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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/12/18

Oriental Ways

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At another neighborhood cafe' a while back, I sat next to a man in his early 70's who had raised ten kids. He has owned a company making truck trailers since before the Fall of Saigon.

"I made more than enough to take care of all my kids, then the state took over my company. They had to keep me on, however, because the company could not have functioned otherwise. I had all these supervisors and advisors who collected salaries, but did nothing. I survived all that. After Đ" i Mới [Renovation], I got my company back."

"Did you try to escape the country?" I asked.

"No, because I had ten kids! It would have been too complicated, and I didn't want to send a couple of kids out by themselves. It would have been too risky."

"So they're all still here?"

"Yes, and they're all doing well. One of my sons bought land and houses when they were still cheap, decades ago. He's loaded. Another son works for the government as an electrical engineer. One of my daughters owns this cafe'," where we were sitting. "All the Socialist countries were dirt poor, while the Capitalist countries were rich. That's why things had to change."

After dinner with the Taiwanese businessmen, they dragged me to a karaoke session, so of course I had to go, and there, in a private room with pulsating blue, green and purple lights, each of us was assigned a hostess. Since I'm not gay, transitioning or rude, I graciously allowed myself to be fondled a bit by my "littlest sister," which is Vietnamese slang for such a lady. I did milk Lan for her life story.

Though looking no more than 23, Lan was actually 35, and a divorcee raising a five-year-old son pretty much by herself, with her ex now a laborer in South Korea. Knowing her hostess career was quickly winding down, she had been saving, "I want to own a jewelry store, but I still don't have enough cash, so I'm just going to open a little variety store."

"Who takes care of your kid while you're working?"

"My mom."

"What's his name?"

"Tuan."

"Is Tuan a good kid?"

"Yeah," she smiled.

"Smart?"

"Pretty smart."

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Linh Dinh's Postcards from the End of America has just been published by Seven Stories Press. Tracking our deteriorating socialscape, he maintains a photo blog.


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