The I-Shot


Same walk way ( pedestrian only flower festival on Nguyen Hue), same anticipating crowd.

Except for the I-pad people took pictures with. Years ago, at the same setting, I was lost as a five-year-old boy, trying to find my way back to the family’s car. I then climbed on top of it, hand holding the balloon high for maximum visibility.

No I-shot then. But it imprinted in my memory.

Consumerism had yet taken hold back then: a few Chevys for hire (wedding) and a lot of Chinese-looking flat-bed (funeral).

Now, four-door Porche and Beamers fight for space with smaller Kia and Civic.

It’s here. The UPS trucks. E-commerce delivery vehicles, year-round Santa .

Vehicles to veer around, but also to “venh vao” (stuck up).

Man is finally defined by machine (which was made by man in the first place).

The loop. A dangerous one, if gone unchecked.

America was at the forefront of materialism back in the 50’s and 60’s.

Then came “Imagine” (a world with no possession).

Finally, as we all know, a synthesis is here with atomized families, insulated by layers of electronic devices (to be social now means “friending” online, and not “over for a cup of tea”).

I got a kick out of reading about two Vietnam Vets in Virginia winning the lottery. Virginia is not only for lovers, it is also for winners. (Imagine living the past four decades with your heads down – baby killers! Hell No, we won’t go).

Poetic justice.

Back to the I-shot at Flower Festival  in Vietnam.

And the Vespas, the LV bags, and the designer’s glasses.

Anything to feel and touch industrialization without heavy investment in infrastructure.

Apparently, without the smokestacks but can still be “social”, people here have the cake and eat it too (products made else where, pollution else where).

As long as one came into possession of the goods, delivered by UPS or FedEx.

They have arrived (the puppy-dog Sales), making beach-head assaults into every alley and corner: cigarettes, flat screen TV’s, imported beer, KFC and Burger King, Starbucks and Dunkin.

Welcome to the I-Society where people take I-pictures with their I-pads and I- phones .

Consumer mantra has arrived here: the urge to splurge,  to spend money one doesn’t have to buy things one doesn’t need, to impress people one doesn’t like.

Take a picture of yourself. Pin it on the wall. See how you have changed since that evening standing on the car with balloon in hand. Flower Festival is still the same.

Am I? After consuming tons of Ken (Heineken), Marlboro and M&M. Feel no better. Just more spent . To what end? Man as defined by what he made. What a pity!

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