Final Blog? Read on
September 13, 2007
I haven’t really been away from writing. I’ve been doing a lot of it over the past few years since I’ve moved back to my old haunts in Saigon. Even now, I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Saigon writing this. I’m surrounded by banana palms, waterfalls, wooden bridges over small indoor ponds and light, smooth music is playing in the background; a perfect setting for writing.
My earliest blogs highlighted some of the things I have been doing here; teaching at a university, writing, travelling and photography. I’ve written a lengthy novel, begun another one, and have had to travel to the US a few times, passing through the beautiful Central Coast even as recently as June of this year.
Viet Nam is such a beautiful country and the people are gracious. I’ve travelled nearly the entire breadth and length of the country from the South to the North, the Central Highlands and the Northern and Southern coastal towns along the Eastern Sea (South China Sea). It is now September and I’ve just returned home two weeks ago from mysterious Halong Bay in the north.
I’ve made many friends throughout the country, including those in various government ministries, theater and the arts, literary circles, photographers and many more representing all spectrums of Vietnamese society from the abject poor to the rich. I’ve been involved with the Vietnamese since February 1970 when I first arrived at Tan Son Nhut Air Base in Saigon. It is now called Tan Son Nhat International Airport. I have many personal Vietnamese connections here and in the States. My first wife is Vietnamese, we were married in Saigon in 1971, and my oldest children are half Vietnamese, half American. My oldest daughter was born in Saigon. All of them live in the US.
One of the reasons for not writing this blog for a long time is that no matter what I wrote about the condition in the US, it wouldn’t change anything. The US is in a constant state of perpetual divisiveness that cannot be changed. It is a very sad state. Majority desires are ignored while inexcusable deaths continue to mount daily in Iraq and Afghanistan in a war on terror created by the current administration.
The divisiveness extends down into the heart of the people. Anyone who reads article comments in the online-version of the Tribune will realize that no matter what a story is about, commentators – mostly cowardly anonymous people afraid of using their own names – begin a downward spiral of epithets about race, immigration and “us versus them.” I have seen some very hateful and racist comments. Of course, I used my own name with the Tribune when reporting them as violations. I’m proud of my name.
In this blog, there have been two detractors; again writers who do not have the nerve to use their own names, but prefer to cower behind such sobriquets as “anonymous” and “spectator.” I have enjoyed their comments because I know they must stay up late at night using the dictionary to write very eloquent replies. I will admit “spectator” did provide some very positive comments and constructive criticism for which I am grateful, but his offereings were laced with a facetiousness flavor. Below are a few of Mr. or Ms. Anonymous’s comments for your entertainment, sans corrections.
Greetings from the peoples republic of San Luis Obispo to the
peoples republic of South Vietnam. I hope American investment has made a
difference in the quality of your life.I hope you are treating Tom Hutchings
well, we surely do not want the pinko back.
Fuck you Tom! You hateful commie bastard! All fags are the same...hateful
and fulla shit!Go pack an ass and a bag and get out of town you scum!
Fuck you you commie prick! Leave my country you
asshole! You and all your muslim brothers! go fuck up some other country! we
like this one just the way it is!If you don't then shut the fuck up and leave
(Tom’s note: the logic of the syntax can leave one confused. Also, the Vietnamese word "noi" means "says" in English. It got translated somehow in Google that way.)
“We like this one just the way it is!” This comment is perhaps the most saddest I’ve seen. People losing their homes, jobs lost, civil liberties eroded, the venerable Constitution of the US trod upon, politically-inspired terminations of US Attorney lawyers, sex scandals, hundreds of millions of US dollars missing in Iraq, American servicemembers and contractors indicted on theft, bribery, corruption, rape, murder, and the list simply continues on and on; both political parties are equally culpable in the US being “just the way it is.” I trust that Rush Limbaugh, Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Fox News, Bill Riley and others would be proud of you, Sir or Madam Anonymous.
For now, it is now time to say good-bye.
With this post, I end my “one-note song” lyrics about the most abject failures in American politics since January 2001, when GWB assumed his current position. I realized long ago it was affecting me and I no longer wanted to rent space out in my head over such negative things that continue unabated and unchallenged by what once were a courageous people. The American people, for the most part are a good and generous people, but the pervasive feeling is one captured by fear, suspicion and confusion. Americans have forgotten their roots and allowed this deplorable situation to become out of hand.
However, I am not finished writing.
As a columnist for a Saigon business magazine, and political commentator for another daily newspaper that pays well for my comments, I have many stories under my belt and will share those with the readers of this blog.
As a travel photographer, with a nice little business here on the side, I will share photographs that depict the beauty of the Vietnamese, the culture and some of the most enchanting and mystical places on earth.
Au revoir to the old and bonsoir to the new. Check back regularly for new articles and photos about life here in Viet Nam.