Friday 3 September 2021

For this too shall pass

Today's title is culturally appropriated from ancient Persia, reflecting on the ephemeral nature of things.

HoChiMing had already been locked down for 3 months when they decided to bring the Army in. We can't leave our homes - not even to shop. If the coof doesn't get you - starvation and depression will. Welcome to the planet's most draconian lockdown.

Despite 15 years in Asia I've never had to cook rice! This was my chance as the landlord kindly lent a small rice cooker. I've been living off apples, oats, peanuts, instant noodles, rice, sardines and coffee (with milk). Not bad at all.

Initially I was horrified but as the days ground on, despair morphed into acceptance. I've even started to enjoy it. I've spent an inordinate amount of time meditating on the roof, contemplating how I ended up here - in a (normally chaotic) ghost town - surreal. I miss jogging but this is offset by being able to hear birds. Not just surviving, but thriving.


2016 Thailand. A-Level results
Back in 2016 my A-Level Physics class in Thailand got the best results. Fast forward to 2021 and my A-Level Physics class in Vietnam got the best results.

You know what? I must be alright at this shit. However, they'll still need to observe four of my lessons next year - you know - to create needless anxiety.

They also had to fuck me over for good measure. We agreed to a lighter timetable this year but, predictably, management broke their word. As I've previously stated, competence and goodwill is always punished in Edumacation. Always.

2021 Vietnam. A-Level results


From my lofty vantage point I watch these young Army dudes sharing tabs.

Poor kids likely drafted in from the provinces, wondering what they've done wrong to end up enforcing a lockdown in the world's Covid Capital.

17 years old
Reminds me of my own youth - sans smartphones of course. It just so happens I joined up exactly 30 years ago yesterday.

Joined at 17. Left at 27. Sat here at 47 wondering where the time went.

Well, it's quite simple really:

10 years Royal Navy
5 years Civvy
15 years Southeast Asia

The last 15 years have been the best. Obviously.

If you'd have told me back then I'd be teaching in Vietnam I'd have laughed. 

27 years old
If you'd have told me back then I'd be able to speak/read/write Thai, I'd have laughed.

I wonder what those young Vietnamese squaddies will be doing in 30 years? I'll be 77 if I make it that far - almost time to punch out.

In the meantime I'll continue cooking rice, teaching online, stacking cash, embracing solitude and looking on the bright side of life.

For this too shall pass.


  1. I agree, brilliant. One can save oneself. Almost miraculous one might say............. a million years from soapy massages!

  2. Matey, I hear foreigners can't get a vaccine there? That means pretty much 100% stuck in Viet Nam?