In the life before he had married a Vietnamese woman and became a capitalist, my cousin Peter had been a deep-sea diver working on the oil rigs in South-East Asia. Now he was a US$2 money-making scheme, with a verbal prospectus, disclosure statement and ecological report.
Over and over, around the bend, through the loop and back again, it was a one-topic conversation with the underlying current, his success and therefore my failure.
Talking, while bathing in a Vietnamese suburban swimming pool, he was bloated with capitalist zeal and I was meek; the puppeteer and the puppet, pulling strings that tangled.
Needing to find my own way, capitalism had not worked.
The shareholders had demanded an excessive return and squeezed senior management until they cut corners; allowed and exacerbated by the politicians not controlling the oligopolies. All competition had perished and now we were left with ruin.
Riots in the hearts and the minds; salvation of the soul.
The city structures that had controlled our routine were fading, slowly crumbling.
Biblical verses held high as we were falling to our knees.
Bloodied and torn.
I was protecting myself from the fallout, holed up in a hotel room in Dalat, situated 300 kilometres north of Ho Chi Minh City.
It was called the ‘City of Eternal Spring’, except, to me, it felt like winter; the oncoming clouds slowly accumulating and descending.
The clouds were settling in, showing no signs of abating.
A lake filled the valley below; smooth and silky, but icy cold.
Preparing us for the battle ahead.