the tap ran dry halfway thru my shower. Hence, very limited water to wash off the soap. Apparently, they decided to do some piping rectification without annoucement.

Reached the office, we experienced power blackout at 10:30am. Another Wednesday blackout. Every week. Without fail.

Fine. To the apartment at 2:00pm. ISP technician figured the modem's fine, the connection's fine, my notebook's fine. So probably it's the ISP's side that's not fine. Oops, forgot to mention, this technician wasn't from the ISP office. He's engaged with another ISP. Landlord messed up (I'm not surprised).

So fine again. He called Viettel, the ISP for this connection. Ran thru the IP for the modem, all is fine again. Oh, needs to reconfirm the password for this connection.

You guessed right, no password available. Called owner in HaNoi. Can't find the contract. Oh wait, the contract may be kept in with the rest of the documents in the bedroom next door (one cupboard still retained by owner for personal belongings). Aaaaaaand... roommate locked the door.

What else could go wrong anyway? Being on the 11th floor, the last thing we would want is a power cut. And that's wishes come true. It was a BLACKOUT!

All thru the day. A waste of time. A waste of resources. A waste of money.

This, my faithful readers, is Vietnam.

My colleague here felt bad hearing my laments about her Country. Don't be. It's not your fault that you were born here. Had you seen what I've seen, you'll understand my feelings too.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Still no broadband

It's been almost 3 weeks. Still no broadband at home.
Yerks! This is no good. I can't connect with my family without the broadband.

Till now, I'm still experiencing the culture shock. The country's not exactly well off, and yet technologically they are. Then again, customer service and efficiency is still lacking, far far behind. Even a village back home would have been more prompt.

I bug things to move, it stretched half an inch. I bug it again, it stretches again. At this rate, no wonder progress cannot be achieved.

Oh, I've been zipping about town on the scooter. Finally I get to learn the road, the driver's way. Moving on the opposite side of the road is not that bad, really. Though couple of times I did scare the wits off some motorcyclists. Forgot I'm supposed to be on the right side of the road....

I'm down with a tummy ache the past 2 days. Must have been a bad combination of food. It's not too bad, though the day's been uncomfortably long. I'll get over it eventually (no Chi Kit pills here). Serves me right for not asking what the menu says. Stupid me pointed to a dish in Viet, and I got prawns for lunch. Of all the food that I can take, seafood (prawns, especially) is the hardest to gauge its freshness. Sigh....

Time to go home. Time to spend the lonely nights without broadband again.

The landlady says tomorrow, they will rectify the connection. That's what they said on Satuday. They didn't show up. So tomorrow afternoon. I'll wait and see. Let Vietnam impress me.

Monday, January 21, 2008

The Finance and Sales team of HoChiMinh

Surrounding me, the ladies that holds the fort in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam.
From left: Tu Giac, Hong Hai, Khanh Hoa, Tu Giang

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bun Bo

I was introduced to Bun Bo, a beef & pork noodle of Central Vietnam. It tasted almost like the Malaysian laksa, but more watery. The mint leaves and chili oil are quite similar. Vegetables varies, from sprouts to banana flowers.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nhat Yen

One of the singers from M&Toi was Le Nhat Yen. I did a search, but only found Da Nhat Yen. I'm not sure if it's the same person, or I was given a wrong name.

Anyhow, here's a blog-link I found on Da Nhat Yen.
Found her voice to be soothing. She'll make a good jazz singer :)

M&Toi, the happening Cafe of Saigon

I was introduced to this Cafe yesterday. On the 1st floor, there's a live performance stage, where up and coming singers perform. I had the opportune to listen to Vietnam Idol's candidate, and some whom I believe were veteren singers. Excellent entertainmet.

The service fee per person is VND70k, on top of any drinks we ordered. Fair price, since the 2 hours performance were rather good. It'll be a nice place to hangout for drinks, and some lively entertainment.

Dinner @ Quan Hy

I had our first Hygiene family dinner with the Vietnam team. It was at a client's place (Photos below).

Mr. Duc, Mr. Vuong, Mr. Thanh
Ms. Hoa, Ms. Giang, Ms. Giac
Ms. Hai, Ms. Thu
Mr. Duc
Mr. Duc, Mr. Y
Mr. Alvin, Ms. Hai


The restaurant, serving Central Vietnam delicacies. The photos below are what we ate, but I've not idea what they're called.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Biking in the rain

Hahahaa.. I took a ride in the rain, with a pillion rider to boot.
We had to get the license plate for the bike. Halfway there, it started to drizzle.
But the effort's worth it. Bike got a number now.


Nice huh? Good thing it was just a drizzle.
And I was told it's not the raining season yet. :p


I took a ride on the Nouvo today. Don't care if there's no license plate yet. I'm itching to move about. That's how it looked like. We took the black unit, with yellow trims. In the market, it's known as the Yamaha Nouvo RC. Basically a scooter.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Transportation in Vietnam

See the key?
That's the key to my transport in Vietnam.
Now.... I'd need to find the machine that this key fits into.

Nope, no machine. The registration card is not ready yet. No plate number. No can use.
So what's this key for?

Hang it.
Look at it.
Maybe one day, I'll get to use it.

I know Joyce and Kate would be laughing and rolling on the ground. How did things turn out this way? Goodness gracious.

The next time I accept any foreign assignment, I better insist on a paid preliminary visit. Get things done before I touch down. Otherwise, I'm not going to start doing any work. No sirreee....

Monday, January 14, 2008

Vietnamese songs

I was introduced to a website of vietnamese songs.
Apparently, the singers featured on the sites are the popular ones in the Country. Check it out in my music link.

A grand wedding - having a dance performance before the bride and groom enters the hall. I am very impressed. It's almost like watching a live performance.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Vietnamese wedding

An eye opening experience. I was invited to a Vietnamese wedding, of a colleague. Firstly, my Congratulations to Sonary.

The groom, Thanh Tra, and bride, Sonary.

A grand setup, in a large restaurant. This place could cater to two weddings simultaneously, each fitting about 50 tables. There's a raised runway leading to the stage, akin to a fashion catwalk.

Appetizer. Spring roll, in fried rice paper, and prawns with snow fungus. An appetising dish, as the snow fungus had been tossed with sour sauce.

Second dish was fish, with chunks of meat and vegetables.

Third dish was crab meat, scallops and lots of vegetables.

Fourth dish, seafood again. It's a Vietnamese hotpot. Notice the pot's cover in the middle.

We had to wait for the soup to boil.

Unique vegetables (or should I say flowers) for the soup.

Once the soup's boiled, the seafood goes in for a little cooking, and removed to the side. Then the vegetable goes in.

The meal is to be taken by soaking the rice noodles with the soup, and add the condiments of vegetables and seafood. My verdict: This is really, really good. Soup's sweet.