Unforgettable Memories

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Ngày xửa, ngày xưa, xưa ơi thật là xưa (a day in the past no one remembers exactly day), a girl was born in a quite village, located nearby a burial hill, and about three months later, she lived with heavy rains all a week and the biggest flood. When she grew up and went to school, she rode her bicycle under rains, and she came to class in a wet uniform. She was a witness for her mother’s tears, flowing through a hard living of her mother. The girl was called nàng tiên nước – a water fairy because she often cried, and tears passed through her country. About 10 years ago, her legs were put in Bangladesh, and she also poured this land with her tears. The water fairy created heavy rains at beginning of the rainy season in Chittagong, sunk into rain water. The girl is me.

In summer vacation (about June) each year, a new crop comes in extremely hot weather (over 350C), but farmers still have to mud, dig and harrow ground to plant new seeds. If you stay about an hour in paddy field under the weather, your sweat drops in your forehead will fall down, absorb into mud, become fertile to support nutrition for plant’s growing up; and my parents, too. My parents worked in the paddy field when cocks began singing at the first time to darkness covering anywhere. Therefore, sweat drops absorbed my parents’ clothes as standing under rains, and I couldn’t count how much sweat my parents lose to finish heavy to produce rice, a main food in my family and sold to earn money to pay other daily expenses. However, I, a twelve-year-old girl, couldn’t understand my parent’s sweat because sometimes I hated my mother, her bamboo whips touching my body, her voice scolding me when I received 1 in Geography class. Although my mother hit me and I pained, she was more painful than me. She couldn’t cry, her face looking at other side, her tears running into her heart and keeping in her heart. In the night, my mother explained about her life without education, and I sat in silence with frogs’ and birds’ sounds. Later, almost lights in my house switched off; I learned alone in dark night with a small lamp and two tears. I wondered “Why don’t you learn yesterday?” “Lazy.” I wrote a line in my diary, “Mày nhớ con 1 này nhé, mẹ mày đã khóc nhiều lắm rồi đấy! Đừng tái phạm!” (Please, miss 1 – my mother’s tear and sweat run out! Don’t do again!) My mother was exhausted of works in paddy fields, housework and me; sweat’s drop from her forehead fell down and made her pillow wetly; therefore, I didn’t study because I like; I study because of my mother’s sweat. I tried to complete all my homework and prepare new lessons for next class until crock sang. I felt cold likewise my parents’ sweats falling down in my skin, and my mouth tasting salty. I warmed up with a fire from straw for dinner with vegetable and rice. An unclear advice was sent to me by ông Bụt – Mr. But, “you had better study harder to help my parents with your intelligence.” I suddenly woke up by my mother’s voice for breakfast before going to school. A breakfast with porridge and sugar was cook by my mother, my parents were hurry to go to paddy field, and I ate alone. I thought about Mr. But’s speech, I wondered, “my parents did all due to me, but what did I do for my parents until now?”

In a day with pink sky and the sun lying behind mountains, I noticed my mother’s wet eyes with two tears in her face, her eyes looking at far to the skyline, and maybe she was worrying about her children’s living without new clothes and much food to eat for three meals. That night, my mother couldn’t stop tearing while looking at my eldest sister was studying, and she said to my eldest sister in snobs, “Tomorrow you stop going to school and work in a factory because I and your father don’t earn enough money to pay school fee and other daily expenses for you and your younger brother and sisters.” My mother tears kept in her throat and she couldn’t speak up any words, and my mother and sister’s tears still fell down like waterfalls, especially my eldest sister couldn’t stop crying when her classmates and friends asked her that, “why didn’t you go to class, Tuoi (my eldest sister)?” My elder sister couldn’t answer her friends’ question, and she avoided her friends’ eyes. When my mother observed her child’s tears flowing to neck, her eyes becoming wet, her voice ringing out between blue sky and huge land, “why am I too poor?” Parents always hoped that their children would have a better living than theirs, and so did my mother, what would children do if they weren’t also educated as their parent? No way, my mother only could encourage my sister to work hard in a factory to earn money and support school fee for my sister, my brother and me to go to school. I couldn’t stop my tears whenever I remembered my eldest sister, and this story was a determination to advice for me to effort in studying because I had better chances than my elder sister. I had to study not only due to my future but also due to my eldest sister’s. My mother’s and sister’s tears sent messages from her hard life to me to advice a stupid student as me to overcome challenges in my studying to find successfulness.

My living at a distant place from home is currently like my brother, studying at a university at a province nearby our home in the past, not visiting home frequently. Therefore, my brother wrote and sent letters to keep touch and share with our family, and my mother read my brother’s letter, her eyes bringing glasses and her face having two tears. I wondered, “Why does my mother cry when she read my brother’s letters?” In a day, I took a letter, sat alone, read, cried more than my mother. I couldn’t read the last line in the letter, “Mẹ ơi, nhớ gửi tiền cho con nhé bởi vì tháng này con đã hết tiền rồi” (Mom, you remember sending me money because I ran out money earlier in this month). At that moment, I ignored my family’s situation because my mothers, my sister and I grounded fish at markets and peeled peach stones late in the evening to earn money. Nevertheless, meals only had rice and fish sauce or salt. My family lived at empty hill without neighborhood; we didn’t know who we could borrow money, sent to my brother. My parents decided to sell more rice, and in that year, my family’s rice box was empty. Thus, my family ate porridge for all day. Now, if I send letter as my brother, maybe the situation will be worse than before because they are older, and they can’t work in the paddy field. How much can my parents borrow to send to me?

I am a young girl living far my home, so my heart contains more feelings. However, my emotions came outside with tears when I missed my family, my home and especially three my cute nephews because I never hugged and kissed two of them. Later, I wrote my dreams on papers and I folded as planes, bringing my tears and my dreams, sending them to my family and my friends. Moreover, now Chittagong was staying in a rain season with the first rains, and it was similar to a rainy season in my home about from September to November each year. Therefore, I thought about my hometown, my tears following rains’ drops when sitting and looking at rains’ drops and the rains came in my face (an unforgettable felling). In addition, I cried when I saw strong men, their strength moving richsaw without rain cloth, their face fighting against with heavy rains’ drops, their legs dipping rain water in the streets in Chittagong. I thought about my old parents, not strength as before, what my parents did to fight against floods and were doing for a new crop under hot weather. Sorry, parents. This child couldn’t go back to help parents. I hope I can take care of my parents in the nearest day. Please, wait me!

These tears are determination for a successful life of the young girl as me. I often remember sweats in my parent’s body and my mother’s and eldest sister’s tears. Although sweats and tears are also water, they can’t extinguish fires; however, the water’s drops keep fires for my heart. I try to work hard not to receive the worst mark, 1 in my life from the first time. My sweats from my parent’s body and tears on my mother’s eyes teach me to be patient to wait a new improvement in my future.

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My brother, My Best Friend

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According to definition about identity in Interpreted Literature 4 class, Mr John determines his identity that he is a human, and so am I. Therefore, I also express feelings or emotions through chatting with other people, and especially, I often talk to my best friend, my elder brother. He had been born nine years before I was born, I chose my brother as my best friend with more reasons. First, he, an advisor, taught me to write the first letters in my notebook, read Vietnamese alphabet, plus, subtract, multiply, and divide with small rocks and single and complex numbers when I put my legs in primary school. My brother and I cooked meals for my family, cleaned our house, planted and looked after vegetable and flowers in our garden together because my parents worked in the paddy field in the early morning to late in the evening to earn money to pay our school fee. In addition, he and I also played with balls, joked with water, jumped with plastic ropes and captured fish, snails and craps by jogging through the paddy fields in the afternoon, and I always sat behind him in the old bicycle when we came to school. After that, I could drive our bicycle to secondary school, he studied and worked in a hired room in Binh Dinh, so I only could write letters for him to tell my diary. Third, when I wore a white ao dai (a traditional cloth in Vietnam) to come in high school, I still didn’t stay at our house because he had to build his occupation; therefore, I couldn’t meet him. I only continue writing letter or call him on the phone to share. Sometimes, he bought moon cake, books and teddy bear to send to me. Final, when I chose the university to join in the entrance exam, he advised me with his experiences. I couldn’t forget the scene when I said that, I passed AUW entrance exam, and then he jumped up, ran quickly to announce for my parents and my sister. Now, he is still my best friend, who sits and hears me to tell about my life at AUW, Chittagong, Bangladesh, where I lose 48 hours to lie in train, and sit plane and bus from my home.

Forgetting Floods

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Phu Yen, a small area in central Vietnam, has harsh weather with two seasons, rainy and sunny, and it often has at least one flood per year, some years had two or two more floods. Flood causes hundreds of deaths, damages thousands of houses and destroys crops on the vast paddy fields. My house and neighborhoods’ often live with flood in November every year, so we always hope that next year, there won’t have any floods; otherwise, we would lose house stuff, cattle, and paddy fields. Especially, I was born in the flooded year, and when I was three months old, I lived in the most terrible flood in my village’s history. The year was very awful for my family without clothes to wear and foods to eat because all things were sunk into the flooded water. Moreover, all my family lived on the house roof because flooded water rose near the roof after a heavy rain. I wish I could control floods every year so as to improve people’s livings in my hometown.

Everything occurs with their personal reasons, and floods are, too. The first reason, local people in my hometown are very poor, they earn money for their livings and families by cutting trees in the forest to make firewood or coal to sell in the markets and use to cook foods. Forest is destroyed day by day, it become empty, and then when it rains heavily, water will flow quickly from forest to delta to create flood because forest doesn’t have flora to prevent water flowing. Later, delta will have floods without forecast, so people won’t have more times to move all stuffs to safe places. Second, dams and hydropower were often full before having heavy rain. Therefore, if it continued raining in a week, in order to protect dams and hydropower, managers would open doors to discharge water, and then floods would appear in delta, but there were some announcements from television or radio before. Other reason is super development of industry with hundreds of factories, which prevents flooded water from flowing into ocean, so flooded water will stay in the deltas for a long time to destroy farms. If there weren’t much factories and if local people didn’t cut tree in the forest, our villages wouldn’t suffer floods every year.

If I were a business woman or a governor in my village’s government, I would have plans to reduce floods, and later I would control floods not to happen every year. First, if I were good at Politic, Philosophy and Economic at AUW, I would become a business woman. If I were a business successful woman, I would solve jobless for all local people by creating more jobs at their house or at villages by handmade workings. If they had jobs to do, they wouldn’t have more time to go to the forest to cut trees. And if they had money for their living expenses, they wouldn’t come in forest to make firewood to sell in the market. Therefore, the forest will grow up to absorb rainy water, and delta won’t have huge floods. Second, in my country, there are many dams and hydropower to contain water when raining, but they didn’t have great plans to open and close doors in suitable situations in the rainy season. If I were a manager in the dam or hydropower, I would allow opening doors to store water for dry season at the climax time of rainy season. Especially, I would accept for water to go through paddy field to save famers’ crops when having drought in dry season. Moreover, if I were one of the land planers in my hometown, I would agree to give companies with small lands to build buildings, factories, and highways; otherwise, they would be built in the deserts or hills, or empty places without trees. One of the most important solutions is the method, which can create more jobs for jobless people and protect forests by paying salaries for people planting and taking care in the empty forests. If my solutions are fulfilled in my country, the floods could reduce and stop.  If people in my village didn’t have public activities or plans to protect environment, people as we always would stay with foods every year.

Another flooded season is coming, but we still don’t see any activities from the government; otherwise, we live floods forever from my generation to other generations. I hope I can do all my plans to save local people’s living in my villages in the nearest future. At present, I always wish, wish, wish, hope, hope and hope for a peaceful life without facing floods for all people in my village, and near areas.

A New Brain

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A young girl living in poor village with vast paddy field is hard-working to go to school every morning, and after school, she often helps her mother with peeling peach stone, and grounding fish at the village market to earn little money for her family’s finance and personal expenses. Her family works from early morning to the late evening in the paddy field, but they don’t have enough money to pay her tutorial fee, so she doesn’t have any learn more classes outside the school. She only knows the road to go from her home to school, and go back late in the afternoon. Therefore, she doesn’t have a chance to contact to modern life with the most smart technologies such as, computer and Internet. In a day, she picks up some information about a scholarship from her far relative, and then she is quickly to get full scholarship to come to new place, Chittagong, Bangladesh to study at an international university, Asian University for Women (AUW). Thus, she changes her living into a friendly community with many people who come from other countries in Asian with different cultures, customs and habits. In order to live new environment with completely strange people, she opens her mind to study new knowledge, which she didn’t learn before; and a new brain is established for intelligent living in the next time.

A shocked culture when she comes to a new place, Bangladesh is the first experiences in her life. In a community with students from various cultures, there are many students from other countries living together in a room, so she always studies to have proper behaviors with friends in every culture. She studies not only in the past but also at present and in the future, and she has more information and understandings about culture of some countries in Asia to support for her mind. Therefore, her mind opens larger to finish lessons every day. Moreover, she changes all habits in living to be suitable with friends and place to live in different places and other roommates. Especially, in an international university as AUW, she is taught about geography and history with quizzes about names and general comprehension of all countries in the world, a good opportunity for her to expand her knowledge. At the university, she has a clever living with Internet and computer in studying which she didn’t know in a small village, Hoa Tri, in her hometown, Vietnam.

A new method in studying, which she is introduced by her teachers through every class is one of the most important ways to set up her new brain. She doesn’t use Vietnamese at AUW for living and studying as in her hometown in the past, and she studies all things with English, which is difficult for her to listen, speak, read, and write. Therefore, she studies hard to understand by English in her classes and communicate to her friends and teachers. Besides, before she only studied as a parrot with taking notes in all classes under explaining of her teachers, and later she learned carefully with each words and did quizzes like all information, which she remembers. Now, her teachers only introduce for her with outlines for every lesson, and she fills in all outlines by researching on the Internet or reading books. She is free to study what she likes, loves or wants by herself. She almost studies outside classes to fill her mind with information that she didn’t know, and in the classes, the teachers check her improving and efforts to add to new data for the mind. She also studies to have a critical thinking for almost topic in the discussion classes, group workings, workshops and debates with other people in her classes. A new method, self-study, is easier to contact to and learn about new knowledge to update technologies and change thoughts for her mind.

An intelligent living is advantage’s environment to study and add to information to open mind and set up a new brain with awareness. An outdated girl from a remote area in Vietnam changed, is changing and will change the mind with data, which save every day. There are many new things that occur through every second, so she always learns new things to changes her living and mind, and she is me.

Voted Laws for Women in Vietnam

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I am a Vietnam citizen, and now I am over eighteen years old. Therefore, I have right to choose people who will become leaders in my country. The fact is that I don’t know anything about women rights in Vietnam. Before I didn’t recognize necessarily of studying women’s right in Vietnam’s education, but in Vietnam, teachers in the school didn’t teach me about an importance when Vietnamese women are joined in election for the government. In short, what did I learn about women human rights from Vietnam’s education? And the answer is nothing.

In the Reading and Writing class, my teacher teaches us about women human rights, she shows for us to see about importance of voted laws for women. I have more reading homework to increase knowledge about women’s rights in the world, because my school only has female students, Asian University for Women. The school creates an international education for women, where educates for female students where come from twelve countries of the Asia such as, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, China, Burma and so on. The proposal of my school is to create women leaders in the future for their communities, so we need to know and understand clearly about women human rights in the world and in own country. In the class, I learn lots of about human rights for women, and I have more knowledge about this problem. I understand about fate and responsibilities of women in the society in the past and now. It is very essential to know about women human rights because it helps us to understand about standard living of women in our country which is compared with other countries in the world.

I am serious when I go to online resources to find about voted laws for women in Vietnam, and I can’t search any information on the Internet to complete my timeline for homework in Reading and Writing. I go to Google.com to find some information about voted laws for women in Vietnam, but I can’t find anything except the age to join in election of a Vietnam citizen is 18 years old, and the age of an independent candidate in the government is 21 years old. I go to some pages by Vietnamese, and I have a little bit information about Vietnam women in the first time of election. They went to vote in the first time in 1946, and that on. I am angry, maybe before I don’t note about rights of women when they go to vote, so I can don’t study. But now, I really want to know about voted laws for women, but I can’t find anything to study. What will happen to me in the next time when I don’t have any knowledge about women human rights in Vietnam? I am a Vietnam citizen, and what I will introduce and I am proud about women rights in my country.

A day later, my teacher send for us the links where contain voted laws of women in Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Vietnam, I feel shame about laws for women in Vietnam before my friends. In the link about voted laws for women in Vietnam, I receive a pdf file with two pages, but it doesn’t relate to the voted laws for women. Other countries have web pages which contain all timeline about vote laws for women. Why does their country have, but my country doesn’t have? This is a big question which I don’t know to answer, after that I ask some my sisters, they are too. My sisters also don’t know more about voted law for women in Vietnam. I think that why doesn’t Vietnam’s government concern to rights of women? I only think about it, but I don’t know who I will ask to answer this question. I, my sisters, and my friends who come from Vietnam are very difficult to study and understand more about women human rights in Vietnam. I want to learn, but I don’t have any true documentaries to study. I feel sad and shame with my friends who come from other countries of Asia about laws for women.

To sum up, I feel very disappointed about the government in my country, Vietnam. I am proud about my country lots where has equalities between women and men in the society. Now, my proudness is decreasing a half in my heart. I don’t know what I know about women human right in my country. If late, there is a person who asks me about women rights in my countries, what I will answer for this question. OMG! I can’t image something which will happen. I hope Vietnam’s government will have web pages where show clearly about women rights for student as me to come in and learn more in the near future.

A Terrible Day

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Have you ever had a group working in class and outside class? Before, sometimes I have working for group, but now I am studying at AUW, I feel group working is very difficult for me whenever I have.  Because everybody is an ideas, but some people go to the meeting’s place lately, and other people didn’t come because they are busy with suddenly jobs for individual. All members in the group always have reasons to delay or cancel the meeting of the group. In short, the group jobs are very difficult for students, and I think that I need to do more regular in group exercise to reduce worried when having the group working.

I am very sad and worried when the next performance of the group will come nearly in the next week. I don’t know the reason why I am too sad and worried about this problem. I feel tired and a little angry after every time I have a discuss group. I want to do well, but I can’t because I can’t do all things for all people in my group. I really want to help every people who will do with all your power, but she can’t do following what I want to help them. Because this is a working of group, I can’t work hard to finish the whole working. I think I can finish by myself, but I can’t because I also have my friends, they are similar to me, so they also have personal ideas for themselves. This is group work for the performance in the class with a scene in the play. It only act to show emotions on the face from a quote which I choose from a play, and we must explain it that why we choose the scene. The job is very simple, but when it puts in the group, it becomes very difficult for all members to understand and work effective in every meeting.

In addition to, there are about five people for every group, so it is not easy to have a decision with the full agreements of all members. First, about the problem choosing a suitable time and place, I am not a person who decides them. In the morning, although I am very tired, I still get up and come to the place where my group discusses before. The week is very near the final exam and dues of final papers, all people must do hard to finish all things for papers and homework before the classes begin. Therefore, we lack of sleepy because all the week I don’t have much times to sleep because we uses these times for completing homework and assignments. In the place of the meeting, there are only two people, I and my friends, Mary (it is not real name of her), so we discuss about another time today to have a different meeting. After that, I come to my room, and I use my sister’s computer to compose email to send all members in my group. I have a long email with my ideas, what I am going to do in the discussion group’s meeting tonight. In the email, I write that, all people must read context from p.47-50 of the play, A Doll’s House and choose a quote following the personal ideas about this scene. If they have any ideas will reply for me to discuss about changing working, but I don’t receive any email what they reply. Maybe I think they agree with my ideas, and they will agree with my ideas. Briefly, it is not simple to have all members of the group in the certain place on time for a meeting.

Moreover, I can’t speak English fluently for other people to understand clearly my ideas and vice verse, sometimes, I don’t understand what they try to express to me, and it is terrible for me to work in group. In addition to, I don’t have potential to lead every people who will follow my speech and my ideas. Although I don’t know all things for the group working, I have the ideas to help every people to show their ideas in the group to practice the presentation when having audiences. With this problem, I have a plan that every people will choose a quote to explain for all members in the group and after that we will choose a quote what we think it is advantage to present in the class. The meeting tonight begins, but almost people don’t have any quote except me. My friend, Anna, she talks that I misunderstand about homework for discussion group, she argues with me. The whole group will choose one quote to explain in the class, she doesn’t agree with my ideas for group’s working. She seems angry with me. After that, I talk that I agree with her idea about the group’s homework, and I ask her what we should do in this night if we don’t have personal quote. Later, she answers that “She doesn’t know anything, the personal quote is every difficult for her, so she can’t find and explain any quotes in the scene. To sum up, I think that a person can do all things if they have efforts for what they do, but laziness only will have an answer for all questions, “I don’t know.”

The meeting continues cancelling because we can’t discuss if some people doesn’t reading the play and preparing for the group working. Therefore, I said that, I want every people will think about one quote in the night and in the evening tomorrow we will discuss about these quotes and choose one quote. She still doesn’t agree with my ideas, and I debate with her about what we should do if we don’t have any personal quote. I don’t want to arrange for them following my quote because it is only my ideas. If they don’t think about the quote, they can’t explain this quote in the class. I really want to help them, but they can’t understand for my ideas, so I must accept to follow in their ideas that we stop in the time and have another meeting in afternoon tomorrow. Then I ask that what times and how long we have for the group working in the morning because we don’t have more time. Tomorrow, we have TOEFL exam and have a due for final assignment on Sunday, if we don’t have careful plan and work hard, we can’t do well for the next week. I arrange a careful plan to help me and other people in my group, but what I receive is anger and a negative attitude about me. I can accept about the attitude they think about me, but I can’t accept with the lazy attitude in the studying. Thus, I feel sad when I work with my classmate because my thoughts about my friends are changing following negative attitudes.

This is a tired day with worried about performance in the class and problems which I need to solve when I work group. With troubles, I meet today, I think it will be valuable experiences in the future in studying group. Group working always happens with many problems, but I want to practice it more regularly to have more experiences for my live in solving situations when working with many people.

What you wish we had gone over this semester?

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Before, I know to go on Google.com to find information, but I don’t know exactly what I should do from other sources. In this semester, I know what we should find following my topic. Especially, I know more about choosing courses in the next year when I am an undergraduate student. Through choosing a course, I have more ideas to choose a book what follow my favorite and read with all minds. I think I know more when I read the book which I choose, and then I should write a paper for my research question. When researching, my mind opens to figure out what I didn’t know before. Although I must work hard in the semester to finish the book and research question because it is new for me, I am happier when I know more about the course what I choose. I understand about the method which an undergraduate will have plans and work. I wishes I can free to read which I like because sometime the material of teacher which they give for me can be boring for me to read. Therefore it is difficult for me to open my mind to have more knowledge. I hope I have chance to reading what I didn’t know about the world which is happening around my live.