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Encounter in The Hidden Elephant Books & Coffee

Is all of this a coincidence, designed or just happened?

In my favorite café in Saigon, The Hidden Elephant, where I didn’t want to write a post, wishing to leave this place hidden. In the café which is perfect for contemplating, writing and reading, I was planning for Taiwan trip. After spending time one or two hours, a man entered in the café. A middle-aged man.


Some people attract other’s attention from their entrances. Is it because each of them has a distinctive vibe so cannot be assimilated into space’s ambiance? He had a conversation with staff amicably and sat next to me. I hoped he is Taiwanese so I can get some advice on my trip, I talked to him.

Usually, I am not the one who initiates conversation, rather I am a bit afraid of talking to strangers. However, sometimes I encounter some people whom I feel comfortable and safe without having any conversation. Maybe those are the most dangerous, but I can start a conversation with them without hesitation.

He was a Korean. As I have confidence in distinguishing Asian’s nationality, was surprised. He didn’t have Korean vibe. Ah, I am Korean too, but as he said later, he thought I am a Japanese so it was fair.

To introduce him briefly, he had worked in Korea as a programmer and achieved everything including a car, house and beloved. And the moment he assumed he fulfilled all of his desire, he was unfortunate. Therefore he sold everything and then went to Africa. In Africa, he wrote essays and a publisher suggested him to publish a book and he became the best seller writer. Currently, he writes a book, runs a business and might expand his business in Vietnam.

In the day I and he had dinner together. It might sound ridiculous of me that I just followed a stranger and had dinner together, but I had a belief that he is not dangerous. And curious. He is not the one whom I can guess what he’s been through, even though some of the people are crystal clear. I wanted to know more about him. I’m a bit worried it might sound romanticized sentiment, but not at all. Our society transfers all of the humanistic affection to romanticized interest, but to make it clear in here, we can make a good relationship, we can be curious to others, and we can respect each other without romanticized desire or sexual connotation.

His life is not normal.

Whenever I expressed my surprise, he said “I was lucky.” Lucky. Was it another luck that I could have a good conversation with him on that day?
He said every person has energy and recognized me when he entered the café. And coincidently my next seat was empty. Then is all of this a luck?

Destiny, coincidence, and happening. As there is no answer to this question, what I believe will be the answer. Once I was waiting for destiny and frustrated, then waiting for coincidence then gave up. Also, there was some period when I was being skeptical with a belief that everything just happened without any purpose. Still, I can say I’m a bit skeptical but. With sympathy for human beings who their destinations are designed since they were born and with great affection to our sorrowful existence, I would respect others and recognize their existence.

Then now, what do I believe? To be honest, I am not sure. Now I wonder whether it is a question we can answer or maybe it is meaningless to have a certain belief. However, I believe that I can notice people who have the same pace as me, with a similar attitude. They will be good friends, accompanies and alliances and then at one point, they will take their own way. At least if we can be a light for each other at that moment.

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