Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Tuesday 28th FEB 06 10:10pm


I visited Vietnam during the weekend for a business trip. Initially, the idea was to see if there are any worthwhile business i could do there and if there are, then i would place myself there permanently. It was firstly to "escape" my life here in Singapore. Too much heartache and bad memories here. Sure, i WILL miss my friends here. However, sometimes a person is just too tired with his current standing where he is at and needs to move on to something new. Not forgetting, i'am still on my Walk-About. This is a chance for me to see new things, and hopefully, find myself somehow.

My destination was Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. The flight was only abit less then 2 standard hours from Singapore. I took Tiger Airways. I'am on a budget. LOL. My filght was unfortunatelly delayed due to some air show going on at the airport. Basically, the trip was smooth.

When i arrived at Vietnam, I was in for a culture shock. My guide took me to a hotel in district 5, at The Windsor Plaza Hotel. It was supposed to be a 5 star hotel. Now, the standard of living in Vietnam is laid back. Therefore, their idea of a 5 star hotel is only about a 3 star hotel back home. During the 40 min drive to my hotel, i was suprised to see that there are way too many motorbikes and bicycles moving on the roads. In this country, cars have to GIVE WAY to the bikes. They do not obey the traffic rules, and some can even ride their bikes AGAINST the traffic AT YOU. So do not even THINK about driving in Vietnam if you are a foreigner. Whole families of four to five people can sit on the SAME motorbike and travel will ease and skill.

There are also barefooted kids begging on the streets. They will just put out their hands at you and rub their stomachs or put their fingers together and point towards their mouths. It's a real sorry sight. I was approached by no less then 10 of these kids in one day alone. I could not give them any money, even though i was really aching in my heart. The reason is very simple. If i were to give just ONE of the kids money, the whole gang of them will rush at me and beg. I have to be "heartless" to protect myself from being swamped by those kids. I am a visitor in another country. I HAVE to protect myself from unneccessary harm. It's really sad, but true fact of life.

This got me thinking of us back home. Before i flew to Vietnam, i have read an article about how BuangKok MRT station was opened due to the mass petitions of the public who SWORE to use the station if it was ever open. When the station was FINALLY opened? Less then 20 people were seen using the station even at peek hours. Now, why is it that w singaporeans have to make so much noise about something to be done for us, yet, when we get it, we totally don't give a damn to it? The people's reason for not using the station? "Too Quiet", "Too scary", "there are no nearby amenities". We have ALOT of excuses to justify why you won't do this or that, don't we? When the government really gives the people what we want or demand, we just treat it like a god given right and happenstance. Are we really so pampered we become ignorant?

And then in Vietnam, people do not have the luxury of a proper road, a well policed traffic condition. Yet, they make do with what they have, and are very mindful NOT to cause any accidents to one another. It's really amazing i tell you. Hundreds upon hundreds of motorbikes just inches away from each other, yet, they are able to handle their bikes with ease and skill, and you hardly see any accidents at all. And they manage. DAY by DAY. The riders over there don't even wear helmets. Kids as young as 14 years old are able to ride the motorbikes around. It's CRAZY. The living conditions of some of the people are also very old and undermaintained. Rusting windows, broken doors, rotting foundation. People selling fruits on the roadside, kids begging barefooted walking on the hot pavements and roads. Really, how can we NOT feel lucky?

My business trip brought me to a candy making "factory" maned by only a handful of female workers making the sweets by hand. Over there, the girls outnumber the boys 6 to 1. Don't ask me why. I can't answer that question. It just IS. And then i was brought to a fruit farm, and then a paper box making factory, and lastly, a few hotels. Basically, the manpower wages there are cheap. About only SGD$150 - SGD$250 per head per month. But, The hidden costs are alot.

As a visitor, if i were to do business there, i will need to first get a driver, then register a car, get an interpreter, pay government taxes and buy off the officials with "coffee money" JUST to ensure a smooth START-UP of a business there. If you do not buy off the officials, your paperwork for your business can take as long a 2 years JUST to get PROCESSED for the FIRST level. Essentially, you are treated like a 2nd class citizen there. Our dollar may be strong there, but the amount of money you have to spend JUST to get your business running is no joke.

I am far too young and inexperienced to do something like this in a country such as Vietnam. One must know where his/her abilities lies. This is way out of my league. But i have brought back with me valuable experiences that will help me make better and more informed decisions in the later part of my life.

Honestly, I went on this business trip partly on impulse. I was feeling horrible with the things that have happened with me these few weeks. Now, even my friendship with BoonYong may be in danger of breaking up. He's just ONE example. There are still many others i do not wish to name. Ultimately, in OUR sociaty now, it's still a taboo thing to be different. Even with the latest airing of the gay movie Brokeback mountian, i believe it will still be a long time before people like us are truely accepted for what we are.

Now, i'am working towards getting my old job back, and training hard for my Aikido and my passion for acting and hosting. I may even do some writting if i can find the time.

Here and now, i have a little request. For those of you who has my MSN address, if you are willing to support me in writting my first novel, please put in your MSN nick header : [MoD3RaToRs]™∈☰ , like what you can see in my current MSN nick. It will help me out alot. Thanks.

Well..... that's all i can think of to write now. Really very tired after my trip. But i suppose i owe it to my faithful readers to submit and entry every now and then. LOL

See, i'am really not a bad guy after all right?

So who wants to be my soul mate? Any takers?




EarlGrey blogged @ 10:03 PM | archives

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