Illustration by Đào Quốc Huy Viet Nam News By Nguyễn Ngọc Đào Uyên A siren was echoing from the ferry landing. Hương was busy cooking. It was her daily chore, from early morning to late at night. When she lived with her parents, she did field work, and now with her husband’s family, she had to farm. She planted maize, beans, chili, pepper and cucumber. She was always busy, day in day out. But she was used to it. Every woman she knew was in the same boat. The pot of rice was boiling, spreading its fragrance around the room. She was in deep thought when she heard her husband clearing his throat: “I called you loads, but you didn’t answer! Dish the rice out, now! Oh, by the way, you’ll have to go to the parent-teacher meeting at school for Giao.” Having finished, Tánh, her husband turned and left. He strolled out of the house, leaving the revolting reek of alcohol behind. They had been married for years but she still wasn’t used to that smell. On their wedding night he was … [Read more...] about What a quiet ferry landing!
Viet Nam News The Suicide Elephant by Đỗ Quang Vinh As I stood on stage for the graduation ceremony of our university one morning, I still thought about the ill-fated elephant in the city zoo from six months ago. The animal's death was vivid in my mind, while the MC's introduction sounded totally meaningless. Snapping out of my day dream, I noticed a slender girl in front of me walking off the stage. Looking around, I saw I was alone on stage. The elephant killed itself on a weekend morning, a day that seemed like yesterday to me. I had been on a date with my sweetheart, driving her about on my motorcycle. After a ride along the streets, with her perched uncomfortably behind me, I decided to stop somewhere to relax. The park we normally went to was too crowded, as were our favourite cafes. It felt like our city had shrunk under the hot sun, with horns blaring and a stifling atmosphere. "Where should we go, darling?" I asked her. "What about the zoo? I haven't been there in a … [Read more...] about The Suicide Elephant
Viet Nam News by Tú Lệ It was a decision guaranteed to generate controversy, and it did. Nguyễn Thị Thành, a runner-up at the Miss Eco Tourism Vietnam contest, was disqualified recently because she had undergone dental surgery. She had broken the rules, but were the rules fair? This was the question. According to Point A, Clause 1, Article 10 of Decree No. 79/2012/NĐ-CP, and a recent circular guiding implementation of some of the Decree's provisions, beauty contest candidates in Việt Nam must possess natural beauty. So, whether an amateur or a professional model, you cannot be a contestant if you have undergone any plastic surgery. If any violations are detected, organizers will be held responsible and the contest can even have its license withdrawn. Does this rule level the playing field? When we compare the beauty of women within and outside the country, different criteria seem to apply. "I find that Vietnamese women are loved for their gracefulness, calmness and fair skin. … [Read more...] about An unkind cut? Or cutting edge beauty?
No was four years older than his wife Nuong, who grew up in the next village. She often went around the neighborhood to sell vegetables and meat. Once she went to sell things to No's family. When No's father saw the girl's bright, gentle face, he quickly joked: "Eh, girl, do you want to be a daughter-in-law in my family?" Nuong smiled and said nothing. She had come several times to sell things to No's family, but she had not seen him yet. After some time, finally, she saw his face and thought: if only he could be her husband! Now, three years after their marriage, they were yet to have a child. They had gone to visit a doctor in the hospital, but to no avail. They could not afford any treatment in the hospital, so they went to the village pagoda to pray for good luck. To earn a living, Nuong still sold vegetables and meat from village to village. Eventually they were able to afford a motorcycle, meaning that Nuong could sell things farther away. But one day when they went to the … [Read more...] about To the world of nothingness
by Don Thi Tao First Tale A New Century This is a story about my mother and her family. It begins a long time ago in the 1890s, in a small town in An Duong District. The governor of the district was a man named Ca. He lived with a concubine, and together they had three children, all of them daughters. The women worked in the village, planting mulberry trees and rearing silkworms. It was an idyllic life, until one day, the woman discovered that Ca had been unfaithful to her. The same day she took her three children and took them to Ven Village in Hai Phong, where she had some friends. Her daughters were named Mai, Cuc and Truc. As they grew older, they developed into beautiful young women and started drawing attention from a lot of suitors in their village and beyond. The eldest daughter Mai was the first to fall in love. She married a carpenter from Nam Dinh and together they had one boy and one girl in three years. Cuc was married shortly after to a man named Su, the son of … [Read more...] about The Fairy Tales Mother Tells