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Change

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As expats, most of us at some point have experienced interactions with our hosts that are hard to understand. At times our worldview can seem askew to that of local people.

Tramcar or streetcar systems were developed early in the 19th century to address exactly the same issues as we have today. The problem then was just as acute as it is now, just on a smaller scale. Their introduction forever changed those cities that adopted them, especially Saigon at the end of the 19th century, a metropolis which is still struggling with its public transport. We can see today the disruption in the city caused by the construction of the first — of a hoped-for eight — metro lines. We can look forward to years of similar pain.

When Vietnam’s National Assembly passed on Nov. 25, 2014, the long-awaited amended Housing Law that finally addressed the issue on foreign ownership of property, we in the real estate industry had no idea what to expect.

During the summer, silly season media outlets tend to report on the goofy or frivolous simply because most law courts and government administrations are not in session and everyone’s on holiday. There’s usually just no big (read: important) news.

“The full heat of the ripening season was upon us like a millstone, crushing the juice out of everyone.

Vietnam is the second biggest producer of coffee in the world. Americans drink approximately 400 million cups of it per day. It is the most socially acceptable and popular drug in the world; coffee is big business.

A couple travelling through Asia (Thailand, Laos, Cambodia) came to see me a few weeks ago. The 28-year-old Caucasian female of the couple had been in Hanoi for the last five days. She had been suffering with sore bones and was feeling she may have overdone it in Thailand where they had been trekking, but the pain was getting worse.

A trip home to Canada this summer put me squarely in the midst of the Pokémon Go phenomenon. This wildly popular mobile game has its players chasing digital characters in ‘augmented reality’ — real world environments augmented by computer-generated effects.

A feature of colonial cities is the presence of recreational activities from the colonising country. Throughout the former British empire there are cricket ovals and rugby fields, polo fields and racecourses. Growing up in one of the former British colonies these were part of our culture, bequeathed to us by our colonial masters.

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