In this godforsaken yet endearing town everyone suffers from something — 60-year-old men suffer from the delusion that their 20-year-old wives love them for their bodies, Africans eternally suffer under racism, overweight white chicks suffer from not getting any, and the sexpats are probably suffering from herpes.

As for me, I suffer from Female Viet Kieu syndrome (FVK). It’s a disease that has been plaguing me for almost eight years now. It started when I took my first step off the American Airlines plane and into my motherland. The symptoms usually come out when I’m surrounded by foreigners. It’s yet to be scientifically confirmed, but I believe pale skin is the kryptonite to my brown dermis body shield.

Anyway, more on that later, and back to this newfound disease that I’ve discovered, a disease that will hopefully be made into a movie with Michelle Yeoh playing me. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Yeoh is Malay-Chinese and here she would be a Vietnamese-American. Well, she was cast as Japanese in Memoirs of a Geisha. Or perhaps a more realistic portrayal would be to have Dustin Nguyen, a real Viet Kieu, dress in drag and play me. I’m going off tangent again, so let’s get to a story.

A recent FVK episode occurred when I went to a restaurant with my white boyfriend. After we were shown to a table, the waitress ignored me. I didn’t get a menu or an acknowledgement. I didn’t even get to order my food until I told them I’m actually the one paying the bill, and my boyfriend is the poor one in the relationship. And, even funnier, was that the change for the bill and a, “Thank you, sir,” was given to him instead of me, who shelled out the cash. I corrected the waitress with a, “It’s thank you, MADAM,” after which she gave me an embarrassed smile and I gave her a ‘no tip for you, em oi’ sneer.

Like bipolar disorder, those inflicted with the FVK experience can have mood swings. On some days I’m elated that I’m a Vietnamese who can speak English fluently, but then on down days a tourist will praise me for spelling everything on the Specials board so well. And with that, I’m going to quit while I’m ahead on my spelling. — Anonymous

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