Gallery · Stories

Mệt mỏi | Fatigue

A few weeks ago we shared with you the zine, S P A C E | ‘Fatigue.’

Honestly it was the compilation that resulted from a set of conversations that began in real life spaces here in Saigon, before the city closed. And observations. The culture of moving, constantly, through the day and routines such that no time was spared for basics like catching up with oneself, one’s friends, one’s sleep, even, became more and more commonly seen by us at Atelier S P A C E. Rather than the exception, fatigue was the norm. I could cite articles that led us to this conclusion, but I will leave it in the reporter’s notebook space which isn’t public like this one. Cool.

Mệt mỏi | Fatigue

Artists’ names are below each image

Curated by
Dipika Kohli

Words by


Một cảm giác mệt mỏi chủ quan dần dần khởi phát. Không giống như sự ốm yếu, mệt mỏi có thể được giảm bớt theo thời gian nghỉ ngơi.  Mệt mỏi có thể có nguyên nhân thể chất hoặc tinh thần. Sự mệt mỏi về thể chất là sự mất khả năng thoáng qua của cơ để duy trì hoạt động thể chất tối ưu, và trở nên nghiêm trọng hơn khi tập thể dục mạnh.[1][2][3] Mệt mỏi về tinh thần là một sự giảm thoáng qua về hiệu suất nhận thức tối đa do thời gian hoạt động nhận thức kéo dài. Nó có thể biểu hiện như buồn ngủ, thờ ơ hoặc giảm sự tập trung chú ý.[4]

Về mặt y học, mệt mỏi là một triệu chứng không đặc hiệu, có nghĩa là nó có nhiều nguyên nhân có thể và đi kèm với nhiều điều kiện khác nhau. Mệt mỏi được coi là triệu chứng, chứ không phải là dấu hiệu, bởi vì nó là một cảm giác chủ quan được báo cáo bởi bệnh nhân, chứ không phải là một khách quan mà người khác có thể quan sát. Mệt mỏi và ‘cảm giác mệt mỏi’ thường bị lẫn lộn..[5]

Fabian Oelkers

Gregory Pappas

Mệt mỏi thường được coi là một tình trạng kéo dài hơn buồn ngủ.[6] Mặc dù buồn ngủ có thể là triệu chứng của các vấn đề y tế, nhưng nó thường là do thiếu giấc ngủ ngon hoặc thiếu sự kích thích.[7] Mệt mỏi mãn tính, mặt khác, là một triệu chứng của một vấn đề y tế lớn hơn trong hầu hết các trường hợp. Nó thể hiện sự mệt mỏi về tinh thần hoặc thể chất và không thể hoàn thành nhiệm vụ ở hiệu suất bình thường.[8] Cả hai thường được sử dụng thay thế cho nhau và thậm chí được phân loại theo mô tả ‘mệt mỏi’. Thông thường mệt mỏi được mô tả như là một mệt mỏi không thoải mái, trong khi buồn ngủ là thoải mái hơn.

Mệt mỏi là kết quả của làm việc bình thường, căng thẳng về tinh thần, bị kích thích quá mức, đi máy bay, giải trí quá mức,trầm cảm, chán nản, bệnh tậtthiếu ngủ. Nó cũng có thể có nguyên nhân hóa học, chẳng hạn như ngộ độc, lượng đường trong máu thấp hoặc thiếu hụt khoáng chất hoặc vitamin. Mất máu mãn tính thường dẫn đến mệt mỏi, cũng như các tình trạng khác do thiếu máu. Mệt mỏi khác với buồn ngủ, nơi bệnh nhân cảm thấy rằng giấc ngủ là cần thiết. Mệt mỏi là một phản ứng bình thường đối với gắng sức hoặc căng thẳng về thể chất, nhưng cũng có thể là dấu hiệu của một rối loạn thể chất.

Mệt mỏi tạm thời có thể là một căn bệnh nhỏ như cảm lạnh thông thường như một phần của đáp ứng hành vi bệnh tật xảy ra khi hệ thống miễn dịch chống lại nhiễm trùng.

From Wikipedia:


A feeling of fatigue, subjective, gradually sets in. Unlike illness, fatigue can be alleviated with rest. Fatigue can have physical or mental causes. Physical fatigue is the transient inability of muscles to maintain optimal physical performance, and is aggravated by vigorous exercise. Mental fatigue is a transient decrease in maximal cognitive performance due to prolonged periods of cognitive activity. It may manifest as drowsiness, lethargy, or decreased attention span.

Medically, fatigue is a nonspecific symptom, which means it has many possible causes and is associated with many different conditions. Fatigue is considered a symptom, rather than a sign, because it is a subjective feeling reported by the patient, rather than an objective one that can be observed by others. Fatigue and ‘feeling of fatigue’ are often confused..[5]

Fatigue is generally considered to be a longer-lasting condition than drowsiness.[6] Although drowsiness can be a symptom of medical problems, it is usually due to lack of good sleep or lack of stimulation.[7] Chronic fatigue, on the other hand, is a symptom of a larger medical problem in most cases. It represents mental or physical fatigue and an inability to complete tasks at normal performance.[8] The two are often used interchangeably and are even classified under the description ‘fatigue’. Usually fatigue is described as an uncomfortable fatigue, while drowsiness is more comfortable.

Fatigue is the result of normal work, mental stress, overstimulation, airplane travel, excessive entertainment, depression, boredom, illness, and lack of sleep. It can also have a chemical cause, such as poisoning, low blood sugar, or a mineral or vitamin deficiency. Chronic blood loss often leads to fatigue, as well as other conditions caused by anemia. Fatigue is different from drowsiness, where the patient feels that sleep is necessary. Fatigue is a normal response to physical exertion or stress, but can also be a sign of a physical disorder.

Temporary fatigue can be as minor as the common cold as part of a disease behavioral response that occurs when the immune system fights off an infection.

From Wikipedia:

S P A C E | ‘Fatigue’

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'S' is for Sincerity

Covid fourth wave in Việt Nam: Mini-report from Hồ Chí Minh City

Nguyễn Mỹ Hà‘s lede in a story in the Vietnam News hits the note, exactly. It’s this: ‘Hồ Chí Minh City is not feeling well.’

From the article:

‘The most vibrant and economically wealthy city in Việt Nam has offered financial aid* to help people whose incomes have been slashed due to the city’s 14-day lockdown.

‘When HCM City coughs, the whole country feels the cold. Its daily number of positive cases this week has been consistently above 1,000 and topped 2,000 on Wednesday.

‘The Ministry of Health continues to send medical teams with doctors and other health personnel to help HCM City fight the pandemic. More than 7,000 medical students have been added to the health force to start work in the city’s quarantine camps and hospitals.’

When a horse is sick, the whole stable feels the pain, goes a popular saying,” writes Nguyễn Mỹ Hà.

Read the full story:


*Friends tell us how hard it is to do the paperwork to actually get to any package that might come out, and some people are waiting and waiting for previous similar things to come to fruit, is the word on the street, to our knowledge. Meantime the need for cash is real. So here’s what’s up…. Social sustainability-shaped things, up next, in S P A C E. This is where DK has been taking shelter since the outbreak of the virus, and thanks to help from friends and neighbors, gotten by with… being in a foreign land, unplannedly. Now, this. Support DK’s own effort to create small, paid writing and design commissions. These would be for people whom we have gotten to know and whose work we value and even cherish, at Atelier S P A C E Ho Chi Minh City. See ‘Book of Feelings’ at our recently updated crowdfunding page. Here is a link.


Help me make it *happen*.


A Philosophy of the Moment · Found in the Field

Về quả | ‘Six major fruits, four potential fruits, and six minor fruits’

The S P A C E editorial review team for our culinary segment, #newcuizines, a crowdfunded effort, says it’s important to start from the basics. It’s like this, they say. ‘When in Japan you have to learn to knit, you don’t start by just knitting any old thing.’ Oh? ‘Well yeah. You begin by washing yarn. Get that right, first. Yarn. And how to wash it. This takes time.’ We are nascent here with #newcuizines and um, instead of washing yarn, we will read technical blog posts. Let me explain.

This curated new team of discerning foodies, foodies, they say, ‘with taste,’ lol, deems it appropriate to share a technical blog post today. About fruits. Fruits, specifically, of Vietnam. Why? This publication’s editors could reach only one person today for comment, since everyone is quite busy in our social distancing life currently. That person, occasional contributing writer QN, replied to us over Zalo with a zinger: ‘Fruit! Yes, great idea. OMG they are so awesome!’ ‘Kay cool. We’ll give ourselves some time to get going with more original stories, but for now, this. At this moment in time, our story today is a snippet, excerpted from the excellent writings at:


1. Introduction


Fruit production in Vietnam has developed very significantly in recent years. This sector has experienced rapid growth because income per hectare from growing fruits is four to eight times greater than from growing rice. In the rapidly expanding markets of Vietnam, it has been easy to sell fruits so producers have concentrated on quantity rather than quality. However, this system of production is likely to change, because traditional growing techniques are often irregular and inadequate, disease-control measures are poor and markets are changing, with better quality fruit being sought by consumers.

The lack of basic information of the fruits grown in Vietnam is a bottleneck for further development. Although there are numerous kinds of fruits in Vietnam, it is not possible for the author to cover them all in this small publication.

The present document only attempts to compile existing information on six major fruits, four potential fruits, and six minor fruits.

Pertinent information on each fruit includes scientific and vernacular names (in English, French, and five Southeast Asian nations – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam), general description, origin and distribution, ecology, genetics and improvement, major cultivars in Vietnam, propagation, planting, pests and diseases, fruiting season, harvest and yield, post-harvests operation, problems, and prospects.

1.1 Major Fruits

These are fruits that are most commonly found in Vietnam. They are listed in Table 1. However, the present document covers only six major fruits having the highest priority in development, namely longan, lychee, mandarin, mango, orange and pummelo. See:


Photo: Neha


1.3 Areas of Production

Areas of fruit trees in Vietnam have been increasing with the changing of cropping system. In addition, with the policy of the Government to cover some areas in the mountainous regions with fruit trees, more areas have been planted to fruit crops.

In 2003, the total areas of fruit trees in Vietnam was 643 550 ha, with total production of 5 695 000 tons (or the increase of 13.8% and 15%, respectively, as compared to 2000). The major fruit commodities are banana, lychee and longan, citrus, pineapple and mango, whose area and production are given below.

Banana: Area: 105 000 ha; total production: 1 365 000 tons; important provinces and area (ha): Ca Mau (7 000), Thanh Hoa (8,000), Song Nai (6 000), Soc Trang (6,500), Tra Vinh (3 400), Can Tho (3 000 ha), An Giang (3 000 ha).

Lychee and Longan: Area: 190 000 ha; total production: 694 000 tons; important provinces and area (ha): Bac Giang (25 500), Ben Tre (16 200), Tien Giang (13 528), Vinh long (9 500), Son La (9 600), Hai Dong (9 400), Quang Ninh (7 000), Hoa Binh (4 500).

Citrus: Area: 73 000 ha; total production 440 000 tons; important provinces and area (in ha): Can Tho (13 181), Ben Tre (6 000), Vinh Long (6 500), Ha giang (4 200), Nghe An (4 700), Dong Thap (3 200).

Pineapple: Area: 40 000 ha (in which 8 000 ha are grown to Cayenne varitey), total production: 337 500 tons; important provinces and area (in ha): Kien Giang (7 710), Tien Giang (6 830), Quang nam (2 320), Thanh Ho (1 600) Vµ Ninh Binh (1 572).

Mango: Area: 46 500 ha, total production: 209 400 tons; important provinces and area (in ha): Tien Giang (6 000), Binh Phuoc (4 205), Song Thap (3 700), Can Tho (3 500), Khanh Hoa (4 000).

In addition, there are relatively large areas in some provinces planted to some specific fruits, namely: plum (Bac Ha – Lao Cai), sweetsop (Lang Son), dragon fruit (Binh Thuan) and grape (Ninh Thuan).



Short Courses · WORK

DK | Short course in Brand Identity Design

by Design Kompany


Event Information

A set of 6 modules for anyone to work out their ‘brand’

About this event

Learn our top 6 go-to resources for you to discover how to build your brand, from scratch.

In a short course that will begin on Tuesday, we will share our top 6 modules that have worked well for more than 80 small businesses and organizations whom we have worked for in Seattle, Durham NC, and Phnom Penh. DK has created brand identity designs for small and medium-sized businesses since 2006.

You’ll be able to learn, and apply right away, the lessons from our past experiences by working with these exact six tools to figure out your core story, and how you can best tell it to the world.

Register here

'S' is for Sincerity · Experiments in Expression

I <3 New Cuizines

Today we share an update about #NewCuizines..

I told you about it? About #newcuizines? I’ll be curating here and there some of my favorite food-related [various media pieces] and original stories from the kitchen-atelier of our studio itself. Atelier S P A C E, because. Cooking. Is happening. It has to. There are no take-aways allowed and so, um, you have to prepare things.

I’m glad I have a kitchen, to do that. I’ve made some [deleted]… but these look pretty good…

Yes, you know I am not a foodie. But I do like good food. I mean, eating it. How could I not after three years in the gastronomic paradise of West Cork, Ireland (thank you lads). Well. After all that, I am in Vietnam, one of the most brilliant places to be for food especially if you want to see how creative everything can get with texture, color, composition. Style. I’m enjoying it. Continue reading “I <3 New Cuizines”


What is Post-postmodernism?


Esoterica, today.

Post-postmodernism, anyone?

Right, for those who are still with me…

Yeah, two ‘posts’:


Not a mistake.

Been thinking about this since the phrase fell across my radar a few years ago, in response to some things I was making like 16N (‘most people, ‘What the…’?’) and other salons, workshops, conversation spaces in real life for the serendipitous encounter. A few pics:

So what is ‘post post modernism?’ Large, cumbersome, and unwieldy topic. Also not much is talked about there, yet. It’s a good time to bring it up; so let me try.

I’ll start with the definition from Wikipedia

Post-Postmodernism is a general term used to describe new developments emerging from postmodernism. A similar term is metamodernism. Put less simply, post-postmodernism is a wide-ranging set of developments in critical theory, philosophy, architecture, art, literature, and culture which are emerging from and reacting to postmodernism.

History[change | change source]

Modernism began around 1900. It was a rejection of tradition and an attempt to see the world differently. Events such as World War 2 and the Great Depression made many feel modernism had failed. This led to postmodernism, which is cold and skeptical of the grand narrative of Western Society. This grand narrative is explained by Jean-François Lyotard as something.[2] Postmodernism is a very broad term that cannot be defined by specific themes. It is an all-encompassing way of thinking.

Advances such as the internet have changed the way we live, making the world a smaller place but also making communication and interaction with things around us less intimate. Post-Postmodernism takes this as a key reason why a return to sincerity and authentic expression is the way forward for the 21st Century.

Definitions[change | change source]

Post-postmodernism is a very new idea that is still forming. There are many different ideas about how post-postmodernism could evolve and shape culture. They look to where faith, trust, dialogue, performance, and sincerity can work to overcome postmodern irony.

‘The search for authenticity’

Most scholars would agree that modernism began around 1900 and continued on as the dominant cultural force in the intellectual circles of Western culture well into the mid-twentieth century.[1]

Like all eras, modernism encompasses many competing individual directions and is impossible to define as a discrete unity or totality. However, its chief general characteristics are often thought to include an emphasis on “radical aesthetics, technical experimentation, spatial or rhythmic, rather than chronological form, [and] self-conscious reflexiveness”[2] as well as the search for authenticity in human relations, [Emphasis mine] abstraction in art, and utopian striving. These characteristics are normally lacking in postmodernism or are treated as objects of irony [Emphasis mine]


May 2021

Postmodernism arose after World War II as a reaction to the perceived failings of modernism, whose radical artistic projects had come to be associated with totalitarianism[3] or had been assimilated into mainstream culture. [Emphasis mine] … Since the 1960s, postmodernism has been a dominant, though not undisputed, force in art, literature, film, music, drama, architecture, history, and continental philosophy. Salient features of postmodernism are normally thought to include the ironic play with styles, citations and narrative levels,[6] a metaphysical skepticism or nihilism towards a “grand narrative” of Western culture,[7] a preference for the virtual at the expense of the real (or more accurately, a fundamental questioning of what ‘the real’ constitutes)[8] and a “waning of affect”[9] on the part of the subject, who is caught up in the free interplay of virtual, endlessly reproducible signs inducing a state of consciousness similar to schizophrenia.[10]

Since the late 1990s there has been a small but growing feeling both in popular culture and in academia that postmodernism “has gone out of fashion.”[11]

A common theme of current attempts to define post-postmodernism is emerging as one where faith, trust, dialogue, performance, and sincerity can work to transcend postmodern irony. [deleted]

In his 2006 paper The Death of Postmodernism and Beyond, British scholar Alan Kirby formulated a socio-cultural assessment of post-postmodernism that he calls “pseudo-modernism”.[23] Kirby associates pseudo-modernism with the triteness and shallowness resulting from the instantaneous, direct, and superficial participation in culture [Emphasis mine] made possible by the internet, mobile phones, interactive television and similar means: “In pseudo-modernism one phones, clicks, presses, surfs, chooses, moves, downloads.”[23]

Feature image: Zines by DK, S P A C E | Autumn 2020, ‘Trust.’

Experiments in Expression · Gallery

S P A C E | ‘The Way I Go’

A curated collection of
new poetry & photography
made between the months of
June 2020-June 2021

Atelier S P A C E HCMC Autumn 2020
Art Director

Văn Trần



‘The Way I Go’

an online exhibition

opening reception
by invitation

Monday 5 July 2021


to request an invitation
join mailing list

thank you

Images: by Văn Trần, September & October 2020, Saigon

A Philosophy of the Moment


“Solitude helps you to convert your time into clarity of purpose.” – Sunday Adelaja


June 30, wow. Already this year is halfway over. Meantime I’ve been writing. Quietly, mostly alone, mostly apart from everything familiar…

Definitely a different kind of journey, this one. I’ve never lived anywhere this long in a block of time (a year and a half now), and it’s been… nothing short of revelatory. I mean in all the right ways, too.

So yeah.

Me being me, I’m writing the lessons into a… book, Solitude

It’s almost done.

It started with a zine.

This one.

Expanding, continuing to explore. That’s the path. The way. For me, anyway. And such elaborations are how I do this. How, that is, I make more sequences of themed issues of the S P A C E zines, writing them into short books, occasionally, too.

But back to solitude…


S P A C E | ‘The Journey’ Cover: Van Tran, June 2021

“We need solitude, because when we’re alone, we’re free from obligations, we don’t need to put on a show, and we can hear our own thoughts.” –Tamim Ansary


…. something that I see now, though, is this. All this solitude, while lovely and difficult in its concoction of unique admixtures, is also coming to a close. I’m delighted to see reports that Vietnam is aiming to open its borders to vaccinated travelers soon. Wow. What does this mean? Well, a lot. Mayyybbeeee I will see some familiar faces again and speak in the languages I speak. Joking and generalities: I’ve missed them.

“Society is the cave. The way out is solitude.” –Simone Weil

So now? What to do? Hang out. Write. Finish the things. And, of course, cojournal. Naturally. I am inviting 4 to join me for a half-month Cojournal for July. Curious?

Here’s a link.



Quotes about solitude appearing above are taken from a listicle by ‘Kites & Roses.’ (Which prefaces the quotes by saying, ‘Often we live amid so much chaos that we forget to spend time alone. But spending time alone has its own benefits. It not only inspires us to know ourselves but also not to depend on others for our happiness.’) More:

And you? Where are you, quietly? Comments are open, for a bit.

100 Conversations · Papers

S P A C E | ‘Ready for anything’

Today we share a story that will be published in a July issue of S P A C E. ‘Ready for Anything’ was written by Anonymous in response to a prompt that was part of our May series of ‘Papers’. ‘Papers’ took place over email and in asynchronous, international conversation threads. Anonymous, author of the below, wrote the following in reply to a prompt called ‘Arrivals.’ With permission, we publish it here for you..

‘This prompt is actually not abstract at all,’ writes Anonymous. ‘This “arrival” thing, for a long time, became my most problematic concept that forced me to form a very solid protocol to deal with it…

‘And I think this can be one of the most important life skills that’s worth sharing and talking about!,’ Anonymous continues. ‘Thank you for inviting me to such an important talk!  I have been quite stressed these days so hopefully it doesn’t sound too depressing.’

Ready for anything
by Anonymous

‘How am I feeling?’

So, the very first thing I do when something’s coming, is to check myself out.
To see if I’m in the state of “Subhuman”:that is, one in which you experience low arousal level, low motivation, and a disconnected mindset. Sub-human is inevitable, and it’s not always a bad thing. It’s just a sign that’s telling me that my body and mind are “not ready”. When I discover that, yes in fact I am in this state, I know what to do. I should be relaxing, nursing my health, and even enjoy the moment as it usually is the post-satisfaction effect.

If I have to do something, I’ll choose what I’ve already known how to do, with almost zero creative thinking. And most importantly, AVOID the arrival of those sorts of things that can expose me to unexpected forces. I know to sidestep them because it’s very clear to me that when I’m in this state, I definitely won’t have any energy at all, not even to feel the best news.

If any surprise arrives at this time, which is the exact wrong time for that to happen, then I will have to take a pretty direct and concrete measure in order to correct course. That is, I will have to execute a specific non-sleep-deep-rest (NSDR)session and/or using other stimulants in order to get out of the Subhuman Zone as fast as possible, before moving forward with any action, real thinking or important planning.
Else, the Sub-human will consider every news as bad news, and do destructive things in an attempt to try to remove everything and anything that it thinks causes “bad news”. Here is how I prep. Right before the arrival happens, I use all of my willpower to drag my expectations to the lowest level that is possible. That will prevent dopamine crashing, which would instantly bring me back to the Subhuman state again.

‘What’s best for me, right now?’

The next step is to seek counsel, within. 
As my Personalities wake up, I can deal with arrivals many different ways, depending on what it is,  and its relation to my current context. If the news goes against my flow, but requires me to do something, or change something; that means we have a pretty big problem. 

So I will summon all of my Personalities to form a council and execute a “Problem Solving” protocol, including many continuous sessions of writing, thinking, sacrificing… so as to tackle this challenge, and with the aim of generating an optimized solution. If the news blends well with my context–like this prompt comes just as I’m studying a neuroscience learning curve– then I can allow myself to act positively, let it tweak my behavior a little bit, and even allow it to let me change a few sessions on my schedule, as it shouldn’t affect the bigger vector.

Towards blankness

If the news is not on my way, but interesting, and doesn’t force me to do anything, then there’s another tack. Depending on how good it is, and how far it is, related to my context, I will put it aside as “influence” or “potential project”. This usually comes up as I scroll through random online media, or consume my favorite offline media, and my mind just renders out ideas from that.
As I eliminate distraction for the sake of tight focus on my immediate, current project, Ideas from the media later will always compete for concern, as I search for it. I manage my youtube feed tightly, and my facebook loosely; to make sure they will support my growth instead of blunting it. I hope that explains why I’m saying ‘no’ much more than ‘yes’ when being invited to someone else’s project.

I plan out every hour in a day to be disciplined in my education, and to make a relatively long to-do list come true. I would have to quit my job, my growth, and my personal ideas to be involved in teamwork projects, no matter how much I like it. For now, it’s risky, for everything I have.

For those interested in finding out more about what sorts of personal ideas that list might include, Anonymous recommends several courses if you are inclined to teach yourself how to do things, and learn online, because everything is ‘just there.’ For those interested in teaching themselves things online, for free, Anonymous suggests this site called ‘online courses club’. Interesting! More soon, about DK’s new project, an online gallery. Watch this… S P A C E.

Strange Geometries · WORK

Social sustainability

Since arriving in Vietnam and finding myself looking around me, mostly just people watching, for most of most days from the time I got to Saigon in September up until a few weeks ago when the city closed up for social distancing, I have been seeing people get very tired form a work culture that, I’m really dismayed to find, when I see it, all around me, obsessing about the dollar and sacrificing just about everything else towards the goal of making a few bucks. I want to make something new, next.

A social enterprise, without the BS factor that you and I both know that a lot of companies use to try to market themselves. I’m tired of seeing people I know and whose work I value being exploited and overused, and they come back, so tired, so fatigued, that the Art of everything becomes so remote, so lost, so… irrelevant… that it breaks up the feelings of wanting to keep questing, keep learning, keep inquiring, and keep making. With me. Selfishly, I want to make more art with more creative people, and that’s why I want to get started on a new venture.

Maybe something like Fare Start in Seattle, where people grow their own food, and find jobs in kitchens that employ those who need to learn new skills, and then, voila, they make a restaurant and serve people and generate income, from that. I don’t know. It’s a lot of thinking, right now, and less action. Naturally. We’re in a semi-lockdown phase, so I’ve got time to dream up a new thing. But yeah. I want to keep writing and talking more about Social Sustainability here on the blog and in real life when I can. It’s best if it’s in real life, because you know, that’s where you learn a lot from the indirect nature of how humans communicate. Let me see what I can do, meantime, though, to teach myself what this is and set up something, when I get to the next spot, here in Vietnam.

For now, this.




‘One of the major reasons behind the recent state of fatigue among Vietnamese people is burnout—a condition in which a person feels exhausted and exhibits reduced productivity following prolonged stress,’ writes Tuoi Tre News in a story called, ‘Burnout, workplace stress put damper on success in Vietnam’ published on May 11, 2021.

It checks with our own observations living in Saigon during a difficult time when many young people feel the pressure to support not only their own lives in the city, but often, others back home in places far from here where money is scarce. And even more so, given the pandemic’s drastic effects on the economy worldwide.

A few notes from the article..

‘More and more patients have sought professional aid in this matter. The psychology department of the University Medical Center Ho Chi Minh City welcomes a daily average of eight to nine people from different age groups who have burnout problems. 

Where did the joy go? ‘A Vietnamese woman named M. has spent the last 20 years devoting herself to work. She moved up the ladder from a newbie staff member to manager and she currently acts as the deputy chief executive officer of a technology company. She has found herself up to her ears in work in recent years. Her work hours start at 7:00 am and she does not sign off until very late in the evening. Phone calls and messages constantly appear, keeping her absolutely occupied. Instead of bragging about the joy she has, the 45-year-old woman confessed otherwise despite her career success. “I’ve felt really tired, as if my head was stiff. I wake up every morning feeling scared for the coming day,” she said. “I’m scared of everything. I’m really down spirited. The internal conflict grows day by day.”… T.A.T. is a 26-year-old secretary working for a Japanese firm in Ho Chi Minh City. Her first days at work were a wonder, but three months into the job revealed to her that the work did not live up to her expectations. She has been under constant stress. “I feel that all of my energy is drained out the moment a new day begins,” she said. “It’s like butterflies in my stomach. My heart beats faster.”

Do you have a story to share about your own experiences of work, working a lot, working so much you don’t know what it was like to live a life where there was something besides work in it? If yes, get in touch. We’re going to curate a special exhibition of stories and images around this exact theme: Fatigue.

Publisher's Diary

‘How are you coping in Vietnam, Dipika?’

The ephemeral is part of the aesthetics of my works, both in writing, and in Papers, or The Cojournal (see Kismuth‘s update about 5 July), and in other things. Journalism for four years at an alt-weekly in southwest Ireland and a daily in Seattle, those things helped me learn to write fast. And prioritize the meatiest pieces of what a reader would want to know.

In this case, they ask, some variation of: ‘Dipika wow. You’re on your own in a foreign country, alone. What’s that been like? There, being there, all by yourself, for a year and a half, without friends or family around? In a pandemic, no less, with ever-changing uncertainties about visas, rules about staying on with your lack of work permit status, and besides, all the emotions to go with that? What about that?’

Tell me about your feelings related to the quality and solidity of the relationships you’ve formed, or lack thereof? How are you coping? What did you let go of? Give me the story, Dipika. How are you managing there? What’s helping you cope?’

Me: ‘In a word, Solitude.

Writing about it.

Writing quickly, writing honestly.

Nothing new about the latter, since I write Kismuth-y books, but the first part, the half that comes when you finally have ‘it’ and can write with one fell swoop, from start to finish, by editing the highlights of 1.25 years’ worth of notes and copy, both digital archives, and journals, and emails to oneself, you can do it.

Finish the things. I write a lot anyway. It’s normal for me.

I am finishing it now.


Meantime you can read the zine that started this thinking. It’s in all the links in the captions below.

Closing reception rooftop popup. All zines are in our store.

The zine that helped me start writing ‘Solitude’ was this one.

Read the zine ‘Solitude’.