Monday, January 29, 2007

"It'll be fine"

Ambivalence has always been an emotional weakness of mine – or strength depending on the context. I always have these rollercoaster events sequencing my consciousness, packed together in a tight-knit timespan leading me to think karma plays a large part of what orders my life. It’s like a poor fisherman who doesn’t catch anything for weeks wondering how he’ll provide for his family if it continues this way, then, as a huge storm strikes, the fish start biting by the boatful, and he has to decide whether to continue fishing, try to weather the storm and come home with enough food to feed the whole village, or whether to cut and run, to fight another day. It never rains in Saigon – it pours.

Sarah told me last year’s Tet festivities were special because supposedly it was a very lucky year that only comes around once in a blue moon (excuse the lunar pun). I think this year’s prelude to Tet is trying to even out the celestial imbalance.

Ambivalence ruled with an iron fist. Firstly, last Sunday one of my friends and co-teacher’s mother was in a horrible motorbike accident and things don’t look good. Then I met a really nice couple on Thursday who I went out with to the “Rice Throwing” restaurant (Com Nieu Sai Gon) where the waiters break clay pots of rice and toss them across the room which was great, only to have my motorbike snatched in a blink of an eye. By this time the inescapable feeling of destiny at work already started creeping up my spine.

On Saturday night, another friend and co-teacher’s grandmother died and Sarah’s brother’s plans to visit went awry only to semi-rebalance themselves later.

I found out I had to pay 14 million dong (about $850) for my motorbike and our plans for Myanmar were dealt another blow by a travel agent who mistakenly told us we don’t need to worry about visas only to find out later we only have 10 days to get one from the Myanmar Embassy in Hanoi.

This must be it, I thought, the wheel has turned on what could be considered a generally privileged and carefree year so far. But today I realised that karma always works with a plan. Energies flow in a certain direction but, as the Second Law of Thermodynamics states, cannot be destroyed so thus must be channelled somewhere and, in this case, returned.

Mr Hung and his daughter Tram from Kim’s Café were awesome with the bike fiasco, giving me until after Tet to repay them and Tram came with to the police and sorted everything out. They gave me a new bike nearly two months free hire as well. We met an awesome woman – Nhuy – who sorted out the visas in a flash and we’re getting our passports back at the end of the week (touch karma’s wooden coffee table) and I’m getting paid today. I can’t undo the terrible personal losses suffered by my friends, but I can give them words of encouragement and stand by them. What’s done can’t be undone or reversed but can be shaped into something less than terrible with the right frame of mind, which may sound offhandishly easy to say but I truly believe it.

My sister and I used to watch this show on the Carlton Food network called Jimmy’s Farm – about a successful chef from London who gave it all up to breed pigs and open his own farmstall in the English countryside. He faced incredible obstacles and challenges (not least of which being his gay rare-breed stud-pig who was more interested in shagging the bulls than the sows). When things were at their worse – the farm being on the brink of being repossessed - Jimmy would utter the immortal words in his broad London accent: “It’ll be fine.”

8 comments:

Adam said...

Ai jong. Jammer. Maar ook bly. Die pendulum moet swaai...

Chi said...

Funny you said this, when things don't go well, I always tell myself 'I'm just gonna have a nice cup of tea and it'll be fine' and it really does help. Typical me though!

Btw, I've been told that apparently this year is the 'golden pig year' (wealthy and healthy year) which only comes every 60 years. Let's see if this is true!

henno said...

That's grand because supposedly my Chinese zodiac says I was born in the year of the pig (yay) so does that mean I'll be doubly as wealthy and healthy?

alet said...

Ek is onder die haan se teken gebore, maar ek hou van varke. Dalk tel dit ook, want my kar is nie lekke nie en ek het daai "wealth" nodig om hom sy "health" reg te kry.

arcadia said...

'touch karma's wooden coffee table'.

dis brilliant.

Jon Hoff said...

Hey henno, it's been a while. To catch up, firstly thanks for posting about the '7 wonders' in the botanical gardens. Took the other half down there that evening. Very pleasant stroll...

Sorry to hear about all your problems man, the bike is a pain in the ass especially. This time of year it's best to strap all your possessions to your body ;-)

As for motorbike accidents, it feels like barely a week goes by without news of another fatality seeping through. It's really shocking.

henno said...

Heya, yeah no worries - can't take my Future to heaven no matter how much I'd want to. You of all people would know bout the bike accidents with that post you made last year. Glad you enjoyed the Long Den's, have a good one, mate.

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