Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Vietnam revisited /Olmert hangs tough

I have just returned from a three week trip to Vietnam,Cambodia,and Hong Kong.It was June 1969 when I completed my one year stint as a surgeon in the US Army.
Aside from the tunnels in Cu Chi, and the War Museum in Ho Chi Minh City,(formerly Saigon) the war is almost invisible.The old Presidential headquarters are open for tourists,but Hanoi in the north, is the center of government.
While everyone smiles at the Americans,I believe we are looked at as the purveyors of an immoral war, full of criminality and torture.
The five star hotels are terrific,and the service excellent.Certainly the people are very friendly.The weather there and in Cambodia went over the 100 degree level.
The poverty in Cambodia ,with begging children, reminded me of India.In both places, the opulence of the hotels stands in sharp contrast to the streets.
Cambodia,does have historic sites in Seam Riep which in the heat were not easy to climb.The number of businessmen in all cities is quite amazing.
In Hong Kong,the Sephardic synagogue in Kowloon, had 250 primarily visitors-business people for Fri nite and Shabbat services/meals.There is a kollel both in this synagogue/restaurant and one on the Hong Kong side.This is in addition to Chabad and the main Synagogue on Robinson.
We were told that Shanghai,Bejing and another city had similar accomodations.The travelling orthodox (business) community-primarily sephardic,from the US, Israel and Panama ( among others)help to maintain these centers.

I am grateful to my son Elli for his thoughtful blogs during my trip.

The Winograd Report should have been enough to bring down PM Olmert's administration.I remembeer the Counsel on the McCarthy Senate hearing ask McCarthy
"have you no shame Sen McCarthy?
We can ask- Have you no shame Mr Olmert?
His time in office is limited,however it is the actions or lack therof of his Kadima colleagues that shock me.
Yes a cabinet title,limousine,security detail are all prestigious-but what about your duty to the people and the State?