Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Le Ly Hayslip- When Heaven and Earth Changed Places

This book singlehandedly taught me more about Vietmanse culture (TRUE Vietnamese culture, from what I have seen) than everything else I've ever been exposed to put together.
I remember that when I finished this book, I understood so many things for the first time, and in such a fully comprehending way. For example, I had never understood the true nature of bargaining; From my North American perspective, I felt that it was silly for the price of commodities to fluctuate and that it didn't make any sense. But this book showed me the true character and lifeblood of a people who adjust their own gain and their own perspectives to suit the needs of others, and who consider the person when they make a business transaction. Those in need can (presumably) be granted compassion when they most need it, and those who can afford to give are willing to give. It is a beautiful system that I never understood before, and I feel that even understanding that gives me insight into the Vietnamese people I had never deemed possible before.
Of course, this book also taught me a lot about the American War (or the Vietnam war, as I had known it before my journey). It is encouraging to knwo that life remained through the terrible veil of war, and that people like Le Ly Hayslip are alive and able to share their stories with those of us who have not endured so much, but will hopefully, with the help of stories like hers, never forget what a human being can- but should never have to- endure. The human spirit present in this book makes me want to become a better person and fills me with encouragement and praise for those who have gone through so much and have not been destroyed.

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