My edu-tour to Vietnam


When you are on a tourist visa, you have to keep renewing it every three months.

Each stamp was like a certificate of completion of my self-education. I learned that:

– my friend’s music students, blind or bright, respected and adored their dead teacher

– dead people, in casket, still get his/her last chance to bow and say goodbye to the alley

– everybody is in motion, rain or shine. Those who work in A/C environment also pound at the keyboards, hence fingers in motion

– individualism will have a hard time here

– living and working in Vietnam equals to living and working inside a fish bowl

– one force gets multiple counter-forces, in all directions, hence, defies physics as we know it

– people lock their doors so carefully that it seems as if they locked themselves in more than lock someone out

– music and movies somehow freezeframed as if the Americans had never left (Woman in Love,  I’d love you to want me…)

– peddlers would ride their three-wheeled stalls down the street while on a mobile phone: double-mobility

– you lose a lot of weight while here (sweat and luckily, not tears)

– you will be approached half a dozen times a day by lottery ticket sellers or xe-om

Carl Jr and Burger King are here but not Mc Donalds (and not because Vietnam is more anti-MacDonalisation than the French).

– people ask why you live and eat alone. My loneliest meal was having a steak and fries just because my appointment screwed up

– consumerism has not saturated the place with high-margin products and services: spa, sweets and sporting goods

– unless you are an established brand name, forget trying to get in now. Amway all the way.

– you can get live entertainment every night : singers on scooters would bar-hop, while in-house musicians play for time

– another generation of kids are growing up watching flat-screen TV‘s and I-pads touch screens. In twenty years, with full effect of global osmosis in tech and commerce, you will not learn as much from your six months here as I have about the old and the new.

24/7 world. Outsource that software testing project. Fly here to check the lab out. Do what you have to, while it’s still fertile. While the water is still lukewarm. Once things are set, you will be just another globe trotter looking for a trophy to bring home. After a stop at a burger joint, of course. Please don’t eat alone. Still not acceptable then as it is now.

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