Tuesday, April 22, 2008


In keeping with the dead tiger theme invading this Update column of late, I can connect a little-seen--and woefully spartan--news item1 from Hercules, California, where two men with Vietnamese names have plead guilty to illegally importing a stuffed tiger into San Francisco's airport from Ho Chi Minh City. This is a federal crime, probably a misdemeanor, and each could be facing jail time. Reading between the article's few lines, this only really smacks of a very big mistake; customs immediately apprehended the traveling taxidermy on its arrival without proper permits. How do you think it was packaged that this wasn't, you know, detected before San Francisco? News items about the coming Olympic torch relay,2 scheduled just one day after I fly home for a month and one day before the Vietnamese national Reunification Day holiday, remain concerned. After promising the hosting People's Republic a drama-free first relay through the city, Vietnamese officials have begun to cop to growing concerns over possible upcoming protests after all. While I'd assumed these protests would be primarily nationalistic in nature--disgruntlement over China's military occupation of the Paracel and Spratly Islands--the Socialist Republic maintains that any protest may bring about action from groups opposed to Vietnam's one-party government system. These two motives, one true to the nationalism inherent in the country's reunification victory holiday and another quite criminally in opposition to the tenets of that particular reunification, seem at odds with one another. But considering the relay's proximity to a holiday in celebration of these interesting topics, I can kinda see the government's concern. At any rate, the government adds, it's important to take this opportunity to show China that Vietnam is a good neighbor, contested authority over a handful of strategic islands in the South China Sea notwithstanding. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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