I got assaulted again

2024-06-20 05:39:00 +07:00 by Mark Smith

Following several manufactured incidents and wave after wave of escalations over the past few days, I was attacked this evening. What follows is my writeup, it's not very well edited, I just wanted to get something written and published. I'll likely add context links to previous relevant articles I've written over the next few days. I'm still kind of shaken by the whole thing.

A gang of youths snuck up behind me and I received a very strong blow to the side of my head. I’m not entirely sure if it was a punch or with some sort of device. Previous similar incidents have been with projectiles such as rocks, stones or bricks. This time though, I found no nearby debris afterwards.

About 10 minutes after the incident, two respectable looking but quite weedy young people drove past on a motorbike, slowed down ostensibly to put some garbage in a nearby bin. As they drive off, the youth on the back made several downwards hitting motions with their hand, like they were hitting something with a bat. They also quite clearly had an enormous smirk on their face. Something was very hilarious to them about throwing their garbage away. Seems rather unlikely it was a coincidence.

This all happened after several days of escalations and multiple manufactured incidents. And zooming out even further, it appears to be part of a longer multi-week arc. It’s difficult to describe these events, because they happen bit by bit. Something happens one day, that causes an escalation the next few days. It’s always made clear in some way by the perpetrators that they are linked. That enables you to trace it back but it’s convoluted.

These events seem totally haphazard at first, like they aren’t organised, like they are just incremental situations created in a reactionary way as situations unfold. However it often becomes apparent that they somehow fall into a much more co-ordinated whole. It’s like it’s a combination of organised higher level situations and free form smaller situations that fall within the boundaries created by the organised element.

For example, taken as an isolated event, this evening’s attack could be seen as the cruscendo of an escalation following a manufactured ‘Pay!’ incident at a food place a few days ago.

Yet you can trace it further back still, because earlier in the evening right next to the location that the attack happened, a man darted into the middle of the street to pick up a twenty thousand VND note. That’s about the equivalent of 1 USD, slightly less. The note perhaps had been dropped by a passing motorbike or maybe the bloke dropped it crossing the road, I didn’t see the lead up.

You might think it’s innocuous enough. Well in that precise location several situations have occurred quite recently that each involved a twenty thousand VND note. There were a couple of other times a note was blowing past like tumbleweed, and a situation where a local lady that hangs about here everyday at the same time, tried to trick me. She was holding a twenty thousand in her hand, quite obviously trying to make me notice it, while motioning me towards a passing bicycle food vendor that she was buying something from. She was making it look like she was going to buy me something, but not quite. Something felt off about it. I just said and motioned that I had no money to buy food, which was true. The situation passed.

It’s a weird situation to occur. It basically never happens that someone just randomly tells you to buy some food from a food vendor, certainly not from someone not working as a food vendor. That’s never happened in 5 years of me being here. And from someone that definitely knows I've been stuck here in Vietnam in a difficult situation for a long time. Hence why it seemed much more likely they were offering to buy me something. But like I said something felt off. She made no effort to further explain the situation.

The very next morning, I got some soup at a nearby food vendor. When I tried to pay they motioned that I didn’t need to pay, it was free. I said thank you, and walked off. Neither of the food vendors, who are not shy of coming forward, regularly barking out orders at their customers, said anything as I left. If there had been a miscommunication, surely they would have said something as I walked off. I wrote a blog post about this incident.

The next day I went back to the same soup place, the soup was good, and I was grateful for the freebie, nice gesture. Not many foreigners eat at the street soup places. Maybe this could be a regular place to eat. As I tried to pay, holding the money visibly in my hand, another apparent female customer who had been standing there waiting, motioned to me that she would pay for the food. Again I said thank you, ate the soup, and left. No drama.

What’s important to understand here is the wider context. In that two week period, this sort of thing happened at least 3-4 times at different locations. Just as I was about to pay, someone who was just standing there suddenly stepped in to pay. The first time this happened, the food vendors helper quite clearly said to me when I asked how much the food was, "For you, free". I’ve been back to that place since and bought food from that vendor, no major issues.

The point here is that the whole freebie’s at food vendors suddenly started happening everywhere I went. And it was very clearly a freebie, but as the events continued to happen, that slowly changed, and it became more ambiguous what was happening. None of the vendors shouted out at me as I walked away.

So anyway I went back to the soup place a week or so later and finally they allowed me to pay for the food. I 100% paid the soup lady directly as she gave me the food. That time, as I walked away after eating the soup, a man’s voice said ‘Pay’. Strange thing is that the food stand is run by two women. I had paid, so I legitimately walked away having paid. Ever since then there’s been weird incidents where people shout ‘Pay’ at me.

One thing that seems like it could be happening is that the food vendor helpers are saying one thing, and telling the food vendor something totally different, to try and make it look like I tried to get food without paying. By the way that’s definitely never happened. I would never do that.

But there are even more strangenesses that happened around the same time. Like the incident that seemed a bit weird at the time. A street sweet bread vendor, had added a few extra things into the bag he gave me. Seemed like it was some tasters, a few freebie’s, I go there a lot. That’s the sort of thing vendors do sometimes. The odd thing was when it happened a lady on a motorbike was just sitting waiting there, she had already bought her sweet breads but was just sitting there next to the vendor doing nothing. Remember this was all happening during a period where as I tried to buy something, suddenly someone would pop up and pay. In the sweet bread case since I was distracted I accudentally gave him money for 1 sweet bread instead if two, he reminded me, I appologised and paid the right amount. So the extras were definitely free samplers.

There were just a lot of situations where a person was standing next to the vendor for no good reason. It was noticeably different to how things are normally. This happened multiple times over a couple of weeks. It hadn’t happened previous to this, and for whatever reason, it has now completely stopped. But for about 2 weeks it was happening all the time.

There was also another situation with some soup where another food vendor helper had approached me up the road from his food stand and said he would offer me some soup. I wrote a blog post about it at the time. He was very aware of my situation being stuck here in Vietnam and kept asking me lots of questions. Said he'd seen me many times and wanted to help. But was that what he said to the food vendor he was apparently working for?

My impression is that the food vendors were perfectly aware of what was going on, but those situations are clearly being used as a way to spread untruths about me. And guess what, I’m being attacked and mutilated. In my opinion there is some element of co-ordination going on here. I’m not saying everyone is involved, but I think many are. It appears to be a standard trick in their tool belt of anti-foreigner tricks, of which there are an infinite amount.

Even with all this that you have read here, there are lots of things I’ve had to leave out. There were many other incidents that were involved, especially around the twenty thousand VND, there was a whole week of strange price manipulation at various sandwich shops, all centering around twenty thousand VND, all trying to create situations where I was in some way in the wrong. But since then it’s transpired that I was actually in the right and they had been lying to me about the price. Anyway, this is really just a sample. This stuff is happening day in day out. Each small high street has it’s little organised tricks they play on foreigners, though I suspect they likely do it to themselves too. And the high street gangs are loosely linked in some way. The manufactured situations are constantly making reference to each other.

It even involves several, I believe to be, fake motorbike accidents. Motorbike accidents have a tendency to happen right on front of me for some bizarre reason. One happened a couple of days ago. The aftermath was very strange with a bloke helping the injured guy but he was really just bossing him about. And the injured guy kept holding the side of his face. The same side that they hit me on in the unprovoked attack earlier.

I’ve seen lots of other fake stuff. One particularly memorable time, a bloke on a parked motorbike lost his shit right before I walked past, threw a massive hissy fit, and went over to a large woman on the side of the street and walloped her across the front of her body with his arm like he was playing a game of human tennis, she was sent flying through the air onto the ground. The thing is it was exactly like it would be in the movies. It just wasn’t real. It was like a performance by some stunt actors.

I'm going to lightly edit all these bullet points and create a blog post. I imagine this wasn't the best of reads, I'm still quite shook up by the whole thing. I just want to get in with the day, even though, since I'm also currently being starved and thirsted, it's not likely going to be much fun.

It just occurred to me, as I'm editing this post, that my blog post from a couple of days ago about westerners never really being accepted in asia now seems earily precient.

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