The old Asian Man on the Bike

Two times when I have have walked home from my college, I have seen an old Asian man on a bike. “An old Asian man on a bike? What’s so special about that”, you might ask. Well, If you live in Asia, I guess you see old Asian men on bikes every day. But that is not the point.Two times when I have have walked home from my college, I have seen an old Asian man on a bike. “An old Asian man on a bike? What’s so special about that”, you might ask. Well, If you live in Asia, I guess you see old Asian men on bikes every day. But that is not the point.

What I noticed was how fast he was biking – or rather how slow. I have never seen anyone drive a bike that slow without falling over and hitting the pavement or a car. I could easily have walked besides him on his journey to his (to me unknown) destination. But I decided not to in case he was on a twenty miles ride or something like that. The thing was that he looked so exteremly satisfied and happy with life as the passed me – it seemed like he didn’t have a single worry in life.

I hope I can ride my bike real slow and be happy when I get old.

Actually, it seems to me like no Asian old folks have worries. When you see TV broadcasts from Asia, do you ever see an unhappy old person. No, you don’t. They all get up at 4 in the morning and get together in the park where they do strange gymnastic exercises for several hours. And then they play chess for the rest of the day. And they all look very satisfied.

I’m going to move to Asia when I get old.

Imagine what the world would be like if we were all old folks from Asia. No wars, no worries, no oil spills, no hard feelings and no fights. The world would have been a marvelous place! The only problem is that it would not have lasted very long, because everyone were in the park (which by the way would be very crowded) doing strange gymnastic exercises or playing chess and no one made clothes or food or those small hand held computers we all want. We would probably start eating each other after a week or so.

But let us not forget that all these happy looking old Asian people might just mess around with our minds. The thing is that most of the old Asians you see on TV broadcasts today are old enough to remember Mao and the communism, and most of them are probably old school communists. Maybe they just act happy and satisfied to make us believe that communism is a good thing? That Mao was a real genius killing all them birds. Maybe they are all commies who try to take over the world?

Or maybe they are all stone on Prozac?

By Vegard Vines Skjefstad

12 replies on “The old Asian Man on the Bike”

Something tells me that Asian news shows and the like will only show happy old Asians, just like NBC will only show happy young caucasians. The dirty, deranged, and sour old asians are tucked away in some dark alley or institution, wishing they could be at the market, haggling over the price of the catch of the day, and thinking about how much fun it would be to ride a bike reeeeaaaaaalllllll slow.
Or maybe, they sit in the solitude of their leaking studio apartment overlooking the adjoining building’s brick wall, staring at the Mah Jong tiles scattered on their moth infested futon, wishing for all the world to not be so horribly disfigured that noone will play Mah Jong with them.

Or maybe they sit at the window, looking down on all the bike commuters, spitting dour epithets towards the young and nubile, cheering at the occasional accident.

But who am I to rain on your parade. If old slow biking is what you want, by all means, grab that star and stuff it in your pocket.


Yeah, i would probably choose being old and happy, riding my bike slowly.
It’s much better than being an old man in America. Your kids throw you into a retirement home where you can’t do anything you want, care takers abuse you and they feed you stuff resembling the garbage they stuff down your throat on airplanes. On top of that, you’re just plain grumpy and no longer enjoy living. Sounds like fun, no?

WWBD: What Would Buddha Do?

Let’s not forget that the point is Vegard wants to attain that satisfaction and serenity in old age. If the source of inspiration happens to be a small (but publicly visible) percentage of the geriatric Asian population, rather than the entire group, it makes it no less inspiring. Personally, I would love to do t’ai chi in the park. I’ll pass on the chess, though, thanks.

that is just TOO weird. i live in asia and id like to know what the caucasian folks live their life at the age of 60. do they play a fast game of basketball? do they swing the golf stick every other day? do they go on 10 mile marathons? over here in singapore, the old people, like old people, are pretty sedentary, you’re right about taichi, chess, walks in the parks, and lets not forget playing with the grandchildren. do enrich me.

i just got to know that tai chi isn’t all that peaceful and slow-motion type of thing at all. you always see old chinese peope doing this in parks, way to early for me to ever experience. not true. tai chi is a martial arts, quick, deadly. the slow-motion exercises are just for preparation, to make yourself more able to do the kicking and hitting. why do we never get to see the quick version of it?

because it makes sense. do tai chi from movies and tv-series quick, it’s deadly alright. i’ve been living on a myth…

just wonder if western old people are not happy???

What is the difference between Asian and western? I think all old people will be happy if they have their children around and good health.

You should think about adding a trip to China, not just stop at Hong Kong, to your 100 and now 101 list long before you are old. After my mother came home form her visit she told us if it hadn’t been for her husband she would have not returned to the States. My son-in-law has to go there for work twice a year and wants to take the family for a long extended stay someday. My neighbor said it was the most amazing place she had ever been and she has traveled the world. A trip to China is something all Americans should do long before they are old and then maybe they would see the world in a better light. I am going soon. I may never want to leave but at least I will be able to say I did it and am happy for doing so. I just wish I could ride a bike without my legs killing me for days after. I should try going slow. Thank you for your incite. Someday you will be older, you will see that as you look back your realize it really didn’t matter as much as you thought it did at the time. Old is wonderful for seeing things as they really are. Now you had better get started on that list of 100 things so you can make a new one. You know don’t put off till tomorrow what you should have done years ago. We all need a Bucket List.

I’ve been to China a couple of times myself. Even though it was always business related, I got to see some of the real China and it’s certainly a trip worth doing. Enjoy your visit to the Far East!


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Hatred fatigues -John-Paul Sartre

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