[Babbles] Rainy Days and Mondays

Talking to myself and feeling old
Sometimes I’d like to quit
Nothing ever seems to fit
Hanging around, nothing to do but frown
Rainy days and Mondays always get me down

So said the anorexia-ridden Karen Carpenter back in her heydays. It’s depressing music to listen to, especially, today, a Monday, on which it just happened to pour cats and dogs and there was no doubt in my mind that somehow I needed to turn this song on and it’d fit perfectly. What a darn diggity downright punch-to-the-face way of starting out a week! There’s irony in the way I’ve been trying to work my life around plans and then those same plans backfire on me, rendering all previous efforts, to my disappointment, in vain. So yes, I had been for the last month – pencil-scratching, mobile-negotiating, forgoing any previous commitments that I would have these coming days just so this could happen, and now it’s not…so it’s a bloW. I’m being such a drama wreck, I know, but I literally stood in the hallway of my office building, gritting my teeth, anger, bitterness and pure disappointment all bagged up, and spewing out from under my breath. I don’t get so overly charged like this often so apologize for the cyber outburst… you could say it’s been hell of a day – soon to be over , thank goodness.

The only highlight of today, my series of talk sessions continue with a 16-year-old Spanish model – the gorgeous Andrea Aybar – more lovingly known in Vietnamese as “An”. She’s a stunning girl, of course, she’s a model for crying out loud. Google her and you’ll see. But what strikes me is she’s equally and perhaps even more charming in her conversation in English….and above all…in Vietnamese! This girl can speak Vietnamese like no other expat I’ve met. I might even say she’s ridiculously more awesome than I am in the slangs’ categories. An has lived in Vietnam for 8 years – half of her lifetime and really amazed me when she shared her thoughts of how going back to Spain of recent was for her “strange”. She proudly says that despite her appearances, she’s 100% Vietnamese and has even become a matchmaker between her father and a Vietnamese woman – realizing her dream of having a Vietnamese mother, and obtaining Vietnamese nationality…now that’s patriotism for you right there, and you don’t even need a flag to wave it or go stand out on Hoan Kiem Lake, heralding against China (no offense) to prove it.

Got me thinking a bit about the term of “TCK”, you know “third-culture kid” – where your life growing up, led by the circumstances of family moving about, has engrained in you influences of culture other than that of your original root, thus rendering your identity a melange of your experiences here and there. An can be thought of as a TCK who has done away with repatriation and become one of the locals herself. I think of myself as a TCK every so often…, my first move was also when I was 8, accumulated time away from my home country: also nearly half of my lifetime. I’m not certain, but for sure, I’ve always passed points of feeling out of place at either one place or the either, feeling like I own this split identity  that doesn’t relate me fully, as much as I would want, to Vietnam…or to anywhere else for that matter. Thinking about it, most of my close friends during college were TCKs, or so I understood them to be. The US you could say, the boiling pot it is known to be, is a pot of TCKs wondering at one point or another in their lifetime, what makes up their identity. Those thoughts for me have slowly blurred after having settled here now for 2 years, but always a fascination to me.

Rainy days and mondays, sad but leaves space for thinking… adieu!

For more of read on TCKs, do check out: DENIZEN MAG – The TCK Magazine


[Babbles] Slow down you crazy child

Pressure Indeed (*Courtesy of http://www.rockandpop80s.com)

Another day into what seemingly is the epicenter of a broiling oven. And, what is up with all these people in the suburbs burning fields, leaves, trash and who knows what? It’s hard enough to refrain from a complete meltdown in this horrendous heat, let alone reach near suffocation because of all the damn smoke. Okay, so it hasn’t been the best day in the bunch, not the perfect day to ride around in your motorbike either, but I was vrooming around regardless, burnt bum and sizzling feet what not. You start to think whether they’ll ever make mobile bubbles for traveling, you know, a bubble enclosing you, air-conditioned and pollution proof. Wall-E deja-vu, remember those capsules, with all your necessities popping out whenever without you and your obese-ridden arse ever having to pick up a fingertip? *sigh* this world, nothing short of fish pooing in their own water, I tell you. But who am I to judge, here I am still cruising around in a polluting vespa everyday because imagining having to literally bike under this weather alone is painful.

I wish I were far away right now, as much as I love you Hanoi, it’s a mushy love-hate relationship…Arghh, curse you freaking weather! Here’s some Billy Joel for you…I find these words heart-pinning…and it has nothing to do with Vienna for me.

“Slow down, you crazy child 
you’re so ambitious for a juvenile 
But then if you’re so smart, tell me 
Why are you still so afraid? 

Where’s the fire, what’s the hurry about? 
You’d better cool it off before you burn it out 
You’ve got so much to do and 
Only so many hours in a day 

You’ve got your passion, you’ve got your pride 
but don’t you know that only fools are satisfied? 
Dream on, but don’t imagine they’ll all come true 
When will you realize, Vienna waits for you? ” – Vienna, Billy Joel

Alas, my cry has been heard. It has just rained!

[Hanoi] Blabbers and the Oppression of Vietnamese Music

On a fine autumn night here in Hanoi, when half of the most frequented streets are blocked, to make space for the rehearsal of a 31,000-people-parade  that will happen in 2 days and that couldn’t be any more apparent, you find yourself stuck at home listening to the Lily Allen’s “F*ck you” and you suddenly twitch, your eyes secretly smirking with a spark with cynicism, as the world that surrounds you is cast by the shadow of an abruptly bleaker light.

And yes, so the past few days have not been the most memorable walk in the park, despite it being the grand celebration of Hanoi and all. As you may have heard, there was the very unfortunate fireworks explosion accident on Wednesday. A colleague of mine had been covering an event right outside the stadium where it all took place, and luckily, he had left minutes before the incident. And though our office was a 25 to 30′ motorbike ride to the stadium, everyone had heard the explosion, and completely mistook it for lightning. Meanwhile, throughout this week,  the Central provinces of Vietnam  have been ravaged again by the annual flood. It’s just really all very unfortunate and sad  and it shows when I have to work directly with the news every day. Half of the 30 minute news bulletin today was on the situation in the flood-stricken, details on death toll, images of torn-down houses, submerged bikes, people struggling amidst water akin to droplets amidst an ocean. It’s discouraging.

So despite my joy of storming out onto the street at the beginning of the week to grab a couple’s “I love Hanoi” T-shirt (yes, mind the cheesiness), the end of the week has been a little bit more down. I’m not a big crowd person either, or actually I like big crowds, I just don’t like to have to push or be pushed around amidst that crowd, I think I’m partly claustrophobic :|…and so I’m counting on staying home on the D-day, this Sunday, Oct. 10th – Hanoi’s 1000th bday if you will.

On the more personal front, my dog of 12 years, Nick, has been ill lately and the way I am,  the way hundreds of thoughts can race through my brain at one single sight, I have become so pessimistic. The vet came this morning and says Nick has minor symptoms of liver disease and it should be curable. So, I’m crossing my fingers. Now we’re not sure what Nick’s exact age is, he is a mutt who had been abused, gotten lost and then ran into our house in 1997. Dad says, a year in a dog’s life is equivalent to 7 years in a human’s so that would make him at least in his 80s, early 90s. Poor fellah! Sparky, yes the sausage german shepherd from the last post is still well, if you must know 🙂

So amid all of these discouraging stories, my day’s entertainment has so far been found in an article called ” Nhạc Việt bị cưỡng bức tập thể” , english quick translation ” A complete oppression of Vietnamese Music”. A guy basically took all of these songs about Hanoi considered timeless and masterpieces here in the country, straight-out translated to English….no wait, that’s such an over-statement….correction, to Google-translate quality, grammar-less chopped-up V-english. To top it off are the “lovely” singers who pronounce English as if it had the 6 accents which Vietnamese does. Anyhoo, watch it and remember to read the subtitles. There have been rumors that the guy has made this into an actual album, as a “gift” to international guests during Hanoi’s millennial celebrations…what a bozo, this doofus 😐

[Babbles] A prayer

Incompetence is a dreaded feeling, when you’ve but a wall pressed against your nose, the end of your path casts a shaft of darkness that pierces the little hope yearning to live within.

Incompetence is a dreaded feeling, when you can but let sufferance drag itself before your eyes, slowly by the minute, and everyday, you die a little bit knowing there is nothing to be done.

“Smile though your heart is aching

Smile even though it’s breaking

When there are clouds in the sky, you’ll get by

If you smile through your fears and sorrows

Smile and maybe tomorrow,

You’ll see the sun come shining through…

If you just light up your face with gladness

Hide every trace of sadness

Although a tear may be ever so near

That’s the time you must keep on trying

Smile, what’s the use in crying

You’ll find that life is still worthwhile

If you just smile…”