Note: This writing is not aimed to criticize the VTV or any other television in Vietnam. I DO NOT mean to say VTV is a rubbish bin or anything similar. Any negative meaning or misunderstanding my irrelevant use of word may cause is accidental and therefore should not be inferred. I am sorry for my very bad writing technique and hope you can, with much effort, see what I really mean behind the derogatory words.
If you are a novelist, you may suffer from the sensation of envy and pain when you read a masterpiece by another writer, and feel sure that you can never be good as him (or much worsely, her). But if you are a journalist, sometimes you feel envious and sad not because you can never be that good, but because you feel you can do better but are not allowed any chance to.
Someone will respond, “Who prevents you from doing what you like to be better than them? Why don’t fling yourself into work, building new relationships, going searching for news, discovering new stories, etc.? Why not learn more, read more, see more, hear more, and complain less? You can’t do better, because you are obviously inefficient reporters. Don’t be so arrogant.” Well, there of course have not been any written laws blocking our access to chance, but the chance will be more certain if your father is a high-rank government official, your uncle is a military general, your brother is managing director in a bank, you work for a monopoly TV empire, and so on. On the contrary, the chance will get minimized if you are just who you are, working for a small newspaper owned by a bogus state-owned company, and, in the worst case, starting from a zero point, standing on your own feet.
Things go worse for you when you meet your “covert rivals” everyday, seeing their poor products, finding in them hundreds of mistakes and misconducts, feeling their arrogance in the form of pride and self-satisfaction, and tormenting yourselves that “we can do better, but we can’t.” Gradually you will see that you are just a grain of sand on the beach, you can’t expect to do anything differently. Rebellion and reform are luxurious funs, and no matter what you do, you will inevitably end up in a rubbish bin like VTV if you want to be graded as a “successful and high standard journalist”.
To kill a love, one doesn’t need to do much. Just let it grow and taste all the bitterness – and get nothing in return.
Who knew how hard we tried? Who knew how much we loved, and then lost?
Tragic was our case, in which we were working for an unauthorized television whose slogan was “difference or non-existence” (which would finally be rewritten as “difference and non-existence” or “difference thus non-existence”), whose coverage encompassed just a small part of Hanoi, and reached not more than 70,000 subscribers. But, together we lived such days, dears, when we were (almost) side by side, when we struggled hard for something better, sharing all bittersweet memories, bearing in our mind a common naïve thought that we were fighting against evilness. (In fact, we ourselves were ignorant victims of corruption, a kind of evilness.)
There were images that were captured and engraved deep on my mind. Like that of you, the cameramen, standing straight in harsh hurricanes, trying to shoot heart-felt scenes from very dangerous positions. Like the moments when you, Ha Son, used your smile and good-looking appearance to persuade some figure that she should allow time for you to conduct an interview. Like the moments when I stood in the front yard of the Hanoi’s Protestant Church, almost exhausted, desperate trying to find someone who could accept my intentionally dishonest interview. Like the moments when I smiled in the dark with the singers of The Magic Flute, for the joy they brought to my heart.
We lived such days of sorrow, grieve, pity, anger, hope, worry, disappointment, despair, and love. And we know we deserve more than that all: We are worthy of happiness for the way we were.
Am I just fooling myself?
Next post: more on this subject