Happy Scribe

The brown Pandit's brown cows with the brown Pandit's brown cast, and I am here with my old friend Jasper Gregory, who is based in Vietnam, and Jasper has been on a couple of times before, mostly talk about Vietnam coronavirus. And so I want to start out talking about coronavirus again. Since I last talked to Jaspar on this particular topic, it's been maybe like five months. Six months. Wow. 2020. 2020 is really flown. But so tell us what happened to Danang, Jasper, and what the general situation of Vietnam is right now.


OK, so we Vietnam had been declared covid free, I think, right around May, and then we got another, so our borders were sealed and then we got another case in my city in Danang out of the blue, and we got hit harder this time. So we have deaths, you know, not a huge amount compared with other places. I think it wound up around 30. So my city got into the hospital system and it started spreading out to other regions.


But in the end, they locked down Danang really quickly and Hoisin, which is nearby, and we had a two month lockdown and now all is good again. We're we're back out of lockdown. We don't really know where it came from, but it's probably from illegal immigration, so they found a bunch of people helping the Chinese border and coming down to denounce. Well, I mean, so would it be Chinese people or not, because, I mean, China seems to have crushed it pretty well.


Well, yeah, see, that's that's the thing is we got a flow of Chinese immigrants and we did get we did get one illegal Chinese immigrant in our human city who was covid positive. So I don't know. I mean, right around right before we got it, there had been an outbreak in Beijing. So maybe some of those people had fled down to here.


And so how long was your lockdown and. Yeah. So how long was your lockdown in Danang, though? Because you were you were at the center of your outbreak.


Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


And and, you know, Vietnam did a great job. Again, they kept the lockdown down to Danang and my and a neighboring province, which is two percent of the population of the country. So but you know, I lucked out. I think it was a five week lockdown. You know, we're not we're still not completely back to normal. There's no bars and there's no cinema. But otherwise, you know, I'm back at work. I've been back at work for two weeks.


And, you know, it was spreading pretty quickly. But the lockdown is really severe. So it's it did its work. So what do you mean by severe? Can you elaborate for the American listeners? OK, so severe means it's illegal not to wear a mask. So the police aren't really a joke here, you know? You know, you do what they say. It was illegal to exercise. So they were confiscating people's bicycles that were out for a drive.


At a certain point, they identified the fresh markets, the local markets as a vector. And so they started saying you could only go to the markets once every you know, every other day. You could only go three times a week. And they started handing out vouchers and there were roadblocks. So, you know, you you literally can't leave the city. So, you know, you can't work during those periods and, you know, here in the United States, the main issue with Lockdown's is the financial hardship, especially for people that are, you know, less well-off, don't have savings.


What's the situation in Vietnam like when people are in lockdown for five weeks? You know, I mean, are they begging for food? I mean, do you see some serious poverty breaking out?


OK, so I did not see it. But then again, you're locked inside, so you're not saying much of anything. My feeling is that the social safety net works through the family here and the extended family. The the Vietnam was like distributing food. So, you know, I haven't really seen the hardship. I know that people that were staying in dormitories, students, they had no kitchens. So they had to live off of ramen for five weeks.


Well, that's, um, that's a nutrition experiment, actually. I mean, you could you could do a lot of a lot of experiment. They're basically a treatment right there, a treatment of like some, you know, low fiber, high carb diet for weeks and weeks.


And, wow, that must have been crazy. So Vietnam doesn't really have I mean, that's warm where you are. And so I'm curious about this whole idea that it's spread inside. Is there a lot of air conditioning? You guys can always eat outside, obviously. And so I'm assuming that that's happening. I mean, what is the behavioral changes that you've seen?


OK, well, so the vector this time was the hospitals. And, you know, those do seem to be their mega hospitals, right? Is is it's on an industrial scale, many thousands and thousands of people. So that that turned out to be a really good vector for spreading it. And then the other vector seems to be the local fresh market, which most people, most traditional Vietnamese people go every day. It's pretty crowded in there. But otherwise, you know, I don't think we're much of a vector outside of those.


Yeah, so, I mean, you're saying the hospitals is where they spread, so you had maybe a super spreader in the hospital and that super spreader was causing the problem in the hospital. Is that what was OK?


Well, I mean, I don't know if there was one super spreader, but I mean, it went from department to department. So I think they you know, they found like 20 or 30 nurses, medical workers. So, you know, I believe that they had a similar situation in northern Italy was why it got so bad in Bergamo.


You know, it was going through their hospital networks. You know, it's definitely yeah, yeah, we had, you know. Yeah, and we had Andrea from from Italy on the podcast earlier, so, you know, listeners can check that one out.


So, I mean, in Vietnam as a whole, is everything back to normal is done wrong, like particularly in semi lockdown, Danang and the neighboring province, Kangnam, where Royan, the rest of the country, kind of went on because the hospital system is so centralized that it did start to spread. They got cases pretty much in most of the provinces. So they did get some up north in Hanoi and down south in Saigon. But I think for the most part, they just you know, they shut down bars, basically bars and nightclubs, cinemas.


And for the rest, I think the rest of the country just went on as normal and now it's all back completely to normal. Kids are back in, our schools are up and, you know, everything's. And so so if you're in if you're in Hanoi, you can go to the cinemas like Danang is particular about that now.


Yeah, I'm pretty sure that they can go back to the cinemas, but they may have closed down the cinemas during the height of it in Hanoi. But yeah, they can go again. But I think they're all going out and they're going out of business anyway. Nobody wants to go cinema anymore. Yeah, yeah, I mean, the same thing is happening, the United States, they're going to delay, I think I think Riegle is shutting down a bunch because the new Bond movie is delayed.


And, yeah, I don't know what's going to happen with that whole industry in China. In China, they still go, though. OK. Chinese Chinese preferences are going to be driving a lot of the big tentpole movies that we've been used to over the last, you know, 10 to 20 years. So it's back to normal in Vietnam. And, you know, Thailand's better. OK, I looked at the numbers for Asia. They're not that bad.


Indonesia and Philippines, more touch and go.


What do people in Southeast Asia say about the fact that Southeast Asia in particular seems to have left Cambodia, hasn't really had much of an issue, seems to have dodged coronavirus on the whole? Because, you know, with South Korea, you can say, oh, they have this, like, fantastic test and trace. And yeah, Vietnam has some state capacity. But I mean, Thailand, all these tourists coming in, they're pretty like liberal society and a lot of ways.


And then you have Malaysia, which is totally different and Cambodia is kind of less developed, kind of authoritarian regime.


Do people in Southeast Asia have any explanation for why they don't seem to be hit particularly hard?


You know, to be honest, Vietnamese people don't talk about Southeast Asia much, but they seem much more aware of what's happening in America than they are what's happening with their neighbors.


So, you know, I, I, I it bring up some people and. Yeah, go ahead.


Well, so people in Vietnam don't don't see themselves as Southeast Asian. They see themselves something different.


Yeah. They just Vietnamese, you know, they're very unaware, they're very unaware of what's happening in the neighboring countries.


So so that discussion is reciprocal. People in Thailand. Yeah, I think so, you know, yeah, isn't that Cambodia is more aware they're smaller, so they're more aware of their neighbors. Yeah, yeah, so so there isn't any Southeast Asia wide hypothesis, but I mean, the Vietnamese know that they've been relatively lucky, right?


Yeah, but, you know, I think it's ascribe mostly to government policy. And I. I think that's the case. Well, OK. Government policy and then having an outdoor lifestyle and the fact that poor people live their lives outdoors, you know, I think that that makes sense for Vietnam. It makes sense for Laos and Cambodia as well. OK, well, so what do you think, I mean, what do you hear on the street in Vietnam in terms of coronavirus?


Like it's just going to be around until the vaccine shows up? It's just part of the new normal, or do people think that they are?


I mean, with China, they've crushed it. I mean, you know, you can say that they're an authoritarian regime that lies. But I watch enough YouTube and I know people in China like they're back to normal. They don't even wear masks anymore. I mean, they track and trace people coming into the country so much that I don't really I mean, honestly, like, part of me intellectually doesn't believe it's true.


But then I read the news and watch the YouTube and ask around, and it does seem like, yes, it's not a thing unless there's like massive pockets in rural areas that are totally insulated from the cities. I don't know, they've crushed it. And so I think they're acting like it's not going to be a big deal and the vaccine will be here soon and then whatever. What's the attitude? Vietnam, it's the same.


Pretty much. I mean, we've we crossed you know, we've crossed three waves, actually.


So it's you know, it's very impressive that they actually seem less concerned about it. You know, even Tynong. It's like, OK, my students who came back after lockdown, they weren't so traumatized like the first time. You know, it all seems kind of normal. We all stop wearing masks. About a week after we came out of lockdown.


And, you know, now, you know, now Vietnam is opening up commercial flights and everything, but they're still putting people into 14 that quarantine.




Well, what whatever happened to that wealthy woman that, you know, brought a bunch of stuff to Vietnam?


I didn't hear much more about her. Yeah, and I don't even know if it's really if she was scapegoated or, you know, if it's really her fault or not. OK, well, it sounds like it sounds like, you know it, you live a life of relative normalcy, you know, despite the lockdown here in the United States, I mean, I'm sure you've watched the news. I mean, it's not like we live. It's not like the black death.


You know, recently we had to travel for some family reasons to another state. And, you know, it was weird just being out and about like we didn't go inside anywhere. But, you know, people are just living their lives. And yet, I mean, the numbers or the numbers, you know what they are. I have a friend in Texas and and an E.R. and they were maxed out over the summer with covid-19. But now it's like a third covid-19, maybe 20 percent.


I mean, it's dropping. So it's bad, but it's kind of, you know, at that like it's like, you know, a D plus, you know, maybe a C minus, like we're just kind of kicking the can down the road. And, you know, as we're recording this, you know, you know, President Donald Trump is at Walter Reed due to coronavirus. So this is also our new normal.


And we, unlike you in East Asia, cannot kind of put it out of mind because it's always there and you're always making a calculation. And the other thing that's going on in this country is, you know, Black Lives Matter, anti-racism, white privilege, all of this stuff kind of blew up in June, although it was all always there in academia.


But now it's everywhere. White people really, really want to stop their white supremacy is, I guess, the thing I'm curious, you know, I know you have some opinions from your Twitter heterodox Asia. You know, a little spicy, I would say, you know, probably opinions that you can't say in the United States anymore. This is a country with free speech, but you're never getting a job anywhere. No one's ever going to talk to you.


So, you know, there could be a law that you're allowed to have free speech. But if you're a social pariah, you know that's not going to happen. What is what is the perspective there from East Asia? You know, I have some Indian friends that have told me that they kind of think it's seems that say to that. But what do you hear? Like what do you think? Like what do you see?


OK, now the demis don't seem to be all that aware. You know, like some of my kids, you know, put up their Black Lives Matter Square on Instagram. But, you know, they don't really know what it is. But, you know, my perspective from from over here is it just seems kind of insane. It seems like police reform is a very necessary step. And instead you're getting insurrectionary, you know, communism or whatever on the street.


So it will go ahead. Well, do they know do they know that if you're not antiracist, according to Dr. Ibraheem X candy, you are racist? So therefore, if they don't know they are racist, they are white supremacists.


Do they know?


No, they don't know that. But, you know, they are racists. So you know that they have no they have no trouble with that. I would say most of them are probably Western chauvinists as well, so. So their white supremacy. They are their apologists for white supremacy, and they love Donald Trump, too. Don't forget that. So why do Vietnamese love Donald Trump? You know, I think it's it's because they really hate China.


And I mean, that's it. They they see him as standing up to China and they're really happy about it. So I think that might be the only thing. Yeah, I totally I've had terribly sad, sad students and colleagues say, oh, is Donald Trump going to win? And I say, no, I don't think he's going to win. And they're really sad, so I have to console them.


Wait, so they support Donald Trump and they don't know what Black Lives Matter means.


So basically Vietnam is filled with white supremacy.


Yeah, exactly. Exactly. Oh, yeah. There were yeah. There have been some foreigners that were trying to start Black Lives Matter protests here, but that got crushed really fast. The Facebook groups are all moderated now and they say, you know, no protest posts.


So so which which foreigners would kind of like American Idiot. It is unknown, but it's very likely that it's Americans that there are there are also some Americans that have a philosophy for.


So, you know, they're like trying to teach people about man spreading and stuff like that, you know, important things.


So what do what do what do black Vietnamese feel about this white supremacy?


Oh, yeah, I don't know a whole lot of black Vietnamese, although, you know, you can you can't it isn't very problematic that you don't have representation in your Vietnamese social.


Yeah, it is very, very problematic. Yeah. It is kind of a good question whether Vietnamese are brown people or not, because if they go into the sun, they're brown people, but they they avoid the sun like the plague. So. But not yeah, yeah, I don't know how to classify them, yeah, they yeah, they're they're they're they're brown in the fields and white in the sheet. Yeah. Yeah, I guess so.


I guess. Yeah, they tell me they're yellow but I try to tell them now you're not you're not yellow. There's nothing.


I mean. No I mean I was asking you about Africa and Vietnam.


Yeah. Yeah I know, I know. We have a very low representation of African Vietnamese. It's shocking. It's shocking.


Yeah. I mean that's that's very problematic because again, it's an expression of white supremacy. Right.


So, I mean, you know, the issue in the United States right now is, you know, there are these strange, you know, for the listeners, there are these strange formulas that were very prevalent in academia. And you probably know some of them, Jasper, but now they've spread out to the rest of society. And it's just perplexing because a lot of people haven't even most people have not gone to college. Right. Most people do not have university degrees.


But now this logic is out there.


And someone asked, how are Americans and the American media going to interpret the Azerbaijan versus Armenia conflict on Twitter? And I had a very quick, like, you know, four or five sentence explanation. Did you see that tweet?


I did not. So basically, it's really straightforward, Armenians are white supremacists, the logic is obvious, Azerbaijanis are Muslim, OK, as Armenians are fighting Azerbaijanis, therefore they're Islamophobic, therefore they're racist, therefore they're white supremacists. Right. And so if you're a WOAK American, you should support Azerbaijan because Muslims are racially racialized bodies. It's not that complicated.


Yeah, but I mean, there are a lot of people that's.


Now, whatever, that that's because you don't live here, you know, even if you disagree, even if you disagree with this, with this norm, this new religious dispensation, you kind of internalize the logic and know how to respond to it. And that is, I think, the insidious aspect to it, where it kind of suffuses your way of thinking is that you start to, you know, think about this sort of thing.


So, for example, you know, if you say something, your race matters a lot as a white man. Right. You know, so, you know, it's like some protester will be protesting and some person will say, well, that's a white protester. And then someone else, actually, they're Latino. They're like, oh, that's OK. That yeah, OK.


Like, it's like it's like they're ontological just state changed automatically because of their identification, you know, because they look white. And then all of a sudden you realize they have a Spanish surname and outrageous things. So I mean, that's how we're here in the United States right now. Like what is the news in Vietnam like? I mean, what do they see?


You know, for a while they were seeing the riots, so they all found it really disturbing. So, you know, my my students were all asking me what's going on? What's wrong? Because they see America as a more enlightened country, I think. And they they just don't know what to think of all the rioting. But, you know, it's it's passed out of there. It's passed out in their news cycle. They're not paying much attention anymore.


Well, I mean, they're not they're not paying and they're not paying attention, but I mean, they really so, you know, every time I talk to you, you talk about how they admire America.


But like, do you ever think about the fact that maybe they admired America that doesn't even exist anymore?


Yeah, yeah. That's a good point. But, you know, say their relatives still go to America and their relatives still succeed.


You know, I mean, yeah, I think America is still great for a nation of immigrants. I don't know, you know, I mean, I think America is of course, the Air Force is great for Asian immigrants because America is a white supremacist country and Asian immigrants are white supremacists, as we were just discussing. Right. Right. Right.


I guess a lot larger because they're they're white adjacent. Yeah. You know, they're buttressing white supremacy. So it's a white supremacist country that would that would make sense. And, you know, like Vietnamese or one of the few Asian-American groups that are heavily Republican tilting still.


Yeah, yeah. Yeah. There's like fifty eight percent support for Donald Trump as. Yeah.


So do you talk to other other expats from other countries or from America like. Well I mean what do they think from, you know, kind of their more worldly view.


Oh I mean but you know, before this second Lorcan, I was talking to, you know, it was a subject everyone was talking about just how America is tearing itself apart. So, you know, a lot of people seem to think it's the end of America. I you know, I personally think we'll get over it. It'll survive. It'll get it'll it'll pass. This, too, shall pass. Yeah, yeah, I mean, I hope you're right, you know, one thing I think a lot of Americans are worried about is the rise of China and the fact that we are not quite the hyper power that we were, say, 10, 20 years ago.


And so do we have the margin to, you know, come back from kind of going low as we are just we're prone right now or, you know, we're not really focusing on the rest of the world, aside from a few rhetorical flourishes.


Yeah, Trump does some anti China rhetoric, but the execution is not really there, you know, through our state apparatus is not really oriented towards that at all. Our state apparatus right now is focused inward, trying to eliminate systemic racism or deal with, you know, the brutality of the police.


I mean, there's all sorts of issues. We're very, very focused on our own concerns right now. And so, I mean, that is what I what I wonder about. Like the rest of the world does not exist. The US right now, all that is all that exists is within this country. But your students don't want to come to America, they still aspire. Yes, some of them, you know, I definitely had a student who say, oh, I don't want to go anymore because one of them did say because because Americans hate black people.


So some one of them had picked up that line. But, you know, a lot of them were going to Canada and Australia anyway, so. Yeah, yeah.


So, I mean, there's other Western countries out there. What was why was that student was that student particular in any way where they had heard it from his base?


He had heard it from his big sister. I mean, he's only 12, right? He had heard it from his big sister. Oh, I see. And she you know, she's on Instagram all the time. So she picked up the Instagram. I had heard it. There are quite a few girls like my pop girls, the ones who listen to kapok. They were getting it through Instagram. It seemed to be filtering, but it didn't go very deep.


They asked me what it meant. So they had they had posted Black Lives Matter, but they didn't really know what it meant. But, you know, it is interesting how capable is in on it. But, you know, and as for China taking over, you know, it looks like China is creating its own resistance and up and coming countries. So, you know, you've got India, you've got Vietnam and you've got Indonesia. There's a lot of resistance building against China.


So I don't think it's really America's job to counterbalance China. It's like. That they're they're creating their own resistance on their own. Yeah, yeah, so, you know, Vietnam, actually, I haven't asked you about this, Vietnam has a large ethnic Chinese minority who are, I mean, I think, pretty assimilated.


What is the attitude towards them? How do they view themselves in Vietnam? I mean, so, for example, in Southeast Asia and like, let's assume Vietnam is in Southeast Asia because it is geographically you know, in Thailand, you have a very integrated Chinese community to the point where, you know, there's people that are kind of semi Chinese or just ancestrally Chinese, but totally Thai culturally. And then there's people that are more Chinese that a recent immigrants, you have the whole spectrum and like 10 percent of the population is Chinese and they're just kind of like intermixed into the population.


And then you have places like Malaysia, Indonesia, where because of religion, there are way, way distinct and separated. Right.


I think Vietnam kind of is in the middle, maybe more like Thailand. Like what's your general perception?


Like, what have you heard? OK, so I would say that it's even on the further polled in Thailand. OK, so the Chinese so there was an emperor, you know, in like 1820, Mingma, and he started to force everyone to assimilate.


So Vietnam is had a very assimilationist past. And then after the war with China, there was kind of an ethnic cleansing. You know, it's not really something you're supposed to talk about, but the boat people who left were all Chinese so that the Chinese were pushed out. And I think mostly the Chinese, a much smaller minority and much more integrated. You can still tell from the last names. But, you know, they're you know, they say they're Vietnamese.


They don't say they're Chinese. They don't they don't learn any Chinese traditions. So, you know, there are, you know, that kind of trying to to be just kind of to out. Yeah. Yeah, exactly. OK, OK, so so the rise of the rise of tensions with China has no effect on them, not now, because, you know, it already happened, right? You know, they're already they're already ethnically cleansed.


So, you know, I don't know exactly what percentage of but was huge as millions. So that was recent. Yeah, yeah, well, so I mean, what about, um, you know, the dominant group in Vietnam, our Vietnamese kin, right? Yeah, but what about, like, these ethnic minorities, like the Montagnards and like, you know, those obscure little groups like the chance like do you ever run into people like that?


Like I mean, are they just getting assimilated into becoming Vietnamese by language? Because, you know, in China, a lot of the ethnic minorities no longer can speak their minority languages very well. They all speak Mandarin. What's happening in Vietnam?


Um, OK. So the big minorities say you've got Chom minorities. I don't think that's shrinking anymore.


You know, they've kind of dug in and you've got you've got a Khmer minority from where, you know, like in the nineteen hundreds, they were taken over. So that's down in the Mekong Delta all the way in the south. There seems to be a little bit of nationalism going on with them. And then the whole Montana, the highland part of the country, they are restive, you know, so they sided with the Americans during the war and they have en masse pretty much converted to evangelical Protestantism.


So, you know, they're all kind of Pentecostal and they're under a pretty severe police state up there, more than, you know, more than anywhere else in the country. I, I encounter them when they you know, I encountered their children when they moved down to dinner. But other than that, you know, pretty much everybody I meet is can they're just Vietnamese in the in Saigon.


And there were more Chinese kids and they were usually made fun of and picked on. So they were a pretty small minority. One in 10 maybe. OK, OK, well, what do you mean I mean, how could people tell that they were Chinese? Speak Vietnamese last name.


OK, OK, just like they could tell by their ancestral origin. Yeah, yeah. And, you know, I think the girl that I'm thinking of, she she brought it up, you know, so she had she she was kind of interested in her Chinese background. You know, it's kind of interesting. I do have kids now and then.


I do have kids that are really interested in Chinese culture and want to travel to China, but they're kind of close lipped about it. Right. Is they they won't really tell their friends some of the little ashamed of. Which is which, considering just how close Vietnam is to China, culturally, it's. Kind of and, you know, it's sad, it's kind of stupid. Yeah, yeah, well. You know, there's a whole history there, as a lot of listeners know or could look up, that goes back two thousand years of Vietnamese conflicts and attempts to gain independence combined with this like massive Chinese influence.


I mean, what's Vietnam's population is one hundred million very, very close in a very close to like 99 million.


All right. Also, China. China is like one point four billion, so you can imagine, like having a neighbor like that is 14 times more populous than you. That's that's pretty intimidating. That's pretty overwhelming. And I think that's what you're seeing with nations like, you know, some nations are just like, OK, we're just going to, like, lead China pretty much, you know, control us. I mean, you know, Pakistan is not really a puppet, but I mean, it's pretty down with just being, you know, China's geopolitical, you know, sidekick.


Yeah, exactly. Whatever, you know, I mean, like those those wiggers across the border from northern Pakistan, they don't exist in Pakistan. You know, they just the people of Pakistan say it's like conspiracy theory by the West to make China look bad because Chinese are good at good. You know, they like China because China, you know, helps them against India. So it's interesting how these geopolitical considerations make strange bedfellows. And, you know, I had a podcast with Khaja where we talked about talked about a Pakistani, mostly Christian women that have been going to China as brides.


You so that's the thing that's happening. And are there any Vietnamese women that go to China? I mean, I know that they some of them have gone to Korea.


Well, there's kind of a human trafficking thing with with Vietnamese girls being sold into marriage in China. So that's happened. There were some Hmong women kidnapped and taken to China. But, you know, I don't really I haven't heard of, you know, I definitely have students that want to get a. Are you there? OK, I definitely have, yeah, yeah, I definitely have a lot of students that want to learn Korean and want to move to Korea, but I've never had a student who wants to move to China.


Well, so I mean, as well as you actually want to, I this wasn't on our topic list, but I'm curious, K Pop, is pop a big deal and yet it's a huge deal.


It's a huge deal. So trendy young people, they're interested in two things. OK, and again, my students all speak English, so I'm getting a certain class, at least middle class that that I talk with. So there might be a bit of a bias, but there's two two places they're interested in is Korea and America. The the young people, their trends, they got to drink milk, tea, you know, which, you know, I guess it's Taiwanese, not Korean, but it's still kind of the same cultural group.


They go out and drink milk, tea, they go to Korean restaurants, they learn how to cook Korean. And I have a number of girls who are learning Korean.


And their ideals and, you know, they watch Korean drama and they listen to pop, so as a cultural power, Korea is amazing. They have a huge influence here. And so, you know, Japan still has more people, still a bigger economy. Why is it I mean, is Japan influential at all or is it different or I mean, well, OK, so the manga is still big.


So younger people say younger people are still influenced by Korea. I definitely have some kids that have occurred. I'm sorry, Japan. I still have some kids who want to travel there. And I have a number of kids who want to study there because there's jobs. But, you know, it's just seen as an older culture.


It just doesn't have the youthful energy anymore. Which is funny considering that anime is still, you know, so they still appeal to children, but teenagers just aren't interested. You know, I've asked them about Jae Pak. They don't watch. They don't listen to it. They don't watch Japanese movies. Well, so you so Korea has a massive soft power culturally in Asia, but I mean, I don't really know about anything related to China that ever gets exported.


Is that a correct impression?


No, it's not quite as big. But I definitely a number of my students are listening to, you know, Chinese pop know, I don't know if the cult Sepah, but and there's a number of large Chinese dramas and Chinese movies.


So it's not it's a little bit more oddball. Right. It's not the mainstream, but it exists. Yeah. They have the cultural products. I think they just have a reputational problem.


Well, I mean, yeah, just with the with the whole geopolitical thing and the war and the and I'm sure it's a little it's a little difficult for Vietnam. So I mean, are you pretty optimistic? You know, it's been a tough year in many ways. Are you pretty optimistic about Vietnam's prospects and bouncing back from Coronavirus and its position? I mean, I'm seeing some good things on its economy in the news. You know, I pretty much like I check a lot of countries that just periodically just to see what's going on.


And sometimes, like, you can't really find anything because, yeah, it's just not a thing anymore. I mean, it's like the Chinese articles are like 20 people from abroad have had covid and are in quarantine or isolation. You know, that's in like they just they don't they don't write about it anymore. So, you know, are you pretty optimistic for, you know, going into twenty, twenty one? Well, OK.


I mean, so I think Vietnam is down to a two percent growth this year, which is a disaster for Vietnam. But it's you know, it'd be great for most countries in the world.


It's not that bad. Yeah. Yeah, not that bad. A lot. A lot of countries like.


Yeah, but considering what they're used to, it's it's kind of hard for them to Indianan because I'm in a tourist city, it's particularly hard hit writers with just our entire tourist industry was wiped out. But, you know, Vietnam seems, you know, they'll do at least as well. You know, they'll probably be up to like four percent growth. So, you know, it's not a hard life for Vietnam. A lot of the industry which is leaving China is moving to Vietnam.


So pretty much they they get as much industry as they can afford, you know, as much as they can eat, they get. And, you know, they seem to be floating idea just they just opened up commercial flights again last week, they're floating floating ideas of making a travel blob bubble for the first time. So they're kind of more interested in growth. So they're they're putting some effort into making the economy grow, which they didn't seem particularly worried about to begin with.


So, yeah, I mean, things are fine. Things are fine, right? I mean, nobody's nobody's starving. Well, I mean, so, you know, I would say in the United States right now, a lot of the sentiment is. Pretty pessimistic, you know, we don't really know what's going on in this country, not just on, you know, resistance left, but also people on the right are just kind of like, oh, you know, it's still not great again.


And all this stuff, I mean, the average Vietnamese, you know, developing country that's definitely on the rise, a fast growing economy.


Are they still optimistic or are they still looking forward?


Oh, yeah, for sure. Absolutely. No doubt. They're you know, it's not quite the go go economy. I mean, they had a seven percent growth the year before. So, you know, it's a little bit of a come down from there. But now they're definitely still very positive. Awesome, well, it's been great talking to you. Let's hope that coronavirus that you guys don't have your fourth wave, although who knows, I'm hearing some really positive things about the vaccination trials, right?


I yeah, I just virologist friends are pretty optimistic that pretty much a one hundred percent probability of having a really good vaccine by June, probably something good earlier than June.


You know, fingers crossed, maybe early. Twenty, twenty one is what I'm hearing. So that's good. The main issue is probably going to be depending on the country, how you scale production, you know. Yeah, get it, get it, get it to enough people. So it may be the next time I talk to you Jaspar, we will not have to talk about coronavirus.


We will never need to talk about it again. I mean, that's that, that's, that's the world I dream of.


Yeah. Yeah. But yeah. I mean of course with the vaccination it's you know, it's not going to be like the flu. You've got to get it every year again. But you know, yeah.


It could, it could be an endemic disease and hopefully it'll get less severe over time. But if the vaccinations are pretty good, that will reduce the infection fatality rate. I mean, even we could reduce it by like 50, you know, 75 percent. That would make a huge difference, I think, especially for, you know, you know, older people.


Yeah, here's hoping. Yeah, yeah, all right, man, it was great talking to you. Yeah, you too. Tune in next week for Brown Cast.