Well said. I was beginning to think it was just me. I’ve bemoaned this a few times and on occasions been shouted down. My take on it is that it’s the lunar calendar, China, to date, doesn’t own the moon.
See also this greeting from Dave who arguably gets it most wrong:
“I want to send my very best wishes to everyone celebrating the Chinese New Year – in Britain, in China and all around the world.”
I can’t help but think this is a hangover from less cosmopolitan times when anyone with South East Asian features was generically regarded as Chinese in the UK. A couple of years ago at the British Council, London sent round best wishes for the Chinese New Year which ended up on Vietnamese desks.
In China it’s the New Year, everywhere else it’s the Lunar New Year. In Vietnam it’s Tet. No?
Working with colleagues from China, Hong Kong, Vietnam and the UK this week, I’ve stuck to saying Happy New Year of the Snake.
Christmas is being spent in Northumberland with family. Today included a trip to a fresh, breezy, blue-skied Tynemouth – the anti-Hanoi.
Yesterday we got married again. This time with the whole family present, sisters, kids etc and a lovely day was had by all.
For a number of reasons, 2012 has been a trying year for us. In October, on our anniversary, I asked Loan to marry me (again) and yesterday was the culmination of that. It also seemed to break a run of bad luck. Since then a new job has been secured by me and a new cafe opened by Loan.
All of the above means that, for the first time in 12 months, we’re absolutely committed to Hanoi. We wobbled this year and the wobbling made us more unhappy than anything Hanoi could throw at us. In the end all we needed to know was our near future would work out and when that fell into place we happily settled again.
Beyond this the only thing I need to really love/survive Hanoi is an annual day like today in Tynemouth. Head, sinuses and cobwebs cleared.
I will hate Hanoi again. In the middle of next summer, in a pool of sweat, I’ll dream of windy Tynemouth but I’ll also love Hanoi many many times inbetween.
Happy Christmas to all. I hope your year is ending as well as mine is.
Apparently Tony Blair arrives in Hanoi tomorrow.
According to agenda, Tony Blair will arrive at Hanoi’s Noi Bai Airport at 23.00 Sunday and will have lunch and a working session with Vietnamese foreign minister Pham Binh Minh at 11.30 on Monday.
At 13.30, he will be greeted by Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung at the Prime Minister’s Office.
At 14.35 on Monday, he is scheduled to leave Hanoi for Vientiane.
For me personally it’s a reminder that it was Britain’s involvement with the Iraq war that made me want to turn my back on the UK in the first place. Back in 2004 I met a lot of Brits, Americans and Australians who had left their countries for the same reason – I used to call them the Ashamed Drain.
I’ve just read yet another instalment of Chris Mullin’s diaries that details the build up to that war and the chief whip’s bullying of Labour MPs to get them to fall in line with Blair’s plan to back America.
Britain is now saddled with a government that was brilliantly described in The Thick of It as “top hatted tw*ts”. After Iraq people I spoke to many people like me who had always voted Labour but couldn’t bring themselves to do so again, even if the alternatives were worse. Living in Vietnam made it easy to vote for no one but there would have been a time when I’d have made the effort and bullied others to do so too. My occasional protest vote has been Green.
At the time of the Iraq war I often fantasised about being stuck in a lift with Blair and being able to look him in the eye and ask him about the dossier lies and, just, why? Apparently he’s staying in the Sheraton. Perhaps I’ll see him in the neighbourhood.
When George Bush was in town there was a certain “I can feel his presence” negativity in the air. Blair is yet to touch down and I’m already getting the shivers.
It’s easy to be cynical about the likes of London 2012 (and I often am) but whether or it was smart to even bid for it, the fact is it’s too big an event to do badly.
Until leaving the British Council in May I’d been living with the Olympics for some time. Information from on high would be filtered out and we were all given orders to maximise promotion of the Olympics locally. For the most part orders didn’t come with budgets so a certain amount of ingenuity was required to squeeze in a little Olympics into already planned events.
But that also included arranging trips to Olympic London for journalists, spots on local TV, that countdown, briefings and language training for paralympians, Olympic themed summer schools and language lessons, not to mention assorted Embassy meet-the-committee/athlete events.
Coming on the back of the Jubilee and with Wimbledon, including a British finalist sandwiched in between, this feels the most British time ever – which I guess is the point. Vietnamese teenagers as ever seem to have a love affair with the Union Flag which appears to be everywhere right now.
That whole “soft power” thing in full effect. Nice work.
Tonight it’s the opening ceremony which, the football aside, is realistically the only thing I’m especially interested in – alongside the closing event of course. Despite that cynicism, just typing this I realise just how nervous I am about it. The eyes of the world and all that.
In the meantime time Mitt Romney and #romneyshambles (the best twitter hashtag forever) has done the organisers a favour in uniting UK behind a hopefully successful games. Just to prove a point if nothing else.
What does grate includes the BBC going into Jubilee-non-objective-overkill mode. Even Prince William being branded in Adidas gear on the telly and that whole McDonalds embarrassing bit. But mostly that feeling that as each day passes the idea that Britain = London (and only London) is further enhanced. Yes the torch toured Britain but the story was always the torch rather than the locations. Also the feeling that if all goes to plan then those who will benefit most will be Cameron and Johnson – neither of which I have much time for.
Here in Hanoi, there’s sadly nothing to celebrate the opening ceremony. Time difference is against us but BBGV’s 9am breakfast in Ho Chi Minh City would have been fantastic. I’d have been there like a shot if a similar event had happened in Hanoi. That seems like an opportunity missed.
The above pic was an Olympic event I attended in Danang on 10th March earlier this year. My investment is comparatively small and yet, as I said, I’m nervous.