Thursday, June 7, 2007


On the outskirts of Saigon there's a park where rural scenes are replicated for the relaxation of stress-ridden city folks. Oxcarts and lotus ponds, thatched cottages and bamboo benches are carefully arranged to delight visitors.

Unfortunately the banana trees are too young and skinny to bear fruits, so a banana bunch is hung from a dried bamboo pole. The dragonfruit trees look sumptuously green, but the deep-pink fruits are plastic and attached to the trees by pieces of metal wire.

How many things surrounding us and inside us are ersatz? Artificial flowers and trees are quite common in America, and have you heard Edith Piaf sing about "fabriquer des souvenirs"?

I refuse to have ersatzes. It's either the genuine thing or nothing at all for me.

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