been wandering around foreign countries for the past couple years
and now that i’m home,
i’ve been doing all the little things i’ve taken for granted,
like checking out new restaurants with my funny friends,
movie nights in the park,
summery late evening walks through lower manhattan
and amazing live shows at intimate venues.
i got to see born ruffians, one of my favourite bands, perform the anthem to my entire last year of london.
“away, away, a way to always belong. belong, belong, won’t be long until i am gone.”
i’m concluding my six months in asia.
and i somehow managed to schedule five days of video shoots my last week here.
a few frame grabs.
during the french colonial period,
the cyclo/xích lô (bicycle taxi) was the primary mode of transportation in vietnam.
with the advent of scooters and cars, they’re now restricted to only a few tourist areas.
within a decade, they’ll be obsolete.
a story rarely told is that of the cyclo drivers,
who are often seen as a nuisance, scoffed and rudely brushed off by tourists.
back in august when truc-anh and i were shooting b-roll in bùi viện for the soul archive video,
i met, by chance, a cyclo driver named nghia.
there was a sincerity about him; i wanted to hear his story.
so vu and i spent tuesday with him.
i’ll share the video later next month,
but really, despite numerous cruel adversities and heartbreaks… such a kind, resilient soul.
teresa teng warmly reminds me of grandma and grandpa.
from the taxi cabs to the intercom at the mall, her songs murmured,
which made for a sentimental week on the island.
i had one free day from shooting and mac said we could do whatever i wanted.
eat through the city, duh. six restaurants in one day.
we went from the most extravagant portuguese barnacles (apparently men risked their lives to fetch our lunch)
to the most humble spam and egg sandwich.
(and dim sum, dumplings, everything yummy hong kong had to offer in between.)
this guy mac, he’s all sorts of good people.
somewhere in soho
i stumbled upon an antiquarian shop called indosiam that specialised in rare books and paper goods
and picked up these huge 2×3′ maps from the 1920’s
and a book on french colonial territories in southeast asia, published in 1930.
amid heaven and earth.
currently listening to:
the most appropriate teresa teng song for this post.
香港 香港 和你在一起
1. people can be cruel, life can be quite unfair.
you can play victim and whine incessantly about how the world owes you something, spreading negativity
or you can just not.
2. the term “việt kiều” is used to describe vietnamese from overseas.
dad once told me there were generally two types of việt kiều who return to vietnam:
the first, to brag.
the second, to make the country a better place.
i’m not the first of either, but i will try to do both the latter.
lux bought out lighting magazine and revamped it into this slick…
it looks and feels almost like a coffee table art book.
i think it happened one afternoon during production of the first [re]issue
when ray asked me to hand-sketch some installation diagrams for him.
and now once a month,
i get to escape my computer screen for a few hours,
blast born ruffians in my headphones and zone out.
i’ll never not get excited seeing work in print, even if it’s just a bunch of doodles. :)
and decided i would trick mark into taking me there this bank holiday weekend
for what could possibly be the most awesome picture taking adventure,
only to be heartbroken when i discovered the building was demolished last year. :(
currently listening to:
been singing the same song for months.
dad joined the south vietnam army at eighteen
to be with his friends.
several years ago,
mom told me a story of their late evening in the trenches
smoking opium, playing cards
when a bomb explosion obliterated the foxhole.
gory details are superfluous,
but because of where dad was positioned,
he was the only survivor.
so when i meet uncles – chú, bác, ông – once were soldiers,
i inadvertently feel a connection towards them,
as if they were dad’s comrades, dad.
i have a 20-hour flight back to saigon today.
*my apologies. dad wanted me to make a correction on this post.
he was not smoking opium that night with them, “just cigarettes. don’t make me look bad!”