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Archive for December 2009

Making a living

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If you have money and connections then you start a company and get ludicrous contracts through the connections.

If you don’t, you just get an education and work for those who do.

If that still doesn’t work you set up a small shop (the classic coffee shop), borrow some from relatives and do things in cash.

If the relatives can’t or won’t help or the coffee shop doesn’t pan out, you become a street vendor or a laborer, getting paid almost nothing and everyday is a constant struggle to survive.

If no one hires you (either because you are too old, too young or entirely hopeless) you sell lottery tickets or become a street scavenger. Some have money to make a wooden cart and put recyclables in there. Others just ride around on a rickety bike. Some cant even afford a rickety bike so they just hoist a big bag over their shoulders, their backs hunched over like Quasimodo, their ghostly shadows moving slowly beneath the yellow light.

And when the streets prove to be too harsh, you retreat back into the river or mountain and wait for your turn to die.

Written by bluekite2000

December 30, 2009 at 6:54 am

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Application letter

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Some are good. Some are bad. This one is just odd.
Chào anh
Em là Khôi, em không biết một cái email sắp-sửa-xin-việc được viết như thế nào nên mong anh bỏ qua nếu có sai xót
Lúc nãy em có qua U.S.A Book rồi có hỏi chị bán hàng ở đó liệu có thể xin được việc làm ở đây hay không
thì chị ấy cho em cái card và bảo em email anh vì có lẽ anh đang ngủ (hoặc cái gì đó khác) mà chị không dám chạy lên kêu anh
và thiệt sự em không biết phải email cái gì cho anh….
…….
……
vì em thấy hơi một tí thiếu tôn trọng nếu liên lạc với một người rất-có-tiềm-năng-làm-ông-chủ-tương lai của em qua email như thế này!
nên em mong nhận được phản hồi từ anh để có một cái hẹn (hay cái gì đó tương tự như vậy) để bàn (hoặc gì đó khác) về công việc, vì có lẽ em tương tác nói tốt hơn là thể hiện qua email
Em cảm ơn anh
Khôi

p/s: Em thiệt sự xin lỗi anh trong trường hợp anh con người Hàn Lâm và đọc cái email này
p/s2: Làm ơn đừng chú ý đến cái địa chỉ email dớ dẩn này của em, em tạo ra nó từ năm lớp 6 và thiệt sự thấy xấu hổ vì điều đó, nó hoàn toàn không có nghĩa gì cả!!!!

Written by bluekite2000

December 30, 2009 at 5:06 am

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LOLCat

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Written by bluekite2000

December 12, 2009 at 4:15 am

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The black swan

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According to Teleb, the author of this bestseller, a black swan event is defined as:

The event is a surprise (to the observer).
The event has a major impact.
After the fact, the event is rationalized by hindsight, as if it had been expected.

Though my story does not qualify as a blackswan event, it is still funny how random life is sometimes:
-One day I stopped on Hai Ba Trung, next to two guys speaking English. I struck up a conversation and ended up having coffee with them.
-Their name were Ben and Felix. Ben brought his friend Chris along. Chris met Ben in Vietnam, through the Cal alumn group in Saigon
-Chris introduced me to Barrend and I got a job at RMIT.
-RMIT started a football club and I brought an old friend Duy along.
-Duy brought his friend Hoang along and we played for a while but never talked.
-The field closed for the summer break and we moved to a smaller court. Hoang and I talked more.
-Hoang, seeing my ripped bod, invited me to cast for a film.
-I became a big movie star, with legions of teen followers.
Ok the last part didn’t happen… because I said no, not because I don’t possess the good looks or the dashing charisma 🙂

Written by bluekite2000

December 9, 2009 at 10:14 am

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Evolution of my bookstore part 1: Customer feedbacks

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Customer feedbacks to me are very important. Some are good. A lot of them aren’t. Here are a few things I have done and worked well:
-Customers kept asking for certain books. So we started the “If Amazon has it, we can order it” service. This proved to be instrumental in sustaining our business. Currently we can fullfill orders of any size as well as issue red invoice if needed.
-One of their biggest complaints used to be shipping time. So I went to the US, found a really good forwarder and cut that in half. Now I can confidently say, for most orders, we can get the books here in last than 2 weeks, at a price virtually unbeatable.
-We needed something to distinguish our store against others, so I imported Pulitzer prize winners. Now we have a whole shelf dedicating to classics such as The babbit series, Catcher in the rye, The hours, March, Beloved, Empire Falls,etc. We are also known for having lots of comtemporary magazines (Vogue, Seventeen, GQ, NewYorker, to name a few), all of which are sold slightly below market price (we checked!). Plus customers can order annual subscriptions and their magazines are almost guaranteed to arrive before the month starts.
-Many foreign books have been translated into Vietnamese and become hugely popular. All we do is wait for the popularity to peak, then import the English versions. Books like Outliers, Twilight, Seven habits of highly effective people, P.S I love you,etc have sold well.
-We tried to ride the trend by designing and publishing our own New Moon-themed calendar. However, we were unable to obtain the license for printing in time. This would have been huge for us but all and all it was a lesson well learnt.

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December 8, 2009 at 10:07 am

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Ideal length for a sugarcane

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A while ago I hung out by the sidewalk, sipping sugarcane juice on a steaming Saigon afternoon. Next to me was a man stripping canes.

On his right laid the new stack. On his left, a half finished stack. The way he did it was to pick up one cane, stripped half of it w/ one stroke and threw it on his left. His coworker, who sat facing him, picked it up and, with one stroke, finished the stripping job. Had he stripped it by himself, he would have to do one stroke, then move the sugarcane forward, then another stroke. By having a helper do the 2nd stroke, he skipped the “move it forward” step, a significant saving in the long run.

The ideal length, I think, is 2 strokes, which allows for easy transport and easy processing (when the cane is put through the juice extractor)

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December 5, 2009 at 5:26 am

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What men dream about

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We surf all day. Just the 3 of us. A few meters away little schools of fish are jumping around, possibly being chased by a bigger fish. The water is a brilliant baby blue, reflecting the color of the sky. Far away is the immense mountain range, covered by old growths of various kinds.

At lunch we go back to shore, walking on whitesand beach to a little thatched hut. Awaiting us is a hot meal, a 2.6 kilo grouper steamed with various herbs. We eat, we laugh, we lay on hammocks sipping coffee that tastes like coconut.

Full and tired, we then take a small nap, lulled by the crashing waves and the cool wind.

When we wake up we surf again, until our shoulders can’t move, until our lips are cracked with salt water, until the sun goes down and the sea is the color of rose.

The next day we do the same thing. And the next day….

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December 3, 2009 at 4:16 am

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