Cruel Kids, The Animals I Know and How to Neuter a Cow


Growing up in a bucolic part of southern Việt Nam, I loved waking up to all sort of intriguing sounds like pigs squealing, cows mooing, cow cart wheels on dirt road and people talking loudly to each other.

You’d love it too if you were twelve and could simply run outside to urinate while enjoying soft breezes from rows of banana and annona squamosa trees as a part of your morning routines.

It was freedom in the truest form. Seriously, you’d have to try it some time. Unfortunately, I think “indecent exposure” is real crime in Boston, where I currently reside.

The thing about living in a predominantly farming village (at that time), was that there weren’t readily available entertainments.

As kids, we either went to school, helped family on a farm or just played until our moms called us home for lunch or dinner. In some odd, yet natural evolution, all children in the village developed a keen ear to identify and recognize their own mothers’ calls.

Children Playing

We had to come up with things to do while our parents were hard at work. In my case, my parents owned the biggest pig farm in town as well as a brewery serving rice wines to an entire city.

So what did I come up with to entertain myself and my friends? For starter, we had no toys, so we had to create our own. That joke about kids in the third-world countries playing with sticks? Yep, we played with sticks. There were rules and different quality of sticks though, so there’s that.

Clay was always an abundant material and easy to work with. But for good clay, we had to journey to a river two towns over. It was always a good adventure to go and carry a batch of fresh and high quality clay back home. This clay would then be immediately converted into cows, cow carts, pot, pans, guns, dolls and our favorite: clay marbles for slingshots.

I actually used a bow as a kid, but I was an odd kid in an era where “Cowboys vs. Indians” movies were really popular. No, bows weren’t really used by anyone; in fact, the highlanders I knew used crossbows. But I digress. Let me share a bit about my interactions with the living, breathing, moving parts of nature or scientifically speaking, Kingdom of “Animalia”.


DISCLAIMER: It is absolutely not my intention to scare, shock or disgust you. If you are easily offended or grossed out, maybe you shouldn’t ride this train.

All I wanted to do was to entertain, discuss and share “my” thoughts on my very own culture of meat consumption and the relative distance to my food sources. To do that, I believe it is not only fair, but necessary to divulge stories from my childhood in Việt Nam.

I started writing this as a long article, but after the second story, it was getting way too long so I decided to make it into series. Here is the list to all the parts (some are still unwritten):

Follow the series to the very end if you came to learn how to neuter a cow. As you may already know, market demands for cow neutering skill is only growing by the day due to the teenage pregnancy crisis in cows.

Okay, I’m only kidding. But seriously, read the series conclusion when it comes out or else these small parts wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense.