early imprints


I ordered my breakfast instinctively. And it’s 8 in the morning in Vietnam.

Already I feel the heat and humidity. Through the Australian school yard, I saw teachers in ao-dai. Could have been the ghost of my mom’s past.

Children are obviously better fed these days. And they have gone on to game 3.0 (playing less at internet cafe, but at home as broadband penetration has been on the rise).

There is less space between motorcycles, because the city was originally built as a French colonial city for a 10th of today’s size.

No one walks anymore, and certainly not in the heat of mid-day.

The game players keep the game designers employed.

The office workers keep the shopkeepers’

children fed. A family-operated coffee shop opens all day all night.

Three shifts in one. Blessed are the poor for they shall inherit the earth.

But not earth. They chose cities, and not any city. It has to be Ho Chi Minh City. A few office towers got fully booked the day they let the tenants move in. Broadband was connected.  Zoom zoom.

If it weren’t for the absence of the double-decker, I would mis-take it for Hong Kong. Prepare to lose some weight here. And most importantly, stay alert when crossing the streets. My survival instinct kicks in, and not just because of the tropical storms.  I used to live here, schooled here and had my first love here. Except, we used to have more elbow room in traffic. It’s good that we wear helmet, glasses and mask.

It saves us from the embarrassment of  being stared at up close.

It’s awkward as well in Florida with the Lexus and BMW’s revving at the intersection.

But then it’s good that we found ourselves side by side as fellow travellers on our journey to work or home. Home is where someone is waiting for you.

It’s not a place geographically speaking. It’s your comfort zone. 1st place.

No more facade. Or acting up. Costume off. Hair down. And you are addressed by your rank in the extended family. Uncle Thang, good to see u.

 

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