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.
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!