18 July 2006


Fei and Qaptain were hanging out together around C Block. Fei was a few years younger than Qaptain but they played together sometimes. Somehow Fei's calf had a cut and for some reason he wanted to find a cigarette filter to press against the cut. There were many smokers in Vietnam and many of them were also litterbugs. It didn't take the two boys much time to find a cigarette butt. They were now on the south side of Vinh Vien street, on the north area of the Nguyen Kim apartment building. There was a group of boys, maybe from Nguyen Kim building, who have gathered nearby. On the ground near this group of boys was a cigarette filter. Fei went over and bent down to get it. Qaptain walked past Fei. All of a sudden, fists were thrown and Qaptain found himself with a bloodied nose. Perhaps he and Fei had stumbled into some local gang's territory. Time to run! Qaptain ran fast, possibly didn't even stopped to look at traffic before he crossed Ly Nam De street. He brushed past somebody but didn't pause to apologize. No time for that, had to get away from the attackers and get home...

That's pretty much what happened when I had a bloodied encounter with some thugs on the streets of Cho Lon. Amazingly, Fei came out unscratched. Maybe the thugs only hit scrawny me or whatever. Fei was big for his age, still there were five or six of the thugs. I think starting from that incident, whenever I walk on the street I try to avoid passing groups of young men. Just being a lone walker is enough to provoke the beast in some thugs. The thing that still makes me cringe inside is that I could have been ran over by some cars as I crossed Ly Nam De street. Sure there weren't that many cars in Vietnam at the time, but there were some. The chance was there, I just got lucky that time.

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