the killing fields

The Choeung Ek Genocidal Center was one intense event.
most visitors used headphones for this audio tour,
and it was right to have no one speak out loud
in this silent but shameful battlefield.
it was the place where innocent souls were killed
and the world abandoned them to their fate…



S stands for Security Office-
which actually meant prison during the Pol Pot regime.
About 20,000 people is believed to have been kept in this high school turned prison
where prisoners were abused, tortured and eventually sent to the killing fields.
s214s213There were seven survivors and only two are still alive today.
It was an honor to meet Bou Meng and Chum Mey
at the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum.

vietnam museum of ethnology

today we talk about heritage and living museums
we steer away from the traditional understanding of a museum
which has a lot to do with colonial history, stolen artifacts and objectifying people
but museums are wonderful spaces
which tells us of the colorful past and a vibrant present
vietnam museum of ethnology was one of the best
museums i have visited in recent years…



he came
home a
little late
a little
too nostalgic

today was
the day
the roads
reached the
stone house
where he
grew up

the house
from where
he would
walk to
school and
return with
cash from
the vegetables
he would
sell on
the way
to school

p o s s i m p i b l e


a tiny sign in a crowded place caught our attention as we entered an almost abandoned building and climbed two flights of stairs to see more signs leading to another closed door;
but with instructions to open the door softly.
we obeyed the orders and entered this cozy book store in the middle of ho chi minh city.

we took off our shoes and looked around to find fiction, nonfiction, biographies, fashion, self help and the latest from across the world.
their best selling list included lang leav and “we are liars”.
the place was a book lover’s haven and if you like petting a cat as you read your book, there was one softly treading through piles of books in that room.
i looked around and asked if they had any books on vietnam and the response was a negative.

while i should’ve been disappointed i couldn’t find a book on vietnam in vietnam,
i loved that they didn’t have what i asked for because it shattered my expectations.
often times we are in a certain place or with a certain group of people,
and have certain expectations of them.
because they are from the city, we expect them to behave in an urban way.
or if they are from a certain country, we expect them to speak that language only.
but we forget that today’s world is every place -every person;
anybody could be from anywhere and speak any language they can.
therefore, this place became a good reminder that this bookshop could be anywhere in the world too.

while i didn’t buy any books that day,
i did come out of that place with a new word in my vocabulary.
“p-o-s-s-i-m-p-i-b-l-e: the place where the possible and the impossible meet”
rightly defining boa bookstore in saigon.

Cong Caphe

the amount of coffee consumed in vietnam has given 2016 a very good start.
while i have had vietnamese coffee outside vietnam,
it isn’t until you get to the country, you get the full effect.
by that i mean the very many coffee shops
across, adjacent, and opposite one another
with their tiny chairs and impressive decors
inviting you to join and have a sip too.
coffee shops always remind me of that quote
about revolutions brewing out of conversations
that takes place in cafes and coffee shops.
in recent days i have even seen signs that read
“no wifi, talk to each other” at a coffee shop
but vietnam seemed a step ahead with free wifi
amazing coffee and conversations galore…


Processed with VSCOcam with hb1 preset