Thích Nhất Hạnh (1926-2022)

Today, I woke up with light tears and heart upon the news that my master, Thích Nhất Hạnh, has passed away at Từ Hiếu Temple in the homeland of Huế, where his spiritual journey began in 1945. It is also the homeland of my in-law family, a Buddhist heartland. Light, in the sense that he… Continue reading Thích Nhất Hạnh (1926-2022)

Phi Nhung (1970-2021)

COVID-19 has taken away many lives and unfairly so. Today marked the departure from this world of one my favourite southern Vietnamese country music singers, Phi Nhung (1970-2021), whom everyone in diaspora households grew up watching and listening to in the 1990s-2000s. This was a time when our parents, grandparents, relatives, friends, and compatriots began… Continue reading Phi Nhung (1970-2021)

Reflections on Vietnam’s 35 years of reform

In the past week, Vietnam's 13th Communist Party Congress has been taking place. It is also 35 years ago since the country's reform era (officially termed "renovation" or Đổi mới) was launched during the 6th Communist Party Congress. A former editor-in-chief of Communist Review, the party's flagship journal, said that this congress should be viewed… Continue reading Reflections on Vietnam’s 35 years of reform

Pandemic responses for developing countries

Spending time in self-isolation in foreign land has naturally triggered me to quietly observe the variety of pandemic responses being executed, either directly through my own observations (in Indonesia) or indirectly through regular conversations with colleagues who come from different parts of the world. These days, my way to show my care for someone that… Continue reading Pandemic responses for developing countries

The return of development economics?

The news of this year's Nobel laureate(s) in Economic Sciences was just an hour ago announced to be the economists Abhijit Banerjee, Esther Duflo and Michael Kremer for their work to alleviate global poverty, the official announcement said. Hopefully, this will bring development economics back on the radar of mainstream economics and make the field… Continue reading The return of development economics?

China and inequality

In many developing countries with a deeply rooted legacy of socialism and egalitarianism, debates about choosing between the policy preferences of economic growth, equality and social justice remain as contentious as ever. Within economics, unanimity is really never meant to be achieved when studying the following questions: What is the optimal tax rate? What is… Continue reading China and inequality