There is much to learn –
And much to experience –
And much to beware
Copyright by Minh Tan on listed dated of completion.
Notes to this poem…
The third haiku in this collection is also one I wrote after I returning to Canada to provide context for the ones I wrote in Viet Nam. The first one I wrote in Viet Nam is up next, if you’re getting impatient or disinterested by these setup haiku in the collection.
Returning to Viet Nam for the first time in 35 years, it was obvious there would be much to learn and experience. That was all I generally found myself thinking about, what and how much I would be able to learn and experience. However, there was also much to beware as, both, bad people and the Communist government there, often pull stunts on foreigners that people in the free world aren’t accustomed to having done to them and be acceptable. I was more suspect to it all returning as an expat, as others before had given us single male expats a really bad name. We were often perceived to think we were superior, flaunted our money and citizenship, picking up women, sometimes for wives and other times just for sex, among all kinds of other things not fondly regarded. Naturally, the men didn’t like us as most couldn’t put anything comparable to a citizenship in the free world, or wealth from it once converted to Vietnamese currency, even if it weren’t much in our countries of residence. The women generally didn’t think well of it, either, but it was a golden chance of a lifetime if the man seemed at least OK to be with and she were chosen. The elders didn’t think well of it, of course, it being very improper to behave that way. But, they, too, saw the chance if their daughters were able to find such a man who was decent or better. Then there was the whole expat thing, that we didn’t stay around to suffer through the hard times. It was all a lot of potential resentment on which someone could use as a justification to do nasty things if they wanted to.
On top of that, there was potentially bad food or water to consume, with traveler’s advice to have strong diarrhea control medication, stating it was more like when and how often one might get it rather than if. There was also potential disease, other sanitation matters, and on and on, to worry about.
So many things to beware. Yet, I found it very hard to think about it all in my preparations.