Strange shores

I reward myself with strong coffee after my morning exercise.

It had been a month before I found out that Cam Ly, a Vietnamese famous singer – with her signature song “Bo Ben La’ (strange shores) live in the house next to the alley where I had my coffee.

Strange shores, strange circumstances.

When in the US, I listened to that song, thinking about being a stranger selling sea shells at a  strange shore (tongue twister).  Now, sitting here, next to her house, stirs strange sensation.

Ironic! Fateful!

The Vietnamese diaspora has come to terms with itself.

It’s been almost 38 years to date.

More than enough to heal old wounds, start new life and families, or reinvent one’s self.

Some even had new names: Tommy (not Hilfiger), Cindy etc..

But strange names might not guarantee same results.

The women seem to adjust better in foreign environment (manicuring trade).

Male expats (immigrants in this case) have receded to the far corner of vices (gambling, alcohol and homelessness – including many GI‘s).

The hyphen generation (Vietnamese-American) have fared better: doctors, dentists and designers.

But the third generation will ask questions: why do I look the way I do (slanted eyes, but white inside. Banana generation).

They will Google the Vietnam War, google The Last Day of Saigon etc…

They will search and research.

What legacy? what is there to be proud of?

Stranded on strange shores, what are their heritage? When they visit Vietnam, it will be strange shore to them.

Meanwhile, a new generation of Vietnamese students here are preparing to study abroad. I saw their eagerness to learn “when do we have that tutoring session you mentioned the other day?”.

I like it.

Learn, baby learn.

You will need to log in 10,000 hours to master a new skill set.

English has 2 million vocab and counting.

Co-location and forms vs functions will exponentially increase that pool.

Learn baby learn.

Then share it with others.

Be the Master.

Be the Master of your universe.

Be back from strange shores and share the spoil.

Bo Ben La, Bo Ben La.

I miss that song already, even when the singer is living right next door.

Maybe I can make off with a  ticket to hear her at live concert. Let me see if my diplomatic skill still works here after living in strange shores for so long. ” Hi, I am your fan who has traveled really far to hear you. Can you sign here…woops, I don’t have a ticket to the show for you  to autograph”.

Keep dreaming. Bo Ben La..


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