In January
Only one cell in the frozen hive of night
is lit, or so it seems to us:
this Vietnamese café, with its oily light,
its odors whose colorful shapes are like flowers.
Laughter and talking, the tick of chopsticks.
Beyond the glass, the wintry city
creaks like an ancient wooden bridge.
A great wind rushes under all of us.
The bigger the window, the more it trembles.

Ted Kooser one-of-my-favorites

Book Prize

October 10, 2006

Literary Battles!

I remember the time Charles Fraizer’s ‘Cold Mountain’ beat out Don Delilo’s ‘Underworld’. A first time debut novel beat out the literary Giant.

This year a daughter beat out her mother. It is the second Indian Writer I recall. The other is ‘God of Small Things’.

One of my favorite books ‘The English Patient’ by Michael Ondaatje won some time ago. The author is part Indian.

“Born to a wealthy, Westernized secular family of industrialists in Istanbul in 1952, Mr. Pamuk considered being an artist and trained as an architect. But he defied family pressures, quit architecture school and became instead a full-time writer, publishing his first novel, “Cevdet Bey and His Sons,” about three generations of a Turkish family, in 1982.” – New York Times.

This is a second architect turn author which won a literary prize. the other is the author of ‘God of Small Thing’.

Some Related Links:

I did attend some of the classes or church service but I don’t recall this image. It’s possible that in 1978 it was not yet built.

I remember visiting some graves but I don’t remember this one. It’s possible that in 1978 it was not yet built.

This I did not see.

  • Some Facts:
  • The Island is almost a perfect circle of 1 mile in diameter

Thank you ‘Reader’ for this link:

I lived on Pulau Bidong

Pulau Bidong research


Hello Duc,

I tried to post a comment on your blog, but do not know if it was successful.

I have recently posted some pics from Bidong (1985) at:

Search under “Pulau Bidong 1985”:

Please say hello for me to Consolacion; she might remember me, and also Odille Gilliot.

Maybe Consolacion has many more pics than I have posted.



flickr photos sets of Pulau Bidong

netsnapshot underwater of Pulau Bidong

Bidong flickr group

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October 6, 2006

I have a love for bamboo. We have bamboo flooring in the public spaces of the dining, kitchen, and hallways. My wife and I collect objects to match our bamboo floors. We found a bamboo candle holder by Bill Blass at the local T.J. Max. I have a photograph of a Blue Bamboo which I took myself of the same bamboo that I planted in our backyard! Sorry for a little bragging there.

Anyhow my sister was the first one to have a bamboo floor in our family. She bought an old home with a bad smelly carpet of cat urine. She had the carpet removed and then researched for the best floor installer. I don’t remember why she chose bamboo but she did and couldn’t turn back to regular wood flooring. I help her do some research on bamboo flooring website.

Our place was built with Bamboo flooring. I remember liking the bamboo floor quiet alot. In fact it was one of the deciding factors which influenced our decision.

I remember listening to a radio show on NPR “Splended Table”. Hm you might wonder why I was listening to such a show, well I was fascinated with MFK Fisher’s writing only through other author’s mentionings such as Raymond Carver. Anyway that’s beside the point. The show has a segment where the caller calls in to challange the host with a problem. The caller looks into his/her fridge and reports what’s in there…usually not much…mustard, old left over hot dogs for example. Well then the host would have to suggest a recipes for the ingredients. RecipeMatcher is a similar idea. You tell it what you have to cook with and it comes up with a wonderful and tasty recipes. Hm…I wonder if the creator of RecipeMatcher was inspired by the “Splended table” allows its members to find recipes based on what they have at home. Searches return with recipes ranked by the percentage of ingredients you already have.

So you don’t have to go to the grocery stores which is one of the lesser joys of cooking. The other cool thing about the site is that it’s a Web 2.0 application.

Links: RecipeMatcher

MySpace Badder Adder

October 6, 2006

I have a MySpace account. There are so many wonderful add-ons and plug-ins. It’s like the Apple Ipod. Once you’ve made a good product which a lot of people use, then other companies will make accessories. MySpace friend adder is great for bands, or small business. Adder helps promote MySpace Profiles. Badder Adder automatically sends friend requests, messages, comments, bulletins and event invitations, as well as auto-accepts friend requests and “chains” of multiple accounts.

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Inventionland Video uTube

October 6, 2006

Inventionland Video – Very cool video of someone drawing.  I like uTube.  It sounds very similar to one of my favorite bands U2.  uTube is a great place to find videos, I spent  a few hours perusing Rush videos.

Google Video Sharing – Google is taking over the world! This site allows bloggers to embed videos into their website.

Pulau Bidong Research

October 5, 2006

Pulau Bidong is an small islands in Terengganu, Malaysia.

Learning the correct spelling of Pulau Bidong has helped in researching on Google. What I read has help me remember more of the island. Although I’m overhelmed by the information. I’ll have to digest it slowly.

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Links to Vietnam

October 2, 2006 Binh Danh’s work on NPR – My WordPress posts tagged with Vietnam – Oral History about Vietnam.

Artist’s Inspiration

Over this past summer, my mother and I visited a little abandoned island off the coast of Malaysia called Pula Bidong, the site of a Vietnamese refugee camp where we lived. We explored the island by taking photographs and gathering ephemeral documents scattered throughout the deserted buildings. These documents included letters, testimonies, and government records. Some had worms eating them leaving spiral holes, while others were partially buried in the dirt with plants growing through them. Since these documents had not been disturbed for a least a decade or more, they have been physically transformed through decay and exposure to the elements.

Naturally, if one leaves a water hose on the lawn, in a couple of days, one would find a pale color grass where it was placed. Using the process of photosynthesis, I have printed some of these writings and text onto leaves, suggesting that these documents imprinted themselves into the landscape. When printing on leaves, I place a negative on top of a live leaf and place that in the sun for a period of 3 to 4 weeks. Through the depletion of chlorophyll an image is formed. I believe that this also naturally occurred on this island with the arbitrary placement of the documents on the ground.

These documents and the landscape of the island share a common consciousness. The metaphor I am suggesting is that histories (or stories) dissolve into their environments. Sometimes these histories are documented and preserved through books and infrastructures such as museums. Other times they are still there, but are not revealed immediately upon their discovery. Like the buried memories of Pula Bidong Island, history sinks slowly and deeply into the ground.

~Binh Danh, May 23, 2004

Binh Danh Projects Pulau

NPR programs/talkingplants/features/2003/Danh


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