Upon reading the review of The Bureau’s podcast written by Jesus Lopez-Gomez entitled Listen in the February issue of Oi Vietnam, I feel compelled to respond in the interests of ‘good’ journalism.

Perhaps more than ever, we as media professionals must do our best to maintain the highest possible standards of professionalism.

In this case, I’m referring to fact-checking.

In his review, Mr Lopez-Gomez names one of our interviewees as “heritage architect Hoanh Thanh.”

Now, as much as I love a good hoanh thanh as the next person, I do believe that Dr Hoanh Tran may take umbrage at being called a wonton, or at the very least, be disappointed that his name was incorrectly stated.

In addition, it’s well-known in hospitality circles that Richie Fawcett – who Lopez-Gomez refers to as “former Shri manager-turned-cocktail guy and artist” – was making cocktails and creating art (and working as a journalist himself) long before he ever set foot in Vietnam. 

Mr Fawcett is also highly regarded for his mentorship of young Vietnamese bartenders over the 10 years he has been living in Saigon, which for the most part, he has volunteered for the betterment of hospitality here.

I’d also like to point out that we have one podcast that is 47 minutes long, with the shortest being 26 minutes long. 

Like a good food reviewer should never judge an entire menu after eating one dish alone, so should a podcast reviewer listen to multiple episodes to get a good ‘taste’ of the program. 

In this case, I don’t care if Mr Lopez-Gomez thinks it’s funny or “cringeworthy” or crass – at the end of the day, it’s his subjective opinion.  

But perhaps the most serious stuff-up Mr Lopez-Gomez has made is when he says, “The seventh episode opens with a joke about one of the panelists paying for sex.” 

This is blatantly untrue. 

Clearly Mr Lopez-Gomez hasn’t understood the context nor listened carefully to the episode in-full, likely resulting in his mistaking Prince Andrew’s voice (not my friend by the way) for one of our panellist’s voices. 

Unlike what Mr Lopez-Gomez clearly has not done, I suggest that anyone who actually cares about this, listen CAREFULLY in-full for yourself.

Now, at The Bureau we understand that all relationships come at a price, however, to insinuate that one (or all) of the hosts on the podcast has paid for sex is a low blow (apologies if I’ve made you cringe). 

See how ugly things can turn when you simply don’t get the facts right.

Am I disappointed in the review and trying to exact revenge with this statement? No way! I’m hoping more people will discover and ‘like’ The Bureau as a result.

When you operate online and in the public space, you expect to be criticised and critiqued AND you especially don’t expect everyone to like what you do.  

But when unfounded criticism comes your way from within your own fraternity, you have to wonder, what’s going on over there at Oi Vietnam?

Matthew Cowan

The Bureau Chief

* Check out our more comprehensive list of podcasts that we posted back in Nov. 2019 HERE

Feature photo by Clark Young on Unsplash

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