“Mr Ho”, salvage ace, or how to afford a second-hand “yacht”

Lman slides on the water. That of a canal or an arm of a river. We are in the Vietnamese district of Giang Thanh, bordering Cambodia and close to the Mekong Delta. Against a background of techno music, slim jeans and a black cap, sunglasses and a big smile, his creation plunges him into bliss: a surfboard equipped with a Jet-Ski engine. With his arms wide open to adventure, it’s as if he’s screaming “I’m the king of the world!” » from the bow of a transatlantic liner. Nothing can stop him from taking over YouTube. And no hands, please.

As always, serendipity and the mystery of the algorithm governed this discovery on the video sharing platform. So here is Tran Long Ho, known as “Mr Ho”. It is his work entitled “I built my own yacht with materials from the scrapyard, 90 full days” which first piques curiosity. The yacht is actually a speedboat. Perhaps a translation error… In any case, the machine came out of the dump. Because the specialty of the Ho house is precisely mechanical restoration. Bringing junk, waste and broken things back to life.

It all starts with a walk to the beach during which the Vietnamese Geotrovetout discovers a boat engine stranded on the sand. The mechanism has been underwater and is covered in concretions. Soon, we find him in a car junkyard where he takes over the old back seat of a Toyota. Then he cuts the transmission of another vehicle with a grinder. What is he going to do with this seat, this steering wheel and this old engine half colonized by molluscs? Certainly not to wallow in the rubble of late petrocapitalism.

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Mr Ho has a series of ideas and a fascinating know-how which would not displease the philosopher Matthew Crawford who, in Praise of the carburetor (La Découverte, 2010), invited us to indulge in manual arts such as mechanics to find meaning in our real situation and mastery of our existence in the face of the absurdity of a consumer society condemning us to an alienating passivity .

Pistons, connecting rods and other cylinder heads come to life under the expert hand of Tran Long Ho. Here he is methodically undertaking the cleaning of his outboard motor. Bolt by bolt. An art of (mechanical) disassembly served by an art of accelerated (video) editing.

Exhilarating impression of ease

The pleasure that comes from watching this time lapse is multiple. First, the exhilarating impression of ease. The exercise seems affordable even to those who are discouraged by the prospect of having to deal with a dozen screws of different sizes in four or five steps from changing the battery of a laptop themselves or repairing the smallest household appliance that has fallen into disrepair.

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