I have decided to crack on with this learning Vietnamese malarkey. Not, it must be said, to enhance my understanding of the local culture. Or indeed improve comms with the Vietnamese missus.
No, the main reason is to get myself into pole position as the Scottish Ambassador to Vietnam. Being reasonably fluent is definitely a step in the right direction as it can only be a matter of time now before Edinburgh is looking to appoint its ambassador in Hanoi.
As well as learning Vietnamese, springing people out the pokey, dishing out fancy chocolates and looking for lost passports, how much more is involved? I’d better get chummy with the UK Embassy guy, Giles Lever and pick up a few pointers. He seems like a nice chap.
I have kinda met him once at an event very briefly. And then another time as I was leaving the UK Embassy after being relieved of fifty quid. I’m pretty sure he didn’t notice me from the back of his chauffeur-driven Jag.
Knowing my luck, come independence, I will get issued with a Hillman Imp, the last Scottish built car that ceased production in 1976. Still, there’s bound to be other benefits to being His Excellency The Ambassador for Scotland.
Hopefully, regular deliveries of square sausage and tattie scones in the diplomatic bag for starters, two things you can’t buy at the gourmet shop at Fraser Suites. But letting them off somewhat due to them stocking Irn Bru, Scotland’s other national drink. Interestingly, Scotland is the only country in the world where Coke isn’t the top selling soft drink. That title would go to the aforementioned Irn Bru, which is made in Scotland from girders. Apparently.
Anyhow, I can also quite imagine a copy of The Broons or Oor Wullie being slipped into the diplomatic bag in time for Christmas.
I’m sure, too, Giles won’t feel unduly threatened by the prospect of some of his workload coming my way. I’m sure he will be quite glad. He didn’t seem too phased late last year by being asked to stop stamping pieces of paper and charging people several million VND for the pleasure. That reminds me. I better look into getting some rubber stamps made. It sounds quite a racket.
Without giving too much away, I reckon I have at least two years to sort out a reasonable level of Vietnamese fluency and assemble a few CV referees for the post before I have to set out house hunting and so on for my Embassy. Tay Ho seems like a safe bet. Some nice villas round there. Or the Old Quarter so long as it only involves a one-bus commute (in the event of a Hillman Imp being unavailable).
In the meantime, I will be hitting the books and then trying out my ropey Vietnamese on various unsuspecting bus passengers. With the prospect of Scotland going it alone and the United Kingdom then becoming the former United Kingdom, or fUK for short, what more motivation do you need than being quite correctly able to refer to the neighbours as those fUKers south of the border?