I’m not even going to link this because if I link it then you’ll follow the link and it’s best you watch this without any introduction.
But you absolutely have to see the documentary Searching for Sugar Man.
It must be just about the wisest, smartest, most uplifting movie I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t get distracted by anything other than the legend.
I watched it and there was a moment, you’ll know when you see it, when I had to try so hard, not just to fight back tears but also to stop myself breaking down into sobs altogether.
Watch it then tell someone else to do the same.
I got the above movie sent in a link by the good people of ENV - it’s well worth a watch and is going to be appearing on Vietnamese screens from now until the end of the year.
Twice now I have reported restaurants selling illegal wildlife to the ENV hotline and twice they’ve responded, stopped the sale and continued to monitor the offender. Then they’ve bothered to ensure that I’ve been made aware of their progress. Very thorough and impressive. Please share the film.
On one side you have the plight of the bears and the park employees but the issue goes much further. We often talk about the need for transparency versus corruption, but this is as transparent a piece of corruption as you are ever likely to find.
By all accounts embassies, NGOs and international organisations are queuing to lobby the Government on this issue and to add their signatures and voices in opposition. They see it as pivotal. If this kind of thing can be allowed to happen then just how serious is Vietnam about developing? This is going to get a lot bigger and a lot noisier. It’s hard to imagine the bear park winning and yet it’s also difficult to imagine that such a travesty could be allowed to happen. Please share the film.
Who knows something good could yet come out of all of this. Better even than Animals Asia and its bear park being allowed to carry on with their excellent work – and that alone would be pretty spectacular.
Filmed in 2005, this has been a long time coming but it’s a great watch – at an hour in length it’s worth downloading in advance and sitting down in the evening with a glass of something to take it in.
In short it’s the tale of two Australian tour guides who decide to try and ride a cyclo from Hanoi to Ho Chi Minh City. The two guys in question are Adam and Marty, and they did the trip to raise money for KOTO, where I happened to be working at the time.
At the time the future of KOTO hung in the balance, we desperately needed new premises for the restaurant and there were quite a few times we didn’t think we’d make it. For the cyclo-ing and the financial assistance Adam and Marty were superheroes to the KOTO kids.
For my part I organised the send off. I also kept their trip blog updated from base camp. Then, when they were close to the end I caught up with them in Mui Ne, and dashed ahead of them to Ho Chi Minh City. A reception had been organised at a school and I turned up on their doorstep, with a banner I somehow had managed to get made locally, and we waited for the guys to show up.
A great day. Great film. Great guys. Lovely to finally see it.
I still hold true with an old theory of mine about living in Hanoi.
That the more you allow yourself to become isolated from the city the less you enjoy it. And yet, the expat bubble seems so much easier.
I came across the above film today and was bowled over by it. It has more Hanoi magic in its 11 minutes 15 seconds than the whole millennium celebrations put together. It reminded me of so much that is wonderful that is out there and so much of what I miss by habitually trying to escape from the more challenging elements of the city.
The irony being, of course, that the film is also about finding a quiet place in Hanoi.
It moved me to tears. It’s an incredible piece of work.
To its makers….thank you I needed that.