—- Doggone way to start a day
I am convinced that there is something up with my neighbor. Most mornings for the past months, it has been of habit that I scramble out into my yard at approximately 8h20, crossing my fingers that I’d make it on time to work at 8h30 (that’s what you call a race against the clock right there). Anyway, this neighbor of mine is a retired man and just happens to have a fascination for using the appearances of my dogs, Benji and Sparky as a “muse” to get his granddaughter to chug down some breakfast milk. See, I have no problem with that. It’s just I’m in this chaotic state, right? and then I swing my gate open and his first reaction would always be “Look honey!!! the dog!!!”. That I do not appreciate *blank face* What should I do now? Train Sparky to open the gate?
—- The brotherhood of the traveling Great Grandfather Tortoise and Uncle Ho
An alum from MHC came to Hanoi and during our conversation, she asked about the mysterious tortoise residing in Hoan Kiem lake which everyone was talking about in the beginning of year. I told her, of course, about the legend, about how Vietnamese people regard him as the Great Grandfather Tortoise and how his health had been declining, and how honestly I thought nothing really effective was being done about it. It’d make sense to the take the tortoise to an oceanography institute rather than give him treatment in the already-ghastly condition of the water. But no one was going to take Great Grandfather Tortoise out, for superstitious reasons. My friend scrunched her eyebrows and said “Well that’s oddly contradictory, I tried to visit the HCM Mausoleum today and they said it was closed. I looked it up and found that every year for two months, Uncle Ho gets sent to Russia for ‘maintenance’ “. Now this was information I’d never heard before, and I have no real way of confirming its truth, so don’t take my word. She ended everything by saying “If Uncle Ho can travel to Russia every year, then Great Grandfather Tortoise sure heck can take a vacation to a treatment facility”
—- Halong Bay – hooray?
Today, I was coerced into sitting in on and talking at a rally for votes for Ha Long Bay to become one of the next 7 natural wonders of the world. I felt a little hesitant because I can’t help but feel, we were using national television to just push and push people to vote and vote, without really carrying through the message. Don’t misjudge my patriotism here, the whole thing about the country having a natural wonder – dandy and I did call for people’s support publicly :|. But let’s take a few steps back shall we, what exactly is this going to mean? There is no doubt about Ha Long Bay being a natural beauty queen, but honestly you can’t rely on looks in this race. If you were thinking on that alone, then every one of those final 28 deserves to be recognized, because you simply can’t put uniquely geographical, historical and cultural beauties and stack them on a ladder, one on top of the other. The world is not a pyramid, be it social paradigms have led us to think so.
If you are voting, think about your own experience in Ha Long, think about what further could be done to make that experience the next time you do have it better. Because as far as my experience goes, there are as many hurdles in environmental, tourism and public space management in Halong as there are hills of riveting beauty across this precious bay. Yes I voted once and today my co-worker says, “you know you can text as many votes as you want and you can also create new emails to vote more”. What is the point of voting, if you’re going to manually multiply your own support? It’s becoming a race of who’s got a bigger population and who’s going to spare more time.
If you are voting just because simply you’re Vietnamese and you must vote for Ha Long Bay – If you are voting just because a world natural wonder title is a must-have – If you are voting now and are going to forget about what’s going to happen to the bay the day it does get to that top 7-list – then with all due respect, your votes, be it 150 text-messages are empty.
If a vote and the title mean that somehow, finally more attention would be given to rid the waters of floating cans and plastic bags, ensure that overnight boats are truly safe, that the tourist spots won’t be riddled with okay to mediocre service, and that a plethora of other issues, which I won’t go into, are resolved – then by all means, vote and text your hearts out.
No hard feelings, and the best be it, not for the title, not for the country’s pride, but for the bay 🙂