“Mum, I’ve made up my mind to give birth to a baby out of wedlock,” read a message displayed on Linh’s cellphone screen that she intended to send to her mother. Following this, she planned to write her many more encouraging remarks as follows: “Our society is now more open-minded than it was yesterday”, or “No more prejudice against an unmarried young girl with child”, or “You won’t feel ashamed of my pregnancy when meeting our neighbours, when I’m far, far away from you”, or “Don’t worry about me because I can manage everything here myself”, and so on. But on second thought, Linh only put down a short explanation on the display of her handset. The reason was, in her opinion, that her mother would hardly grasp their meaning because she has not been herself since the day her husband gave her up. Like so many other young men of their village, Linh’s father went away during a period of hunger to try his luck at a promising gold mine in a faraway mountainous cave when Linh’s little sister had just seen the light. That was the motivating force for him to embark on such a risky adventure. In…
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