Staying Safe in 2020
Written by Max Angus - Lifestyle Columnist
As Tay Ho mourns another we are reminded of our mortality. The loss of King Louis so close to Christmas has shaken the local community and reminded many of the importance of life, something that is easy to take for granted.
The real tragedy of it all is that he is not the first nor will he be the last. Like clockwork, GoFundMe populates our feeds and friends donate to the family who lost their son in the thick of the festive period, now wrangling with Vietnamese authorities and breaking the bank for a heartbreaking reunion.
It takes an adult to emigrate but all too often you witness childlike behaviour around Tay Ho. Numerous South Africans cite crime as a reason for leaving home so you can infer that safety features on their list of priorities and yet on any day of the week you will see countless driving without helmets and under the influence; it seems peculiar to remove yourself from violence and still take such risks.
The recent change in drink driving laws is having the desired effect and the threat of a VND 8m fine is acting as a suitable deterrent to those considering driving back at the end of a night out. Similarly, Westerners are no longer as untouchable as once supposed and those without helmets are being pulled over at increasing rates. As an aside, isn’t it sad that it requires a financial blow for people to reconsider their behaviour rather than the possibility of causing serious bodily harm.
Of course, one can lead a responsible life and suffer at the hands at others. Last year we were thankful to see the departure of one notorious Welsh slimebag but as they say, one is born every minute. By no means is such behaviour limited to those from Wales but should you come across someone with an abundance of consonants in their name then perhaps it is prudent to swipe left.
Hanoi may be safer than other Vietnamese cities but altercations happen everywhere. Being unfazed on the roads takes zen-like patience and wearing a helmet offers the additional benefit of concealing your rage from the latest driver to cut you off. The majority of expats are a peaceful bunch but things escalate easily, the next time things are getting out of hand try and turn the other cheek.
Before Christmas, there were disturbing accounts of aggression towards women being shared on Facebook and while they have abated recently, it would be foolish to assume the threat has gone. Parents can be over paranoid at times but sometimes their advice is best heeded, while calling a Grab isn’t always ideal it is almost certainly a better decision than walking home alone.
Cigarettes and alcohol may come cheap but that doesn’t mean one must indulge; death is inevitable so preservation is our best hope. Be they digits or widgets, anything can go missing around here so it would be wise to get insurance before things go sour. After all, you were on the back. To finish a rather macabre column, enjoy 2020 and be sure to stay safe; let this be the decade that makes you, not breaks you.