The Corporate Branding of a Limitless and Not So Secret Vietnamese Vacation (TheWeeklyReview Issue 5)

Alright everyone, it’s that time of the week again; time for me to discuss what happened personally this week, and to discuss any ideas I had that weren’t long enough for any other article! Well, that and to talk about the articles I did publish this week, or to just rant again (except with TheWeeklyReview, I’m ranting for a special occasion). Either way, without further ado, let’s begin TheWeeklyReview!

To begin with, I’m now in a new city in the country I’ve traveled to and I’ve come to conclusion that it is absolutely insane to be doing what I’m doing. The point of these articles is to educate, enlighten, and infuriate, which is why I can’t keep hiding where I am. Everyone, for the past week, I’ve been in Nha Trang in Vietnam, and I’ve been thoroughly enjoying myself here. You see, the reason I didn’t announce it in any other article was because I was concerned about whether or not there were any restrictions on WordPress in Vietnam. If I didn’t have WordPress, then I wouldn’t have been writing anyway, but now that I’ve written and posted several articles, I’ve no more reason to hide the truth. Although, I was equally worried about what might happen if I were to be restricted (based on the internet and so forth), but if the kind and generous (I’m kinda pandering here, but the Vietnamese people are incredibly kind and very friendly; as I pointed out earlier) Vietnamese people want me to stop writing, then I will gladly oblige them. Until then however, I’m going to continue writing and posting articles about Nha Trang and wherever else I go. Speaking of which, last week I was in Ho Chi Minh City (originally called Saigon, but renamed after Uncle Ho, a revolutionary leader who’s pretty much loved by everyone here, quite genuinely too), though if anyone was smart enough, they’d see that everything I brought up could be pretty much traced to Ho Chi Minh City anyway. The main point is that I’m not going to hide my location because frankly, it is absolutely impossible for me to maintain a facade of omnipotence and omniscience, so this is just as much a matter of personal laziness as it everything else.

Actually, before we move on to everything else, I’d like to take a moment to discuss brand awareness and its effects on myself and those around me, though this might just be me personally. Thanks to my lack of data gathering before hand and thanks to the lack of knowledge about the country (both are my fault entirely here), I led myself to believe that I’d be coming to and, not to mention, staying in a rather backwards country (thankfully, I was slapped across the face by Saigon on the first day of my visit, and that way of thinking has been relieved from my mind). I feel that over time (thanks to the war Vietnam has suffered, and moved on through) there has been a certain “Brand” associated with Vietnam. I mean, taking into consideration the way the media treats and has treated this country (with various movies such as M*A*S*H [which was equally about the Korean and Vietnamese wars as it was a satire on war in general], Full Metal Jacket and Good Morning Vietnam) I was definitely not expecting Vietnam to be what it really is and I am both ashamed and annoyed at myself for thinking this way. Yes, Vietnam has been through rough times, and yes, the average income of the nation is between 1000 and 2000 American dollars (which isn’t saying much considering the current state of the American dollar [I couldn’t help myself; I had to make that joke]), but this place is absolutely beautiful! I mean let’s face it, the buildings are gorgeous, the cities are clean (and I mean really clean; I’ve seen stray cigarette buds [butts? I don’t know anymore] here and there, and sure there’s a little bit of garbage on the streets, but for the most part they are remarkably clean), the people are so kind and friendly (I’m not letting this one go; the people that I’ve seen, both on the streets and whom I’ve talked to have been nothing but generous), and the food is great. So what more do we really want?

Though that, to me, is the “Branding” point that I brought up earlier. I feel that we, as a species, believe in brands to such a degree that we cloud our vision to anything else. Wal-Mart proved this rather well with their “Great Value” BRAND of product. Everything under the Great Value brand tastes like anything else that isn’t under the same brand. Loblaws’s yellow No-Name proved the exact same thing, but I think they started off a bit earlier, though the point is that we’ve deluded ourselves into thinking that certain brands are better than others when the goal we should be striving for is the elimination of our current perception of branding. Yes, I agree, certain choices to bring up better product, though that also has a lot to do with out perception of popularity and wealth (two topics that I honestly couldn’t cover without sounding both illogical and insane), but those are exceptions to a very steadfast rule; we shouldn’t delude ourselves into believing the superiority of one brand over another and we definitely shouldn’t let the branding of countries and people (the audacity of that statement should really prove my point here) cloud of collective visions. Though frankly, I know that eliminating the human perception of branding from our minds is a pipe dream, but I know that I (for one) am going to try to not let brand names cloud my judgement like it did with Vietnam.

Moving on from my recent discoveries, we move on to the beautiful seaside city of Nha Trang. The city itself is widely for tourists and this is made incredibly evident by the massive number of hotels and bars that one can find along the beach in addition to all the back streets of the city. All in all however, the sites I’ve seen have been absolutely gorgeous and once again, the city has a theatre that functions as the main site of the city’s festivities, though this particular one is fashioned more around Roman architecture than it is French (like Saigon) though whatever the influence, the thing is gorgeous. Another interesting landmark is the Tram Huong tower that’s found near the center of the city, which was made to resemble a lotus. I, on the other hand, believe that it looks more like a lemon squeezer than a lotus, though that may be due to my lack of artistic or architectural knowledge and skill, but I digress. The statue looks good in the city, the central area is beautiful, the beaches are nice, warm and sandy, and most importantly, there are never any moments where one is bored here. Take for example The Sailing Club, a local club that goes absolutely insane during the night time; it’s absolutely fantastic on the inside, and it definitely took a few visual nods from the Ana Mandara resort (branding people, branding! Also, Soylent Green is PEOPLE so I do digress) found nearby, but during the night time it changes personalities entirely becoming, for all intents and purposes, one massive party. Additionally, every Saturday, the club hosts a beach party filled with all kinds of local and foreign affairs including local dragon dancing, foreign fashion shows (and by foreign, I mean it’s filled with all the latest fashions from Europe and so on; all done in an incredibly interesting, yet amateur fashion [pun entirely intended]), local lion dancing, foreign magic shows, and just about everything in between. I say that it’s absolutely fantastic, but in all fairness to the building, it really is just a night club/ restaurant, so if you’re looking for a place with loud music, then go to the Sailing Club. In addition to the Sailing Club, I had an opportunity to go the Six Senses resort at Ninh Van Bay, and while the trek up to the Rock Villa was somewhat grueling for my unathletic build, it was certainly an experience all on its own.

Now, moving away from Nha Trang and into a more cinematic universe, I recently finished watching Limitless, and while I’m not going to do an official movie review of it, I’m definitely going to talk about how amazing it was. To begin with, I’m pretty sure everyone knows the plot by now; struggling writer Eddie Mora takes a dose of a new drug called NZT-48 to become some sort of super genius by accessing the remaining 80% of his brain that he couldn’t access before. Though, that number is wrong seeing as how we are using 100% of our brain 100% of the time because every part of our brains do something, so that really should’ve been Morra’s first indication that taking the drug from his ex-brother in law of a drug pusher would be a bad idea, but I digress. The movie is near flawless to me, and I think that every single part of it, down to the opening credits was brilliantly done. First of all, I’d like to commend Bradley Cooper on his acting skill, I mean, to be able to handle that kind of role where he constantly has to switch himself on and off for two different kinds of characters that he plays, and for being able to immerse the entire audience all on his own, not to mention to be able to get the audience to actually cheer and root for him despite every wrong move he makes is brilliant. Speaking of wrong moves though, I found it increasingly odd that he constantly went back to his girlfriend Lindy, though that’s only a minor problem I had with the film. The cinematography was absolutely brilliant and the small things that the film did (for example, how the skips forward were literally like photographic stills, constantly moving forward to show passing time) really bring everything together. For me, the best part of the movie were the scenes where the medication was taken by various characters; the way the screen lit up to showcase a sudden “Awakening” really delivered the message that NZT is a miracle drug capable of literally awakening one’s senses.

The interesting point about Limitless, that I’d like to make at least, is that it was poorly reviewed by many critics, and this really does show how one cannot just go forward based on the experiences of others. Though, in all fairness, that’s exactly what a critic is meant to do; they give their opinion based on previous experience for others to go and find out themselves. For example, if I had trusted critical reviews of certain movies, I would missed going to see so many films (many of which were actually rather funny, action packed, dramatic, and so on and so forth) because of them. This is why I’m going to pose a quick statement that rather sums up this point quite neatly: trust the opinions of others, but don’t base your own opinion solely on theirs.

On a more serious note however, I’d like to take some time to wish the good people of Norway luck in their future (this is, of course, following the news of the attack on the Norwegian people by one of their own). I offer no political opinion, no major revelation, and certainly no insight on the matter; I just sincerely hope that the people of Norway (not to mention their friends, family and so on) make it through this dark time safely and in a healthy fashion.

Finally, this week we had two articles; the well written one here (on writing styles and so forth) and this terrible one here (on HBO); I promise that new articles will be written soon, most of which based on experiences in Nha Trang, so look forward to those soon. I can guarantee that these ones will NOT be as terrible as the recent HBO one.

As always, this has been your Admin; comment and criticize, and DO remember! Always look on the BYTE side of life!




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