torn between two places


Yahoo News had a piece about Diaspora, the return.

It features Mrs Nguyen Cao Ky, who is now a proud owner of a Pho restaurant in former Saigon.  She said to have spent a few months in the US, and the rest in Vietnam.

Other Viet Kieu expressed similar sentiment: “when I am here, I miss the States, and vice versa” said wife of a former Vegas casino host.

The attachment to places.

We are creatures of habits.

I found myself gravitated toward District 3 where I grew up.

I turned my head every time I passed by L’Ecole Aurore.

To lend some credibility, the article quoted Professor Hung, of the U of VA, who said what everyone had already known: the less attractive the US economy the stronger the pull of  Vietnam .

So, we have Vietnamese moving out of Hotel California. The choices are Houston or HCMC. Sociologists couldn’t have foreseen this 38 years ago.

I didn’t. We were in a state of shock!

Those of us who weren’t religious person then, became one.

Churches and synagogues welcomed the displaced.

So, my sweet guitar gently weeps.

I admitted to eating a bunch of church pot-luck dinners to get through college.

Then, upon graduation, I paid it all back by offering my ration packs to Boat People in Asia.  Whatsoever you sow, you shall reap.

I saw what people went through at seas to get to shores, to Hotel California.

Now, I met people like Mrs Ky who discussed opening up shops in VN, organizing a conference there, and perhaps buying a piece of land.

I do miss the comfort in the States e.g. clean beaches, ample parking and ubiquitous police. Over-protected in one place and under-served in the other.

Torn between two  places, feelin’ like a fool. Blame it on war, blame it on peace. But mostly, blame it on greed which brought down house of cards. As of this edit, I have read excerpt of Andrew Lam‘s latest Birds of Paradise Lost which is an expose on the theme of Diaspora of millions Viet Kieu, suffering the fate of “neither here nor there”.

The strangest moment came when songs of the 70’s got played at coffee shops in Saigon. It only accentuates a known fact: the place seems to have freezed up in time. Those music got me nostalgic for Vietnam when hearing them in the States, but then, to hear them play here in VN makes me nostalgic for time past, not the place itself. We all swim against the tide of time.  Boys-men-boys, in my case, a boy from BAN CO. Even grown men need to have some fun. It’s either biking or swimming now.  For that, you can do it anywhere.  But who you would ride with, that depends on the place. Those who went through the piercing experience of separation and exile are rarely heard nor noticed. Most force themselves to forget and move on. Others leverage new skill and contact to return, a phenomenon known as “brain re-gain”. More are coming back. Yet remain forever “outsiders”, torn between two places.

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