Number Sixteen of the Partidas series. First, have to admit, my cover is not the best. However, the Partidas covers were never meant to convey any message or be a means of protest…until this month.
This month’s mix is part-business-as-usual, i.e. soundtrack of life and/or whatever catches my fancy. But it is also part dedication to The Mystery Lady and an ANTI-tribute to the regime of her country.
Decree/Nghị Định 72, issued by Việt Nam’s government in June but to go into effect 1st of September (aaah…love them fiscal year changes in policy and everything), is the latest attempt to corral internet freedoms in VN. The biggest fear being a ban on posting of news articles by bloggers, or even on one’s own Facebook page.
Below is an article written earlier this month by David Brown for Asia Sentinel that does a good job to describe this decree and what may/may not happen…
It is hard to tell what’s next after Decree 72 goes into effect. At worst, more repression and jailing of bloggers, dissidents and thought criminals. But at best, and more likely…nothing. The Vietnamese love the internet (and REALLY love FB). The genie left the bottle a loooong time ago. That, paired with a huge Việt diaspora around the world…you can’t hold back the flood waters.
But because this decree flies in the face of common sense, because the “communists” still cling to power, and that big ol’ neighbor/rival to the north, China, has its “Great Firewall”, it does leave an air of pessimism. Funny how this comes about after OUR NSA scandal. Funny that the decree stayed intact even after a visit to Washington by VN president Trương Tấn Sang, even after the Obama administration criticized the decree and VN’s overall human rights record.
But then again, the kids will be alright. Not long ago, I asked a Việt Nam Veteran family member how he would describe the Vietnamese. “Very practical”, he said. Those words, paired with the Việt I’ve met here in the U.S. and online (and maybe, someday, over there), remind me that Decree 72 is just another pile of bullshit they know to step around.
And to my Mystery Lady: Hang in there, baby. Yours in solidarity, always.
Anyway, the music. Another mix of all sorts. In a way, a continuation of the free-for-all from last month. However, the standouts this time are tracks three and thirteen, though apologies for the crumby recordings.
Xuân Tình Chấn, a traditional Việt song is played here by two INCREDIBLY talented young ladies, Tuyết Hoa on guitar & Ngọc Nguyền on đàn nguyệt (a Việt banjo/lute). MINDBLOWING SHIT…especially the guitar, which has a scalloped fret board to pull off those crazy chord bends.
Next, from the 60’s, Huế Wail by Loyd Miller. Miller tried, brilliantly, to incorporate eastern instruments into Jazz numbers. Though he played more with Middle Eastern instruments, here he plays a đàn tranh (a plucked zither) in an original composition. I guess what’s fascinating about this is that it took an American to think of this. Although, VN had a thriving music & recording industry, esp. before 1975, Jazz was hardly one of the genres.
Enjoy, and stick it to The Man when you can. LN