A very sad situation

A special girl... loves children

It is a sad and solemn day in my world.

 I had to let a nice young man go. He has a good personality and is very polite but when I hired him, I made clear that it was important for his English skills to improve during his probation to keep his job. I have watched and most of his time is spent watching movies, playing games, and text messaging. I have at times impressed upon him to get more involved with the customers and pay attention to their needs. Sadly, he has not improved, and Mai or I have had to remain because the customers could not be understood by him. He has made mistakes and has cost me money in fines, but that has nothing to do with me letting him go. I sometimes get the impression that he does not want to be here. I need someone who can do the job in both English and Vietnamese, and interact with the customers. Sadly he cannot and so I have to let him go. I have another person starting tomorrow. Hopefully he will be the one that I have been looking for.

Even harder for me is saying goodbye to Khuyen. She is very special to me and losing her is like losing a daughter…. maybe even

A bike ride

 more. You may remember from past blogs that I had convinced her to come with me to NhaTrang in hopes of her having a better life. She seemed happy and everything went fine for a long time until she found a boyfriend. Pressure put on her to have time away when we needed her began to cause conflicts. Mai was having difficulties accepting the change, and I also had some issues with the new situation.  Mai has been delegated the direction of employees, and I will only step in if needed. I never understood how bad it was getting until too late. Emotions became involved and it is now at the point that Khuyen has to go. There is no way she can be here. Tomorrow I have to say goodbye to a very special gal. I do not think there is anybody who can replace her. I have a deep sense of guilt of having brought her here with the best of intentions. She is now headed off to an uncertain future for a lower paying job and no free room and board. Her boyfriend seems to me to be a very demanding person and it seems like she was forced into situations that have caused all of this mess. I now worry for her future with this man.

A big smile

It is later now and there is an unexpected development. The hotel next door has learned of my firing of my night guy and has created a party for him across the street. I would love to get a picture, but at the moment I have no camera. I know he is friendly with them but I also know he has talked with them about business matters that were private. I guess that is OK…. Young people are like that. There is very little looking into future consequences from their actions.

Tomorrow will be the hardest day. My heart is congested with the fear of how I will react when my beloved Khuyen leaves. It is truly like a daughter leaving the home for the first time. Perhaps I am blessed to experience this having no children of my own. It is probably a growing experience for most human beings, but a painful one. Now….. how long does it take for the swelling of possible tears behind the eyes take before they go away……..??  Vietnam offers such pleasure….. And pain.. People here are so loveable that a person cannot help but get emotionally tied.

My first photo of Khuyen

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Tour designer and Guide specializing in off the beaten track tours of Vietnam

11 thoughts on “A very sad situation

  1. In the 1974 film Hearts and Minds, Westmoreland opined that “The Oriental doesn’t put the same high price on life as does a Westerner…We value life and human dignity. They don’t care about life and human dignity.”

  2. I hear you Drifter. I think I went off the bat a bit soon when having read the remark as the first thing that popped into my mind was a statement spoken by then General Westmoreland, I don’t know, ’68? The Vietnamese don’t have the same value for human life as western countries do. Not the exact quote but to the same effect.

    I’ve spent a while now living with or next to Vietnamese and often marvel at their thoughtfulness and sentimentality comparng those moments with the concept of sentimentality taught me by my parents and others along the way. Like us, a song, an act, a word, the appeal to the tender emotions induces the same thoughtfulness and feeling of kind heartedness as those of western countries I’ve visited. Is the Vitnamese expression of sentimentality different than what we’re accustomed to? I believe it is. Once, a Vietnamese friend of mine grew quiet, thoughtfully staring off into the mid-distance for some minutes. I asked her what she is thinking about….”I think about my best friend, she die two years already. I go soon visit to her tomb.” And she would, the next day, and came back smiling and feeling good. One example only but now and again I witness sentimental moments of Vietnamese. Their poems and ballads and love songs are loaded with sentimentality and nostalgia.

    Hope you’re taking some bicycle rides Drift. You got to hang in with the Dynamic Duo if we’re going to be “Los Tres Amigos.5” ay yi yiiiiiiii! Although O and I haven’t been out for a ride in over two weeks. Me hosting friends, O lassoing this, that, and the other thing at Tide and mourning the loss of Quyen to boot.

  3. Not my intention to dehumanize the Vietnamese but to point out that their sentiments are restricted to a very close inner circle and not as in the west where are circle is broader but more casual….I had this pointed out to me recently with a similar situation here with the departure of what I considered a good friend…but a casual friend. I’m very sentimental about my friendships even the casual friends I have. I don’t feel it’s inhumane to be that way just a lack of sentimentality. In my humble opinion.

  4. “I find the Vietnamese to lack the sentamentality that westerners have…. except for their immediate families. Just my opinion”.

    Drifter, please don’t dehumanize the Vietnamese because they’re Vietnamese.

  5. Quyen’s departure happened sooner rather than later. Shes’ a good kid and a huge loss to Tide. I’ve seen her Man a few times but we’ve never spoken. Far be it for me, however, to judge the young man on that nor Quyen’s decision to go off with him but its amusing how a small thing happens and not until later does one acquire insight about the event.

    One recent evening as I pulled up to the Tide on a Xe Om to meet my friends J and L, who were seated comfortable out front, I swung off the motorbike and looked over to notice Quyen chasing her paramour round a parked motorbike and the tree next to it. Several nights later while in Saigon with J and L we were discussing Quyen’s departure and I learned that Quyen’s young man had taken money from her pocket and she was chasing and snatching at him when I arrived. A playful Lover’s cavort? Or is this young man already showing his true colors? I hope it won’t end up like so many others here with them going off, her getting pregnant(married or not), he losing interest except for the money, and off with his buddies and to the next unsuspecting, love lorn lass leaving Quyen to fend for herself and a child.

    Like all of us acquainted with Quyen, it would be of interest, O to keep us apprised of her situation and turn of events.

  6. Khuyen will be sadly missed, and her ability to clean also. I find the Vietnamese to lack the sentamentality that westerners have…. except for their immediate families. Just my opinion. Maybe it’s a state of their subsistance that they must concentrate on primal priorities like food and shelter and so on. Again just my humble opinion.

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