Monthly Archives: June 2013


One said to me that he thinks that Ed. Snowden is mad. His explanation: One should be loyal to the institute one works for regardless. I disagree. But I did stop to think about loyalty.

What is loyalty? If not for Prism leak, I could have used Google to find definitions of loyalty. The temptation was  high. Very high. But I got it under control. I can imagine that one day one will look at my search history and question my loyalty to the big society. Maybe one is looking right now. No, I am not paranoid. It is very much possible.

After all, that “Who should one be loyal to?” is more an essential question. I could have googled that as well. But I did not. It is not that I am scared. It is that I think I know the answer. “Your loyalty is not to me, but to the stars above”- a Bob Dylan’s line.

Be loyal. But don’t be blind.


Air conditioned ATM booth

It was 7:30 pm. I was leaving a restaurant famous for its good food and nice seating. There I saw a mother and a son sitting on the floor of an air-conditioning ATM booth. They were having their packed dinner. They didn’t talk. The weary mother looked around anxiously. She must have worried that someone would asked them to leave the booth. The disconnected son chewed slowly.

It is clever of them to get themselves a chilled place to eat in that hot damp summer evening. But it is also upsetting. We all hurry somewhere to have food after a long hard day but that where we eat is so different. In the restaurant, diners sat on nice chairs with nice views, chatted away while tended by a team of staff. Just outside, the two sat on the floor quietly going through their last meal of the day. That is what I understand of wealth gap. To me, that speaks louder than those Bentley, Rolls-Royce and Ferrari cars driving on Hanoi bumpy streets. The cut might not be deeper but hurts more.

Arrival gate

Every time the glass slides open, somebody walks out to the arrival lobby with a story. A lost child comes home to her beloved. A traveller passes by on his journey to see the world. A worker starts a  new job in a new country. A broken soul runs away to forget. Or an optimist looks for happiness.

Once they go through the gate, there might be somebody waiting. A lover. A friend. A colleague. A chauffeur. Or some total strangers.

A kiss. A big hug. An awkward hand shake. Sometimes the only thing awaiting is the blasting heat.

Keep in mind that whatever they bring and whoever is or is not present to welcome them: there is no coming back. Arrival gate is one way out. No return. From there, they start another journey, embrace challenge and move on. 

They will get in a car, drive to a place to get change, have a shower and enjoy some food. Then they will be ready for whatever ahead. Hopefully.

I stopped keeping track of arrival gates that I have walked through. I remember all who waited for me at the other side though. Fondly. Many I had to leave behind when I started  new journeys. No coming back. But in my heart, they remain.