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Some thoughts on political philosophy

For years, I tried to find an answer to my question about the social responsibility of the State as a corporate entity. For me, the organization of the government of a State resembles that of a corporation.

I started with the definitions on “social contract” with Rousseau, and the “utilitarian approach” with Bentham, to then moved on to the principle of “justice” with Rawls to understand the justification of the State and its main role in providing an identity to the nation it represents, and to provide shelter and protection of its citizens from all misdeeds arising from the lack of authority – or anarchy – as described in Hobbes’s work.

On the question of representative democracy and “who should rule”, Plato and Rousseau enlightened me on the notion of “Republic” and “general will” through their work.

On the question of “how to rule”, the questions arisen are on how much liberty we – as citizens – are willing to give away to exchange against the security promised by our government. The question on “liberalism” is the debate between different schools (Adam Smith, Ricardo, J.S. Mill, J.M. Keynes, Karl Marx) around how much should the State interfere into our private sphere.

Then comes the question on distributive justice, in the form of tax incentives, property rights, social justice, issues that are treated by authors such as J. Locke, Rawls, Marx and other modern authors on the role of capital in the organisation of society.

The question on “responsible leadership” by the State is about how to design institutions that protect and enhance equality and sustainable development by the responsible usage of resources of the planet, in order to preserve our healthy relationship between humans and nature, humans in society, and the individuals as part of the humanity.

Jonathan Wolff’s Introduction to political philosophy provided answers which really clarified some doubts in my knowledge on this topic. Political Philosopy as a topics of study seems to be so much logical for me, and I highly recommend his book.

Have a good day, and see you in my next post.

Anita H.

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SBI Training Solution for Vietnamese

SBI Training Solutions là một công ty có đăng ký trụ sở tại Singapore do TS. Anh Thơ Andres, chuyên gia về đào tạo đa ngôn ngữ và đa văn hóa sáng lập cùng với sự hợp tác của TS. Hoàng Văn Hoàn, chuyên gia đa ngôn ngữ về kinh tế và các chính sách hội nhập quốc tế để phục vụ học viên trực tiếp và từ xa qua www.sbi-training.com.vn.

Đội ngũ giảng viên của SBI Training Solutions là các giáo sư, tiến sĩ dày dạn kinh nghiệm ở từng lĩnh vực đào tạo và tái đào tạo theo các chuyên ngành phù hợp với mỗi đối tượng người học đến từ nhiều nước trên thế giới như Thụy-sỹ, Anh, Pháp, Mỹ, Canada, Đức, Việt Nam và các nước khác.

Nội dung bài giảng được tham khảo và được phép lựa chọn, chắt lọc từ các chương trình đào tạo của các trường Kinh tế và/hoặc Quản trị kinh doanh quốc tế phù hợp với nhu cầu phát triển Kinh tế – Xã hội của Việt Nam. Sách và tài liệu tham khảo có thể được tải về với mức giá vừa phải hoặc miễn phí (tùy từng trường hợp cụ thể).

  • Sứ mệnh của chương trình: Chương trình đào tạo song ngữ Anh – Việt cho chuyên gia Vietnam Expert là cung cấp nguồn kiến thức theo các tiêu chí của Quyền sáng tạo chung (Common Creative Rights). Chương trình sử dụng công nghệ đào tạo tiên tiến nhất giúp mọi học viên tiếp thu kiến thức một cách dễ dàng cho việc hoàn tất chương trình đào tạo theo tiêu chuẩn quốc tế.
  • Mục tiêu của chương trình: Chương trình đào tạo song ngữ Anh – Việt trang bị cho người học các kiến thức chuyên môn bằng hai thứ tiếng Anh và tiếng Việt để trở thành những chuyên gia có khả năng thuyết trình và nghiên cứu khoa học thông qua kiến thức đa ngôn ngữ và đa văn hóa để phục vụ tốt hơn trong các lĩnh vực chuyên môn, đặc biệt trong bối cảnh toàn cầu hóa. Học xong chương trình, người học sẽ nắm bắt được các kiến thức và kỹ năng cần thiết để thích nghi với những thay đổi của thế giới mà không bị lúng túng, bỡ ngỡ.
  • Đối tượng đào tạo: Khóa học song ngữ Anh – Việt nhằm phục vụ các đối tượng:
  • Sinh viên năm cuối (Tiền-MBA – Pre-MBA English) sắp tốt nghiệp đại học, chuẩn bị tham gia các chương trình cao học quốc tế;
  • Học viên cao học và nghiên cứu sinh các ngành liên quan tới chương trình hợp tác giảng dạy, nghiên cứu khoa học giữa các trường đai học trong và ngoài nước;
  • Các chuyên gia ‚Vietnam Expert‘ đã có chuyên môn cao nhưng cần nâng cao các kỹ năng cần thiết bằng tiếng Anh và tiếng Việt…
  • Tổ chức lớp học và quy trình đào tạo: Mỗi khóa học có thể có nhiều modul, mỗi modul có thời lượng trung bình 40 giờ gồm học trên lớp, học trực tuyến và chương trình học nhóm. Phòng học trực tuyến trên Moodle sử dụng các giáo trình giảng dạy phù hợp với nhu cầu của học viên. 

Ngoài ra, chương trình hè với các trường đại học và các doanh nghiệp trên toàn thế giới giúp học viên thích nghi với môi trường học tập, làm việc và hội nhập quốc tế.

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An introduction of me by Diemmy

Found this, after so many years…that means, as waters run under the bridges where you pass by, good memories of encounters still remain, making it meaningful to jot down a few words of appreciation whenever you can, to thank and to cherish the gifts of Life, and of Love. Have a Blessed Day! Thanks.

Pourquoi écrire?

On a quelquechose à donner, on ne sait pas quoi, on ne sait pas à qui mais c’est là, alors on prend un crayon, on trace, on dépose les petits cailloux, on sait qu’on reviendra et que ces petits cailloux nous parleront.

(Journal intime, auteur inconnu)

Introduction of Ms. Anh Tho Andres’s writings by Diemmy Truong

By chance, I got to know Ms. Anh Tho Andres’s Facebook page when a Facebook friend of mine hit ‘like’ on one of her notes. It was a part of her manuscript for her novel ‘Back to Square One’ (tựa đề Tiếng Việt: ‘Trở về Con số Không’). I read through her note without intervals and was so impressed that I started to follow her to see more of her status updates and sharing on her page. 

To my surprise, I got her friend request shortly after and we started to communicate with her offering me to share her original version in English. As I remember, I was a little depressed by then, due to some personal issues that kept me sleepless. I spent almost a white night reading all the excerpts that she sent to me and was cheered up. The more I read, the more interested I got in her plot and her writing style. Then I asked her if I could volunteer to translate her book into Vietnamese so that it is accessible to more Vietnamese audience and I myself could learn from her.

My over 10-year experience as a news and freelance translator has proven that the best way to learn a language and improve the usage of one’s mother tongue is to practice translating as it forces me to read the text thoroughly and refer to sources to get a precise translation. Not only has my translating helped me to broaden my vocabulary and word choice but it has enhanced my writing remarkably as I am regularly exposed to stories by native writers.

Later on, I translated her series of ‘Back to Square One, A New Turning Point’ which presented her point of view, perspectives as well as what she gained from her readings. In each chapter, she wrote about an aspect of life from her own experience and Buddhism philosophy with personal advice on how to lead a more meaningful life and learn more to be professional at work. I have found myself sharing with her quite a few viewpoints in common and discovering new things.

As an avid social network user, I have gained some incredible opportunities and made friends with new people from various walks of life that have inspired and assisted me to achieve and become who I am now. My unexpected encounter with Ms. Anh Tho has opened a new door to knowledge and I hope you all will have the same experience as me. 

I wish you a good new journey of knowledge exploration.

(Source: Facebook, Diemmy Truong, with her permission)

Call for papers: Southeast Philosophy of Education Society (SEPES)

Members of the Southeast Philosophy of Education Society (SEPES) seek to:

  • promote the philosophic treatment of problems in education;
  • promote the clarification of agreements and differences among different philosophies of education through discussion afforded by annual meetings;
  • advance and improve teaching in the philosophy of education in postsecondary educational institutions;
  • cultivate fruitful relationships between philosophy of education and other areas of philosophy; and
  • encourage promising students to enter and participate in the field of philosophy of education.

Call for Papers:

The SEPES call for proposals on topics that meaningfully engage philosophy in the consideration of problems of educational relevance. The proposal deadline is November 1 November 15th, 2020 and should be no more than 500 words, excluding references.

Submit proposals online through the following link: http://bit.ly/SEPES2021Proposal

(Source: https://sepesociety.wordpress.com)

Have a good day,

Anita H.


Why does Ethics matter to Vietnamese Teachers?

Hi All,

Lately, I have been more involved with my compatriots in organising classes on Ethics Education, linked to the educational project called “Ethics in Higher Education” that has been implemented around the world, mainly in African, Latin American contexts. I am now sharing some reflections on Ethics and Culture in the Vietnamese context.

First of all, an overview on the Vietnamese culture and tradition is necessary to understand what role ethics is playing in our society. Coming from the confucian tradition, we – as Vietnamese – were naturally inclined to respect the social hierarchy, which is comprised of mainly four social classes, according to the confucian definition: the intellectuals (Sy), the peasantry (Nong), the artisans (Cong), and lastly the businessmen (Thuong). In this order, we can see that intellectuals occupied a primary role in the pre-modern Vietnamese society.

In the main, the Vietnamese belief system draws its foundation on values and virtues based on philosophies such as BuddhismConfucianism and Taoism – considered as the ‘triple religion’ (tam giao) – that are prevalent in the Vietnamese culture.

However, Vietnam owes much of its belief system to folk tales and in the traditional sense, and therefore, Vietnamese people do not belong to one unified group of believers of any of these philosophical schools. The main “religion” of Vietnamese is mainly the 3 social relations according to confucian definitions (Tam Cuong) that is translated in the cult of ancestors (Dao ong ba). The main “virtues” that are practiced according the Confucian five main values (Ngu Thuong).

The Vietnamese oral tradition played an important role in the education to the masses, by reminding the importance of virtues – defined by the confucian ethics based on the social hierarchy which is the respect for autonomy, beneficence, non-maleficence, and justice – and the moral values of these four prima facie principles. So, in our young days of pre-communist regime, we were reminded of our duty and respect of the social order through these teachings.

In this context, teachers, parents, priests or monks are important stakeholders of a social system that evolves around the family as the nucleus of society.

In my discussions in class with participants on the decline of ethical values in post-modern Vietnam, the main points noted are about the challenges faced by teachers in their role as educators, in terms of compliance to a curriculum that is conceived and designed by bureaucrats that leave no ground for innovation or independence to the teachers in the process of “educating” the students. One teacher mentioned that the relationship between the “educator” and the “learners” is greatly restricted within the objective on skills development, rather than “behaviour formation” that is part of the education process. Others mentioned the over-population in class made it difficult for the teacher to follow up students with behavioural problems on an individualised level.

On another level, the perception on the declining sense of responsibility of teachers are expressed with cases at hand with concerns about the declining moral atmosphere of the whole society, due to the lack of “moral education” of the younger generations. Parents who are also under pressure of paying high tuition fees for the “private tuition” claimed by teachers who need to make ends meet as a compensation to their merger (or some time not-paid salary), have delegated their educational duty to the hands of teachers. Moreover, both teachers, students, and parents are under the pressure of maintaining the “political correctness” of the learning process, in line with the political agenda.

Indeed, although the motto of education is about strengthening human values in the learners, that priority should be focused on the “respect or values or ethics” (in vietnamese: “Tien hoc le”), before proceeding to “acquire the knowledge” ( in vietnamese: “Hau hoc van”), both parents and teachers are under pressure to prepare their children/students to a professional life that is defined by the external signs of success in terms financial benefits, social advancement as preferred to ethical considerations to the less privileged strata of society.

The definition of “ethics” is therefore prone to a closer analysis of post-modern belief systems. First, at the national level, where virtues include loyalty to the organisation, in a liberal capitalist society, read “corporate culture” conformity; in a totalitarian system, read “loyalty to the ruling party”; and in a religion-based regime, read “conformity to the prevalent religious norms”. So, in any political system, the definition of “ethics” is adapted to the values defined by the belief system that is underlying of that political system. Similarly, the definition of “ethics” for the Vietnamese education system follows the same tendency.

From the discussions in different groups of teaching professionals, coming from various backgrounds, the overall sentiments were that the family, the school and the society are the three basic pillars of a good and healthy education, and these three should work together, with in mind that the social environment can only benefit of the positive outcomes of a philosophy of education aimed at sustainability.

The conclusions that derived from these discussions (on Vietnam) then to come to the same conclusions that I have witnessed from other groups from Afghanistan, Africa that face similar challenges, although at a different level. These conclusions are that we all need a code of conduct, that are accepted and enforced by the community involved.

In the case of Vietnamese context, the Charter proposed by the Global Federation of Vietnamese Teachers Unions (VNTU) seems to be a text worth of consideration to be adapted to the teaching professionals who value ethical education.

Details of the Charter can be consulted under the page on “Our Charter” of the following webpage: nghiepdoangiaochuc.net.

Learning from others are always such an enriching experience for the teachers themselves.

More to come on my next post,

Anita H.

Why does Ethics matter to Vietnamese People?

Looking back to the Vietnamese recent history, it seems that post-war Vietnam does not enjoy the sentiments of safety as we often dreamt of, while fighting for “Peace” and “Independence”.

Peace does not bring a safer society to its people, even in the absence of the insecurity of war and conflicts. Why is it so?

In my view, when a country is at war, people are busy trying to preserve their lives or livelihood. The sentiment of fighting together against a common enemy make the citizens of a nation flock together. While male citizens are sent to the frontline, women and children stay behind to make the economy work.

In the Southern part of Vietnam, where I grew up, the enemies were perceived as the communist insurgents that were treated as “outlaws” by the government, although it was difficult to pinpoint who was the real enemy among the population. The “Enemy” of the Southern Vietnamese was associated to a *political regime” led by the communist leadership and supported by the Eastern Bloc. Growing up in the heart of the war until the “liberation of South Vietnam”, I did not really think of the “Enemy” with a face, but more of the escalating conflicts that threatened my safe haven, by coming nearer everyday to my doorsteps as the conflict changed into a more ideological fight than pure battles in the field.

For my parents, who lived in the haven of peace (under the protection of the South Vietnamese Army), their worries about security was more about our personal safety against terrorist attacks, which represent the utmost manifestation of crime, rather than on the general atmosphere that war brings to the whole population, with a predictable end that we would lose the war after the Americans left. Personnally, I did not recall any sentiment of insecurity when it came to my own safety when I was going out in the streets in my daily activities, except that in the evenings, we were not allowed to circulate during the curfew hours. But I later discovered that my compatriots, who were growing up in other parts of the country that were out of the control and the protection of the Southern Vietnamese Army until 1975, did not have the same privileges as me.

Curiously, as Peace was re-established after the war ended, and as we were moving more towards the “globalized” society, it seems that crime rates have drastically increased in my country, and the sentiments of insecurity has gained the majority of the population, in the whole country. The current conversation that I got from my countrymen are mostly on their concern about the status of criminality at all levels of society, in spite of the apparent efficiency of the police in keeping peace among the population.

Crime is by definition the opposite of Peace in my mind. But maybe, we tend to associate a feeling of peace as a result of the absence of conflicts, which are the source of insecurity. However, peace is not necessarily the absence of fear by ending the conflicts of war.

Crime is present in various forms in Vietnam. According to reports from the criminal police, victims of crime include foreign visitors who came as tourists or business people as victims of petty thefts or business scams, childen and women as victims of sex trafficking and prostitution, and other forms of criminal misconducts.

I found an article of Wikipedia on “Crime in Vietnam”, and wish to share some highlights here for your reading:

According to United States 2016 OSAC Crime report, Hanoi is rated as medium in Overall Crime and Safety Situation. I have yet to find out more on the situation in Southern Vietnam, after the conflicts ended in 1975.

Will post more on this,

Anita H.

Tips for considering a DBA Degree

To start a journey for a doctoral is not easy.

At first, time and resources are to be considered:

A doctorate degree usually needs an investment of 3 to 5 years. The question you need to consider is: Do I have the time? Do I really want to spend that much time away from my family and my leisure activities to dedicate to research and studies?

Apart from time, there must be serious considerations on whether you can afford the resources for this long processus. Money is one of them. You have to ask questions: where and which universities do you want to earn your doctorate degree from.

From that starting point, you can look for doctoral programs that you can afford that offer low tuition fees as they are subsidized in some countries such as in Continental Europe, or you can look for doctoral programs that even offer scholarships that cover your tuition and your stay during your studies.

For Vietnamese students who need special coaching in English and management basics skills to enter top Western universities that offer low tuition fees (as compared to US or UK-based universities).

Pre-doctoral courses are available for Vietnamese students

You can join our pre-MBA English training to prepare yourself on topics in research and writing skills, financial management basics, introduction to economics and management studies, and a lot more…

Start date: 21 October 2020

Discipline: Business Administration

Duration: 6-12 months.

Output: Executive Certificate for post-grad entry level.

Class will be by distance learning with weekly webinars through sbivn.online. To register, sign up by email to contact@sbi-training.com.

Have a good day,

Anita H.

Edu-news: “Studying in the UK”

  • Check if a university or college is officially recognised (link: http://www.gov.uk). Institutions that offer degree-level courses in the UNK are called either ‘recognized’ or listed bodies. Recognized bodies are higher learning institutions that can award degrees. Listed bodies cannot award degrees themselves. If you study a degree at a listed body, your degree will be awarded by a recognized body.
  • Useful address: Look for education and learning : http://www.gov.uk/browse/education
  • Universities and higher education: http://www.gov.uk/browse/education/universities-higher-education
  • Recognised Awards: Certain bodies or institutions can award their own unique degrees (or recognised awards) such as the Mastership in Clinical Biochemistry (issued by the Association for clinical biochemistry and laboratory medicine), the Degree of Barrister-at-Law (issued by The Benchers of the Honourable Society of the Inn of Court of Northern Ireland), the Mastership in Food Control (awarded jointly by the Royal Society of Chemistry, the Society of Biology, and the Institute of Food Science and Technology).
  • for more information on the UK systems, contact me at contact@sbi-training.com

Reading “Vietnamese Classical Authors of the 19th Century”

Vietnam Classical Literature is mostly known to the outside world as sino-vietnamese (Han-nôm) literature, due to the Chinese influence on the Vietnamese scholarship over centuries.

For the younger Vietnamese generations, the study of Vietnamese classical authors seems to fade away, leaving the place to contemporary authors on topics on modern existentialism, pre-war or post-colonial literature which I will share in my next post on Vietnamese Literature.

In my attempt to “come back to the source”, I have shared my online readings on Vietnam on my blog “yourvietbooks.com” and other socio-media platforms on themes pertaining to the “Vietnamese Language and Culture, Philosophy, Art and Literature, or Books on Contemporary Vietnam”.

With regards to classical literature, I discovered some authors during the Nguyen era that have retained the most attention among Vietnamese scholars.

Indeed, the 19th Century was a flourishing century for the literature and the arts in Vietnam. Three outstanding talents, Nguyen Du, Mdm Ho Xuan Huong, and Nguyen Dinh Chieu contributed to the Vietnamese Classical Literature with the greatest masterpieces that are part of the curriculum of all students at all times: The Tale of Kieu, and Luc Van Tien, are the two epics and selected works for Ho Xuan Huong.

Nguyen Du (1766-1820): Nguyen Du’s main work is Kim Vân Kiều, (English title: The Tale of Kieu). The Tale of Kieu was written under a pen-name as the story was quite critical of the basic tenets of Confucian morality. It is a tragic tale of two lovers forced apart by the girl’s loyalty to her family honor. It is necessary to keep in mind his historical and social background in order to understand both the author and his main work, The Tale of Kieu (Vietnamese title: Truyện Kiều), which was based on an earlier Chinese work known as Kim Vân Kiều and was originally titled Đoạn Trường Tân Thanh (English: New Accents of a Heart-rending Song). In his work, Nguyễn Du added his own pain and guilt over the self-betrayal of his own code of honor (towards the Lê Dynasty), and the result is what made the Tale of Kiều being considered a masterpiece with the refined, subtle, and yet, simple way the author arranged his verses in a popular and genuinely Vietnamese cadence of six upon eight syllables that renders the recitation harmoniously rhythmic and the excerpts easily committed to memory.

Ho Xuan Huong (1772–1822) Mdm Hồ Xuân Hương must have lived under three different dynasties, –the Lê, Tây Sơn, and Nguyễn– and must have owed her fame to her poems composed almost exclusively in nôm. In between husbands, Hồ Xuân Hương managed a kind of salon frequented by writers and poets, where her talent shone in polished, elegant, but also daring, and sexually evocative poems and retorts. Online selected readings in Vietnamese by Mdm Ho Xuan Huong are available on maxreading.com, my favorite source of references on Vietnamese authors click here. Another source on her works may also be found on my other favorite reading blog: vnthuquan.net

Nguyen Dinh Chieu (1822-1888): Known for his nationalist and anti-colonial writings against the French colonization of Cochinchina (European name given to the southern part of Vietnam), he was the best-known opponent of collaboration who continued to defy the Treaty of Saigon which ceded southern Vietnam to France, in disobedience to the royal orders of Emperor Tự Đức. While Nguyễn Du’s style was elegant, sophisticated, Nguyễn Đình Chiểu’s words were easily understood by the common people. His main work is Lục Vân Tiên, perhaps one of the two most recognizable and influential epic poems in Vietnamese history. The poem praises the power of true love, applauds bravery, and fair justice. While Nguyễn Du discoursed about the dichotomy between talent and fate, about the sufferings every human being had to endure, Nguyễn Đình Chiểu warns his readers to scrutinize the past so as not to make mistakes in the future. Young men should put loyalty and filial piety on top of all values, whereas young women should make chastity and faithfulness their ideals. Again, my favorite source of reference is maxreading.com online Vietnamese version: Click here. And my favorite reading blog on Nguyễn Đình Chiểu is on vnthuquan.net.

Apart from these classical authors, we can add Bà Huyện Thanh Quan (1805-1848), Nguyễn Khuyến (1835-1909), and Tran Te Xuong (1870-1907), Ðoàn Thị Ðiểm (1705-1748), Ðặng Trần Côn (1715-1745), Nguyen Gia Thieu (1741-1798), whose works can be found under the sources indicated hereafter: wikipedia, maxreading.com, conmotsach.com, sachhay.com, daophatngaynay.com, vanchuongviet.org, vietnamhoc.net.

With the multimedia aiding, some classical works can be viewed on Youtube channels, such as Chinh phụ ngâm khúc (in English: The Complaint of the Warrior’s Wife), view You Tube; or used a taught literature, such as Cung oán ngâm khúc (in English: The Complaints of an Odalisk), view article under buddhist view by Ven. Thích Pháp Như.

(Compiled by Anh Tho Andres, 2007-2017)

Reading “The Future of Islam and the West”

Political philosophy seems to be the favorite topic of discussions among my peers. After my first posting on this WordPress platform, I am encouraged to move further with exploring ideas pertaining to how we should be governed, and by whom.

As I have spent the last ten years exploring the “other face of the coin” on how representative democracy and the role of institutions are perceived in the ex-socialist bloc, my attention is now turned to another part of the world which is still unknown to me, the Middle-east and the Islamic world.

The first few pages already caught my attention by the question posed at the beginning: Does the future of Islam and the West necessarily mean a “#clash of civilizations” or can we find ways for a “peaceful coexistence” between the Islam World and the West?

In the introduction, the author mentions the “#End of History” and the “#Clash of Civilizations”, the evolution of religion and secularism, the reality of the Clash, and which methodology he will use to treat the question.

The table of contents includes 3 main parts which are about the Islamic experience explained in easy-to-understand terms for beginners (like myself) in the first chapter, followed by the history of “Islamic Movement” and its anti-western dimensions, from the origins of the #Islamist phenomenon to the intensification of the dualistic development of Muslim Societies and the cause of such phenomenon. The case studies on Iran and Saudi Arabia shed some light on the different perceptions of Islam. And finally, the conclusions and outlook for the relations between the Islam World and the West.

I got my interest when first reading the “Ghost Wars”, which is about the secret history of the CIA, Afghanistan and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001 (one day before Nine-eleven) by #Steve Coll during one of my travel back to #Singapore, my place of residence for a decade around that same period, so the stories brought some other memories of my activities living among people who came from the region. I do not recall that we, being Asians, are aware of the reality in which we live because reading politics is not so much encouraged in this part of the World.

But staying in the West, namely in Switzerland, where there is still freedom for thoughts – although some of you would challenge me for this statement – allows me to explore more in-depth on political ideas, which leads me to the topic of political philosophy. I enjoy the luxury of expressing myself without fear of being sanctioned for my own personal opinion and also enjoy the inclusiveness polity which allows me to move around freely and exchange with my peer on an equal basis.

The “#Ghost Wars” has led me to read on #Jerusalem, so beautifully described by Simon Sebag Monte in his “Jerusalem, the biography”. Neil Faulkner’s “#Laurence of Arabia’s War” is the next on my reading list, and of course, I cannot forget to mention Peter Frankopan’s “The Silk Roads, a New History of the World”, also beautifully written.

I can’t wait until the next weekend to finish my book…

Till then,

Anita H.

Tips on international studies

While reviewing my past work on this topic, I am sharing some notes posted on my page SBI-training.com some time ago.

  • Discipline: International Studies & Global Governance. 
  • Type of Degree /Diploma: DAS, pre-MBA, IOMBA, EMBA, DBA, Ph.D.
  • Recommended Courses for International Business, click here.
  • Key Concepts: Development Studies, Public Governance, Comparative environmental frameworks, Geo- and Ecopolitics, World Politics, Responsible Leadership, Ethics in Politics, Global Ethics Applied, International Economic Law, UN Environmental and Educational Framework, UN SDG framework.
  • Partner Institutions who provide these types of courses are mainly partner universities in Switzerland, France, UK, US.
  • Career opportunities: Environmental and Educational Experts, International Business Development, Expert in Intercultural Communications, Certified Ethics Professionals across sectors, Teaching and Research in Global Ethics and Sustainable Development.

For Vietnamese students, I would recommend some skill enhancement courses such as:

Hope this helps,

Anita H.

A Mid-year Resolution

During Covid-19 lockdown, I did not really feel the restriction of being at home, as I could catch up with lots of delayed projects because of my thesis and other unplanned emergencies.

But since a week, I started to feel the symptoms of lack of social life and lack of daily exercise. These are manifestations of my declining health, and warning signs of troubles ahead…

In the meantime, the to-do list of urgencies seems to have vanished: things like vacation, parties, visits to friends, and even spring and summer shoppings are no more priorities…

However the vaacum allows projects that were seemingly forgotten to emerge on my top reading list: a clearer picture of what I need to finish takes shape around a study programme named “Vietnam Hoc” and with it, thousands of research titles seem to jump back on my desk!

By the way, my Chris de Burg favorite song is indeed: “Follow your heart”…

Do have a beautify Summer 👶

Know who you truly are

Reading History is a way to teach yourself on who you truly are.

While reviewing my knowledge on my own culture, I realized how little I know about the history of my country, as my first half of my existence has been spent trying to learn from other cultures.

Rereading some history books from different angles by renowned authors such as Nguyen Khac Vien, Truong Buu Lam, Vy Thanh, Nguyen Tien Hung, Stanley Karnow, John Prados, etc. has helped me to see the Vietnam history under different perspectives.

But the real learning must also start with classical authors such as Tran Trong Kim, Duong Quang Ham, Ngo si Lien, Le Thanh Khoi, Nguyen The Anh, Nguyen Hien Le, whose pedagogical perspectives are really useful for understanding history as a subject matter.

In my first attempt to re-visit the past, it’s a good base to start with.

But learning history is just a start: literature, folklore, han-viet classic studies, anthropology and ethnology, sociology and contemporary literature of both diaspora and domestic authors are necessary for my knowledge as well.

Reading “When China rules the World”

Since Covid-19 came to visit Earth, China emerges emerged as the culprit of all evils.

As I had planned to focus on China studies this year, it suits me well to have so much information rushing my way : from “China uncensured”, to “China in focus”, there are enough substance for anyone who wants to initiate his research in this direction.

I discovered, as my first half of the 2020 year goes by, a heap of young reporters whose career seems to live on “CCP virus” alone: some are quite talented, such as Simon Gao of Zooming in, or Joshua Philipp of The Epoch Times Crossroad hosts, whereas a lot others have not managed to retain my attention.

For years, I followed Dr Nguyen Xuan Nghia on his program “Giai ao thoi su” meaning “decoding the news” and learned a lot from this series that inspired more research and readings, both in English and in Vietnamese, during my Doctoral studies. One of the books on China that retained my attention was “Death by China” by Navarro, another one was “Currency Wars” by a chinese-speaking author that I forgot the name.

As I am now focusing more on the subject matter on “intercultural communication”, my reading on China is more on the cultural differences between the China World vs. the rest. Martin Jacques “When China Rules the World” gives a very complete picture of the evolution of the Chinese culture through her history of conquests and trading routes which now ends up in the BRI “Belt and Road Initiative” which is more known under the euphemism “Silk Road”.

That reminds me of another book I need to read soon: “The Silk Roads, a new history of the World” by Peter Francopan” which is on my shelf, waiting to be discovered…

I can’t wait to join the World of these ancient merchants that made history, ha ha!

Thanks for reading, stay safe,

See you next time, Anita H.

A New Turning Point – Note #5

5. Finding the Right Audience

The secret for an effective communication is to address the right audience.

Not only, you need to use the right language, that means a content expressed in words that belong to the trade, for instance, in business, the term ‘business plan‘, ‘executive summary‘, ‘return on investment‘, ‘payback period‘, etc. are key terms that help your audience to understand your message without you trying to explain further. Key terms are essential to convey your message in the modern times where space and time are limited, either on a resume or in a pitch presentation, as people are too busy to hear the long story, unless you catch their attention in the first 30 seconds. This is the reason why I recommend to all of my students to start studying the key terms in the glossary linked to the topic of their studies, in order to have the right vocabulary on the main concepts. Knowing the concept helps you keep track on the arguments that enforce your message to your audience, but you must first know whom you want to talk to, and why they should listen to you.

For years, I was targeting the wrong audience, by communicating massively on Facebook, instead of on LinkedIN, where my real audience – business executives, CEO of companies, entrepreneurs – is present.

On Facebook, I created many pages targeted at different audiences, such as those who are interested in Vietnamese contemporary history and looking for ‘goodreads’ tips in this direction, or those interested in my ‘travel’ tips which draws the attention of long forgotten friends who emerge to drop me a ‘like’ or friendly comment. By the time of this writing, I think I have got over 2000+ ‘friends’ or supporters on my personal facebook page, some of whom I have met personally while working in Vietnam, and many others, on FB or remotely, through friends of friends.

For the past 8 years, I have been trying to raise the interest of my new FB friends on useful educational websites and other subjects of interest. I noticed one thing: my FB audience tends to click “like” to acknowledge reception of the message. It does not mean that they REALLY LIKE my posts. And it is really rare to have a comment, showing their personal appreciation and real feedback on your messages. On the other hand, my Vietnamese audience loves pictures or stories on real life experience, for example, my photos on my way to work passing through a Geneva park, or some excerpts of my book. For example, my post with a Happy Lunar Year collected over 11’000 likes in ONE day, at the cost of only USD5 USD for the exercise. Since that day, my facebook audience took off…

However, I have no illusions on trying to earn any money on a socio media platform. FB fans are there for just social encounters. There is no way I can get any serious exchange as everybody is beware that it is a socio media and thus, exposed to other people’s view without being invited. Personally, my FB experience is useful as I used my messages to communicate and share with “my” audience about “my week.” As FB has become THE “meeting point” for most Vietnamese, I can be sure to get some “likes” to any form of communication to measure my impact. Indeed, if you communicate in both Vietnamese and in English or French, you are sure to get some kind of feedback. In a way, it’s a good therapeutics for those who suffer a crisis of solitude.

As I learnt to post more professional content on LinkedIN, I have the pleasure to note that I got around 100 views per postings, and my profile is ranked among the top 2% of the profiles with the same professional skills. Obviously the audience reacts differently, and I am pleased to get more friends now on the LinkedIn network of professionals. However, academics have their own network such as academia.edu or researchgate.edu to get visibility as a Scholar.

My experience with academia.edu has been quite satisfactory. Academia.edu is a platform for scholars or researchers who posts their research findings and seek pier review on their paper. By subscribing to their service, I receive regular updates on the topics of interest, such as ‘international relations‘, ‘governance‘, ‘vietnamese history‘, etc that can be saved on my own space. The analytics allow to see the profiles of my viewers and colleagues who have downloaded or cited my work. The statistics on countries, organisations or universities, cities, areas of interest allow a better targeting if one wishes to contact these persons. I have created a page for myself on http://anhthoandres.academia.edu and can store my research works and findings on this personal ‘webpage’. Through the notifications received daily, I have noticed that my profile has been searched on LinkedIn very often, thanks to the communication by Academia.edu professional team.

There are certainly other platforms that are useful for research works, such as researchgate which I am less familiar about, most probably because their customer service are not so userfriendly as with my experience on FB, LinkedIn and Academia.edu.

Well, it is Christmas Day today, so I wish you all a Merry Christmas Season,

Anita H.

A New Turning Point – Note #3

Note #3. Getting Organized

My introspection task list is still not yet finished. Reviewing past posts reminds me of my past resolutions at different turning points of my short existence as a Scholar. My boss has given me a nick name: ‘the youngest doctor’ in town… ha ha!

Here is an updated version of note#3 published on my Linkedin space some years ago.

“Sometimes, Monday is a difficult day to start the week. I guess it is why most organisations fix their staff meetings on this day to motivate each other for the workload awaiting them ahead.

I started mine with reviewing the IMPORTANT, the URGENT, the PLANNED, and the ACHIEVED lists of tasks as usual. I must admit that the list is getting longer each time in either direction – whether being ‘planned and achieved’, or ‘planned and urgent’, or ‘planned and important’. As time goes by and my retirement approaching, and I have to do some extra efforts to cut down some of which, by hindsight, do not seem so relevant to my priorities any more.

I find it useful somehow to retrieve old notes which are under KIV (kept in view) and read through them with a new perspective. Looking through to some programs offered by the Association of Business Executives (Short name: ABE) to Vietnamese students, guess what did I find? An Alibaba cave full of unexploited jewelries. Wow, thank you, Sesame!

In my last post reviews, I mentioned about being grateful and counting my blessings. Well, it’s the case now as the information which I got here was presented to me by a third party – my Vietnamese academy partner – the Saigon University. I had found them through the recommendation of the Vietnamese Ministry of Education and Training (MOET), and have found my counterpart representative, Dr Le Hong Son, a young lecturer who speaks fluent English, to be a very resourceful person and very dynamic partner. That’s how I got the information on ABE, and am thankful that I kept my files in a secure and ordered folder.

As this above example is one which reminds me of the importance of filing and retrieving information, I am of the opinion that getting organised is a key success factor in your learning process.

I started my first job upon arrival to Switzerland as a ‘Sacharbeiter’ (which means specialist in German), by doing statistics and management accounting. My direct boss holds a doctor degree in economics and was working on the remuneration scheme for the 67 agencies that are part of the Insurance company I was working for. No need to say how much data I had been processing through at that time where company of over a thousand employees in a small city of 150’000 people in Switzerland could deal with the limited technologies at the time (1985) as compared to what we are now enjoying in our data processing tasks.

It turned out that this initiation to data processing was shaping my entire existence and was very useful for my market research and other position as financial analyst, marketing director, programme director which I have occupied over the years. So, my message here is: a small and boring job can lead to something great later on, if you have the right mindset to learn about the trade and get the right skills, under the right leadership who has vision and competence. It was my case, and has been throughout my whole career….

Coming back to my workload of re-evaluating my acquired knowledge, I have started going through the podcasts on HR Development strategies, then moved on to the Leadership, Change and People Performance, following the selection on Education, Learning and Development, published by Emerald Group Publishing. My interest is also about Organisational Behaviour, International Business, Marketing Strategies and Planning, just to name a few. Through this daily exercice, my mind has started ‘connecting the dots’ between the disciplines that I have learned throughout the years of training, either within the MBA programme or the DBA programme that I have just completed in 2018.

I guess the transformation inside yourself does not happen at once. Slowly the knowledge acquired is crystallised into something that is part of yourself and not a clone copy of the textbooks you have been reading and trying to memorise for your exams. Scholarly research work is a good guidance for you to plan your own study plan for what you want to achieve academically and reach the professional objectives for your next move too.

For instance, the tips on Research Management under this link has been very useful for my research work http://www.emeraldgrouppublishing.com/research/guides/management/index.htm”

There are numerous examples of research methodologies that can inspire to do your research, so keep exploring and constitute yourself a literature review of what has been done in the area of your expertise, and what needs to be explored further.

My main message to you here is, to keep on trying until you find a way to organise your research work for efficiency and effectiveness, while not forgetting the academic objectives that allow you to reach your personal and professional career plan.

Good luck and keep on trying…

Anita H.

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