butterfly in the sky


Amidst traffic and smog, a black/yellow butterfly dances its way through the intersection, bouncing from motor bike to motor bike.

I shouldn’t have paid too much attention to the creature. I need to worry about my safety. But it struck me as odd.

All concrete in the city with only few trees left in old Saigon. Yet we saw a rare beauty. Just like Nha Trang, south of China Beach, where Miss World took place.

But I can’t pass on learning from this creature, whose primal instinct is to survive.

Human beings instead took their own lives (in this recession, it happens a lot). Or like a Vietnamese student studying in Singapore, on her boyfriend’s support. When the well runs dry, she committed suicide and found dead in her closet (her love story and financial support ironically have been well hidden, a closeted affair).

And the Fashion TV channel keeps unveiling many thin couture, very chic.

So, the co-existence of what’s ugly and what’s beautiful, what’s shameful and what’s honorable is a norm.

The Prime Minister of Singapore, on the country’s birthday celebration, touches on this issue: many conflicting interests.

One of his solutions is to allow immigrant workers, unlike Japan who opted for automation over immigration.

Meanwhile, in Vietnam, tourists’ expectations are varied.  Many are from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea and Singapore. Hence, inter-regional business interests arise naturally due to proximity. Reverse tourist flow has also been on the rise. One of these days, the imbalance in trade and tourism will find its equilibrium, and incidents such as dorm-room closet suicide will be a rarity. For now, going abroad to nearby countries,  to study, to settle and to sight-see have been and will be a boost to the ego: look at me, I have it made. Let’s book that regional flight and shop til we drop. Long live luxury goods and those can afford them. High living and up-stairs living. The once-colonies now turn new crops of shopper colonialists.

Who gives a damn about wolves in Mongolia, or butterflies in Dalat? Just cut down those trees and make ways for the flow of goods made else where to come and conquer. The shoppers are invited foreign elements in. No need for Trojan horse.

Even butterfly wants to swing out of the congested situation, much less the nouveaux riches who never seem to run out of options to shop.

 

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