It’s common in Vietnam to be asked your age, even by people you don’t know very well. In the little restaurant I’ve been going to on Lý Quốc Sư, the woman who owns the place has been kind enough to tolerate my halting Vietnamese & I have achieved the status of a regular customer. So the other evening, as she was cleaning up my table, she asked, “Ông bao nhiêu tuổi?” and when I replied “Sáu mười một” (sixty-one), she replied, “Khỏe!” which means “healthy,” but in this context meant something more like, “Wow! Not bad for an old guy!”
As noted in the previous post, I’m trying to figure out how to include tiếng Việt quốc ngữ characters in my blog posts. Because a Vietnamese name or term, say, for a particular kind of food, is either meaningless of means something else when stripped of its diacritical marks, I have been reluctant to write much that required such names or terms. It looks now as if I am part-way to a solution. Stay tuned.
Hmm . . . the words I was having trouble with in the previous post were t?i c? — let’s see what happens here. Still no good. Characters with two diacritical marks seem to display just fine — those with a single mark do not display correctly.
Just changed the wp-config.php file. Let’s see if I can now write tôi có viết Tiếng Việt. Đúng rồi! Fixed.
I had been planning to post a lot more about Vietnam over the last couple of weeks but have been pulling my hair out trying to get WordPress to properly display Vietnamese characters written in the romanized script, quốc ngữ. Now, after going round & round with my hosting company & looking online to see how other people have solved the problem, I think I have it figured out. At first I was feeling pretty frustrated with Bluehost, but once I got to “level III” tech support, they kept working with me until between us we got the problem solved. I think. Later, I’ll post a complete rundown of the problem & its solution, but for now I want to get back to writing about Vietnam, which is very hard to do if you cannot use properly displayed Vietnamese text.
Update: Almost fixed, apparently. When I write T?i c? . . . (I can . . .) in the blog entry title, it mangles it, but then gets the res of the sentence right.
President Obama comes out for some efforts to curb gun violence. This is valuable not so much because anything much is likely to happen soon at the federal level, but because it is important to stand up to gun culture & the purveyors of gun porn.
The president’s spokesman said yesterday that the president supports “common-sense measures that protect Second Amendment rights of Americans, while ensuring that those who should not have guns under existing law do not get them.” Sorry, that’s not good enough.
Jay Carney’s statement for the president is an insult to both the dead & the living. By focusing on “protecting Second Amendment rights,” it gives aid & comfort to the cynical gun pornographers who secretly admire what James Holmes did. (And yes I mean you, Wayne LaPierre.) I think it’s fine that in the immediate aftermath of the killings in Colorado that Mr. Obama limited his remarks to platitudes and homilies; but now is the time for political courage. If not now, when? Clearly, the serial flip-flopper Mitt Romney is not going to go out of his way to remind voters that as Massachusetts governor he signed an assault weapons ban, saying at the time, “These guns are not made for recreation or self-defense. They are instruments of destruction with the sole purpose of hunting down and killing people.”
President Obama should come out unequivocally for legislation at the national level that would ban assault weapons & high-capacity clips, as well as sales at guns hows without background checks. The NRA will attack him, you say? They have already turned him into a black fantasy of vast proportions–right-wing websites are already saying that he orchestrated the Aurora killings in order to impose gun control. Even as a matter of pure political calculation, what has the president got to lose? The gun fetishists are not going to vote for him. Again, as a matter of political calculation, he’d get credit for taking a courageous stand in the face of a truly mad collection of gun pornographers like Glenn Reynolds & Russell Pearce.
Given the number of guns already in circulation, no gun control law is going to have an immediate effect, but standing up to the NRA’s firearms pornography & their dark fantasies of tyranny would make an important political statement. Americans ought to be as disgusted by gun porn as they are by child pornography. Look, the NRA supports what James Holmes did in that theater. They think it’s cool. All that crap about an armed citizenry opposing tyranny & defending the innocent? It’s a smokescreen. The NRA & their fellow-travelers want to make it easy for the next James Holmes to get what he needs to shoot your children while they play or go to school or take in a movie. That is their agenda.
The time for homilies has passed; now is the time to show leadership & courage.
“I have an issue with people being able to buy ammunition and weapons on the Internet,” Commissioner Charles H. Ramsey of the Philadelphia police said on the ABC program “This Week” on Sunday. “I don’t know why people need to have assault weapons. There needs to be reasonable gun control put in place. “And we talk about this constantly, and absolutely nothing happens, because many of our legislators, unfortunately, at the federal level, lack the courage to do anything.” (NYT)