6 episodes

Twice a month, Ho Chi Minh City-based journalist Michael Tatarski interviews writers, academics, conservationists and more who are working in Vietnam, or focusing on it from abroad.

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Vietnam Weekly Michael Tatarski

    • News

Twice a month, Ho Chi Minh City-based journalist Michael Tatarski interviews writers, academics, conservationists and more who are working in Vietnam, or focusing on it from abroad.

vietnamweekly.substack.com

    Vaccines, Boosters & Covid Treatment with Dr. Leigh Jones

    Vaccines, Boosters & Covid Treatment with Dr. Leigh Jones

    The Vietnam Weekly Podcast is back after some delay with guest Dr. Leigh Jones, Head of Training at the Oxford Clinical Research Unit (OUCRU) in Ho Chi Minh City. Leigh has a PhD in Immunology and is one of my go-to sources for information related to COVID-19 vaccines and other scientific issues related to the pandemic.

    We discussed the different types of Covid vaccines and how they work; the significance of the timing between your first and second doses; the global debate over the need for boosters; research on the use of vaccines in children; and what current clinical data says about Ivermectin, the medicine being widely touted in some corners as a cure-all to the pandemic.

    Leigh is a fantastic science communicator who does a great job of breaking advanced concepts down into language that can be easily understood by people without a technical background. I learned a lot from this conversation, and I hope you do too.

    Get full access to Vietnam Weekly at vietnamweekly.substack.com/subscribe

    • 36 min
    Cooking Vietnamese Food with Andrea Nguyen

    Cooking Vietnamese Food with Andrea Nguyen

    If you’re anything like me, you are really missing Vietnamese food during lockdown. I’m a decent home cook, but with all street food shut down, I have been craving my favorites, particularly cơm tấm and bún thịt nướng.

    With no end in sight to social distancing regulations, I talked to cookbook author Andrea Nguyen of Viet World Kitchen to get some pointers on making Vietnamese food at home.

    We covered the basic ingredients you’ll need in your kitchen (4:30) before discussing a range of dishes, including cơm tấm (8:25), canh (10:52), bún thịt nướng (14:13), tofu (17:19), món kho (19:04), phỏ (23:22), gỏi (25:32) and bánh mì (28:03).

    I can’t wait to try these out, and I also invite listeners to check out Andrea’s cookbook Vietnamese Food Any Day, which makes many aspects of this wonderful cuisine entirely approachable for the average home cook.

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    • 31 min
    The Realities of Conservation on Cat Ba

    The Realities of Conservation on Cat Ba

    I’m pleased to present the fourth Vietnam Weekly Podcast episode, which is also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or wherever podcasts are found.

    My guest is Neagha Leonard, project director of the Cat Ba Langur Conservation Project. He has lived on Cat Ba since 2014 and is a leading expert on the island, its biodiversity, and the numerous issues facing both human residents and flora and fauna. I strongly recommend following the organization’s Facebook page, linked above, which provides very detailed updates on their work.

    We covered a wide range of topics, including the project’s work documenting the critically endangered Cat Ba langur population; the impact of mass tourism and developments such as Sun Group’s cable car on the environment; the importance of providing livelihood alternatives to people moved from their home in the name of environmental protection; the island’s incredible overall biodiversity; and what people can do wherever they live to get involved with conservation.

    For more background on Cat Ba, I recommend checking out my Mongabay feature on the island from 2019. I met Neagha during that reporting trip, and he has been an invaluable resource since then. His willingness to speak bluntly on conservation is welcome.

    Mike Tatarski

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    • 46 min
    Helping the Disadvantaged During Lockdown

    Helping the Disadvantaged During Lockdown

    As discussed in the Vietnam Weekly on Monday, Ho Chi Minh City’s hard lockdown is creating economic pain for many, particularly those on the margins of society who rely on daily income to survive - whether from selling lottery tickets, running a food cart outside a factory, working as a non-contract day laborer, or something similar.

    With this work now impossible as the city fights a huge COVID-19 outbreak, many people are in a fairly desperate situation: no income, family support networks stretched thin, cramped living spaces, higher food prices, and heavy restrictions on outdoor movement.

    In two separate interviews, I spoke with Damien Roberts, executive director of Saigon Children, about the vital work the charity is doing to keep marginalized kids (and their families) fed and mentally stimulated; as well as Kelly Vo, head of the Philanthropy Services department at the LIN Center for Community Development, who discussed the challenges that grassroots NGOs in Ho Chi Minh City face due to COVID-19 restrictions (25:56).

    You can donate to Saigon Children here, and learn more about the LIN Center’s work here. (Also, check out Kelly’s own podcast, Dear Our Community, here.)

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    • 49 min
    Changing the Doctor/Patient Relationship in Vietnam

    Changing the Doctor/Patient Relationship in Vietnam

    On the second episode of the Vietnam Weekly podcast, I spoke with Beth Lopez, the co-founder and CEO of Docosan. This website/app connects prospective patients with hundreds of doctors in Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi and Da Nang, and allows people to book appointments without going through the process of dealing with a hospital or clinic admin team.

    I’ve used Docosan several times and it is hugely helpful for foreigners, who often go to the expensive international-focused clinics simply out of perceived convenience - but it also helped many Vietnamese people, especially those looking for help with mental or sexual health.

    Beth and the team at Docosan have created an incredibly useful platform, and she shared some insight gleaned since its launch in April 2020 - right in the teeth of the COVID-19 pandemic.

    You can also find the Vietnam Weekly podcast on Spotify.

    Get full access to Vietnam Weekly at vietnamweekly.substack.com/subscribe

    • 15 min
    A Conversation About Human Trafficking

    A Conversation About Human Trafficking

    Good morning, and welcome to the first episode of the Vietnam Weekly Podcast, a new addition to this project. Twice a month, I will interview people from a broad spectrum of industry and society, either working in Vietnam, or with a focus on the country from overseas.

    If you are already a newsletter subscriber, you’ll receive new episodes in your inbox just like the weekly updates, and this will also be available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other podcast platforms soon. If you aren’t a subscriber, you can sign up below - I plan to eventually segment episodes into free and paid versions, the latter of which will fit into the US$5/month subscription that is already available.

    Please share any feedback you have on this first episode, and note that the audio quality will improve in the future as I’m currently hunting for a proper microphone.

    The podcast’s first guest is Michael Brosowski, founder and co-CEO of the Hanoi-based Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation. Michael and his team do incredible work in helping street kids and rescuing survivors of human trafficking - mostly young women who have been trafficked into China for either brothels or marriage.

    We talked about how Blue Dragon began conducting cross-border rescues, what drives trafficking into China, and how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted this underground industry in surprising ways.

    I’ve known Michael for some time now, and while these topics are undeniably disturbing, they are extremely important to understand, and he is a leading expert on the issue of trafficking in Vietnam.

    You can learn more about Blue Dragon’s work and support their efforts through their website.

    Michael Tatarski

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    • 34 min

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