As I was chatting to Tony who wanted an update, here it for economies sake for the family and friends too: we are in week 12 of homeschooling. Heaven forfend, help the kids. We sailed past the ‘we have this’ phase into stir crazy part three in and out the other end of ‘this is how it will be forever’. Playing the Animals ‘We Gotta get Out of This Place’ over dinner. Vietnam = 0 deaths, under 300 infections found, yaaay, and all of those traced to a couple of folks returned from pommyland, one airline pilot who went clubbing!! Nevertheless, great effort and a system that works – go figure, communism for all, I say – and we hope it will just be a few weeks more before the schools welcome us back, otherwise, its forever and, well, at least life is cheap here. On the other hand, life is cheap here. Thankfully some factories and businesses have been paying wages and there’s a lot of govt support, but marginal, part-time, street-level workers, waste-pickers., lottery tix people, etc, must have it tough, so very, tough times for many people, but I am still surprised, a little, since not all that many are visibly losing it. People sit around as casual as ever in the smaller outdoor street cafes that are still functioning in a minor way; for the bigger cafes – and in our area, every second house is a small cafe or foodie joint – in terms of the near-subsistence level businesses here must be a lot of pain – 80% of shops still closed (though the guy selling Security System’s can’t be an essential service can he? I mean, everyone is at home, and the restaurant tips are empty. Who needs security gadgets right now?). There was a moment when we could think, ah, it is just like a long long staycation, – endless Tet – but its harder to concentrate on anything the longer this goes on without a clear outcome/prognosis. I guess we have a lot of people starting to construct these. Home kit versions mostly – and often prognosis by numbers. And Guesswork. When I do get a moment to think work things, apart from just getting the few articles out with others, the analytic side is a minefield of doom and chaos. Again, maybe in some ways, Vietnam should be ok because not so many foreign students come here compared to say, Australia, UK and US uni’s, who are gonna suffer extreme measures – part inflicted by the ‘crisis’, partly by the bodgy silver budgie management types that will cut to the bone to save their skins. Especially UK ones who recently spent tonnes of money on tarting up their facilities to attract more students. Expect a huge crash in the higher education sector there. That, plus travel, are going to be a long time coming back. Venture capital will no doubt be looking to invest in remote digital services for rich folks on islands. If they can secure private armies to defend their fibre optic links and helicopter/drone Amazon deliveries, their life will be the same – well, wall-to-wall Rolling Stones ‘at home’ videos are the saddest part of it. Quite a long way from the Honky Tonk, eh Mick.
Published by john hutnyk
Writer on culture, cities, diaspora, history, film, prisons, colonialism, education, Marxism. Studied and taught in Australia at Deakin and Melbourne Universities; and in the UK in Manchester University’s Institute for Creative and Cultural Research; before moving to Goldsmiths University of London in 1998, and becoming Academic Director of the Centre for Cultural Studies in 2004-2014. Has held visiting researcher posts in Germany at the South Asia Institute and Institute fur Ethnologie at Heidelberg University, and Visiting Professor posts in InterCultural Studies at Nagoya City University Japan, Zeppelin University and Hamburg University, Germany, Sociology at Mimar Sinan University, Istanbul, Turkey and at the Graduate Institute for Social Research and Cultural Studies, National Chiao Tung University, Taiwan. Immediate past adjunct Professor of RMIT University, Melbourne and GIAN Visiting Professor Jadavpur Uni Kolkata. Currently Associate Professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Humanities at Ton Duc Thang University, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. View all posts by john hutnyk