Wonder if the dogs really dig such “aroma”
Wonder if the dogs really dig such “aroma”
I named them Copy and Paste
While preparing for a course on information design, I remembered a travel book called Asia Overland. This book has been out of print since 2002, but it is still my favourite. This book approached destinations from the point of someone who likes to discover a place in contrast to Lonely Planet that tried to give you detailed information. The maps were all hand drawn. There were hacks on how to hitchhike in Japan, how to enter North Korea and Iraq and several of the new countries that appeared after the break up of the Soviet Union. While the internet and apps have made travelling easy and more predictable, I miss those days when you had more random encounters and chance discoveries.
I like the variety of fashion and styles that people sport in Myanmar - you can find the 1970s, the 80s, the 90s etc. and often a mix of match of these with traditional hair and fashions of the land. There are still styles that remain unchanged from my first visit about 20 years ago.
Downtown Yangon, during and after the rains.
I find it interesting that when I am in Vietnam or Cambodia (where WiFi is widespread), I get the option to download YouTube videos for offline viewing (a feature they built specifically for emerging markets). But in Singapore and Japan, the Download button disappears. I argue that this feature is also useful in more affluent countries as there is not much free WiFi in cafes and small shops.
Saigon is like a mysterious lover with many secrets. For example, whenever I eat at the Mon Hue at 178 Pasteur, I can’t but think of the quiet villa next doors. More so with all the talk these days of big data and such. The villa now houses a kindergarten, but it was once a nest of intrigue. Can you imagine that such a quiet houe once hosted notable visitors such as Henry Kissinger.
During the Vietnam War, this building was the office of Rand Corporation. Rand was tasked with debriefing captured North Vietnamese fighters and to figure out strategies to win the war. They called it Vietcong Motivation and Morale Project. Rand’s project lead Leon Goure advised the continuation of war based on his team's interrogation. He concluded that the North was low on morale and they would eventually give up when faced with continued arial bombing. Top military folks, spies and journalists regularly visited this villa to talk to Goure and his team. To some extent, US air campaign was the result of Goure’s analysis.
In the late 1960s, Rand sent another analyst Konrad Kellen to take a fresh look at the data generated from the debrief. Kellen looked at precisely the same documents and concluded that the North would never give up. He advised the US to stop the war.
Can you guess the reason that these two brilliant people, looking at the same data, came with such opposing opinions?
The answer is “Confirmation Bias”: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias.
The first analyst Goure was a refugee multiple times. When he was a child, his family fled Russia to escape the communists. A few years later, his family fled Germany to escape the Nazis. Many of the interviewers were Vietnamese who had fled from the communist North Vietnam to South Vietnam. They had an inherent bias against the North and interpreted the data according to their own views.
Kellen was also a refugee, escaping Germany to the US. He looked at the stubborn resistance of the North from the lens of his own desire to be independent, not from the point of view of the communism versus the free world fight.
If you are interested in this story I will recommend this podcast episode by Malcom Gladwell http://revisionisthistory.com/episodes/02-saigon-1965. I bring up this topic because I always remind my learners the when they encounter a study or a research, find out who created it, find out the motivations of the organisation funding the study etc. And don’t blindly trust the conclusions. If possible go and talk to the people or society that is featured in the study and get your own feel.
They are my neighbours. I call them Hide (L) and Seek (R).
Oh no, here I go again. Hearing about unrequited love, quantum physics, getting lost/missing trains and grabbing wonders from the hand of time. We always assemble to discuss what we read , but I end up learning so much more about how the themes in the books relate to the reader’s lives in a city where each generation experiences a faster change compared to the previous one.
From the “What are you reading these days” meet in Saigon.