2017 - A look back

Tags: #localthings    #amazingplace    #vietnam   

February 11, 2018

Dear 2018- my beloved little sister,

Darling, donā??t you worry. It will be even more challenging for you, I know, I know, but I sincerely believe you can make a change. I have faith in you. I really do!

You mark the fresh start of something new, something we are all looking forward to. It is something different, for sure, something no one has ever observed. Be confident, I have prepared everything in my ability to help you feel less anxious. You already have a mentor, a guide, the only thing you have to do is keep your head held high, and rock this year like The Rolling Stones did on every stage in the world!

I myself have worked hard, have contributed, have stumbled and fallen, have tasted all the love and joy, tears and sorrow. Now, it is time for you to take over. My time is up.

In the end, you will see, every effort is well worth it.

Sealed with kisses,

Your sis, 2017.

That is. A very brief note to my sister. Iā??m packing up. Iā??m ready to leave as soon as the clock strikes mid-night. Unlike Cinderella, Iā??m not gonna go back. But Iā??m gonna have my happy ending.

Hi, I am Saigon. This is the story of my year, 2017.

People from other regions of Vietnam usually call me by the name of ā??Saigonā?. Itā??s a long story that took place 343 years ago. Donā??t take it wrong, Iā??m not that old. Every year, a new generation of Saigon, as in this upcoming year, 2018, my sister, will take charge of this city. Well, Iā??m pretty tired now, I have done quite a lot, but if I got offered to be in this position again, I would still say ā??Yesā? without hesitation! All of my friends whine about how they want to retire early, because they feel exhausted, but for me, I feel so happy and motivated to keep working until you canā??t anymore. I still have a lot of energy, for all the future plan, if 2018 schedules me any. Why not, right? I like constant change, Iā??m afraid of that tedious color of what they call ā??stabilizationā?. This life is full of surprises, skip one, and you might miss the only chance to answer the question we all have: ā??What are we here for?ā?

A little ranting about myself. I love writing. Thatā??s mainly the reason why youā??re reading this, itā??s a part of my journal. Throughout all my life, I learnt that everyday is remarkable and incredible. I have achieved a lot of things, lost a lot of things, sacrificed something in search for something else. And I donā??t regret anything. Whatā??s meant to be, meant to be! I believe I made the right decision!

First, I want to jot down some thoughts about this special person. I will tell you why he is different. A typical one will start his day in the morning, leaves his 9-to-5 job in the evening, then proceeds to repeat that everyday, from Monday to Saturday, from January to December, with a small prize for appreciation at the end of the month: salary! But for Mr. Nguyen Van Linh (oh, you can look him up on Google Map, heā??s there, near Bach Dang river), a hard-working traffic controller, thereā??s no such thing called ā??a day offā?! A dedicated citizen, he is in charge of connecting district 7 to other regions of the city. Since he worked here, no more rush-hour pressure, no more traffic jam. No matter day or night, rain or shine, he still tries his best to manage the flow of people rushing to work in the morning and rushing home in the evening. With 9 millions residents and a permanent issue of bad traffic, his role in helping me to better control everything, especially traffic, is undeniably important. Without him, I would not be able to make it today. We donā??t know each other that well, but he always supports me. Probably for him, his salary doesnā??t matter that much, as long as he can contribute to the city. He loves it so much, he couldnā??t bear saying goodbye, and maybe thatā??s why he never has a chill-out day! Heā??s a workaholic, but in a good way. He never minds doing anything for others. Heā??s positive, and kind. Thatā??s enough for a real-life superhero, at least in my opinion! I hope 2018 treats him well, or else sheā??s gonna have to carry the weight of the world alone. Heā??s a generous man, and he deserves all the best!

Oh, a random thought. You know when people say ā??We are born to love and to be lovedā?? I finally understand its meaning! Well, I actually crush this guy. Heā??s lovable and sweet, handsome and nice. What caught my attention though, is actually his talent: he can sing. Oh, those notes, those melodies. You must have heard about Son Tung MTP, right? I donā??t even know why people hate him so much! His music is just amazing! And the story about his will to overcome hardships in life, to be where he is right now, is so inspiring. He has made much progress comparing to the first day he sang in public. His style might provoke controversial, heated debates, but itā??s his choice, itā??s his life, why judge? His music might not be your cup of tea, but itā??s mine. Heā??s successful in finding his own way of writing music and performing art. Again, I must stress, itā??s art! Rebellious, creative, unique are three words people use to describe ā??artā?. Thereā??s no standard to determine whether or not oneā??s music is good enough, because itā??s just personal preference. Well, I think his music is awesome. And his career is flourishing so fast I think I wonā??t be able to purchase his album the next time he releases it!

One last thing Iā??d want to write about so that I can look back, years from now, recalling the good old days. A notable event: APEC chose me as a host for its conferences! It was a great honour, it proved that I did make progress on many aspects, and was qualified enough to carry such responsibility. This alone helped attract over 6 millions tourists, boost cultural exchange activity and put it on a total different level. I also hosted Gyeongju festival, a three-week Korean chain of events including art performances, exhibition, traditional musical plays..., in order to develop better mutual understanding and further cooperation between us two. It was very nice, you know, to make new friends and all. Korean are so friendly, well, I hope they feel the same way towards us. No one wants to appear to be bad in othersā?? point of view, am I right?

Looking back from now, itā??s been a good good year. Maybe not the best, maybe not the greatest change that shook the world, but I know, at least I have tried my best, and so far, I think it brought about astonishing results! Couldnā??t have made all of this happen without the others, I must say. Saigoneers, people who contribute directly to this city, I send you my deepest gratitude. You are the vibe, the spirit of Saigon. Without you, Saigon wouldnā??t stay the same! Thank you, I wish you the best!

A little note to my dear sister, in case you ever dares to read my journals sneakily: I hope your year will be awesome, I know youā??ve got this! So much potential, donā??t waste it. Iā??ll see you soon!

Tr?n Nguy?n KhƔnh Linh