Updates from September, 2012 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • appelsina7 3:32 am on September 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    Sign Challenge 


    Translation (A Special Thanks to Huy Kouan)

    Announcement: Training school for financial officials

    Commencement ceremony

    Training class for specialists (staff) in state management knowledge

    (At room B3.1, Second floor, B area (zone))

    I take classes a short walk away from the guesthouse where I have been staying for three weeks. There are other buildings around the building where I study but I did not know much about them until I took a picture of this sign and had it translated. Apparently all of the Vietnamese I have been seeing in business attire work for the state and are taking a class in the building right next to mine. Maybe I should try talking to them about Vietnam and their work here.

    The other day I was at dinner with a friend. We were sitting at the same table as a man with his family. I was very interested in what they ordered because I like to see what people here enjoy eating most. We started talking and I discovered that he was an immigration officer from Cambodia. I learned that if I am a little more out going with people I don’t know, I can have some very interesting conversations.

    Translation (A Special Thanks to To Thu Tra)
    University of Economics, Ho Chi Minh University
    Center of Economic Service
    Parking Lot Regulations

    1.  For students and business guests:

    • Move and park according to the regulations.
    • Keep the ticket with you, if the ticket is lost, notify the employee as soon as possible.
    • We don’t take responsibility for any personal belongings left behind.
    • No smoking, no littering, no fighting, and no elbowing .

    2. For the parking lot employees:

    • Wear uniform, name tag and work at the assigned position, absolutely no smoking.
    • Activelty help out the customers to park car at the right places.
    • Sell tickets at the assigned rate.
    • Make rounds and check on car on a regular basis.
    • Have to right to refuse returning vehicles in case of mismatching tickets or suspicions of a thief.
    • In case of lost tickets, only return vehicles upon seeing the proofs of ownership (ID, car registration form)

    I thought that this sign was interesting because it says in the parking regulations that fighting is not allowed but while I have been in Vietnam I haven’t seen anyone get angry to the point of violence. I saw a motorbike accident in which no one was injured and none of the people were angry at the individual at fault. They just picked up their bikes and drove away as though nothing had happened. I am surprised that in the regulations no smoking is listed twice, once for the students and once for the employees. People smoke everywhere here whether it is allowed or not, which was confirmed by the smoking guards working when I took this picture.

    • DougReilly 1:33 pm on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Those are great! It’s funny how something so simple can explain something you’ve been noticing but hadn’t yet formulated in your head as a question, like, “What are all these besuited people up to?” Imagine if you could read all the signs!

    • DougReilly 8:32 pm on October 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Congrats, Appelsina7, you’ve earned your Vere Sandals this week. Keep on walking talking and learning!

    • Tra 9:07 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations!!! It’s funny I’ve seen those “parking lots’ regulations” sign all my life but never stopped to read until I helped you with this

      • appelsina7 3:39 am on October 4, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        I saw it and thought it might say something interesting! In the US we have tons of signs saying things like “Watch your step” but I hadn’t really noticed any of that type of interaction here. Since that wasn’t something I had noticed, when I saw the sign I thought that it must be important if it was instructing people how to act.

  • sallyintaiwan 12:53 am on September 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    When originally thinking about this post, I wanted to begin by stating that since I’ve been in Taipei I’ve never seen anything close to an illegal act— but if I am going to be fully honest I must divulge what I saw last night: a man at the microwave station in 7-11 essentially inhaling a hot dog bun, with chicken nuggets inside.   It seemed strange but what was even more shocking was the fact that he promptly made another one and walked out the door with out paying.

    He, like myself, happens to be a 外國人 (foreigner.)

    Thus, I am not able to begin this post the way I would like.

    Except for the lapse (or lack) of judgment by this one man, I am happy to report that I have never seen someone even litter on the streets of Taipei, or the like.  I have a feeling this stems from societal norms and expectations, but I cannot help but notice the number cameras interested in watching weather or not I take a sip of my bubble tea on the public transportation (like the metro I rode in DC all summer, eating and drinking on a train or bus is illegal.)  A sign stating the presence of these cameras is easy to spot in most public places—I usually like to play a game finding them all (and of course, waving) when waiting for the next train.

    This sign in particular made me smile because, well, it told me to…


    “Please smile, video surveillance!” it reads, at the entry to my school’s library.  And what is it watching for?  Apparently, the average umbrella thief.   The sign hangs directly above the spot where hundreds of umbrellas (which one should never leave home with out… you never know when the next 颱風 could hit) are stored on the many rainy days, keeping our library free of the puddles they make.  The sign, and corresponding camera, are polite reminders that if you forget your umbrella, it’s not a great idea to “borrow” a classmate’s.

    • appelsina7 9:35 am on September 29, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      It is interesting that no one litters in Taipei, the streets must be very clean! Here in Vietnam it is the opposite, it is very common to see people discarding things in the street, rather than in a trash can.

    • DougReilly 1:32 pm on October 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      There is actually a form of street theater that’s designed to be performed for CCTV security cameras!

  • explorewithasmile 1:47 pm on September 24, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    A Walk Home 

    Blog 3: Walking to the dormitory from lunch

  • DougReilly 7:07 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Challenge Two: Signs! 

    Find a sign. Photograph it. Translate it. Tell us what it means. 

    Signs are everywhere, if you know how to read them. Billboards, traffic signs, warnings, advertisements in store windows, flyers glued to a wall or stapled to a pole. Head out with your iPods and capture a sign. Perhaps the image intrigues you (and you’ve been seeing that sign everywhere since you arrived!) but you don’t know how to translate it?  Ask a new friend for help!

    Here’s a photograph of a sign I took in an alleyway I wandered down in Hanoi, Vietnam:

    I had that photo for over a year before I thought to post it on facebook and ask for a translation/explanation. Asiapod member Tra To responded and we had this fascinating back and forth:

    • Tra 9:01 pm on October 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Now I know what this is for =)! So happy that I’m still somehow a part of Asiapod. I love the challenges this year so far, Doug. You really push the students to get out there and explore! When I studied abroad (well, I still am), another thing that constantly intrigued me is the everyday display of religious worship. Can be an incense bowl at the corner of the street or an altar deep in an unnamed alley. All are mundane but also nuances that give meanings, characteristics and spirit to a place.

  • DougReilly 7:06 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply  


    I thought I had written this post, I really did. But I don’t see it, so I guess it was all a dream. Anyway, here it is, and this is not, far as I can tell, a dream at all. It’s real. There is a reason we asked you all your shoe size, and its not because we are weird.

    Vere Sandals. Made in Geneva. For our bloggers.

    Before we chose this prize, I walked across a (small) mountain range north of Kyoto in a pair of these sandals to see how they worked. We didn’t want to give you a prize that wouldn’t actually help you walk. talk. learn. On a muddy trail lined with bamboo and with little shrines dotting the glades of evergreens along the sides, they felt like the right thing to have on my feet. Not to mention that the rain went right through them, so my feet didn’t have to live next to a wet noodle of leather during the walk.

    So we got all the Asiapod Bloggers a pair. And each week, we’re going to choose someone’s post that tickles us in some way and use that as a good excuse to “give” that person their sandals. They’ll still be in Juliet’s desk until you get back, so it’s more of an honorary thing. So and so earned their sandals this week! We’ll post the sandals awards in the comments section of the post. Next up, Challenge the Second.

  • sallyintaiwan 3:34 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    空 is emptiness 

    One of the most exciting things about learning a second language is finding a word for which there is no true English translation.  One of these words in Chinese is 空(kong, firtst tone.)  When given a prompt to write a haiku, I immediately thought of 空 because of my infatuation with the word—specifically how it brings together many infinities into one.  Often, 空 translates into‘emptiness.’But it is also used when asking if someone if they “time”to help, to talk, etc.  The last line of my haiku translates into “do you have time.”I encourage everyone to think about the concept of 空 in their own way ~ it gets me a little lost sometimes but the idea is a lot of fun to attempt to work out!  I guess part of the novelty for me is the fact that it has endless meaning, yet no translation.  Enjoy!

    空 is emptiness

    All in one: time, space, air, void


    • DougReilly 7:11 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Congratulations, Sally, you earned your Vere Sandals with this week’s post. We loved how you mixed Chinese and English, and how deeply you thought about the themes of your haiku. Nice job!

  • appelsina7 3:22 pm on September 17, 2012 Permalink | Reply
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    I Couldn’t Pick Just One 


    A Woman steps off bike

    guts the fish that she had bought

    blood on the sidewalk.


    Mother and child fall

    together, hard, to the ground

    they get back up again.


    They smiled at me

    children wanting to be loved

    handicapped orphans.

    • DougReilly 7:13 pm on September 18, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      The first haiku really reminds me of Basho’s call for “low” imagery…that haiku is about the beauty in nature, which can also be brutal or even ugly. Great haiku!

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