Expats. We’re the full range of odd bodies, all with different outlooks on life, all from different walks. So with Word being the nice people that we are, we decided to take different types of stereotypical YOUs and put them in different situations.
What would happen? Well, they say opposites attract… sometimes!
Ugh, That Misogynistic Old Neocolonial is Hitting on the Waitress Again
by Jennifer de la Cruz
Woohoo, who’s doing a tequila shot with me?! It’s Sunday night, I’ve taught my last kiddies’ class for the weekend, and Jenn’s down to get cray-cray! These 20-hour weeks are killing me and it’s time to really cut loo — oh, my god.
Gross. Don’t look now, but that misogynistic old neocolonial is hitting on the waitress again.
Jesus, I think I’m gonna be sick. Does he seriously not realise what a disgusting creep he is? Like some pretty young Vietnamese girl would ever be interested in talking to him if he wasn’t waving fistfuls of cash at her? You can practically smell the paternalistic privilege oozing out of his pores. Ugh. Disgusting.
Speaking of pores, it’s like, “Hi, I’m face soap — have you considered trying me?” I guess it’s hard to find time for personal hygiene when you’ve got women half your age to harass, but still. The blackheads on his bulbous red alcoholic’s nose are watermelon-seed size. Why is every old foreign man in Vietnam so physically repulsive?
I just don’t understand why these horny troglodytes are allowed to have visas. What do they even contribute to Vietnamese society except empty beer bottles and unwanted pregnancies? They’re only here because they can’t get laid back in their own countries, where it takes more to attract women than a sleazy comb-over and a knockoff Rolex.
What a loser. It’s people like him who are ruining this place.
I Love Being Judged by Self-Righteous English Teachers
by Sandip Biswis
Excuse me Trang, could I have the check please? Right you are — promised the missus I’d take it easy tonight. I’ve got my mother-in-law here for the week, so can’t be out too late, can I?
Wait, hold on… are those a couple of young North Americans, scowling at me from the corner booth? Trang! Cancel that check! Bring me a bottle of Jägermeister and a pack of the cheapest, foulest cigarettes you have. This must be my lucky night — I love being judged by self-righteous English teachers!
Nothing gives me more satisfaction than serving as the target of contempt, especially from total strangers half my age! It’s hard to explain, but I get this tingly feeling every time some 23-year-old loudly accuses me of sexually exploitative bourgeois parasitism. Where do they learn all these delightful terms?
I’ll admit that I don’t always understand the names they call me, but I do like the attention. When you’ve lived in Vietnam for as long as I have, you can start to feel invisible at times. It takes an unprovoked insult from someone who’s never done a real day’s work in her life to make you really feel alive again!
It’s not always fun and games — it’s true that once in a while I get a bit resentful when a spoiled-rotten c*** drunkenly berates me for daring to speak to a younger Vietnamese woman in public. And yes, there was the incident with the lad in the sports pub on Bui Vien, and no, the little idiot did not press charges. But it’s all in good fun.
Ah, English teachers... screw the lot of ‘em.
AT THE RESORT
All Our Facebook Friends Are Going to Love These Blurry Pictures of the Buffet
by Larry Cunningham
Oh boy, isn’t this beach resort just the greatest? I’m here with my wife, Sarah, and we couldn’t be happier with our stay so far. In fact, last evening when we were reading by the pool I said to her, “Hey honey, want to quit our jobs at the international school and stay here forever? We could teach ‘Introduction to Sandcastles’!” Hahaha!
Like when we arrived — this beautiful woman in a colourful dress greeted us at the front door and said, in perfect English, “Welcome, sir and madam.” Well, let me tell you that Sarah and I were just blown away! We’d spent the whole week practicing Vietnamese with our maid back in Thao Dien (just in case we had to communicate with the maids at the resort), but it turns out everybody who works here is practically fluent!
And my gosh, the amenities! There were three different kinds of robes in the closet, plus special sandals for wearing in the shower. And on the table there were free bottles of water and this crazy pink-and-green fruit with spikes all over it. “I feel like one of those Kardashians,” Sarah said. She’s a hoot!
But the real coup de grace came this morning when we walked downstairs for breakfast. I’ve never seen such a delicious spread! They had practically everything. I think Sarah took about a hundred pictures (women, right?). She’s probably uploading them to Facebook right now. Did I mention that the WiFi in the lobby is free? They thought of everything!
A fellow could really get used to this VIP lifestyle.
Where is All the Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp?
by Craig Sudekeis
Listen up, because I’m only going to ask once: where the f*** is the bacon-wrapped shrimp?
No, you calm down. I swear to Christ I’m going to pistol-whip the next person who suggests I try the sausage links instead. If I’m paying US$100 a night for a garden-view twin room, I expect some goddamn bacon wrapped around some goddamn shrimp.
This entire trip has been a nightmare, if we’re being honest. First, my flight from Hanoi got delayed almost an hour because of an “incoming monsoon”… as if planes are incapable of flying in rain. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, this is Vietnam. The words “on time” mean nothing here.
But that was just an appetiser for the buffet of disappointment to come. How the hell does this place pass itself off as a luxury resort? The beds are too rectangular and the pillows are too round. The satellite TV has too many Chinese channels. The pool is so full of urine and chlorine that if I had any hair left, it’d probably turn green. I would’ve been better off staying in one of those backpacker slum-hostels where the young people fornicate in the hallways and smear feces all over the bathrooms.
At a place like that, maybe a shortage of premium buffet items would be considered acceptable. But five-star resorts are supposed to have higher standards. When I get back home, I’m writing the manager the angriest electronic mail letter he’s ever read.
This is worse than the Holocaust.
NAVIGATING THE ROADS
I'm Going to Clothesline the Next Person Who Crosses Into My Lane
by Roger “Rodge” Whitby
When it’s early in the day like this, I’m really at my most calm and rational. The roosters are crowing, the EDM has just come on at the café next door and I remember why I love this place so much. That’s why I can tell you, with cool rationality, that I’m going to clothesline the next m*********** who comes into my lane.
I’ve thought this over enough times, and yeah, I’ve gotten emotional about it. But I gotta believe that there’s a reason for the throttle being on the right side of my bike — in case the world ever devolved into a Mad Max-style hellscape, the good folks at Yamaha wanted to make sure the fist with the most bulky rings on it has a good swinging radius.
But I’m not talking about punching anyone. That’s crazy. I’m just gonna stick out my fist at a 30-degree angle, and if anyone gets in the way, that’s on them. I’m just increasing the amount of room I take up in my lane, the same as if I had a falcon perched on my elbow. And if that falcon pecked out the eye of someone driving the wrong way, that wouldn’t be my fault, would it?
Great, now I’m super worked up. I guess I’ll just avoid all those goddamn a***holes crowding my lane. They’ll die soon anyway.
The Roads of Vietnam are Flowing with Harmonious Spontaneity
by Celeste Ryvre
Although my nomadic life-path has only recently led me to the enchanting land of Vietnam, I already feel a deep connection to the local people and culture. Nowhere do I sense this more strongly than on the road, where my xe om driver effortlessly blends his spirit with those of our fellow travellers, beeping cheerful greetings to them at two-second intervals.
As an awakened star-child of the cosmos, my heart bursts with love at moments like these. So why does everyone else look so angry?
I feel so sorry for these poor unenlightened people who cannot appreciate the chaotic beauty of roundabouts in the afternoon rush hour. Just look at the swirling mass of humanity, moving in perfect concert with each other, each driver following his or her own Personal Destiny. It’s truly inspiring and surprisingly safe. I’ve been living here nearly three weeks and I’ve never seen an accident, except for the time my xe om driver drunkenly T-boned a Mai Linh minivan. My broken wrist will eventually heal, but the memories will last forever.
In the West, life is constricted by societal pressures to conform. If you tried to drive your Toyota SUV at breakneck speeds directly into oncoming traffic, flicking your highbeams and honking wildly, you’d probably be arrested. People aren’t free to pursue their hopes and dreams (especially if those dreams involve zooming down sidewalks to avoid red lights). It’s quite fascist, if you think about it.
Here in Vietnam, though, those rules don’t apply. And if people stopped for a minute to appreciate the differences, instead of condemning them, their chi would be so much lighter.
Namaste, my loves.
THE SCHOOL PLAY
My Daughter's Play is the Perfect Place to Test My New Camera Lens
by Chester P. Walters
Of all days to be running late! Today, the day of my daughter’s school play! And I promised her I would try to be early. Try! But that’s how it seems to go. Just as you’re about to leave the office, all hell breaks lose. That’s what happens when you work with creatives.
I’ve also got a little surprise for my daughter — I bought a new lens yesterday. Now I can get close-up photos of her on stage. She’ll be so much happier, and my wife can then show everything off on Facebook.
Okay, so now I’ve just made the show in time, but there are no seats anywhere, only right up at the back. Okay, I’ll make a beeline for the front and kneel. That way I’ll be able to get some good shots. There are already a couple of other people up there taking photos. Should be fine.
Right, ready. I’m just in front of the front row. Okay, so my daughter’s not on for a couple of scenes yet, but I need to test out this lens. First scene — oh, it’s the five and six-year-olds. Need to get the lighting, shutter speed and ISO right. Here goes.
Ow! What was that? Did someone kick me? I look round but the woman behind me has her eye focused on her camera and the woman next to her is using a video camera.
Hmmm. Okay, more shots.
Did she really just tell me to piss off? Did I hear correctly. I am astonished. No, more than astonished. I’m… I don’t even really know. Okay, so obviously I’m in her way. But, we’re at a school. In a school. You don’t talk like that in a school.
I turn around to say something to her, but as I do I catch her eyes — they glare with this strange madness.
Forget it. I didn’t come here for an argument. I came here to see my daughter perform in a play. Now’s not the time for a shouting match.
I move about a metre to my right. Better to be out of this women’s way than in it. She’s obviously mad!
You're Blocking My View, You Fat Idiot
by Natalya Rudetsky
I got here first. Me. First. Here. I made sure of it after what happened last time when little Barbs was in her school play. She was so upset when she saw my photos from halfway back in the room that she cried for two days. I had to take her shopping in Bangkok for the weekend to make up for it.
So, yes, I got here first. I came prepared. And I’m in the front row. I’ve not just got my camera this time, but my video camera, too. And Ngoc (our maid) is here with me, to use the video camera. She said she didn’t know how to use it. Silly woman. It’s not her fault that she’s got no education. So we practiced at home after she’d done the ironing. Now she’s practically an expert and for this school performance, we’re gonna get double footage of little Barbs.
Well, at least we would have if it hadn’t been for that fat, bearded idiot who’s knelt right in front of me. Who the hell does he think he is? Yes, I know the school kids are kneeling in front of me. But they’re small. And this guy, with his swanky camera, what’s he trying to do? I got here first! Me!
Oh, the show’s starting. I can’t wait to see Babs in that lacy pink dress of hers — she’s playing Little Bo Peep, you know. How cute!
Hey, fat man, get out of my way! He’s kneeling up now, trying to take photos. He’s blocking my view. My body is starting to contort in anger. I can feel it in my veins. I want to scream and shout. Babs is on stage and he’s in my way.
I kick him. He looks round in shock, but I’ve got my eye looking through my camera. He’s confused. He starts kneeling up again. Right, I’m going to kill him.
Bang. Another kick. “Piss off,” I hiss. He looks at me, scared as hell. What a weasel. Now he moves to the side a bit and is straight out of my way.
Oh, Babs. What a wonderful move! She’s going to so love the little film show we’re putting together of her. It’s gonna be so cute!