Sunday, October 15, 2006

FBO: 'Revisiting Failed Film Setting'

For the time being, nothing spells 'F.A.I.L.U.R.E' for Americans better than Vietnam. The decade-plus conflict cost untold millions of local lives and tens of thousands of Americans, for a cost that most here either opposed or didn't really care about. FBO has had representatives in Vietnam before -- as part of the failed film project Holding Ground Just Beyond the Limits where actors impersonated Quebecois Olympic 'recruiters' looking for French-speaking athletes to come to Quebec and play for a national team after Quebecois reaches independence. The project, held with a faulty videocamera in 1997, failed.

A key seen involved a District One sports club in Saigon, where 'ping pong serves' were 'clocked' and interviews held in a steamy room with Coca-Cola banners on the walls. This week FBO returned, for a ping pong lesson and to see how that setting of a pivotal scene in the failed project had fared.

Ms Lung was a ping-pong champion in 1983 and has been teaching children since. She volunteered a quick class in the same steamy room. The Coca Cola banners are gone now, replaced by a banner of a cheerful Ho Chi Minh lifting weights. Apparently we at FBO had been striking the ball wrong all these years. The elbow of you striking hand should be against your side, wrists holding the paddle loosely, and striking the ball lightly with a circular motion -- the paddle stopping (if you're right handed) near your left temple. Backhands are even funner. The paddle is held roughly parallel with the table facing to the left (for right handeders) around your stomach, then swiping lightly the ball with a motion similar to tossing a frisbee.

The sports club will be demolished later this year, so that a new one can be built. Hopefully FBO's testament to failure can carry over to the new grounds.

FBO Admin
Mobile HQ -- Saigon, Vietnam

PS-- For those intersted, Robert Reid is keeping a nearly daily blog of his Vietnam exploits while updating a free online guidebook to Vietnam for himself.

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