Viet Nam News
By Robert Bicknell
There are times when this business makes me want to jump off the roof screaming obscenities at the top of my lungs on the way down. Unfortunately, most clubhouse roofs are too short to do any real damage and breaking my leg would simply prolong the agony.
Then there are other times when something will happen which makes me smile and be happy to be alive. However, like most foreigners working here, the former outnumber the latter. Such is life, we continue to do our best.
We have a lot of butterflies at my club, so it’s not uncommon for me to catch one which has been beating its little brain out trying to escape a kiosk or the clubhouse. Apparently, a “window” is a concept they simply cannot grasp.
Normally, the butterfly will simply take off once we get outside, but the other day was different. When I opened my hands to let him go, he flew around a bit, then landed on me. I released him again and again he landed on me. I got in my buggy to drive back to the clubhouse and, again he stayed.
The silly thing stayed on me for three hours.
Sometimes on my shoulder, sometimes on my hand, sometimes on my head and, yes, my nose seems to be a favourite target for them. This isn’t the first time I have been a target of butterflies. At Tam Đảo GC, they practically took up residence in my office.
But this one was different somehow… No fear at all. Even when I was typing on computer, it sat on my hand and rode it out. I have to wonder if, perhaps, it’s a sign from my mother, telling me she made it to the other side.
If you live in Asia for any length of time, you start to believe in these things. It’s strange, but comforting too.
I often see particular birds on the golf course, some of which are always in pairs. They mate once and for life. Kinda cool to think about, but then again, I never heard of birds getting divorced because one came home drunk with another bird’s lipstick on his beak, or straw from a strange nest in his feathers.
Frogs are another story. We have hundreds of them on our property and at night it’s a virtual symphony. It’s fun to drive my buggy over to the pond and make a frog sound. Immediately they all start screaming at each other. I drive away laughing as they try to figure out who started it.
Frogs are not rocket scientists.
Snakes on golf courses are always an issue to some degree or another. Most times they come out at night to hunt because it’s too damn hot in the day time, but sometimes they will show up. Hopefully not near a player.
One morning we had a cobra. Yes, a real cobra. In 24 years, I have NEVER seen a cobra on a golf course in Việt Nam. Sure, a gazillion in Thailand, but never here. There have been other snakes of course, but this was the first cobra… and he wasn’t in a good mood. Standing at full height and hissing like hell. OK, granted, one of the staff was teasing the hell out of him, but there was no need to hiss.
We caught him and let him go a few kilometres from the course in a heavily wooded area.
I have a policy of not killing snakes or other animals if it can be avoided. They’re part of the system, so let them be as long as they aren’t causing a problem. Besides, they eat rats and I have no problem with nature taking its course.
The green tree snakes I can do without though. I haven’t seen one yet at my club, but saw quite a few at Ocean Dunes in Phan Thiết back in the day. Nasty critters. Fortunately, the local caddies and staff see them from a mile away and keep the players safe.
So, now that the musing is over, the question is who will win the US Open at Oakmont.
I will go with Jason Day for one simple reason…
Butterflies don’t lie. VNS