Thursday, March 24, 2011

Live like we are dying

Friday 25th March 2011

Dear brother,

In 40 days I’ll be home.

To be frank, I’m a little scared. I am extremely excited, so much so that I am scared that I over expect things. So I’m trying to stay in that space where it is calm and re-assuring.

I have been doing a lot of reflection lately. Small town boy from seaside town, wishing to become an architect. An Idealistic, hopeless romantic teenager. A stranger in a foreign land, foreign school, adjusting foreign language. A bright young man who came to Philadelphia to learn about starting ventures. A fresh grad who is eager to fly and got trapped in a governmental mechanism of a Union. A team lead of a super large scale project where he works 75 hours week. A loving boyfriend. And now, a coming home son to his mother land Vietnam, as the next young Project Manager aspiring to change the world. And 5 years later, hopefully, a calm and tranquil monk in Tibet. I have come a long way… Can’t believe at one point of time in life I considered killing myself. I just want to quietly give myself a pat on my shoulder. “Good job, little Pace!”

So there is this rhetorical question that people always ask “If your life flashed before you, what do you wish you would have done?”. I would say, exactly everything I have done in my life. To love. To hurt. To aspire. To fail. To risk. To change. Because it is not easy, it is life.

Of course there would be so much more I could have done if we were rich and I have more allowances (and didn’t have to pay my own tuition fee loan). But hey, there will be a lot that I would have never done if life was comfortable. Hardship forced me to strive. Loneliness sometimes forced me to survive.
I am trying very hard to spend the remaining days here to meet up with all my friends here, all the people that have made positive impact in my life in the past 8 years. “Gotta tell them that you love them when you still have the chance to say”. Life is precious because of the people around you.

I know I am 26, but it feels like I’ve been living much longer than that :p Life, to me, is not a gradual process of duration, but a punctuated series of moments. And therefore, my life has been full, and wonderful (in a sort of twisted and damaged way, like un Film Noir Francaise).

So brother, I know you are a much more innocent boy than I was (and I am so very glad you are and I intend to do everything I can to let you stay that way); but life is a challenge, and growing up is not easy. I just hope you will live and enjoy every moment of life as they are. Don’t be afraid, because every failure, every challenge leads to something wonderful later on. I’d like to quote another song “Maybe the reason why all the doors are close is so you can open one that would lead you to the perfect road”.

And so brother, see you in Saigon J

Thursday, March 10, 2011


March 10th 2011,

Dear brother

And so it happened. In a month's time, I'll be home. I'll be home to watch over you take your O level. I'll be home to see you on your first day of High school. I'll be home.

It's like fate. I didn't look for it. It looked for me. An opportunity in Vietnam.

Yes, my brother, meet the new Project Manager of an IT Outsourcing in Healthcare domain, which belongs to the 6th largest IPO firm in Vietnam.

Today was the first day the news got out. I resigned from Accenture, my beloved wife of the troubled married. And if anyone ever asks I would still always say it is a great firm. It has little politics on the ground. People are smart and professional. And it gives people opportunity to learn, to grow, to outdo themselves.

But then, it has to be in Singapore, away from home and from love, and I have to be 'just' a programmer...

And so I chose greatness, or a small chance at greatness, to risk it all for that I really want, a leader of a group, a visionary guy,  the problem solving guy, and the entrepreneurial guy.

Mom is scared I will be earning too little (in fact, given it's Vietnam, it's like 3 people my age's salary. Although the tax is insane. Funny to see where all that tax dollars go). My boss suggested that I'm making a career mistake. My friends will miss me. I am scared shitless this maybe a big mistake. But even if it is, I need to make it. At 26, time to be brave and be passionate about something.

And that's all I have to tell you. Be brave. It's your life. People can feel what they feel and tell you what they want. It's your life, and your choices to make. It maybe a mistake, but it's yours, and you learn and become better human from it.

So brother, I will finally be home, to watch over you. To become a man.

I'm coming home...