Feb 10, 2011

stuck

the keyboard on my lappy broke so im using on screen keyboard to type this right now. there wont be any more updates until i get back in oz which is 22/02. sorry about that.

Feb 3, 2011

New year

Actually today is the first day of the new year according to lunar calendar and I was wrong in my last post. Yesterday was the lapse day thus my mate had quite a lot of preparation to do to welcome the new year and I helped him out until late evening after which I had dinner with his family then went home. At around 23:45 he picked me up at my place and I did not have any idea where we were heading at all, it was so close to new year and I thought he was at home celebrating with his family.

We drove around in small and convoluted roads and there weren't many people around us. First stop was a small lake. My mate took out a bag and emptied the whole thing onto the lake, on closer look I figured out that they were ashes from burnt paper. I was baffled as why would anyone do this at all as it's environmentally destructive but I held my piece. He explained to me that the ashes came from burnt offering papers and the act itself signifies letting go troubles you had during the last year as ashes returning to the sea, pieces by pieces. Hopefully, troubles themselves will be fewer and so the ashes are fewer as well. This is not superstition but rather more like customs.

When all were done, we hurriedly got on the bike and en route to the fireworks point which is rather far away. Fuel was running low, time was ticking as well. We had doubt whether we can actually watch the fireworks at all. And then we hit a traffic jam at an intersection. We're doomed I thought. For some reasons there were many people parked on the sides of the roads and they had no intention of moving at all. The people on the streets could not move because of the traffic jam ahead, they were all honking and talking loudly. This plus the overwhelming smells of burn gasoline irritated me.

And then, people stopped honking, stopped talking, stopped their vehicle altogether. Turned out, near that intersection there was a fireworks firing point too and people on the sideroads gathered there to watch it. People on the streets stopped what they were doing as the first fireworks flew into the air. They parked in the middle of the roads and began watching the fireworks display as the clock hit 00:00. Everything calmed down, no more vehicle noise, no more gasoline smells, no more honking, there were only the loud thumps from the explosions inside my chest and the oohhhs the aaahhhs of fellow fireworks watcher. It amazed me actually, they dropped whatever they were doing and just stood there in the middle of the intersection watching fireworks. I bet the traffic jam line grew much much longer because of this but who cares, as long as they can watch the fireworks right now in this very new year at this very intersection, that's alright. The fireworks lasted 15 minutes after which people resumed their honking and talking and started moving. We started our bike and began heading home too.

On the way, my mate bought a long sugar cane (around 2.5m) as new year's gift to his family. This gift signifies bringing growth to the receiver. The first person that went into the house itself is important too and not just anyone can go in. That person needs to be of good character, compatible with the zodiac signs of the head of house and in their youth too. Only then that person can be the first guest of the year to that family. Coincidently this year my mate can do this as he ticks all the boxes. I followed him second and celebrated the occasion with his family. I went home with a full belly, a full mind and a totally silent neighbour. Cheers!


Please excuse my crappy iPhone picture. It's the best I could do.

Jan 30, 2011

Impressions

I've been in Ha Noi for exactly 10 days. Most of the time I'm stuck in the office working but starting this Tuesdays it's going to be national holidays so it's party time! Well in 2 more days I guess. This Thursday (3/2) is 30/12 according to Lunar Calendar so the people here celebrate Tet (don't say Chinese New Year, it's not cool to say so. Well not really, it's complicated. I'll explain it next time) so I can take the time off from work for a week and return to work on 14/2, finish everything on 20/2, leaving here on 22/2.

First, if you're coming here for any reasons, brings along diarrhea/stomachache medicine. The foods are delicious and dirty, you'll get an upset stomachache or even worse diarrhea from eating out. If you cook your own stuffs, maybe not. I get used to the dirtiness after 2 days, let's see how long it's gonna take you.

Secondly, it's dirty. Going out to the streets means inhaling a ton of CO2 and dusts and all kind of invisible airborne stuffs. No, I'm not anal retentive about cleanliness. Trust me when I say it's unbearable when I first got here.

Thirdly, it's cold. It's a biting kind of cold because of the high humidity, for the past few days, it was around 7 to 10 Celsius degrees. My main method of travel has been on a motorbike so it's even colder because of the wind when I'm travelling at 60 kph. No, I don't drive, my mate does. This leads me to point 4.

The streets are crazy. It's a kind of controlled chaos. The majority travel on motorbikes and they swarm the street during rush hours, weaving around the traffics like there's no tomorrow. The first time my mate drove me around I was scared actually, afraid that I will return home with a broken leg. And when people want to cross the streets, they just walk across like the streets are empty. It's funny actually. The motorbikes just kinda swerve around the pedestrians and move on, at 40 or something kph, like it's the normal thing to do.

That's all I've got for now. What about the debauchery part, the dirty part of the city? Well, for next time dear readers.

PS: The best thing about playing pool here is that when you finish a game, a pretty girl comes over and prepares the table for the next game for you, you don't have to lift a finger.

Jan 21, 2011

Life story

I play pool leisurely with friends, once, maybe twice per week and about an hour each. If there's one thing I learned from this game, it's having faith in your guts feeling.

If I feel that I can probably make a shot then I will. If I aim the cue and there's this sinking feeling telling me I'm not gonna make it then surely the shot is gonna be off. I don't know if this is self fulfilling prophecy but what I'd usually do is re-evaluate the situation and try another shot.

Of course, the pros will use logic and calculate the most optimal shot but I'm an armatuer so I follow my feelings, not my head.

Now, over the pool last week I had a lengthy conversation with a good friend of mine. We reminisced about the 5 years we spent in university together and all the things in between. I must say it frightens me to see how similar he is to me. Why? Because I don't want to become someone like that. The reasons are many and varied so I'll leave it for another time.

The one thing we realized 5 years too late is you'd better have perseverance in life. When we first got into university, things were going good things were going great. You know that feeling of exuberant, of invincible when you first start doing something? That's how we were.

The first semester we all pour in efforts and energy and enthusiasm acing subjects. And all these feeling waned and waned and waned. It's all going downhill from there. By third semester, we couldn't find neither reasons nor energy to spend anymore efforts than necessary on studying. Things were a chore.

In the end, I still graduated with an average grade of > 70%. My friend burnt himself out and changed major later as he could not keep up with the initial one. He realized that if only he preserved, he wouldn't waste years re-studying.

You know, at the start of the race, everyone's at their best. It's not about how they start the race but rather how they are going to complete it. I barely made it in one piece. My friend burnt himself out. What about you?

Also, I'm in Viet Nam for holidays now. More specifically the northern part Ha Noi. It's crazy here. Internet is spotty at best so will update when I have the chance. I have a ton of personal stories to tell but not enough time dammit!

Jan 15, 2011

Simple things

I was on the subway today waiting for the train like usual and some random Asian guy just approached me out of nowhere and began talking in his broken English. He's in his 20s and looked fresh off the boat. I was expecting a Christian missionary but turned out that he wanted to practice English with me.

I could barely feel the words he stammered he stuttered quietly in the subway but still I kept the conversation going with the usual fluffs. 3 minutes were all he had before the train arrived and took me away. He disappeared as fast as I could recall.

I couldn't help but feel pity. For myself. I doubt I would have the courage to do the same thing given the same circumstances. He came here 2 months ago, originally from China.

While we spoke, he couldn't looked me in the eyes and it seemed like he just repeated a set of questions and answers to me. I doubt that doing something like this would help his English but still I can't help but wonder about myself.


Jan 14, 2011

Trapped

For the past week I found myself in a dream where everything is submerged in a purple haze. The scenery just comes and goes even though I'm in static. Everytime I move, everything around me stay the same so I have to stay still and watch. It's a frightening feeling. I don't know whether I'm awake or I'm dreaming. I don't know if it's day or night. It all feel like I was in a huge theather with no way out and the only light source is from the movie screen. If I try to leave, the movie is paused and I'm free to wander around in the total darkness searching for a way out just to no avail.

I was not lost however. I was being lead through my own life. I was shown the infinite possibilities that could have been, everything from the moment I was born in painstaking details. Until the day I die. I was shown mistakes I've made and the differences that they cause were they not happen. I was shown all the things that I planned in exuberant happiness just to be abandoned later and how they could have been a part of my life had they come through. I was shown all the possibilities that could have happened in my lifetime.

But that's not my life and the person that was going though all these experiences is not me. He looks like me but he is not me. He didn't make mistakes that I made. He did not experience my failures, he did not experience my embarrassing moments. He was born to the same parents as me, on the same day, the same hour, the same minute and second but he is not me. I am me because of all I've gone through. Good or bad. The moment I realize this I was released. The other person may be happier, may be richer or whatever, he's just a stranger. And he ain't gonna last in my mind.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

Guys, I went down with a feverish cold last week. I was stuck in one place and could not do much except thinking. Above is the result of all that thinking. It feels good now that I've got all that out of my mind. Carpe diem and don't look back! Too much that is. Try not to have too much idle times on hand and take care of yourself. An idle mind is the devil's play ground as they say.

Also, will try to do a painting with the nail polish but my painting skill is horrible. Don't laugh!


Jan 8, 2011

Downfall


My doodle last time was painted with nail polish actually. Due to separation I now have quite an amount of nail polish in different colors (around 15 or so bottles). How can I have fun with them? I will do as you guys suggest and take pictures too.

So what caused your downfall?