Vietnam

There is so much to share about Vietnam. This is a country very rich in both ancient history and modern history. The food is fantastic and the best so far. There are countless motorbikes and navigating through the traffic (either riding or walking) is an art. People are always smiling and most folks I have met are kind, helpful and generous. They haven’t let their recent history hold them back. It is a country full of hope, enthusiasm, high in spirits and trying to grow and become better. And that it is why I love Vietnam. This is not to … Continue reading Vietnam

Cambodia

In a TED talk on depression, Johann Hari talked about the experience of a South African doctor. The South African doctor was in Cambodia in 2001 when chemical anti-depressants were introduced in the country. Trying to explain what these meds were, the doctor received an unexpected response: We have these anti depressants. Asked to explain more, the Cambodians gave the example of a farmer who had his leg blown off from a landmine. Severely depressed, the doctors spoke to him and then gave him a cow so he could be a dairy farmer. Soon the depression went away because the … Continue reading Cambodia

Laos: The influence of Buddhism

As I wandered through the temples at Luang Prabang, then at Vang Vieng and then again at Vientiane, I couldn’t help but feel deeply appreciative of the Buddha and his teachings. As an athiest (at best an agnostic), I don’t believe in the rituals and practices demanded by religion and the rewards associated with practice but there is something deeply meaningful (I am also at conflict internally given also the wars/killings/inequality in the name of a particular god) about religion and the influences in shaping up the culture, psychy and values within a society. Laos is no different. Buddhism permeates … Continue reading Laos: The influence of Buddhism

Northern Laos

The Northern part of Laos is lush green, stunningly beautiful and extremely mountainous. The winding roads to get anywhere is a testament of human resilience to cut through these mountains and connect the land to its people. And these people, the people from Laos, the ones who call this land home, are some of the most humble, friendly, smiling people I have ever met.However, the smiles hide very deep scars which define them as a people and Laos as a nation. I have spent the last 10 days exploring the Northern part of Laos. And in this short period, I … Continue reading Northern Laos

Singapore

Every time I come to Singapore (however short), the sense of belonging exists: A part of me always will be in Singapore and wants to come back. The other part of me is like ‘I would rather live in cold, rainy, gloomy London and deal with weekly tube signal failures than live through the heat and humidity of Singapore’. The tug of war continues….. The skyline of Singapore astonishes all of me every single time! Singapore is a very modern city but besides the skyline, I am totally in awe of the food here: the taste, the quality, the variety, … Continue reading Singapore