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A rare literary and botanical gem recently came into our possession. It’s a 1990 collaboration between the World Health Organization and the Institute of Materia Medica, Hanoi. It’s 400 pages, in English, and contains a wealth of information about Medicinal Plants in Viet Nam.
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.
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.
Not that long ago, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg pledged to give away his gazillions of shares of the company he famously started in his pyjamas. Add to this fray the recent Brexit vote in the UK and the never-ending US presidential campaign, and you could say I’ve had plutocracy on the brain for a while now.