In Vietnam, one of the first questions is What animal represents you? (12 symbols of the zodiac).

Second question is, how come you are single. Find someone to alleviate your miserable state of being single (collective society).

Third and logical conclusion: find someone, whose symbol matches yours, yin-yan, fire and ice, earth and sky etc…

I found this mechanism an easy way out, as opposed to Vietnam Got Talent, where candidates are picked base on their merits.

What do you expect? You are known to others as son or daughter of so and so.

This reminds me of the Museum of Innocence which recounts a story of a character who fell in love with his distant cousin. No where can you find individualism collide more with social more. He managed to collect even her hair to be displayed later in what he called, the Museum of Innocence.

I found a public comb hanging in the men’s restroom at an ACB bank branch here in Vietnam. Apparently, it’s common property, to be shared among the men.

Part of my missing education, was that by the time I was supposed to reap the benefits of all that our country had to offer e.g. matchmaking system, shared mores, shared pot of luck (guests would pitch in to jumpstart a new family), I instead launched cold turkey ino the culture of sports at Penn State, of extreme competition although we always chanted “We Are”.

The “We Are” in Vietnam is quite different from the “We Are” at Penn State.

The latter nailed Coach JoePa to be the fall guy (while it’s Sandusky who was supposed to be nailed).

I am not defending the former “We Are”, nor do I accuse the latter.

But in Vietnam, for example, a rape which occured within the four walls, stays within the four walls.

The victim would rather be dead than seeing her family be put to shame.

So life goes on. What’s your animal symbol?

Use that comb. Shake off  the past. Forget and move on.

You will never find a public comb in Penn State lockers, where We Are is the chant.

But you will find it here.

and maybe, even a suitable other-half, if you can answer the first few questions by the matchmaker.

Oh, by the way, these days, they also asked if you had own a house. A scooter was a given. Just as back then, they assumed you own some buffalos to tend the field.

My sister has lived a hard but productive life. As symbolized by the animal represents her.

Mine? you guess. It’s the monkey. Jumping from tree to tree , culture to culture and not commit completely to one set of beliefs. It’s boring for a monkey to sit under the shade of just one tree in a forest full of them. It would bore him to tears. Scratching that ich all day wondering if the next tree might be worth the leap. Who knows, I might find happiness at the next bend, next road less travel. And if not, the journey itself is the reward.

What’s your animal symbol? or Avatar? You see, each culture has its own way to move beyond one self. To break out of what’s given, what’s restricted.

May you find your match, off or online.


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