key to success is not information, it's people.
to "Waga kuni =
our country” ("Waga kuni no baai"
or "Waga kuni dewa"
= as for our country) is one good aspect of Japanese education.
Students in Economics and Law often see this part at the end
of their reading material, thus can understand their country's
situation relating to the matter discussed.
wonder whether our authors in Vietnam have such a good habit or not? Perhaps not, because they don't have any
information on current situation of our country relating to the
topic discussed, or they never think about the moral obligation of
giving such information to readers.
“France is not really herself unless in the front
rank… To my mind, France cannot be France – without greatness”.
Former French President Charles De Gaulle declared it in
1955. He wanted France
to continue to be in the first rank among great powers, politically,
militarily, economically and culturally. He was working hard for it indeed: under his leadership,
France survived a foreign invasion and has kept being a major power.
we Vietnamese declare similar thing?
Deep in our heart, we wish we could.
But look at us: where are we now?
At the end of this 20th century, we are still one of the
poorest countries in the whole world. We are second only to
Bangladesh, counting upward from the bottom of the list.
We cannot produce even a high quality bicycle chain without
any foreign joint venture. Under-developed and poor indeed! But when people talk about us, can they really say
"they are poor but happy"?
I think you know the answer.
is the key to almost everything.
Former Japanese Prime Minister Nakasone once announced he
would put all efforts into making Japan a "Joho no
(= information country). He
wanted Japan to produce fewer goods and advance much further into
the information field. But if the government alone is well informed, things can be
either good or bad. Only
when all the people of a country are well informed will be greater
chance for a better life. The
reason is simple: the
mass can reduce the risks that their government may face when making
his book "Việt
Nam Vong Quốc Sử"
(History of the Loss of Vietnam),
(PBC) blamed the Nguyen court for keeping the country in
backwardness by monopolizing all information.
Phan said the Royal Court was responsible for the loss of
Vietnam because - for
their own interests - they had "blocked
the people's eyes and ears".
As a consequence, when Phan Chu Trinh visited Japan in 1907,
he admitted that "thực
lực của dân ta so vơ’i Nhật Bản
thực như gà con so vơ’i con chim că‘t già".
PBC, Trần Quý Cáp
and their group always felt sad about our people being in a
situation of "ếch ngồi đáy giếng" (frogs
sitting at the well bottom),
knowing nothing about the outside world. Trần Quý Cáp,
for instance, has described our people as:
tụ nghị vô đa địa
trong thân cây Hoè khô, chả có
bao nhiêu đất [để sống]
the Vietnamese elites of the time know anything about the outside
world at all? Not many, but while the vast majority was kept in darkness, a
few individuals did have a chance to widen their knowledge.
Phan Thanh Giản,
for instance, led a mission to France. Upon his return, he sadly stated that King Tự
and the Court did not bother listening to him:
Từ ngày đi
sứ tới Tây
the man who always " coi trời bằng vung
", also gave his impression after a trip to Singapore:
Tân Gia Ba vượt
course people like Phan Thanh Giản
and Cao Bá Quát were not allowed to keep
the public informed of what they saw and knew.
No one was to be blamed but the System.
The Nguyen Court's strategy for controlling the country was
keeping the mass away from all sources of information.
It "blocked the
ears and eyes of the people", thereby creating “Việt
Nam Vong Quốc Sử
" (the History of the Loss of Vietnam).
are two good sources relating to information and politics. One
proves the misfortune of lacking information; the other shows the
eagerness of getting information in a wrong way.
A- In "Ma
Mission au Japon",
(French Ambassador to Japan, 1907-1914) says that Japan and France
started negotiating a " détente
" agreement as early as the end of the Russo-Japanese War
(1905). One of the
final aims of the negotiation was the mutual respect of both
countries' status quo in
Asia. Apart from
allowing Japan to issue bonds in Paris, France agreed to supply
Tokyo with information on anti-Japanese activists in Korea.
In return, Japan pledged to help France preserve her
interests in Asia (including Vietnam).
Consequently, when PBC first set his foot on Kobe port
(1906), the foundation for his deportation was already established.
when PBC left the country for Japan, he hoped his "going
East" would result in an armed-uprising in large scale:
trường phong Đông Hải khứ
Hải xông pha nương cánh gió
was brave and his cause noble.
Yet he did not succeed because his information was
The main points of Bill Clinton's foreign policies, as
outlined by Stanley Kober in the magazine Policy
Analysis (issue 12 September 1996, published by Cato
Institute, Washington DC) have been:
(a) the Cold War is over
(b) during the
Cold War, the USA had allowed its political military allies to take
advantage of them in international trade (c) because of
this, as well as the traditional American aversion to any sort of
government guidance of the economy, the USA was losing its
to catch up on the economic "loss", President Clinton has
ordered the CIA "to
make economic espionage of America’s trade rivals a top priority"
(p. 2). The CIA (and FBI) have therefore not only economically spied
many major trading rivals of the US.
They have also helped corruption wide spreading in many
developing countries, including China, through bribery.
angry protests from both within and without the USA, notably Japan
and France, Bill Clinton said he was "re-thinking" his
strategy. Surviving the
difficulty of today’s world situation is a hard job, especially
for small countries.
Here is some more news relating to Vietnam:
In a letter to the editors of a daily newspaper, the
representative of a non-governmental group in Australia has warned
people that -- in order to get help from the World Bank -- the
recipient country must agree to have its economy reformed so that
the infra-structure and legal environment of that country can be
favourable to foreign investment (I regret not keeping
records/copy of this).
Vietnam is receiving loans and help from the World Bank, we wonder
what has the Vietnamese government promised to the Bank and, more
importantly, how our people can keep their "eyes
and ears" over all commitments the government has made?
Adam Garfinkle wrote a book entitled "Telltale
Hearts: The Origins and Impact of the Vietnam Anti-War Movement"
(St. Martin Press, New York 1995).
The introductory part from the cover says:
From the 2
decades after the end of the Vietnam War, America’s wounds have
yet to heal, the War's divisiveness continues.
Yet today, even the most hardline hawks and doves share the
conviction that... the antiwar movement played an important role in
turning American opinion against the War, thereby limiting and
ultimately ending US military activity in Southeast Asia.
"Telltale Hearts", the author
convincingly demonstrated that this widely accepted view is WRONG. He argues that the movement, even at its radical height, had
but a marginal impact on limiting and ending the War and in fact
unwittingly helped to prolong it.
However, he concludes that it (the movement) had a powerful
postwar influence ".
kuni”, “waga kuni no baai wa”, “waga
kuni dewa”, “waga kuni ni oite wa”...
all of them sound like a melody
(“a bitter sweet refrain" ! ).
I wonder how our country (Waga
kuni) and its people have been?
Of course I am not talking about De Gaulle’s beautiful
dream. My question is
about another dream, which is “toàn
dân ấm, toàn dân no, được học hành”.
point is: the aim of Socialism is to build a better society through
the abolition of -- and
definitely NOT the creation of more
-- classes (giai
cấp). Its ideal is to have a fair distribution of income.
Is our country on its way towards this goal?
of questions does not stop here.
How can "waga kuni" deal safely with the giant
multinational companies? How
our people can have enough information when they come to the
negotiation tables? In
which way do we repay our international debts?
There are more ... Certainly
in all cases your answers are as good as mine.
us are already at the second half of our life.
"Nokori no sukunai jinsei o, yuu-igi teki ni
..." . How
can we do it? We are currently out of waga kuni, "ngó sang quê cha đường xa trăm
dặm, ngó về quê mẹ núi lộng đèo cao" ...
not talking about the physical meaning of "núi
lộng đèo cao", are we?
I wonder how could Trịnh
Công Sơn know these feelings, some 25 years ago?
Is he also a prophet? He
predicted this, in early 1970's:
còn gì nữa đâu
Văn-Lang Tôn-thất Phương,
Khoảng đời còn lại còn ngắn,
phải làm sao cho có ý nghiã.
Corruption and the Outsiders:
Multinational Enterprises in Vietnam.
In Tim Lindsey and Howard Dick (eds.) à Corruption in Asia: Rethinking
the Governance Paradigm. The
Federation Press, NSW 2002. [This
source is added in June 2002].
 Louis Snyder: Encyclopedia of Nationalism, p. 113