Saturday, April 4 2020


Old dog, same tricks

Update: February, 11/2018 - 09:00
Viet Nam News

by Robert Bicknell

Ah, it’s that time of year again where everyone takes stock of the good and tries to eliminate the bad. Where life gets a mulligan and people have a chance to start over again. A calendar scheduled re-boot, as it were.

It’s also the Year of the Dog. Earth Dog to be exact and that means it’s my year, which could be either good or bad, and I will not know which until next Tết [Lunar New Year]. That kinda sucks. It would be better to know what it will be in advance, so I know if I should hide under my bed until next year or not.

It’s also the time of the year when the editors of Sunday Việt Nam News begin to tremble in fear. They huddle in their offices and whisper “I know that idiot is going to mention bánh chưng [traditional sticky-rice square cake] again, I know it!” 

OK, since I don’t want to disappoint them, consider it mentioned and no more needs to be said. For those unfamiliar with my trials and tribulations with this delicious important contribution to Vietnamese culture, search my back Tết columns from and you’ll understand.

Unless they purged them from the system, which would not surprise me.

To be fair, the editors and staff at Việt Nam News have gone to extreme lengths over the last 20 years to keep me looking good, and from destroying myself. To that I am always thankful.

They also let me push the boundaries quite a bit, which sometimes causes some minor repercussions and grey hairs, except for one editor who I love dearly for his tireless efforts, and who now has no hair. I suspect he pulled it out while dealing with me because, while I am truly a unique, I know I am not toxic enough to cause hair to fall out.

But then again, you never know…

Being born in the Year of the Dog can be quite interesting because, as I have discovered, people tend to take on the characteristics of the year they were born. My daughter is Year of the Monkey and she is quite clever. She also swings from the chandelier and chitters like one to the point where I scream “shut up” at least 57,000 times a night.

My wife is Year of the Mouse and likes to stay at home a lot. She’s quiet, until irritated, then all bets are off. So far, she hasn’t eaten a hole in the wall, but who knows what is behind the fridge…

As a Dog, I am loyal, courageous, will kill myself to protect family, friends and projects I work for. I am also happy to chase the ball if you throw it.

I am also stupid and fall for the “pump fake” far too many times. You know, pretend to throw the ball and the dog runs after it, gets out there and realised he’s been had, comes back and bites your leg if you do it again.

Dogs also do other things that I am envious of, but we won’t go there in a family newspaper.

Tết is also a great time for golf, thanks to all the new 5-star golf resorts nationwide.

To me, the best place would be The Bluffs at the Hồ Tràm Strip because it’s within driving distance from HCM City, and the golf course was just rated 35th in the world by Golf Digest magazine. Also, the staff at The Bluffs and the Grand always treat me and my family very well, and I sincerely appreciate them making my life easier.

If ambitious enough to travel, Đà Nẵng would also be a great choice as there are many excellent courses and hotels. Danang GC, Montgomerie Links, Laguna Lăng Cô, and others. Nha Trang has VinPearl and I love the speedboat ride across the ocean. My daughter loves the aquarium.

You’ll notice a pattern here. I like warm weather and oceans…

My wife, however, is making those “we have to visit my family up north” noises. No offense to her family, but Ha Noi is very cold that time of year and my joints hurt. I am an OLD dog. We don’t like cold weather. I’d be happy to go in the summer…

Besides, I just know there will be lots of bánh chưng there, waiting for me...

Chúc Mừng Năm Mới! VNS


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