Thursday, July 17, 2008


Việt Nam is such an interesting place. Historically, it's almost always been divided in some way. The north endures its half-year rainy season during the very six months of the southern dry season. Different nations colonized different regions, sparking contiguous civil conflicts in the pursuit of ideology and nationalism. The history of ancient Việt Nam is then uncannily familiar. Woefully simplified: the first colonization of the region was from the north in the second century BC, after which successive Chinese dynasties managed a lower kingdom spanning from the Red River Delta south almost to Huế. During this time, a local Sino-Viet culture was burgeoning, eventually gaining its independence in the tenth century only to remain a tributary state until ties with China were totally cut during the Mongol invasions beginning three hundred years later.1 In the interim, the newly autonomous Việt culture were looking to expand southward, where they discovered the Indo-Asian culture of Chăm Pa occupying five principalities along the South China seaboard.2 The Chăm Pa, arrived several centuries before, were directly related to that other great Vedic culture, the Khmer Kingdom,3 which occupied the rest of the southeast Asian mainland from the Malay Peninsula to well east of the Mekong Delta. During this time of initial contact, the Chăm Pa kingdom was at its height, but weakened under northern aggression over the following nine centuries, finally being subsumed by the Việt people. That this small region supported two very different initial cultures--Indian from the east and Chinese from the north--can stand as some tenuously related introduction to a national dualism become all too characteristic here. That those cultures were initially divided eerily close to the seventeenth parallel beggars belief. This is all just in the way of inadequate background for tomorrow's thing. Stay tuned. [Cavin]

Then, a 0 sided conversation ensued...

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