I’ve lived in Southeast Asia for 7 years now. First Thailand, then Cambodia and for the last two years in Saigon, Vietnam. I love the place and the people. Yes of course there are frustrations, there are in any country, but I have found the people to be amongst the finest I have ever met. I travelled the world for 30 years as a musician and I have met people all over the world. In general they are lovely, of course you will always meet the odd bad egg, but that’s life. I do however believe that if you treat people as though they are arseholes, then you will meet a lot more of them. What you get back is always relative to what you give out.

People sometimes ask me why I am almost always positive in the articles that I write about Southeast Asia. I suppose there are a few reasons for this. For starters I genuinely love it here. I am also normally a ‘glass half full’ kind of a bloke. It is too easy to be negative, but all that does is make oneself feel worse about the situation that one is in. I find the negative attitude is prevalent among people who are stuck here rather than being here for any other reason. I can live anywhere I want, I work online; that I chose to be here speaks volumes for my opinion of the place. Someone on a contract or someone who can’t get work anywhere else, and who doesn’t want to be here, will over time, build up resentments. I also believe that airing negative opinions about the very people in whose country one is setting up home is, well, just rude.

The beatuiful people of the Region, just one reason why I love it here – photo Nick Burgoyne

I live in Saigon. I hear the negatives every day. People moan about the heat, the traffic, the people, the language, the building work, the new metro line and everything else in this fabulous city. I find myself genuinely wondering why they live here. If I saw that much negativity every day, it would drive me mad. I love Saigon, I love Vietnam and I love Southeast Asia. I am more than happy to let a few things slide, in order to keep smiling. I struggle a bit with Vietnamese food, but I am the first to admit that that is just a personal taste thing. I find the few things that I do like, and eat those. I have pho about 5 times per week, it’s not a varied diet, but I like it. So instead of moaning about the things that I don’t eat, I’ll write about the dishes that I do like. Some of which I think are rather splendid.

This is the general tenor of my website and will continue so to be. I want people to know about the good things out here, they get to read bad stuff from around the world every day, I don’t need to add to it. I heard a lot of negative comments about the Nguyen Hué development, for example. I held my council preferring to see the finished article before writing one. I have now written an article about it and I think the work that has been carried out is superb. Others might disagree as is their want. I genuinely like it and love to see the locals enjoying it every evening.

And so friends, I just wanted to explain the ethos of InSeAsia.com. I have been called into question about it a few times and hope that my approach is one on which our many friends throughout the region agree. I continue to be thankful for your support and am delighted to see us gaining new Facebook friends, Twitter followers and subscribers to the website every day. Thanks a million!

  • Reine Ahnung

    I lived the last 2 years in Cambodia at the boarder to Vietnam (Chau Doc). You are absolutly right. The food is not as good as the neighbours (very tasty) but I never have had so good seafood like in HCM town.
    Good luck to you.