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St. Patrick’s Day and the Corona Virus in Vietnam

Updated: Aug 4, 2020

Author: Charlie O'Neill



Day 60: Unemployment and cheap cans

To think it has been 60 days since I stepped out of my little school of 20 students into what has been an emotional period for all expats here in Ho Chi Minh. As Dirty Old Town echo’s out of my speaker on this St. Patrick’s Day and my tri-colour flying proudly from my apartment window I can’t but think what if. The past 2 weeks have shown us the seriousness of this pandemic as more and more of my friends have left Asia and back to Irish shores to their families and self-quarantine. The wakes of these people have brought a bit of sadness in my eyes as the close-knit community I settled into has been minimised to the bare minimum and continues to diminish. The celebrations have rung out possibly for the last time for a while as we bid farewell to our friends in the most Irish fashion, a singsong with cheap cans.

There is a glimmer of happiness for my friends though as they get to be close to their relatives at this time. I cast my mind to my own family and my hope that my grandparents who I love dearly will weather this storm and will be reunited with them someday. My situation has possibly taken a turn for the worse as they have suspended applications for a work visa which was my best option to stay in the country. With this and our St. Patrick’s celebrations swapped for social distancing, the mental health of a lot of people including myself are bound to take a hit. I refuse to submit to the depression at this time and utilise this time to write these words for those home and abroad. As Irish people we all have our backs, we are a community of equals and on our biggest national holiday we need to look after our neighbors and loved ones. While there has been no official lock-down in our district yet we have to thread carefully and insure we don’t do anything idiotic especially on the biggest drinking day of the year. Jealous or not bars are for now still open but as one of the breathing grounds for this virus I intend to stay away and enjoy this day sober and enthusiastic for the future and my family. Stay safe, crack open a can with your family and this will all blow over soon. Happy St. Patricks Day!

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