Since you’re a newbie, 2021, you might not have heard about that rotten, disgusting, big meanie of a 2020, the world has just experienced. It was a total downer featuring a world sized plague locking everyone up at home, a deranged U.S. president claiming everyone robbed him and a global economic meltdown that made 10 people richer than all the rest of us; probably the only thing missing was a humongous earthquake or two.

I think you’ll be a very nice year; I can tell – I’m good at judging character. While it looks like we’ll get some vaccines to deal with that horrible green virus with the punk hairstyle, could you speed it up a little bit? I’m getting restless from not being able to travel anywhere. 

While we’re on that subject, could you also find us some new competent leaders that talk together about travel restrictions. What’s that? Oh…of course I’d be delighted to try out one of these remarkable new cures. We’ll probably need the certificates of vaccination just to get the grumpy immigration officers to smile and wave us through.

No…what I really mean…is unrestricted travel in and out. There’s no point in leaving Vietnam if I can’t get back in – Vietnam’s my home! Really, I’ve lived here nearly fourteen years! Amazing, hey? And the country could really use some fresh, washed tourists instead of the exhausted, bored things occupying deserted hotels at the moment.

I miss the morbidly fat English, Australian and American tourists struggling to push-pedal a bicycle up a mostly flat road compared to the super fit Europeans zipping around town on flashy bikes with breaking a sweat.

Another thing I’m wishing for is a breakthrough in my finances. Lost a lot of money last year and because you’re the year full of new hope, I’m sure there’s something you can. Oh, you’re working on it as we speak? Fabulous! I feel better already. I’m planning to move house during your reign; can you organize a bigger garden for my dogs and more workspace in the new place for all my computers and art/writing stuff? Finding a landlord who speaks English and isn’t too greedy about the rent might be a tall order but I think you can pull it off.

Personally, I’d love to draw, write and publish a new book. I had a crack at this before but didn’t do so well in on the publishing side. Vietnam is difficult that way for a foreigner. I’d also like to crack a new writing market as well however there doesn’t seem to be much demand for an optimist when the media is so focused on doom and gloom, people breaking COVID rules and mentally unstable government leaders, like parents dragging kids to the dentist, taking the world in directions we don’t want to go.

Speaking of which, we’ve all had a chance to reflect on life during lockdowns. It would be really cheerful and inspiring if we could not obsess so much over goodies and do something worthwhile about climate change and this lovely big ball, we call home. If that mean’s eating vegan burgers occasionally, cutting down on my smoking and take a basket to the market to reduce plastic pollution, then I’m all for it!

Now; romance. I’m too old in the tooth to marry and have kids but a short, cute lady who speaks my language and a beer would be just perfect. Generally, I like to travel alone as that leaves me with no restrictions but the right gal might make think twice. That could be tough to find in Vietnam as all the lasses I meet complain about my long hair, smoking and drinking on a daily basis. Nothing worse than someone who wants to change you the minute they meet you! Hmm…maybe Japanese?

Above all, I’d like to see Vietnam go from strength to strength – just to show up the western culture’s promotion of how good it is when the truth in 2020 was a shamble of organization, dystopian politics, conspiracy theories and public inability to tell the difference between a global medical emergency and a sinister plot to wear a mask. Maybe just to show the world what a much simpler and supposedly poorer country can achieve.

You realize that I’m talking our western New Year, don’t you?  I’ll certainly be repeating these wishes for Tet, as well. I’m counting on you to deliver great things!

Finally, may the kids of this world get all the breaks they deserve.  If the so-called adults can’t get their acts together, then why impose so many rules on kids. To heck with oodles of homework, night classes and earning certificates – let’em play and make art, look at the beauty of our planet and learn how to get along with each other.

Well, that’s enough from me, 2021. It’s getting late and I have to kick 2020 out of the house – the lousy bum is still sleeping on my outside sofa. Drop by any time during your year, I’d love to catch up on what’s going on!

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