A how-to guide to settling down in Halifax for new immigrants

This guide is based on my own experience moving here from Vietnam, so it presumes that you are immigrating to Halifax from another country as a permanent resident.

So you just got your Confirmation of Permanent Residence (COPR), yay! Congrats! Just be sure to bring that with you when you travel to Canada.

Air ticket

The first thing to do is to book a flight ticket to Halifax, you might have done that already, that’s fine. Otherwise, just go to Skyscanner and find your best deal there. 

Halifax has Stanfield International Airport (YHZ) which you can book a direct flight from a couple of major cities such as NYC, Sydney, Chicago, Frankfurt, Boston, Dublin, etc. But still, it’s a relatively small airport, it could be a bit pricey, so the best deal you can get is to transit in Toronto, probably at Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ), the biggest airport in the region. The transit flight YHZ-YYZ takes around 2 hours.

Tips: Be careful with Westjet. I flew with 3 bags and only one bag arrived with me while the other two got lost somewhere in Toronto. Only after I reported the lost baggage to Westjet, one bag came after one day and the last one came three days later. I ran out of clothes to wear for two days 😦

Finding a place to live.

It’s a wise choice to start looking for an apartment around 2 – 3 months prior to your landing. Why? Because it’s really hard to find a good apartment to move in within a short period, and it’s nearly impossible to find one that you can move in immediately. Maybe it’s just my experience, in Vietnam, you can find an apartment in the morning and move in in the afternoon of the same day, but it doesn’t work that way here in Halifax. My arrival was on July 1st, but instead of looking for an apartment in May, I waited until the mid of June just to freak out knowing that there are no good options available. I paid my price, I spent my first 11 days in Halifax at 3 different Airbnb homes at a total cost of $2300 while going out everyday viewing apartments before I can finally move in on the 12th day. So I can only suggest you to start looking early.

Tips for looking for a house? Go on Kijiji, the biggest classified ads site in Canada. You might find a good deal there as I did.

If you ever encounter the name Harbour View Apartments, ran away and don’t look back. The price might seem to be a great deal but it’s not worth it. When in a hurry, I found it and quickly applied, deposit check sent. I read the reviews two days later just to find out that place is full of bed bugs and cockroaches. It has bad ratings everywhere (1.something out of 5). Other than that, Killam Properties could be considered. Their apartments are mostly new, clean and tidy, people seem nice too, we also applied once and unfortunately, our application got denied for no reason. Sad!

But you haven’t arrived yet, you can find and hire an agent to do the viewing and sending a deposit for you. There are some, but I never used their services so I’m not sure about the process, I did it after I arrived, remember? If things are not going well with that, you can go my way, stay at an Airbnb and find later.


After the first landing in Canada, you need to tell the immigration officers that you want to land as a permanent resident and they will walk you through the process. Normally, it won’t take long. In my case, all they asked were my COPR, my passport, and an address in Canada which can be used to deliver the PR card later, then sign on the COPR, and the whole process took only 5 minutes or even less. Because I didn’t have a permanent address before landing so I gave them my lawyer’s office address, and the card arrived at her office around two weeks later. You can also check the current processing time for your PR card here.

If you arrive at Halifax Stanfield Airport in the day time, you can catch a bus to the city, but after around 6 pm, there’s no bus and you have to take a taxi.

For more information, visit: https://halifaxstanfield.ca/transportation/bus-services/

After collecting your luggage, look out for the information desk at the right corner near the way out, come there and ask for taxi services.

Necessary Documents

You’re in Halifax, now what?

There are some documents you should get:

1. Picking up the PR Card. Like I mentioned, the card will arrive at the address you provide to the border officer. Just give it two or three weeks.

2. Have a Social Insurance Number (SIN). Bring your passport and COPR to Service Canada (Service Canada Centre – 6206 Quinpool Rd, Halifax, NS B3J 3V1) to get a SIN.

3. Apply for a Health Card. It’s a benefit of a Canadian citizen or PR to have your health care covered by the gov. In Nova Scotia, it’s called MSI, and you will be provided a card to show whenever you need a health check. You can either call in 1-800-563-8880 and provide your personal information or apply in person. If you call in to apply, MSI will send out the application form to your address, you fill it and send back to them. While it might take around 10 days for sending the documents back and forth, you can apply in person and get the card within a couple of minutes. So I recommend going to the MSI office. Just remember to bring your passport and COPR (or PR card if you already have it).

4. Nova Scotia ID Card. It would be helpful to have an addition Id card with you, just in case. This card can be used to replace your PR card or passport in many cases, such as flying to other cities within Canada or showing ID at the liquor store. You can get one at Access Nova Scotia. After the application is done, the card will be delivered at your address within 14 days. If it does not arrive after 14 days, call Access Nova Scotia.

Driver’s License. 

There are some Classes you need to keep in mind:

  • Class 7: Learner’s License. You basically can’t drive unless you have an experienced driver to go with.
  • Class 6: For driving motorcycles and motor-driven cycles. Though it’s not commonly used.
  • Class 5N: You can drive cars, pick-up trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans having a seating capacity of less than 24, but with some restrictions for 2 years
  • Class 5: The most common license after you hold Class 5N for 2 years.

For more information, visit Service Nova Scotia – Registry of Motor Vehicles

Since you are a new resident, you’re allowed to drive in Nova Scotia in 90 days after you arrived, only if you already had a driver’s license before. After 90 days, you can either exchange your old license for a Nova Scotia license, or apply for one.

If you have a valid regular Driver’s Licence from the United States can usually exchange your licence for a Nova Scotia Driver’s Licence, and you do not have to take a road test (Driving Examination).  This applies to Class 5 licences.

Other Countries with a Reciprocal Driver’s License Exchange Agreement with Nova Scotia:

  • Austria: Regular Class 5 driver’s licence.
  • Germany: Regular Class 5 driver’s Licence.
  • Isle of Man: Regular Class 5 or Class 6 driver’s licence.
  • South Korea: Regular Class 5 or Class 6 driver’s licence.
  • Taiwan: Regular Class 5 driver’s Licence. 
  • United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland: Regular Class 5 or Class 6 driver’s licence.

You can exchange your old license for a Nova Scotia driver’s license, but it needs to be in English. If it’s not, use a certified translation service and bring along the original license to Access Nova Scotia.

If your case does not fall into any of those above, you have to start over again, apply for a driver’s license as a beginner. Here’s the process:

Start with the basic. There’s a handbook which includes everything you need to prepare for the test. You can either download it from here for free: You can download the handbook from here: https://novascotia.ca/sns/rmv/safe/handbook.asp

Or you can buy the hard copy at Access Nova Scotia for around $10.

After learning from the handbook, you should be able to take the first test. There are two parts, the rules test and the sign test. If you score at least 16/20 for both, you pass. Then you will have your first license called Class 7, or the Learner’s License. There are so many limitations on this license so technically you can only use it for learning and practising purpose.

After having the Class 7 license for 6 months, you can apply for the road test. You can also shorten this period by three months by taking a long course from a professional training centre (designated organization). If you already have at least 2 years driving experience, you can apply for the road test as soon as you pass the written test, you just need to show your old license and explanation letter to prove your driving experience. Once you pass the road test, you have the Class 5N license, or the new driver’s license. There are still some restrictions on this license but you’re free to drive basically.

After holding the Class 5N license for 2 years, you can exchange it for a Class 5 license, or a driver’s license. Now it’s officially you are a licensed driver.

A lot of strangers are engaging with my organic post???

Have you ever notice some strangers started to engage in the post within organic reach, no ad at all?

If you experience once, well, the chances are, Facebook is suggesting your page to an irrelevant audience. And here is why you should be aware of it.

Today I just went over some posts on my facebook page to see the engagement rate. It was surprisingly high compared to the normal rate of my page. So out of curiosity, I clicked to see the people who engaged and I saw a list of all not-my-fan with the invite buttons. 


And I started to wonder, why was that? Why are a lot of strangers engaging with my post while I’m not running FB ads?

I came up with some theories that those are people who followed my page but didn’t “like” it. Or maybe the audience expansion feature from the ads manager attracted a new audience to the page. But it’s just so many people. the normal percentage should not be that high.

I searched on Google for “strangers interacting with my page”, “strangers organic reach”, “organic reach to not my fan”,… but there was not an article about it.

So I went further to stalk those profiles. I found something interesting:

  1. They are from the age of around 15 to 18. They have nothing to do with my target audience, which is 25 and above. I never ran any ads which target to people under 25 years old.
  2. Those are newly created profiles, just within a month and less than 100 friends (mostly 5-20). They did not have a username, their profile URL just stick with an ugly user id like this: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=10001294349202×0
  3. They haven’t updated their profiles. Specifically, their info is empty. No contact, no likes, no music, no books, no work, no education. It’s just empty.

So that was definitely not because of the audience expansion. The audience expansion is supposed to reach more people who are similar to my existing audience. It made no sense to say that those newly created profiles have had a long history of online purchasing behavior and will be likely to make a purchase (with what? they’re only 15!!!).

So I came up with another theory. Facebook auto-suggested our page to those people without me noticing. So I took one step further to create a fresh account and see what’s there in my news feed. I got a long feed of this:


No ads, just pure organic suggestions. I guess facebook borrows my page content just to fill up the blank newsfeed of newly created users in order to lure them to engage more and stick with the site longer.

I was afraid those profiles will ruin my audience, I tried to find a way to stop this. But the only thing I could do was to turn off Similar Page Suggestion option from my page setting. Let’s see how it goes. I will update it here in the next few days.

My martial art class

Today I had a chat with one of my friends, who kept telling me the story of how he played table tennis with his left hand and ended up getting the lowest mark because no one would play with him. It reminds me of how I also suffered from my Taekwondo class then. I can forget anything but not that class.

The class started at 7am, period. Our teacher would never allow anybody to come in late, even for half a minute. If you come later than that, just turn around and go back home, no excuse, no apology. Until the end of the semester, he counted how many times that you were absent from the class. If you exceeded the quota, you know that you failed. The thing is, our teacher wasn’t born to be late, even just for a day. The class starts at 7am and at 6:40 he is already there, every single day. No way to cheat. So I had to go to bed very early the night before the class in order to be able to wake up on time, as well as to get ready. Because that class was never easy.

I never expected myself learning the martial art, as I was quite skinny, weak and lazy. It was just an accident. That semester, we had three options for our physical training: martial art, ping pong, and volleyball, which we had to self-select. We needed to be fast, otherwise, we would have to pick from the leftover, register for the one that nobody wanted, and martial art was that one. I was super fast to get one slot for volleyball as I knew that it’s pretty easy. You don’t need to take the final test, or even better, you don’t need to join the class. If you do come to the class, just pick a random ball, play with it for awhile, then put it back. No one tracks you, no one cares. At the end of the semester, you will get good marks, for nothing.

The thing was set, I thought. It’s gonna be easy like that. However, there was one group of unlucky-clumsy girls that weren’t fast enough to get in the volleyball or ping pong classes as they are fully registered, and for them, martial art is too much. The only way out for them is to get someone agree to do the exchange. Now we need the men here.

No one volunteered.

Not my business though. There will be someone who volunteers, I’m happy with my volleyball class.

Still, no one volunteered.

Shit, I probably need to do this. It’s not really a big deal, tbh.

And I went up to give up my volleyball slot and registered for martial art.

And just a couple days later I realized how wrong I was.

The first day, I came to the class on time and I was a bit excited. We were in a small training field, where all other professional athletes are training, just how cool it sounds. The first day was mainly for getting to know each other, and my first impression of our teacher was, damn, he is so big. I need to avoid doing a mock match with him at all cost, otherwise, just one hit and I’ll be dead.

The second day, I came at 7, bravo. This day we were into real training, and I was naive enough to keep my stomach empty. After the first half of the class, I was totally exhausted, then I tried really hard to continue until the class finished. Almost passed out.

The third day, I woke up very early and managed to show up at 6:20. I went around to find something to eat, to too full, but enough to get me through the training. There was a plenty of choices but I only ate sticky rice because it was the only thing I can eat for breakfast that doesn’t make me feel vomit while training.

Not hungry anymore, but we couldn’t deny the fact that every day was just tired as hell. Normally, a volleyball class lasts for only one or two hours and our class started at 7, trained hard until 11, and I’m not sure if we had any breaks. If we actually did, I’m sure it was super short, because I can only remember being deadly tired.

Even more, we weren’t being trained inside the room or any place that has a roof. We took it outside. That was a hell out of the sunshine. But you can not complain, or least, while our teacher was being there. Otherwise, just go home and prepare for another class next semester. There was not a single day I went to the class without feeling stupid for giving up my volleyball class. The whole class looked like a bunch of monkeys showing the grumpy faces bearing with the heat. So, if there was a guess coming in, we felt so happy because it was the only time that the class was stopped to make way to cars to come in, and we escaped for a moment.

Eventually, it came to the final exam, and of course, I did not have a clue of what I was doing.

There were 4 parts of the test in total and we had to pass all 4. The first 2 parts were pretty easy as they combine some basic moves but the 2 later parts were at an advanced level. I had mastered the first part, somewhat remembered the second part, that’s all. Most of us stopped at the 3rd part. There was hardly anyone who can remember which move to perform in the last part. But I was lucky, thanks to my parents that on the name list alphabetically, my name appeared to be near the bottom, so I was also among the last ones to take the test. It bought me some time to observe and come up with a tactic which later became our killer point.

We took the test as a group of 10, and everyone needed to perform a full set of 4 parts, no more, no less. The surprising thing was when our group finished the first two parts, our teacher told us to stop. He turned to the entire class:

Look, this is the true martial arts’ spirit.

Then he turned to us:

That’s enough, you can go back to your seats.

That was a mark of 10, the highest mark.


Actually, that was something we expected, and we prepared for that. During the semester, we all got to know him and his taste, just be loud. And after observing the previous group taking the test, I sensed a little disappointment on his face as no group could be to yell as loud as he expected. In case you don’t know, in martial arts, we need to yell as we perform each move. So right before taking the test, I told everyone in our group, no matter what you can perform, no matter how you move, the only thing we needed to care was to yell as loud as we could. So we did it, we yell so loud that the other professional athletes had to come check us out. That’s exactly what he had been waited for, and we nailed it.

Our class called us the smart asses, but who cares?

It’s time to say goodbye


As some of you are aware, I’m not being around Triip’s Happy House recently. I moved out.

I didn’t really want to write this at all, but I think you deserve to be informed officially, plus, I miss you guys.

tl;dr: Thank you!

It’s hard to believe that more than 3 years and 2 months ago, I started out as an intern at Triip and from time to time, I had grown so much. I’ve got a girlfriend here too!

This was apparently a very difficult decision to make.

Now I’m heading off to feel the flow and begin my next journey of exploring the future. So I wanna say thank you for being a part of my journey at Triip.

@haiho: Thanks for giving me so many opportunities to do, learn and grow, you know that’s the most important thing to me. Appreciate it! You’re the one I think of whenever I feel “damn, I cannot do this!”

@halley: Thank you for being one of the kindest persons I’ve ever had a chance to meet in my life. You’re the one I use to remind myself whenever I need to adjust the way I treat people.

@tuyetnguyen: Thanks for indulging me being an annoying kid in the office. I love you when you tag the whole channel in Vietnamop on the last day of every month. It’s not meant for me anymore but I still love you. I owe you an English class but I don’t think you need it anymore, you’re superb now.

@minhhang: Remember the good old days, when we could hang out and do some stupid shit together irresponsibly. That was a lot of fun. Sometimes I was surprised that you can actually be that naive and stupid. Not anymore, no one can deny your intelligence now. Forever Hang Thong Minh.

@hans: I’m worried about you the most. You’re grown up, please learn to live without me telling you how to do every little thing. Sometimes, enough is enough.

@phien: You deserve the name “Thánh Nhọ”. It’s always hilarious whenever we had something to talk about you. Other than that, I really admire your work ethic, responsibility and the way you treat people. Respect!

@quanle: You know what, it’s really hard for me to mention you. That’s why I have been delaying the note for this long. I had to think through and didn’t want to make even a tiny mistake. But sometimes don’t be too hard on you and the others, just chill, bro. I will pop by and have breakfast with you, don’t cry, be a man.

@tri: You’ve taught me so many things that I’m thankful for. I know I failed you sometimes being too stubborn, but you know, it’s just who I am. Appreciate the time we spent together, big bro.

@poshies: Thank you for being so kind to me, and sorry for being so childish to you sometimes, but I love being a child, you know. I love you, mom!

@tienthanh: Everytime you were being rude to me, I counted. Every time you pinched my nipples, I counted. But every time you did a good deed for me, I decided to erase everything and start over again. Now we call it even. But still, I will pinch your nipples, bitch.

@quynhhuong: It’s great to get to know you and your silly stories about how you ended up being an independent woman. And for the human peace, please don’t be a reporter on national television, especially with a bottle on your table. you’ll ruin the children’s mind.

@markus: Congrats on the new bike and the new extra bike, you lucky bastard. Even though we haven’t had much time talking but I can see your kindness and work ethic. Really appreciate it!

@quangha: Man, sorry for leaving you out without giving an official word but hey, you’re doing just fine and I’m apologizing now! Glad to see you’re getting along with everyone and getting the job done much better than I was able to. Keep it up!

@Kinley: Yo man, go out to breathe and do some exercises! Move your ass! I know your life would be tough without such a great manager like me, but keep singing and you eventually you will find another good manager. Don’t be so sad, a good singer without a good manager is still a good singer.

@nhien: Even though we lived under the same roof but we didn’t really have a chance to talk or see each other’s face for real. I and Hang were the same when we started at Triip, no communication during the first 6 months, and we got along just fine now. So I’m saying hi, and sorry for not being open and friendly, I can buy you milk tea sometime.

@huongdinh: Sometimes I thought you’re Quan’s relative because you’re just like him, silently keeping a light smile on your face every meal. I think you just need to be open, see how everyone is doing and join them. That’s it. Thank you for talking to me sometimes and making me feel like “wow, she is not like Quan”

@kent: I’m not sure if I have had a chance to meet you in person but congrats on your new journey with Triip. I’m sure it’ll be a lot of fun. Best of luck!

@haonhien: Remember when I told you do not shit where we eat? Well, when I gave advice on investing, my friends always listened to me and did the opposite and they made a huge fortune. So, learn from them. Thanks for being an angel coming to my life and making it better every day. Remember, you still have an incoming trip to go, hurry up!

Can anybody tell chi Be Hai that I miss her and her food also? Thanks!

Have a great weekend!


[Update] – And I received this much of love.


How we got featured on the front page of Hacker News… by accident

tl;dr: One submission on Hacker News sent over 16,000 visitors to our blog post in two days. This post documents the experience.

This post originally appeared on Hackernoon.

As we are working in tech, the front page of Hacker News is like the holy grail. It brings you traffic, downloads, sales, brand awareness…, that can make a huge impact on your business. Everybody wants it so bad but its space is limited and it can sometimes be a little bit tricky. You cannot simply game the system by sharing the link and asking for upvote like on Product Hunt. It doesn’t work that way. It requires the post’s interaction to be more authentic.

A bit of background: we are building TablePlus, a modern, native tool with elegant UI that helps you simultaneously manage multiple databases such as MySQL, Postgres, SQLite, Microsoft SQL Server, Redis… in a very fast and secure way. It’s currently on macOS only.

Since our first release 7 months ago, we have been receiving a lot of support, positive feedback from our users. It convinced us with the thought that we could be featured on Hacker News one day. We just didn’t know when.

Friday, Feb 9th, 2018

That was the last working day of the week, also the last working day before Lunar New Year, one of the biggest and most important holidays in Asia. During this time, we put all the work-related stuff aside, go back to our hometown and spend time with our family.

I only used Hacker News to read the news and find interesting stuff, but never actually submitted anything. I wondered how is it like to submit a post to Hacker News. So before packing our stuff and leaving the office, I used my new account and submitted the link to our post introducing TablePlus to Hacker News without expecting anything in particular. I was just trying to “check it out”.

That was around 4:30 pm.

I copied the exact title from the Medium post: Modern, native tool for relational databases. And I got this link: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=16339004

Around 5 minutes later, I checked the submission and wow, 2 points. That can be something, I thought with a little of hope.

10 minutes later, I checked the submission, 1 more point. Checked the front page, nothing there. Well, that’s already slowed down.

Then I sent the post URL to my co-founder, Huy, informing him of my submission.

Huy: Oh, we seem to be the hottest one in the newest box. That’s cool.

He gave one more point.

Then we got back to work for awhile until 30 minutes later, Huy yelled:

We’re on the front page!

I was like, you must be kidding me.

No, I’m serious. It’s there on the first page.

I immediately opened a new tab and jumped to Hacker News to see what happened. He was right, it was there, near the last row.

The last item on the front page of Hacker News

I was jumping up and down, running around the room, excitedly. We f*cking made it!

It started to gain more points and comments, mostly positive ones.

10 minutes later, it slid from the first page to #36 on the second page.

Sad story. It faded off so fast that we didn’t even get a chance to show off with our friends yet.

But I didn’t know that it can still come back if it’s interesting enough to gather more interaction. That’s exactly what happened. 15 minutes later, it came back to the front page.

It quickly hiked up the list, from #30 to #28, then #16, and #8. The highest it reached was #2. It was booming.

As you might notice, the mod changed the title of my post to Show HN: to indicate that we are showcasing our new product that people can try out, give feedback or ask questions. Yeah, I forgot that too.

We know speed is the killer point that keeps your post stick on the front page longer. We tried to reply to everybody there as fast as possible, to make them happy, and to generate more interaction. There were mostly compliments and personal experience sharing. There were also critics, but the harsh ones appeared saturated quickly. Perhaps people also didn’t like it and downvoted it a lot. No worries 😀

The result

A couple minutes after getting on the front page for the first time, I checked Google Analytics to see what we had got.

Nothing. Not a single new session from news.ycombinator.com. I was confused. That’s weird, it’s supposed to start a spike.

Then I realized I put the link to our Medium post, while I was expecting traffic to our original blog post. So silly of me. That was a not-so-good move because the traffic was filtered, the majority remained on Medium. It only drove traffic directly from HN to our website after someone mentioned the site in the comment section. Then I tried to convince myself that instead of downloading the app immediately, reading our launch post would help people understand more about why and how we built TablePlus in the first place. Think positive 😀

A few days later, my post faded away from the latest news section but it was still reposted on Reddit, Twitter and a lot of other mediums, bringing some more traffic until it’s cooled off and went back to normal after one week.

And here is what the traffic looks like for our post:

11,092 views on the first day, another 5,540 on the second day. That was total 16,632 views in two days. In one week, the post on Hacker News brought in a total of 23,453 visitors, our daily active users jumped over 400% in one day and half of that number still remains until today. That pushed the total revenue of Feb up over 200% compared to Jan. Not a bad deal, right?

Summary: How did we get on the front page?

Luck. I submitted the post without any preparation but I got lucky. That was also Friday, it’s less crowded so it had a higher chance to get to the front page and stay there longer. However, I guess it received less traffic than the midweek.

Being relevant. Remember the audience of Hacker News: hackers and entrepreneurs. So posting something about tech and entrepreneurship would interest them more and stand a higher chance. Our tool, TablePlus, was designed for developers so it could quickly draw attention from the majority.

Acting fast. As I mentioned above, perhaps HN only cares about the speed which your post gains interaction (mainly upvotes) organically. So we tried to be as fast as possible.

Being likable, avoiding downvote. That said, being featured on Hacker News is a big success but it’s not solely one way from HN to us. If we had a crappy product, even when we managed to get on the front page, it would probably be thrown away within no time since people there are the smart ones and they have the power to downvote, or flag the submission. They can smell the bad posts from miles away. We were lucky enough to be received very well by the community. So if you are making something useful to help people, be sure to get that good luck. It’s also a good chance to know your audience and test your market.

Thanks for reading! If you want to see what makes TablePlus interesting to HN users, check out the tool here for free.

There’s also a list of hidden norms on Hacker News that you can learn more.

Enjoy hacking!

How to avoid being bitten by the ants when you climb a tree?

Me: When I was a kid, there was a big tree in front of my house that had a lot of yellow ants. I like to climb that tree but I just hate the fact that I will be bitten by the ants and it’s really painful. I was so naive to think that if I stay still, the ants will mistake me for the tree and leave me alone. So I pretended to be a part of the tree.
They: You need to work on your vocabulary. You use the wrong word all the time.
Me: Which word?
They: It’s not naive, it’s stupid.

Salty Diamond Rocket

3 months back, I was pitching my then startup, Salty Diamond Rocket. It’s so controversial that a lot of people think I’m out of my mind. It might sound stupid at first, but it’s not. Let me tell you more.

Working with a lot of teams across the globe, we came to acknowledge the huge problem of poverty and inequality.  A lot of countries are still being underdeveloped while a lot more are becoming super rich countries. That’s just not fair and we wanna solve that.

Solution: Salty Diamond Rocket – A rocket that can solve all the poverty and inequality problems within a couple days, all around the world.

How it works.

It’s really simple. It’s the rocket that was filled with diamond. Once we launch it, the rocket will explode after reaching the altitude of 10,000 feet and here it comes the best part, all the diamond will find its way to land at a preselected location. The local people will pick it up and use it to buy stuff.

Let’s say, using our emotion recognition technology, if the system finds a woman dying of hunger, a moment later, a diamond will be dropped right at her doorstep, problem solved. We use AI to locate, track and analyze the wealth level of the local people to make sure that we distribute the diamond to the right people, at the right time. That’s a lot of work.

How can we make money? Great question. We monetize it by selling ads to the big brands. We charge them $10,000 to put their brand name and logo on each diamond. Let’s imagine this. After the rocket exploded up in the sky, all the diamond will be distributed to the poor. So, what do they do after they pick up the diamond? First, a couple moments of happiness, craziness and then they will go buy stuff. But what to buy now? Let’s go find the brand that was tagged on the diamond. Easy, right?

People still ask, but it’s still a diamond, how can we compensate the cost?

Here is something that we are really excited to talk about. Our cutting-edge technology allows us to produce diamond out of seawater. Yup, you heard it right, it’s sea water. That’s why it has “salty” in its name. First, we detach salt from the sea water so we have salt and drinking water. Then we use salt to produce diamond while we can have another business of selling bottled water. Using this technology, we are not only cutting the huge cost of producing diamond but also helping to solve the problem of water scarcity and sea level increasing. Those are the biggest problems in the world right now.

Competitor: We are having the advantage of being the first mover in the world. No one else is doing the same thing. By the time I was presenting, we just finished the deal with NASA and SpaceX to launch our first rocket in Mozambique, one of the poorest countries in the world. By doing this, we disrupted the whole philanthropy world. Potentially, a lot of NGOs like UNICEF will be out of business, Bill Gates is gonna hate us for stealing his philanthropy jobs…

Yeah, that was me three months ago. As you can see, that’s was me holding the business plan and on the left side of me, there’s a logo on the whiteboard that was poorly drawn by my cofounder @Stacey. Until now, I don’t even understand what the hell I was talking about back then. But the fact is, the judges blamed me for pushing the inflation level and making people lazier, and therefore they only gave me the second place prize for that shit.

What’s up in Malaysia?

It’s an Islamic country with more than 60% of the population are Malays. On almost every advertisement that I’ve encountered, there would be a woman wearing hijab, especially mobile phone advertisement. For example, a Muslim woman taking selfie with an Oppo.

And people drive car. In a normal family in the city, almost everyone has their own car. So tv advertisement would heavily be about car, petrol, oil…

Houses in Malaysia are well organized and they have only one architecture for the whole area, designed by a group of community developer. One cannot design and construct the house himself.

In the residential areas, a living house is normally shorter than the house in Vietnam but all the gov buildings look like the castles, so big, mysterious and weird.

People must be really in love with coconut here. They put it into almost everything out there.
There’re three races: Malays, Chinese and Indian. So there are three types of food accordingly:

  • Indian food is full of curry, not my type and I don’t wish to try much.
  • Malay food is still half-full of curry but the spiciest. Not fun at all.
  • Chinese food is similar to Vietnamese food. I eat it every day. It’s not as good as Vnmese food tho.

When I say I’m from Vietnam, ppl will normally ask: “But you speak English well” or “how did you learn English”Even the other day when I met an investor and he wanted me to recommend some good programmers and marketer in VN and he asked: `but can they speak English?`

Even the other day when I met an investor and he wanted me to recommend some good programmers and marketer in VN and he asked: “But can they speak English?”

People drive on the left, just like in the UK (they were colonized by Britain for a long time)

People use Whatsapp for everyday things and they will create a group chat for almost everything, chatting with friends, family, company-wide communication, the business community, residential community, hiring, shopping…
The other day when we met the Chairman of ipay88, he asked us to send him the pitch deck, but through Whatsapp, even though we had already sent through email.

In stead of getting email or facebook, people will ask for your Whatsapp.

Malaysians are so afraid of the number 4 as it’s pronounced the same way with `death`, so they try to avoid using it as much as they can. When you walk into an escalator in a big building. it’s normal to see 3A floor instead of 4. 3 – 3A and then 5.

I’m wondering when a kid reaches the age of 4, at the birthday party, people come and say:

Congrats, now you’re 3A years old already


Happy 3A birthday

There’s a road in Kolkata, India called Ho Chi Minh road, where the American embassy is located. Everybody there knows that and that’s how they started to know Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh city.

In Malaysia, the place of the meeting will depend on the role of two parties. If you’re asking anything from them, you go to their place or somewhere nearby they decided, and vice versa. It’s an unspoken rule.

Indian is black, Chinese is white, Malay is somewhere in the middle.
Wondering if there’re any connections :thinking_face:

Talking about Vietnam, especially when it comes to food, the normal conversation will be like.

oh, beer is really cheap there, right?


Vietnamese coffee is really strong

And one Malaysian asked:

You guys are still having a security guy writing the ticket for parking right?


how can you guys be so skinny?

First experience in Malaysia

The very very first experience: almost got ripped off.

When I arrived at the airport, I knew that my friend Stacey was waiting outside so right after going through immigration inspection and collecting my bags, I walked as fast as possible to the exit 8. My flight was delayed for half an hour and it took nearly one more hour for immigration inspection as it was Sunday, a lot of people were traveling. So we couldn’t meet as expected. I didn’t see her, I couldn’t call her (actually I already registered roaming service but somehow my mind was so dumb to realize that I can just call her from my phone), I wanted to get a local SIM card. I ran into two security guys standing near the exit 8 and asked for a place that I can buy SIM card. One guy was like this: SIM card huh? and then he looked around suspiciously and started to talk to the other guy in Malay that I could not understand a word. Then they asked me to follow them. Instead of showing me the telco store, they lead me to a corner, one guy turned his back to me and tried to pull something out of his wallet which I was not sure if it’s a SIM card, while the other guy asked me to pay RM200 ($50 or so). I wasn’t so familiar with RM, I did have a couple thousand of RM in my wallet that I can pay but after doing a quick math, I smelled something wrong. There couldn’t be that expensive. One more thing was that they were so suspicious. My instinct told me to run, and I told them softly:

“Hmm, you know what, I didn’t expect it to cost that much of money then I don’t have enough cash here. Maybe I should go meet my friend first and she will help me withdraw cash from my card then I will go back to you for that SIM card later”

I didn’t wait for them to answer, I walked away as fast as possible towards a group of local drivers there, to make sure that those two guys do not follow me.

A few munites later, Stacey picked me up and I found out that I can buy a SIM card with one-tenth of that price. I knew it.

My street philosophy

Almost everything we hear and see every day is just the matter of opinion. Somebody said that A is just an asshole, then somebody else said that A is super friendly and thoughtful. There is a book telling us that we have to burn our youth, we have to work 18 hours a day in order to have a successful life later on, there’s another book telling us that don’t be a dickhead, let’s have a life. Except for science facts that they seem to be the most credible things at the moment (maybe in the near future, people will find out it’s exactly opposite but it works for now), nothing is totally right or wrong, it just the point of view. I have to put a doubt on anything I encounter. It’s not that I don’t have faith or too skeptical but the way I choose to see things. as long as I feel good, it’s good.

It’s so ridiculous to see that people are spending too much time talking bullshit on social media. We are trying to show that we have a grand life, that we feel positive all the time and that’s the right thing to do. Meanwhile, other people are feeling shit because of seeing it. I do not have that thing, I didn’t try that, everybody seems to have something better than mine so obviously, my life is much worse than the average. I’m just a piece of shit.

We are all trying to be sophisticated and pretend to be nice to each other. I do it sometimes I whenever I do it, deep down in me, I found myself guilty for not telling the true feeling. Well, I’m way too sophisticated now!

Relationships matter. I don’t mean contacts we got from the networking events or ass kissing at work, which is bullshit to me, but the real connection between us with the ones we love, the ones we like. Our parents, our siblings, our close friends, our fiances, etc, the ones that we care about and want to do something good for them in return for nothing. Sometimes I took for granted that they are there and will always be there for me, no matter what, as if they have the responsibility to be in my life and I forgot how to appreciate them appropriately. Only until I started to wonder if they weren’t there, if they didn’t show up for me in my life, would I still be myself today, that when I realized how bad I behaved? That’s sad. We don’t need to tell them how we love them or how we feel thankful all the time, that sounds ridiculous, but to show them simply by being there when they need us.

Health is gold. There’s no strong mind inside a weak body, I hear it somewhere and that’s 100% true. There was the period of time that I didn’t do any exercises, even walking. I sleep next to the workplace, I eat at work. My schedule was to wake up, sit and work, eat, work and sleep, continuously. Then one day, I suddenly woke up in the middle of the night, breathing hard. It’s like my heart wants more work but the lung insists that’s too much for the heart, they had a conversation and the lung was going to win, and the brain came up at the right time as a referee, to wake me up. I stayed up the whole night. I was freaked out. I didn’t even dare to go back to sleep because I was afraid that if I went to sleep, I wouldn’t wake up the next morning. As long as I was awake, I was still able to breathe normally and call for help easily in case something bad came up to me. That thought scared me for the next whole week that I couldn’t go to sleep until 2pm, and I tried to wake up at 6am the next morning, to escape the nightmare. That was a terrible time. Then I decided to workout. I started to run and do some pushup, plank at home. My health improves tremendously. I feel thankful for that.