an IndoChina tale

Ramon stays another day !

over dramatic and waste of long running time

is a short description for the movie i went to last night. It s called Watchmen and well for the rest of the year, you wont meet another hyped movie then this one.its been directed by a visionary director of 300 ..and that is the point this movie lacks vision nor a moralistic tone whilst it’s try hard to do so. 


The trailer will show mostly the action which takes place. Its pretty graphic and violent but it does not shock at all as the characters a group of retired vigilantes battle each other for what?? and presented little drama despite their hero status and will never compel anything from the viewers.


Instead it tries to make a lot business about a coming nuclear war, which the heroes indirectly caused by contribuying  overcoming the Vietcong.The story is confusing ,is it a murder mystery then if so it so vague but then despitethe long running  it falls in to pieces in just one go..remarkable and then sf movie? yes but not groundbreaking and perhaps you need some mushrooms to appreciate the art work .Gory action flick with no depth?likely the action as said is graphic and it starts to get boring due to the copy of the 300 concept of ..


I was not the only one who got irritated some of the public skated off half of the movie, perhaps the dreadfull sex scenes? or the tedious story line and dramatic acting of the Blue Man -in-spandex-with irrelevant-logics or the batman alike owl with no superpowers screaming wildly after a fellow anti hero was reduced to blood.. 



To be brief, dont watch the Watch men …they have to watch themselves better ..


March 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

City life Bright lights dark streets

Saigon is a town made for the neon wilderness. in day light it s better not to see the construction which can be painfull to watch due to the pastel colors and challenging architecture. Staying in the houses also remains a challenge. Houses have due to limited space little ergonomical measures taken for people who actually live in there. Having saved their whole life for their dream house their house looks mostly like the following. Vietnamese houses are tall. Due to the hefty taxes on land , architectures made a plan that houses from the front should have a tall and narrow entrance. this result that the buildings are build in length not in its width. 


Having travelled also in the country side it strikingly houses in new built areas are not characterised by the use of space rather by it s again tall structeres and the lack of creativity and abundance of copying the same style over and over again. For the foreseeable future there have been some profond changes in the City district 2 and 7 also known as resp An Phu and Phu My Hung. Both district houses the expat community , one more focussed on a certain then the other. In a way if you just have money then go here and not in the dusty smoggy town. Strinking is that in these places with Disney esque fenced compounds are more bareble to watch then the main city area , once the dawn sets in the city with its lights and teemingly nonstop transport grid is the main attraction in this rather cultar-aestecitical-barbarian city of 10 million inhabitants. 


HCMC means business and there fore like art galleries , exhibition,museums and other cultural happenings takes place in Hanoi and HCMC is richer in parties of upcoming designers ,models, VN IDOLS and many other hopefulls or tedious acting expats who do their bits to educate the locals in their illy conceived decadent bourgeois behaviour of sex , drugs and techno


Go 2 bar is one of those places which cemented it self as a stayer in the ever changing backpacker district, it s a 24/7 bar so the last pissed tourist expat who leaves at 6 am is greeted by the morning shift who serves some breakfast fare to the newly arrived suckers.. the street in Vietnam are the domain of the frenzy unorganised traffic who dont seem to care if you are well paying tourist ..they only care to be paid by the tourist.

the bar symbolises the spirit of Saigon. Busy , crowded , uncultural, business savy and purposedly relaxing when you leave the bar full of tay  ba lo horny around




surely this is not the real Vietnam ..many accounts have been written about the glasnost of Vietnam being a restrictive country unless a stream of money is ensured to flow in to the country 


one of the best is Shadows and Winds of Robert Templer. A former correpondent who merciless wrote about the Doi Moi initiative and the unforeseen results for Vietnam and it s leadership.Achievements have been made however it s unclear whether who are the benefeciaries of this development.

March 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

my life so far…

is it curious once passed the 30 s one person to reflect ones life is quite early though nothing now seems so set in our world. And it better not be. ..


Having spent another 3 years almost overseas it’s shockingly overwhelmingly nice to think about back home. think HEMA worst, oliebollen yes food is in the heart of mind never the weather or the indifferency of people or the cold heart remarks..but then it comes to one mind that life when i was young was a time of funny things I did or let s say my parents did not think it was that funny and caused a lot of worries but again being a unflappable guy it were the first sign of my global thinking when I went to Australia and New Zealand all was not my maiden trip overseas , but this time it was really there..being alone and have to take care of your self. During that trip I could remember how low I fell by picking strawberries for nothingclose to a dime and earned 1000 Aussie dollar in one week working my ass off in hotels and restaurants.

i saw how the locals were treating it s original inhabitants treating like animals it broke my heart and my trust in mankind..the beauty of New Zealand and to marvel it again and again..the relaxed people of the southern hemisphere…im thank full i could experience this and meet people of different kind of walks..Later travels brought me to South Africa,Korea, New York ,Alaska ..ok I worked on a cruise ship doing its world cruise. A study in London brought me the desired degree obtained in a foreign university.

Then life formed me to see that this world is unjust and that there are still just people who help and support the disadvanataged. I was stuck in London when I read that they were looking for a manager in a street kid restaurant.

it proved to change my life ..forever there is no going back and now being a 30 something I need to fix my life more kids car?? who knows.Despite my efforts the world needs pioneers and just people to lift us up.I get approached by flowery girls in Vietnam wanting to marry me, have babies with me ..I mean im not that handsome..


my thoughts are not chronological but thats my life , there is a beginning but between the end and beginning there is nothing sure and people can fill it on the way they want and start all over new again..that s how I survive..

March 4, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

our world today

just read the news about an eminent attack on the Sri Lankan players in Pakistan bus by an unidentified group of terrorists. in sport the Germans say Allen werden Bruder, we become brothers through the unity and spirit of the game. This proved to be a likely place to attack the players .Pakistan a breeding place of lethal terrorists is not able to surpress the underbelly of  Al Quaida and an ideal staging ground for any terrorist attack.


For instance a Tamil Tigers attack the bus due to the raging civil war on the north of the island. However it would not make sense if the star player Murali is on the bus the only Tamil in the Sri Lankan team.


Others say that there were Indians involved after Mumbai attacks a good time to avenge the losses of cricket matches in India.

Being a follower of cricket in general Sri Lanka has kind of become my favorite team being a small nation winning fairly many matches against giant India,England and Australia.They have some illustrative players like Murali the only player surpassed 700 wickets in the modern game and Jayawardene a modest man with an enormous career.

That some players are injured is intolerable, sadly their guards did not survive this low attack and being such a high profile incident heads will roll in the Pakistani government but will it make the world more saver??

March 3, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Saigon versus Hanoi

Finally 3 months have passed and having spent 2 years in the capital I have noticed profound differences as its almost living in 2 different here is an excerpt..i got this from an expat run group of facebook

Hanoi: Jam packed, with two couples sharing one table
Saigon: Chairs in rows like bus seats

Hanoi: Brought to you with the waitress’s thumb as a free extra
Saigon: A bowl of noodles comes on a plate

Hanoi: Seldom without MSG and bread
Saigon: Must include herbs, bean sprouts, and red (or black) chilli

Hanoi: Good and sticky, wrapped in banana leaves
Saigon: Terribly dry, sold in boxes or nylon bags

Hanoi: Bia hoi (local draught beer) with peanuts, back home by 9pm
Saigon: Bottled beer with lots of ice, a hot pot, home after midnight

Hanoi: Not much choice, but tasty
Saigon: Good variety, cheap and acceptable but nothing special

Hanoi: Small pieces of sweet and sour stir-fried pork ribs
Saigon: Giant lumps of unskillfully grilled pork ribs

Hanoi: Xe om drivers around Hoan Kiem lake wear suits
Saigon: People go to the best hotels wearing shorts and sandals

Hanoi: Men can wear shoes without socks
Saigon: Women can wear socks without shoes

Hanoi: You can cut across a car, but make sure to turn right only on a green light
Saigon: You can ignore red lights – but don’t stray into the car lane

Hanoi: You can’t turn right
Saigon: You can even turn left
Hanoi: Free
Saigon: “VND 2,000, please”

Hanoi: Obsolete models rarely seen
Saigon: Like a museum, where ancient models are still going

Hanoi: You are shocked if someone says “thank you”
Saigon: It’s normal for a receptionist to bow when you walk in

Hanoi: “Let’s get one each”
Saigon: “If you take it, I’ll go for something else”

Hanoi: “What if I say no?”
Saigon: “Why not?”

Hanoi: If you have a lot of money
Saigon: If you spend a lot of money

Hanoi: Stop and chat in the middle of a busy intersection to let the whole world know how important you are
Saigon: Stop, get onto the pavement, and keep a look-out in all directions in case someone tries to steal your phone

Hanoi: Similar to its females – smoldering and persistent
Saigon: Like its girls – attractive but soon over

Hanoi: The staff are rude and surly
Saigon: A comfortable place for a free read, especially for kids

Hanoi: A quiet and uplifting place where you leave daily concerns behind
Saigon: Noisy and secular

Hanoi: Immense and romantic
Saigon: No bigger than a pond

Hanoi: Prostitutes pretend to be students
Saigon: Students dress like prostitutes

February 23, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment


hello world,

took some time to post a thing or two here, as I also have set up an other blog for the school as the current site does not live to the expectation being on line at all.

whilst discovering the world of blogging, I stumble upon on some sites which champions the social what I do and did at Hoa Sua and Sesame. Two great initiatives to sustain lives by providing free education to impoverished youth and at the same time providing jobs for social workers in Vietnam, a feat quite in its infancy.

One of the thing I got was the micro finance projects set up by professor Yunus, A Bengali from a water pestered country reliefed hundreds of enslaved people in his country with his micor lending projects

to see more and learn how we can make a small amount can make a huge difference

February 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

Tet escape 09

so there you go another posting after a brief pause. So Tet has finished for around 2 weeks now. Tet the VN new year where 90 million people will follow a thousand year ritual of clebrating the new zodiak calendar year. This year it will be the year of the buffalo, it means the buffalo meat will soar..hic hic my favorite meat.

One of the features of Tet its family based so being a Tay or foreigner its not applicable at all to sit around and clean the house , pray to the ancestors and eating Banh Chung, a reasy sticky rice cake filled with undefined meat and green bean.I ll leave that to them to galvanise..

Here you see the break out of Tet country and went to lovely Cambodia to enjoy the south coast with Sihanoukville , the Rabbit Island and Kep,the Khmer Rouge devastated French resort town.

Another lovely town is Hoi An, surely a rare highlight of beautiful architecture and Chinese preserved culture.

the Japanese bridge in Hoi An

not too far away from Hoi An is the My Son. the capital of the Cham people who used to rule the Central and parts of the south of Vietnam. They flourished from the 7 th century till the 13th century when wars with the Khmer and Dai Viet proved too much.Sadly the masterful architecture has been destroyed by the invading Viets and from the few legacies you really can enjoy is this site.

Work is evolving at the moment and plans are to set up another blog to promote the school and inform our supporters.A facebook site has been created to reach out to the increasing popular social network site.Join our support network on facebook if you have an account of course.

To wrap things up , when i came back the Tet sphere was still meant that shops were still closed.Awaiting the lucky date assigned by the fortuneteller. others took their chance or risks and opened up a week after Tet.Still they could get away with a drum band banging a beat like Timbaland!!AHA!

Ramon in My Son

Tet 09

Tet 09

February 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment

happy sorrow

actually dear readers my current stay in Vietnam is not the first time to Vietnam.During my cruise time stint on the QEII the grand lady of the seas and 30 year old cruise liner.As a part of the world cruise i hopped on the QEII in Hong kong. The written rule is that newly embarked staff is not allowed to go off in the next port of call.Which was Vung Tau.An ugly coastal town 2 hours drive away from the bustling town of Saigon.

Luckily we stayed 3 days anchored so at least one day I was allowed to go off shore and enjoy the VN hospitality.We did then off course the bit of Cu Chi Tunnels the famous Vietcong resistance liberation hide out who suffered the most of the mighty firepower of the US army.then in 2003 it was quite of the beaten path site.. Just a tunnel and a museum sustained by an ex guerilla who could not stop smiling living in the bush.

Now if you do some reading the GI’s bombed the supposed hide outs in Cu Chi back to the stone age. But coming now there you can’t see any evidence of the agent orange or toxic foil they have spread.Some craters here and there but the overall impression was that the tunnels according to the guides was ;;very deep”  and long” .. the exhibition is nice and well set up nowadays with guides and a well constructed site of the head quarters what they ate , the hospitals, the way they dug the tunnels.

cu chi

cu chi

What actually was missing according to my associate who accompanied me was the struggle of the people , the concentration camps also called strategic hamlets,  the many deads and injured.It look all quite happy place. A typical video documentary was played and it all sounded for me the same as the museums I have visited before in Vietnam..Some tourists had to crawl their toes of the horrible narration.But then again i salute those people who could live under ground for months and risk their live for their people and nation.

December 2, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

loss of face?

having spent almost 2 years in Vietnam I can say I have some knowledge about the ubiquitous face value of one person in here.

This one deals with outrage in public which is considered loss of face. Embarassement largely needs to be avoided at all time.

However I get amazed by the sheer public outrages you can see but also on the web.There fore what we read about the general warnings on how to deal with loss of face..well it’s not always that way…

I have seen this scene numerous times and it amazes me that people don’t intervene.But then what can I say we in Holland also have this moral problem.. better to look away then be sorry for your life??

Food in Saigon

is probaly less appaling then some of the Hanoi food.Trust me I like most of the food but some it raises my neck hairs.

what I found though for the Indo food lovers some kue lapis and wingko babat version here in Vietnam.

hic hic as my gf would say after eating some bun nuong(grilled beef)

for some more information on Saigon food check this site


Ramon Meijer

November 24, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 1 Comment

new dawn

New City new Blog

Here is the new blog I have created after mines at the vso-stories has been terminated or is now in website cementary.I’m now in Saigon where I will work for a School very much similar to Hoa Sua School

the school’s name is Sesame and here is some (tourist) information about the school, though they don’t have the same outreach as Hoa Sua.

anyway you always can have a look if you are interested.

Some past time activities

it’s still not safe in Vietnam.. as an expat you are expected to do some unusual stuff like playing as an extra in the upcoming war drama Dung Dot..

and if you really crave to play badminton like I do , well look no further , there are numerous of clubs in Vietnam and if you like the fresh (dusty) air play outside!!

November 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment