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Wednesday, November 4, 2015

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Shanty town--Batam








A little shanty town of about 20 dwellings in downtown. It was clear they had no electricity, indoor plumbling or trash pickups. I saw ducks and chickens. As I entered the area, a guy shouted something, but I just grinned, waved and kept walking. On my way out, I tried to wade through six foot-high vegetation, but had to give up and head back to my original entrance. I crossed a backyard. An old man said something, then another in his 30's shouted in my direction. Raising my hands, I rotated them back and forth to indicate that I was lost, grinned and walked out. The man laughed and said something to the ancient one to convey that everything was OK. "Just some stupid Chink from Singapore," he probably explained.

Soon enough, all of these poor people will be kicked out so they can build yet another sterile and hideous complex that will go unrented.



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About Me

Born in Vietnam in 1963, I came to the US in 1975, and have also lived in Italy, England and Germany. I'm the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). I've been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Flash Fiction International: Very Short Stories From Around the World, etc. I'm also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. My writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and I've been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Leipzig, Halle, Reykjavik, Toronto, Singapore and all over the US. I've also published widely in Vietnamese.