Re: Viet pot (fwd)

S. Graw (
Wed, 4 Sep 1996 08:30:59 -0400

>>I certainly wouldn't (couldn't, since you've just returned) disaagree
>>with you. It would surprise me if what you found to be the case (no
>>sanctions whatsoever in the villes) WEREN'T SO! I was only recalling
>>that there seemed to be some sanctions imposed by local government simply
>>to make the local American commander happy. I think that observsing that
>>pov is actually the opposite of exoticizing that people.
Peter Brush also pointed this out in his post-you've got a friend or 2! My
comment was not meant to be critical in the least. I only wished to point
out that it is (too) common for people to speak of "the Vietnamese" or of a
timeless Vietnamese culture. A visit there nowadays provides undeniable
evidence that Vietnam is a rapidly evolving culture where 'tradition'
struggles with 'modernity' for the top bud on the bush. Far more endemic
than cannabis use is tobacco use by males. Smokes are cheap and available
and affordable at every level of quality, domestic and imported. One can
only imagine what the actuarial figures are or will be. One would not
attribute this to cultural tradition - one interpretation by Viet friends is
that it's a legacy of the years of famine since it's an effective hunger
suppressant. But what about women's seeming abstinence? Beetle chewing,

And, the much
>>more stringent and puritanical sanctions now in place seem to me to be a
>>result of the communist regime currently trying to make the place at least
>>"look" like something it's not. I bet by about 2020 you'll see that pot
>>openly marketed in the villes once again.
I think this is optimistic: if the implication that a capitalist sort of
regime will follow the present one (socialist in name only!), then I predict
we'll see the same threat of capital(ist) punishment now posed by
Singapore, the Philippines and other regional states. One thing we did
learn during the war era is the potency of VNese weed - hardly the fruit of
casual smokers or high productivity types.
>>You're trip sounds very worthwile. Have you done things similar to Lady
You guessed it - I was involved with humanitarian aid and reconciliation
politics there between 1979 and 1991. But I am of the opinion that apart
from the ethics of such a committment (good), the utility of such efforts is
now minimal, given the end of the trade embargo,the stance of the current
government, and the outlook of most people in VN today. I've moved on past
a stage in my life that had profound roots in the '60s but now seems
anachronistic to me. But I'm not one to forget or denigrate that time.
Respectfully, sgraw
>>Best regard,
>> Baky
>John S. Baky
>Director of Libraries
>Connelly Library
>La Salle University
>1900 W. Olney Avenue
>Philadelphia, PA 19141
>Phone: (215) - 951-1285 or 1286
>Fax : (215) 951-1595
* From: Steve Graw
* at Cornell U./Field of Development Sociology *
* Warren 133B/ (607) 255-7684 *
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