Or how to cross the road in Ho Chi Minh City.
Over four weekends of hanging out in the tourist areas, I’ve seen that the peoples of the chaotic lands manage it best – South America, North and South Africa, Eastern Europe and anywhere in Asia, except Singapore (I've seen groups of nervous Singaporeans marooned for ages). The intrepid races are also up to the challenge – the natives of all the rugby playing nations, Iceland and Scandinavia can do absolutely anything. And of course, the young of all species, who seem to consider it an adventure sport. That’s one way to look at it. The other, more sustainable, one is to treat it as karmic ascension.
Rule 1: Don’t wait for the road to clear; it is never clear.
Rule 2: Look all ways, not just two, especially on the one-ways. Once you’ve tapped into the fluid oneness of the universe (two or three crossings), this is easy to do.
Rule 3: Clear your mind of fear, hesitation, scepticism and all other frivolous fight-or-flight responses you’re cluttered with.
Rule 4: Look calmly upon the vast amount of traffic flowing your way and step off the kerb, where “kerb” stands for any square foot of earthly soil you set out from. Yes, those are full-sized buses...so?
Rule 5: Recognise yourself and everything else on the road as unique particles moving through the cosmos, each in its own individual, inviolate orbit. Make no judgements, acknowledge no barriers, question nothing. Just let it all flow around you.
Rule 6: Move steadily and above all, continuously, across the road. Two steps forward, one step back. Sidestep, sway back, swing forward, skip around. Two steps forward, one step back. And don’t forget to smile. The Saigon Trot, apparently coined by the expat community in District 2.
It works. More than that, it’s the only way it works. If you’re not willing to join the stream, you will be stranded forever. To begin with, you can practise in crowds – there are lots of these too – but the time will come when the cigarette lady has unaccountably shifted across the road and you will have to blood the sword on your own.
*Secret Christian Master Rule: Channel Moses.
*If you’re given to reading/watching The Secret, you could try that too. It couldn’t hurt more than being hit by a motorbike any other way. But it doesn’t work if you think like that.
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