Not in My House: Corruption in Vietnam

Earlier this month, Vietnam’s top anti-corruption agency, the Government Inspectorate, completed its annual investigations in the country’s central, central highlands, western and southern regions, and to no one’s surprise, nobody found dust in his own home, although they found plenty elsewhere. “The higher levels only detected corruption in lower levels. Provinces detected corruption in districts,…

Vietnam Gets Tough on School Cheats

Vietnam's new education minister, Nguyen Thien Nhan, has delivered a nasty jolt to the country's secondary education system, driving down test scores dramatically in an effort to eliminate widespread cheating and academic corruption. According to a June 18 news release from the Ministry of Education, only 67.5 percent of high school students passed their graduation exams…

Vietnam: Awash in Money

Amid the myriad booms and bubbles the asset world has witnessed in recent months, one stands out, at least for originality: Vietnam. It is awash in more money than it can handle. In mid-March, a thousand portfolio investors, investment bankers and fund managers crowded into Hanoi’s Melia Hotel for an investment conference that coincided with…

Who lost Vietnam?

As usual in wartime, when the going gets tough, the tough start looking for a scapegoat and it is usually the press.  Today as Iraq slides from bad to worse, the administration's apologists are already starting the post-mortem on who lost it.  It will have been the press, they are already starting to say, just…

The Lesson George W. Didn’t Learn

Last November 17, as George W Bush visited Hanoi for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit,  the US president had some philosophical thoughts to deliver about the lessons he said the United States had learned from the Vietnam War, the longest conflict in US history. "We'll succeed unless we quit," Bush told reporters. "We tend…

Dead Dogs and Swedes

I am feeling rejuvenated here in this hammock at a beachside villa in Southern Vietnam. A cooling wind flows down from the sand dunes about six kilometers away and the sound of sleepy bees fills a tree above my head. Having escaped the slummy confines of Ho Chi Minh City, I needed to rest my…

The Spy Who Loved Us

Pham Xuan An, a character right out of a Graham Greene novel, died in Saigon. An indispensable member of the Time Magazine bureau during the war, Pham was also a spy for the North Vietnamese. Then-Time bureau chief  Frank McCulloch, the equally legendary newsman who hired Pham in 1965, and who now lives in retirement…