Twice, it’s alright


I did everything twice. It’s become a pattern. It’s become a pattern,

6th grade found me fumble from a French-system to then Vietnamese system, so I ended up repeating my 6th grade at two different Middle Schools.

Then, my freshman year got interrupted (by the White Christmas song that was played on US Arms Force radio, the same one that gave us Robin William’s impression “Goooood Morning,Vietnam”) so I floated on barge, navy ship, C-10 cargo plane, then 747 to Pennsylvania to start college again. This time, from the Vietnamese system to its American counterpart (with the help of Red Cross translation services which provided notary public among other relief packages such as toothbrush and underwear). Twice a freshman.

Plug-in: let’s give via Red Cross to the victims of Japanese earthquake.

Back to twice, it’s alright.

Every person’s history is a miniaturized version of his/her larger historical context. In my case, it was a transition from the French-colonial education system, to a more modernized approach (I even took a SAT, the nation’s first, using number 2 pencil for computerized grading). Ironically, when people discuss the efficacy of NATO’s involvement in Libya, Vietnam’s quagmire was once again mentioned. To put some meat into the analogy, we are referring to 3+ million deaths in that conflict, and an aftermath of Agent Orange, PTDS etc…Talking about “Reflections of My Life” (view the Youtube version which features the kids running toward a returning vet).

Others might have it easy (playing tennis on Guam Island in transit). But for me, I had to do things twice at school and in life.

Years later, I met one of my sales agents who had stayed behind in the camp until he got kicked out.

He certainly took the easy way out. To him, it’s always once, the last option that is (like the default choice that software engineer often recommends).

Although my life-changing event happened a life time ago, but to me, it still resonates (still raw, like “the first time, I ever saw your face”.)

I want to silently thank those who lost their lives and limbs, while reflecting on my lost years.

In comparison, my lost college year was a very low a price to pay. BTW, I had to search twice for my SAT IBM-spit out scores (turned out that some of the exams had to be graded manually due to a computer break-down. My grades came in on the second batch, a few days later). So much for the angst of pencil number 2  for the machine to read. Later, to satisfy my penchant for “twice in everything”, I went overseas twice to volunteer for Relief Work (reciprocity and pay it forward), two graduate schools and won two cars at MCI to pay off my school loan.

Twice, it’s alright.

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