Thursday 2 November 2006

A Place Called Freedom

Don’t be sad, friend.

I know you are in misery. Believe me, I have experienced all what you are suffering now. I know what it is like when you face the world with an empty heart, feeling you’ve lost everything:  your love, your career, your will, and most importantly, your love of life and your confidence. Nothing could be more awesome than when everything slips off your hand, and you find yourself in full exhaustion;  you just do not have any vitality to stand up once again.

If things had happened to you earlier, you would have possibly picked yourself up, and stood straight once more, saying, “I will survive,” because you were still young then, full of life and full of energy. But you are 28 now, and we all know that in a country like Vietnam, it is too late for us, women of 28, to start something over.

Where do we live? Vietnam, a land of paradox. Everyday we see absurdity in great abundance. In another place, it may never be too late to do something, but here in Vietnam, things are simply DIFFERENT. At the age of 28, be in another place, you ought to see life just begin with so many things unknown lying ahead for you to experiment. You are young, you are still new to many things, and you are in the process of gathering life experience. But that is not the case in Vietnam. In this place, it is definitely too late for a woman of 28 to have a happy life.  At 28, you are just too late to start a new career, to seek a new love, or to make a home; in other words, you do not have a chance to lead a happy life anymore. You can’t embark in life once more when all other ‘ordinary’ women of your age have already had “a stable life”: leaving work on time every weekday, going to Metropol supermarket every weekend, buying new clothes and dressing up for themselves and their beloved children, feeding their children, watching the children growing up to become like their parents, satisfactorily relying their life on an economic provider - their husband. It’s totally absurd if they seek pleasure in something else aside from family.  

You know what, friend, I have experienced gloomy days just like you. But unlike yours, my heart was not empty, instead it was full of hatred. In my twentieths, I saw the life ahead as a dark black night. At 22, I wrote for myself, “Life treats me as though I were a dog. Yes, I am. But this dog will survive.” At 24, alone I wandered over streets, whispering to myself, “Angie, Angie, when will those dark clouds disappear? With no loving in our souls, and no money in our coats...”. I lived such days. Believe me, I felt what you are feeling now when you go under a severe spiritual (or mental) crisis. In the prime of youth I grew up a lot from hatred, but hatred also left scars on my soul like the scars I have on my face. I became a skeptic and cynic, and I lost all confidence I once had. No God, no Buddha, no one even me, did I believe in.

You must know it, friend, that we belong to a lost generation, we’ve lost so many things and it’s all too late for us to get them back. Why? Because the world is round, because the wind is high, because the sky is blue, because we live here in a land of no freedom. “Stop complaining. Who told you a calf to be?”