I cursed my luck again as the offer and working hours came in just a couple of day after I started my new job. Granted, it was closer to what I originally wanted, but still, it’s not right that I’m often forced to disappoint those counting on me. What would my fellow Jschoolers think?

Anyways, since returning to Vietnam, it’s been a bit of a circular run. First, my old company, where I’d planned to teach while seeking a job in the Vietpress, had taken a change of management who were apparently determined to find the worst of my employment record (I learned later they didn’t want to employ experienced teachers because of salary increment costs). Email reads “employment denied, no further review will be carried out, and additionally please concede making uninvited visits to centres to discuss your employment”. Typical.

So I had to go local for Vietnamese-sponsored language schools (which often means teaching classrooms full of sugar-powered, runny-nosed Vietnamese kids).

Meanwhile, my Vietnamese journo on-off girlfriend, Yen, was struggling to put me in touh with the Vietmedia. Unfortunately, because of the damnable press regulations in this country, the most I could do at the present time ws sub-editing, and permission from the media authorities will likely take a good long while.

My hopes weren’t high when we paid a visit to Viet Nam News, the national English-language tabloid, and I got a job at a local school in the meantime.

A royal shock when Viet Nam News got back to me to invite me for a five-day trial (incidentally, with the same working hours as my new signed-and-sealed teaching job – oops!)

So, of course at the beginning of my journo career, this was too good an opportunity to miss, so I stupidly cancelled my new job while neglecting to remember it ws just a trial at VNN with no guarantees (“sorry boss, only been two days but gotta go subediting – keep my salary.”)

Nothing compared to what awaited me in the Vietnamese newsroom. First trial day as rocky as they come. 2pm start, sat at empty workstation and walked through their computer network and software. Given a Vietnam style guide and introduced to other foreign sub-editors who generally welcome me warmly.

3pm to 6pm, given a Vietglish article so loosely-translated you could stick a bookmark in it and call it ‘How to murder the English language’. (No attribution either) Cut and subbed.

7pm-10pm. Subbing headlines and captions. Someone neglected to tell me the captions needed kickers. Incomplete pages given headlines because someone didn’t scribble on the far right whiteboard. Finally all done and given to last late-nite subber and off home.

Hope the trial gets a bit better. Even with all the hiccups, it’s still a prime position for us foreigners here in this country.