Saturday, October 07, 2006


Currently, I'm pretty much illiterate in Vietnamese. It would be a great help if one of these Web 2.0 ventures puts together a Text-To-Speech application; I can use something like that to cut-and-paste things for translations, or it can read along with me to help me pick up the language more quickly. One of the minor goals of mine is to be literate, say at a 6th grade level (i.e. reading Vietnam's version of the NYT), in 12 months.

I'm bemoaning my skill deficit because I really want to understand this piece in the Vietnamese language VN Express webzine. I can make out like 15%, which is not nearly enough. The picture above is from that piece, which also illustrates the concerns Katherine has about teenage traffic safety in Vietnam.

I came across the article from iCambo's post about, in his terms, "Hanoi Playaz." Love that old-skool "z." Anyhow, I am curious about what this article says regarding the Dân Chơi Hà Thành - dân chơi = folks who play and Hà Thành = another name for Ha Noi; so, loosely translated it means Hanoi Playboys (and gals). Apparently this issue of young kids flaunting cash is the current rage, as it is also covered here by Người Việt Online.

One thing it does demonstrate is that there is a entire community out there that I am unable to access (right now). As Mel pointed out, there are a bunch of Vietnamese language bloggers, including this white Canadian dude. English may be king in the world, but the kid who's Yahoo 360* blog started the entire Hanoi Playboy phenomena in the press, Cuong Oz, has nearly 1.5 Million page views. And that's after the conversion from VND ;). Language courses, here I come.


hanoiakiki said...

Hi. I haven't updated my blog for such a long time. I've been trying to translate all the blog entry i wrote in Japanese.. Are you enjoying Hanoi?

I completely feel illiterate. Station and Chicken; Street and Pho - they sound exactly the same to me!

hanoiakiki said...

hi D,
i must have been really out of it. i thought you are already in hanoi for some reasons.

Meant to delete my previous postings, but couldn't do it.

Vietnamese seem to be another language I will give up learning. But for now, i am trying.

D. said...


I'm illiterate enough that I don't know what the word for "station" is to be confused with chicken.

And "street" and "pho" has got me stymied too, unless you mean "town" instead of "street" - as in T.P. HCMC. Hey, what do I know, my vocabulary sucks right now.

But you should've give up trying to learn the language, no matter how difficult it may seem to you right now. It'll open up so much more for you, imho.