The Great Lull of mid-November 2008


One day historians will not be dissecting this week in the annals of Southeast Asia’s comic past and wondering how on earth life could have been so funny ha-ha and funny strange for us all. There’s just nothing remotely amusing going on. Zero. Diddley squat. Nada. Bloody floods must have washed away the humour. All we have left is the doom and gloom of the economists. Not even the pleasant Autumnal weather can cheer us up here at the Comical Hat and we know, if we’re not happy, you’re not happy, then that makes us even unhappier and so on…

Al Jazeera’s 48 hours in…-show went south in Vietnam, geographically speaking. Oh Saigon you sun soaked scarlet Jezebel you! One of our old HCM City colleagues, Mz. Nhung landed a gig as a guide in the show (she appears towards the end of part one — below) and declares herself 50 per cent religious and also gives the rather fetching winner of Vietnam Idol 50 per cent of a compliment towards the end of part two. The show is quite sleek, though people no doubt will have the usual gripes about what they did and what they didn’t do; it avoids the cringeworthy cliches you can sometimes get with these rapido-tours and the ebullient presenter seems fairly on the ball. Of course, if Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy did a sequel to 48 Hours that was set in HCM CIty they might not go to a variety show, a Buddhist temple, an Octogenarian artist’s house, a ‘speed dating’ event and a fruit farm, but whaddaya-gonna-do…  make your own 48 hours in TPHCM show, perhaps.

And quickly, in case you thought otherwise, “Vietnamese poetry isn’t boring. It’s quite sexual and talks a lot about desire and being drunk.” So says someone here anyway (not really worth clicking on that link though, we only mention it because we noted over here a ethnic Cham poet is lamenting the fact that Vietnam’s literary scene can’t produce a Nobel Prize winner. Some of this bawdy poetry mightn’t be the answer but we’re certainly now much more interested in Vietnamese poetry over here at The Comical Hat HQ. Leave your translations in the comment box).


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