Thursday, July 28, 2011
Saturday, July 23, 2011
This week I was reminded again of Ramsey Montgomery. Ramsey was a friend of mine here in Vietnam who passed away a few years ago. He was 40 years old and died, reportedly, from a stroke. This week another 40 year old man named Craig passed away as well, reportedly, from a heart attack. I didn't know Craig but word on the street of his death was a lot different from that of the coroner's office. Over the last six years here I have been aware of no less than three people who have died from seemingly mysterious circumstances for their ages - but a little street-side investigative reporting reveals something indeed not mysterious at all. Drink and drugs - coupled, if not preceded by, a massive depression. Another guy in his 40s named Rico went the same way - and we all saw it, in a sort of slow-motion train wreck scenario. Unless one sees it, it's impossible to understand the amount of prescription drugs in people's systems at any one time - or heroin. Another guy we know is supposedly smoking heroin 10 times a day just to maintain normality - he doesn't even get high anymore.
The availability of cheap drink and over-the-counter medications that range from codeine to uppers and downers in a myriad of combinations and less legal things simply does them in. They're all fine, and happy, and fucked-up, until they don't come out of their room for three days and the homeowner opens the place to find a body. That's become a common story of late unfortunately.
When Ramsey passed, I attended his funeral and met a lovely grieving family. At the service we were given the following Buddhist Funeral Prayer. It is lovely as well, and has become the most viewed post on The Wild Wild East Dailies. Please say it for anyone you may know who may be living in harm's way, before it comes time to say it too lately. As Amy Winehouse joins the 27 Club, it's a prayer for the times.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Newsweek and Bill Clinton tackle the sticky question of how to get America back to work this week with Clinton's 14 ideas on how to get the wheels of commerce rolling again in the good ole US of A. Over the last few weeks, many of you may have begun to wonder if I have somehow become un-American, what with my calling out all the ways we are having our lunch eaten by our Asian tiger friends and basically calling America fat, lazy and out of touch - when what we are really doing is fighting a series of unnecessary wars in the name of a fuel that has gone the way of the dinosaurs - wait a minute, it is called a fossil fuel, right?
But what I am really trying to do is play a small part in waking America up from a dream that is not real and certainly not working. In the last 10 years, China has built the world's largest high-speed rail system whilst we have steamrolled over a number of banana republics in search of that "Bubblin' crude", "Oil that is - Texas Tea", us hillbillies we are. But the question remains, how can America reverse this and many other economic discrepancies and regain its luster as an entrepreneurial and economic powerhouse?
Cutting military spending and redeploying the monies in other more friendly ways is certainly a favourite option for many, but Clinton steers away from grand gestures like that and instead offers more practical solutions from getting congress off their asses and speeding approvals for new initiatives (In 1933 the Civil Works Administration put 4 million people to work in a month), or government funding for start-ups in green businesses, to painting roofs white (A white roof saves 20% electricity costs on a hot day) - suggestions which ween the country off its current oil dependence and eventually the wars it has created.
With 14 million Americans out of work, the last thing any of us wants to be us un-American. What we need to be is pro-American and realize that we have 14 million soldiers fighting an economic battle that has insufficient government support and we need to fix that. Mr. Clinton's comments simply help us to begin to give us a workable start.
D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n
Thursday, July 14, 2011
The woman from Holland, a young professional, is leaving an executive job at a foreign university here, to move to Istanbul, Turkey, with no job at all - just to live life, and live the best. Neither David, nor I nor the English interior designer showed much interest in going back to our home countries, for individual reasons. And so many of those reasons have nothing to do with money.
We are all career professionals, all capable of getting name-your-number six-figure salaries back home, yet we do not. Why not?
It's all about where the future is, and we have all run into the roadblocks of our western countries trying to maintain the status' quo of an old century while things here are just the Wild Wild East. It's fun, and a whole lot better than pushing sand uphill back home to feed an economic model that is so obviously broken.
This all came to real this week when it was time to be paid for my first month at an American webzine, The Morton Report. When it came time to pay, an editor said they would 'send me a check'. Ha. I laughed. Were they serious? Turns out they were.
When I explained that the check system they used in the US (Yes, printing personal money that may or may not be any good) did not work outside country, they truly didn't understand - and then they got mad. "Wire transfer? WTF is that?", they said. Now, this particular webzine, luckily has an online shrink, so I'll leave it to her to figure out how f-ed-up that is - but that was the story. Getting mad over watching the world change? "Gee, American money is no good anymore?". Call the Chinese.
And in telling that story, David chimed in, "Ha! I had an American client look at my invoice and say 'What's EFT?" - Electronic Funds Transfer. "I'm not sure we know how to do that", the American company responded.
So it's true, in submerging markets they will never understand that the reason the other markets are emerging, is that they are not just not doing the SOS. They are building something, something their children won't have to pay for like America's children will have to pay the Chinese.
Monday, July 4, 2011
As this 4th of July begins I find myself in an interesting position on the present state of our country. I don't live there. Recently,when discussing being asked by an editor to look at a story on the release of
D a v i d E v e r i t t - C a r l s o n