New soapboxes


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Check out my new Vietnamese Blog here, and English Blog here. See you there, and there!


Despite Melbourne’s property prices rocketing faster than Apollo shuttles, online doain names seem to be at their cheapest. So in I jumped and got myself a nice little block of “land” with dual occupancy potential, then sub-divided it and whacked on two townhouses. No council permit necessary. “home package” turned out to be quite easy to build, especially after lots of work with Zen Cart which trained me for this whole open-source shenanigan. Customising is fun but I do miss the community feel of, which is like a body corporate, where certain functions are given but others are restricted. Ah well, time to move out of the nanny flat and find my own space, I reckon.

So well, here we are, my spanking new soapboxes – one for my first language and one for the second. One given, one acquired, both loved equally. Not to be a separatist but I think this way I’ll have more incentive to write, especially in Vietnamese because I’m a little ashamed I don’t write and read it as much, living in Australia and having an English speaking other half and all. And from that, hopefully my translation dream will begin to materialise. One should always hope, hey?

So folks, update your address book / bookmark bar please ;). And come visit me! I’ve got a new couch, a massive chocolate cupboard, and lots of spare bedrooms.



Language lessons

Him (tapping at my flat, squat, snub Asian nose): Button! Button! What’s “button” in Vietnamese?

Me (tossing between the Northern and Southern Vietnamese terms, then decided on what I use most): Hột nút.

Him (pronounced it as English words): Hot nut?

Me: Hahaaa! Thanks! That works too. But technically, the ‘o’ in ‘hột’ is like the ‘o’ in ‘hone’, not ‘-aw-‘ like in ‘hot’ or ‘pot’. And the ‘u’ is always ‘-oo-‘ in Vietnamese. So it should be “hot noot”.

Him: Oh, I see. Hot nude?

Me: That’s it. I’m sending you to a proper language school! A non-R-rated one!


Good educator? Or a bitch?

The other day as I was walking into the train station to get to Uni, I saw a young Asian girl standing near the ticket machine looking around for help. (Young as in twenty-something.) I approached her and without asking whether I could understand Vietnamese, she started firing questions at me in the language. Now it was interesting what happened next: I spoke back to her slowly, in easy English, pretending I didn’t understand Vietnamese. She didn’t have much struggle explaining what she needed help with though. And after a mere minute we got her a ticket to where she needed to go.

As I walked to my platform, I was pondering these possible implications:

a/ that I’m a good educator, one who’s strict but helpful and motivational. I wasn’t harsh on the girl, but instead, gently made her practise a language that will help her with life (or short stay) here in Australia. If it was an older person, say my parents’ age, I knew I’d reply in Vietnamese straight away. It’s much harder to learn a new language at that age and I’d have more sympathy if they can’t or don’t want to speak English. But this young girl was more than capable. So it was either an underlying laziness, or a strong habit, both of which she needed to shake off.

b/ that I’m a cow, who also has too much time to waste. Why not just talk to her in Vietnamese and get it over and done with in 10 seconds? Was I trying to show off? (No, because I had to use the most simple words, and it wasn’t like she’d be impressed if I could read Shakespears, which I can’t, by the way. So no, no showy-offy, moi.) Was I trying to (secretly) make a point, that “hey, I got here when I was seventeen, and this was pre-mobile-phone time, and never had any chance to meet a Vietnamese on the street to ask for help, so no, you’re going to have to try and speak English to me this time”? To which the answer is yes, in a way that was my thinking. Maybe I’m too strict, and just a tad arrogant?

Anyhoo, just a tale to tell. You all know I like to over-analyse things like that. Plus it was either musing such useless stuff for the 15-minute train ride, or listening to two teenage girls going “gosh i sooo, like, hate Kyle Sandilands, and, you know, like, he’s sooo awful, and gosh, if they’re not gonna sack him, like, right now, i’m sooo gonna, like, boycott that station.” So there you have it, this blog entry.

happy thursday!


Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

(I’ve been lazy with my book reviews. Wondering if there’s any way to incorporate Social Living’s Virtual Bookshelf on Facebook to this blog.)


As said, I was afraid that this book was going to be another “Under the Tuscan Sun”, contrived and cliched. I can no longer stomach chick-lit, not that there’s anything wrong with that, I’ve just read too much of them. And I also very rarely read travel books. But thankfully, this turned out to be quite a brilliant page-turner from Elizabeth Gilbert. Insightful, fast-paced, and most importantly, honest. It felt like reading your girlfriend’s blog. I laughed with her, shed a tear with her, and could relate to many things she wrote in the book.

Part 1 & 3 (on Italy & Indonesia) were good but a little fluffy, while part 2 (on a spiritual journey at an Ashram in India) was very intense. It somehow struck a note in me, one that is still trembling. Something I’ve mused about many times, but never could quite put down in words.

So all up, 4 stars from me! I’ll probably buy a copy to re-read certain pages later on.


Hate mail

This morning I checked and there were two, yes, TWO!, of what I may call negative criticisms, left on this blog. One on my “skinny whinge” telling us to “get over ourselves”, and that “there are people with actual problems” out there. The other on my “poo catcher pants” review, calling me a silly bitch (aww!) and that they’d laugh at me if they saw me on the street. Wow! Let me ask you something, folks, do you know what this means? Can you even grasp the significance of this? Can you? Because OH-EM-GEE I’M FAMOUS! Total strangers left hate comments on my wall. Woohoo!

The only thing I’m regretting now is that I was so absolutely gobsmacked, I instantly pressed Delete. Talk about knee-jerk reactions. Damn! Should have left them there so I’ve got something to whine about in therapy five years down the track. “Hi, I’m Amy. Cyber strangers I never met did a Google search, came to read one entry on my blog, and decided to hate me. I have low self-esteem. I have suicidal thoughts.” That kind of thing.

Anyhow. Enough with the sarcasm. If there is one thing I’ve learnt from watching Mum deal with people, that is to not let their opinions get into you. Especially not nasty, thoughtless remarks. When encountering those, just laugh at how petty they are. Or better still, laugh at their typos. Mwahaha… 😉