The title of this post may seem like a no brainer. Of course, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Uzbekistan and Vietnam have something in common: All of them are countries in Asia.
But no, I’m not referring to that. I’ve received souvenirs from citizens of those Asian nations. That’s the common thing I’m thinking about.
Taufique Ahmed was one my co-trainees at the web journalism workshop that I attended in Macau, China in May 2009.
He’s a research analyst at Channel i, a private digital channel in Bangladesh.
Taufique gave me two pieces of two-taka coins, because I had asked him to give me some coins from his country.
Just like Taufique, Chaw Su Htway was one of my classmates at the web journalism workshop.
She’s a producer at the Myanmar Radio and Television.
Chaw gave Burmese jade to all of her co-trainees and the two trainers, Thorsten Karg and Kyle James, of Germany’s DW-AKADEMIE.
At the 6th Asia Media Summit, also held in Macau, China in May 2009, I met a man named “Jasur,” from Uzbekistan.
Jasur approached me and Bushra Waheed Mohamed (another co-trainee, from the Maldives) during lunch on the first day of the two-day summit.
Since I collect coins, I asked Jasur to give me one from Uzbekistan. He said he didn’t have one with him at the time.
He gave me a banknote instead.
Hoang Thi Hai Hanh was also one of my co-trainees at the web journalism workshop.
She’s an English teacher in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam.
Like Chaw, Hanh gave gifts to all of her co-trainees and the two trainers.
She gave me a painting from Dong Ho, a village in Vietnam’s Bac Ninh province.
“The strength of Dong Ho painting is the durability of the colors,” the brochure that accompanied the work of art stated.
It added that the “colors are so-lasting,” that neither bright light nor time can make them fade.
I gave Taufique a 10-peso coin and Hanh, a five-peso coin.
I realize now that I should have brought to Macau with me some 20-peso bills (worth about 40 US cents each) and lots of Philippine coins.
If I had done that, more people could have brought home with them souvenirs from the Philippines.