cyclo in the time of google

By now, you can still see a few weather-beaten cyclos around albeit restricted to tourist quarters.

I still remember the sound of horse carriage in the streets of  old Saigon.

My kid will be lucky if she knows what a cyclo is.

She knows Google though.

Paperless and painless search. Now with semantic search.

My profile, age in particular, triggers online ads on retirement funds.

Each day, we clear out trash in our home office and online.

Meanwhile, cyclo guys paddle along, knowing that their trade is joining the ranks of old scribes, horse shoe makers and Kodak shops. And the cinema is about to close its curtain. My uncle’s cinema is now a storage.

I came back fully related to the character in Cinema Paradiso,  with nostalgia.

The underlining theme is still there: where is that old blind film projectionist/mentor ? Mine is a guitarist who has recently been out of work.

We both need a gig. Maybe it will work out for him since he has upgraded his play list on an Ipad. But not for the cyclo guy.

Perhaps the best they can hope for are a few passengers per day, hauling bulky merchandise. Cyclo and modern supermarkets don’t go well together. Instead, it is now relegated to being a ride to a colonial past: white folks and colored coolies, on a leisurely ride along smoke-filled streets packed with motorcycles made in China. Future shock has moved on to its Third Stage (Muscle, machine and Mind), from cyclo to moto-cycle and onto Google. People are making money by a click of the mouse, and not by paddling those three-wheelers, using 21st-century skill set and not primitive strands of muscle.

No turning back, or you will turn into salt. Gosh, I miss the sound of horse carriage at Ben Thanh market. I miss being skinny , vulnerable and trusting. Faith that can move mountain. That some day, I will see face to face, although meantime, only through a mirror darkly.

Wisdom comes from mistakes, not missed opportunities.

I’d rather tried and failed than failed to try.

Tell that to the cyclo guy, who ordered two glasses of sugar-cane juice, while I could barely gulp down one. All I did was googling, while he was cycling. Muscle man in the age of Machine.



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