Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Swine Flu

I wonder why people are so surprised about the spread of swine flu. Just think it started in Mexico and then count people traveling in, but especially out of Mexico every day. The chance is more then high that people form all over the world are leaving from Mexico, and airports and planes are one of the best places to catch a infection. That's how diseases like flu are spreading.
So it should not surprise us that swine flu has arrived in country X. Thats not a real news. More interesting is if it's spreading there. For now, we have just some confirmed cases and they can be treated easily. My concern is that we might have cases in countries where the monitoring system isnt' that sophisticated than in Europe or the US. There might be people running around and developing themself as spreaders.
In Vietnam most of the people wearing mask because of the dust in the city. Unfortunately people spitting always like crazy and when the sneeze they never use a tissue. And handwashing is still quite unpopular. Never shake hands with a taxi driver!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Getting lazy with blogging?

Hmm. Nearly one week without a post here. Why? It's not that I am not online anymore. I am, more than ever. There is is just a tiny cute competitor to blogs now available (actually I am using this since 2006, but the use increased recently).. The compatitor is called Twitter.

I am telling trough Twitter what I am doing, but have discussions there and providing links as well. stiff that you found in blogs before.

So I am blogging less. But is the frequency important? Yes, for some reason like Google it is. The more updated your bog, the higher the ranking (or at least the more Google loves you).

But there is another point. A lot of stuff I tweet is not really important. It's chitchatting with followers. Throwing ideas around. The blog is something I take more serious. These posts here are a start of a conversation, or an advise or something like this.

So yes, I will blog less, but I try to keep it more valuable. If you like to know what I do everyday, then follow me on

Or find me at Facebook (even if I don't really like it).

Or wait not more than one week to read a new post here.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bye bye beauty: Sun City develops in Phan Thiet

Phan Thiet isn't really the best beach in Vietnam, but it's ok and it was one of the first ones where hotels were built. Now it's loosing some attraction in the intrnational tourism, mainly because the bad infrastructure: No airport, far away from Saigon and any other major city.

Since the russians discovered the place it has changed already, but with this new project the beauty will be gone:

Sun City gets license for property, tourism project in Phan Thiet
Binh Thuan Province has issued an investment license for the Ho Chi Minh City-based Sun City Company’s project to build a villa quarter in the beach resort city of Phan Thiet.

The company plans to invest about VND357 billion (US$19.83 million) to develop the project on 43 hectares of sandy beach in Ham Tien and Mui Ne, which is considered “heaven of resorts”. Besides the beach villas, the company plans to build hotels and entertainment and sports sections, spas, bars, restaurants, shopping areas and other facilities.

My hope is that there is a gap between announcements and realisation, so this project might never become real.
My concern is, that it might be developed like most projects: cheapest chinese quality, just to build it up and then sell it and run way.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What's new in Ho Chi Minh City?

As a western expat, you are desperate for news and, more important, for events. With a limited cultural life in Saigon, every art exhibition or even the latest Hollywood movie are something you need to see.

My brother just told me that he went to a Lionel Richie concert in Germany, and yes, I was a bit jealous. The last concert I saw was Ronan Keating in Phnom Penh.

So whats the reason why popular western artists never stop in Vietnam or Cambodia? Is it the infrastructure? Is it a licensing issue? Or are they just afraid to not make enough money?

So with the lack of a Rolling Stones Club Tour in Saigon, other topics are getting more important. The Restaurant A moved, a new bridge opened, the construction work in Street C is finished. And yes, of course, D is getting divorced from E.

Even in a city with 8 million population, it's kind of a village for western expats. That's not bad, I am from a small town.

Oh, by the way, I haven't see a recent issue of Asia Life? Any news about that?

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Living and working mobile

We have laptops, we have mobile phones, we use wifi and GPRS and even 3G. We look for a powerplug first if we enter a coffee shop instead of the drinks list. We meet for lunch in a restaurant and let our GPS device show us the way (even in Vietnam, yes).
We are mobile on cars, taxi, motobike. We communicate location independent via Skype or Yahoo, sending text messages or Facebook status. We twitter from the toilet. We upload videos on Youtube about the traffic jam we just stuck in.

But we still go to our office everyday from 9 to 5 (or even longer). When I talk with companies about collaboration and a break up of traditional structures, most of them say, it's important to have the staff at one place because of the communication.

I doubt that. Even colleagues sitting next to each other talk on Skype instead personal. Supervisors sending emails about everything to their staff, just to have it documented. It seems more that they want to control people instead of giving them space for communication.

So why not thinking about letting people more flexible and mobile? In a city where everyone is complaining about the traffic and the time they need to go to work, it should be easy to work online and mobile.

Things companies should think about:
If your staff has a webmail access, why not having a core time spending in the office and let them spend the rest of the time at home or whereever they want?

If staff spends, let's say, two or three days in the office and the rest somewhere else, they might even work harder and more. It's worth a try I think.
Companies can save money for office space and, more important, might have more motivated stuff.

When I was meeting companies, I was sometime surprised about their offices. A lot are very basic building, not really representative and impressive. Why not inviting clients for meetings to better places like coffee shops or hotels. You can rent a conference room for less money and have a nice environment.

Yes, this is not working for every company and not for every department in yor company. And yes, I know that a lot of companies do this already. I know people who always ask me for meeting in a coffee shop just to have a chance to leave the office. So there is a demand for working mobile. Let's give it a chance.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

More flooding picture

More flooding picture
Originally uploaded by thomaswanhoff
One reason why I don't like to live near The Manor