Welcome to the 100th post of The Final Word (in Saigon)! Started off as a load of boring tripe -- now it's turned into a kind of dogs dinner that carrys a faint whiff of wet mustard. So well done blog, and well done blog readers for putting up with such crap. Anyway, most 'readers' probably treat the site like a three year old impatiently treats a story book -- just looking at the pictures. Probably better off that way to save your brain from slowly folding in on itself. See what I mean?
Anyway, to really hammer home the 100, I have conducted Saigon's first unofficial foreigner census. It is full of gaping holes, but that's where you come in -- you can help me fill in the gaps. My groundbreaking research has involved calling consulates. That's it. What a journey it's been.
So, without further ado, here is what I've got:
Australians - Consulate says 850 but estimate double so we'll say 1700.
Cambodians - The consulate has 'no idea how many Cambodians reside in HCMC'.
Canadians - 300-600 the consulate says, let's go for 450.
Chinese - no answer (I mean the phone, not the question)
Danish - 100-120 estimates my Danish friend Brian. 110 it is.
French - Consulate claims there are 2747 French registered in HCMC. Unless someone left yesterday.
German - 200-300 says Clemens, and he should know. 250
Japanese - Consulate assures me they have an orwellian 1984 registered here.
People from Laos (Laoitians, is it?) - More than 100, all students of the Vietnamese language (and of the course the guy in the consulate so actually its 101).
Malaysians - More than 100, a very rough guess from the consulate.
Netherlands - Reply from the consulate says 280.
New Zealanders (Kiwis) - Consulate says 80-100, I'm saying 150 because I can. And because I think a lot are not registered.
Norwegians - 32 including lonely Oyvind, my Raiders colleague.
Russians - the consulate could not disclose this sensative information over the telephone.
Singapore - just before they hung up, they said 'no idea, what you asking us for?'. Ken from Singapore (again, Raiders) says at least 200, so I'm going with 300.
Koreans - Here's the big one -- consulate estimates between 30-40,000. I'm going with 35,000.
Swedish - 80.
Swiss - 248 current last week, says Jonas from Saigon Raiders.
Thais - consulate general no less told me over 500.
United Kingdom - consulate says 900 Brits are registered, they estimate double that at 1800.
United States - the consulate could not disclose this sensative information over the telephone (surprise surprise). I would go down there to ask myself but I fear I would fail the retina scan.
So, my running total at present is 45 199. That is mostly registered souls apart from an estimate from the Brits, Aussies and Kiwis. This number is excluding the Yanks, so how many of you are there -- any ideas? Also excluded, South Africas, Henno.....? Filpinos? Indians? Indonesians? Spanish? Italians? OK, I have a lot of work to do, I'll update again next week. Consider this crusade to count the foreign residents of Saigon underway!