Thursday, May 27, 2010

a quadratic equation

quadruplets... how many is that anyway? Lao people are coming up in a meaningful way. this is a nice article about a sacramento family with a lot of daughters born who look a lot alike - and it's their 7th birthday. (apparently the odds of identical quadruplets are only 1 in 11,000,000). the video link has a reporter saying "when you're all the same age, it's the birth order that matters..." well, i am interested to know who is really the oldest and who is the youngest. because i understand that in Lao tradition, when it comes to multiple births, the child born first is actually the youngest, because the older child would remain in the womb to help the younger one out first. thus the older-younger designation would be reversed in this situation. well, it makes sense to me.
see the link below :
thanks wl for this link!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

blue bayou

i have resisted posting anything about louisiana and the oil spill. in fact, i turn the radio off whenever news comes on about it - avoidance being my only defense against this mess. it's a tragedy that highlights the problems with oil exploration, and once again spells disaster for the people of the southern louisiana - and the whole coastal region of the gulf of mexico.

the vietnamese community down in louisiana is also affected. a documentary about their coming together after hurricane katrina airs on pbs this evening at 10 pm. see the link here for specific showtimes in your area. the website describes the film, entitled, a village called versailles, as "the empowering story of how the versailles people, who have already suffered so much in their lifetime, turn a devastating disaster into a catalyst for change and a chance for a better future"

hopefully, the gulf coast communities can come together after this tragedy as well.

here is an article link from voices of america about the situation and how it particularly affects the vietnamese fishermen down in louisiana:

Monday, May 24, 2010

best in show

i should be writing a post about lost and its final sendoff, but this just appeared in my newspaper this morning: unlce boonmee who can recall his last lives, a thai drama of sorts, just took the big prize at the cannes film festival. i don't know much about the festival, or what sorts of awards it gives out, or even how to pronounce its ostentatious name, but its interesting to see a thai film get accolades. thai cinema definitely has its own feel - especially their bigger name films (last life in the universe, beautiful boxer, 6ixteynin9.) i've always been impressed with the cinematic quality, even with some of the lesser known thai films (their horrors, comedies, etc.)

here is a link to an article about the prize:

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

one blog in bangkok

thanks stacy for telling me about your friend's blog. it's such an interesting perspective, i am posting the link here - i hope she doesn't mind.

elissa's pictures are fascinating, so i have posted one of them above. (a little more insight into the term 'redshirts.')

Monday, May 17, 2010

bangkok dangerous

wow. red shirts, yellow shirts, thaksin vs. vejjajivait, it's all really confusing... most people have already heard about the recent violence consuming bangkok, thailand and killing it's land-of-smiles-and-etc tourism industry, but i thought i would post a couple of links anyway. i also read in the paper this moring that maj. gen. khattiya sawasdiphol did finally die after being shot while giving an interview to the nytimes reporter last week. but if you want to catch up on what's going on, the seattle times posted a good article this morning with a time line of events leading up to the recent escalation of violence. i have posted it with its link here.
here is an update from this morning on the situation there:
and here is a fascinating article detailing the king's silence amidst the conflict:

Friday, May 14, 2010


so i ended up going to see the opera myself. (i had emailed my friend to ask for his review, and he in turn invited me along with him, since his wife wanted to sit this one out!) and by the way, the mccaw hall is an awesome facility if you aint never been there.

i can't say i am much of an opera critic, and i probably never would've seen an opera had my brother not taken it up as a career upon his move to germany some 12 years ago, but i go pretty regularly, so maybe that qualifies me somehow. but this opera was dang different from the 'classic' operas i've seen... (i usually see the ones everybody has seen: for example, i've been to 'marriage of figaro' 3 times.) the music was rather discordant- that kinda singing you'd expect to hear from someone whose making up a song as they go along - or something you might sing yourself if you were making fun of opera, never having been to one before. but despite that criticism, i really liked this opera. the story was compelling enough to hold my attention for the duration (2 acts; 60 minutes each, with a half hour intermission.) in fact, with the 'old' operas, i usually get sleepy part way through the soprano's big aria (the aria when she is only 45 minutes out from her death by suicide, murder, or the consumption as is the case with la boheme.) but this one kept me riveted, leaning forward in my seat to get a better view of the impressive scenery.

but let me get to what i am getting to - about vietnam. so the opera is built around the story of a daughter, amelia, who was named by her father for amelia earhart, and her father has now gone off to war in vietnam, and he is conducting bombing raids there.

the story is told in a non-linear fashion with flash forwards and flashbacks - past and present scenes being acted out simultaneously - with amelia earhart making several appearances to sing alongside the modern characters, her plane flying ominously above the house or the final scene in the hospital.
and there's even a flash sideways of sorts - for fans of lost - where the mythological story of icarus is played alongside a scene from 1996. but a scene from 1985 reveals the details of amelia's father's death after ejecting from his plane during a bombing run on a power plant at haiphong vietnam.

this part is played with intensity and fast-paced action that is unusual for an opera. (they usually take so long to die!) and the superimposition of two time periods in vietnam on top of each other will leave "lost" fans frothing at the mouth. the viet singing is done well, and doesn't sound near as weird as the english singing. (i thought obama had outlawed all opera in english at the same time as when he reversed george w's official pronunciation of nucuelar back to nuclear.)

my only confusion was on the scenery for the vietnam scene. the backdrop is beautiful, showing the interesting limestone mountains common for a north vietnam coastal town. but the houses looked almost south american. they were brick structures with stucco on top. i guess i might be in danger of false stereotypes here, but i would've expected something on stilts with a bamboo thatched roof? but i am sure they researched it, so i must be the one that's wrong. and maybe the stucco is just reflecting the french colonial influence that undoubtedly was found in the cities.

well, i guess i am also in danger of reviewing this opera here without having said anything of substance. so i will paraphrase what stan hall, my co-opera fan, said: usually, with operas, the story is something mythological or so far removed from reality that the listener must rely on the music to carry the performance. but this story here is so contemporary and relevant to our modern-day experiences and emotions, that it really has the ability to draw in its audience, despite the music that is somewhat difficult to connect with.

so the seattle opera gets credit for premiering 'amelia' here; seattle is definitely on the forefront of culture with this one. and i recommend yall get out there and get your tickets before it's done.

and also, i think its cool that stephanie meyer, the vampire loving author of twilight, lent her image for the promotional posters:

Monday, May 10, 2010

seattle opera keeps it real

the seattle opera is premeiring amelia this week, and it is believed to be the first opera in america to be performed in viet and english. and according to some of the comments on the seattle times article, the viet part is the best part. but it looks like they went all out to properly represent vietnam and the language, so kudos to the seattle opera. i will ask my friend, stan hall, who is a season ticket holder, what he thought about it and post his review here in the next couple days...

see the link below for the video and article:

and here is more on this at