By Quoc Hung – Translated by Kim Khanh
By Quoc Hung – Translated by Kim Khanh
Some families coming from far away brought sedge mats and camped outside the temple since Tuesday night, waiting for the worshipping ceremony.
Vietnamese citizens celebrate the death anniversary of the Hung Kings (2879-258 BCE) on the 10th day of the third lunar month each year. This year, the day falls on Wednesday, April 21 on the Gregorian calendar.
A family brings chicken and sticky rice as offerings.
The festival was recognized by UNESCO in 2012 as an “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity”.
At 7 a.m, the incense offering ceremony began with a procession heading to the Thuong (Upper) Temple on the Nghia Linh Mountain. The participants, dressed in traditional attire, climbed up 300 steps, taking about half an hour to reach the t emple.
As a Covid -19 precaution, authorities cut out some ceremonies and numerous entertainment activities at this year’s festival.
The police had set up barricades on either side of the road leading to the temple to keep the crowds at bay. On loudspeakers, they called on pilgrims to comply with Covid -19 prevention measures.
The festival took place even as neighboring Cambodia and nearby Southeast Asian countries like Thailand and the Philippines are battling their biggest outbreaks yet, with highly infectious Covid -19 variants.
At 8 a.m. the crowd started flocking to the temple, prompting police and military forces to quickly divide them and prevent the situation from turning chaotic.
Some people carried children on their shoulders as they waited.
According to the management board of the Hung Kings Temple, more than 20,000 people attended this year’s festival.
Regardless of the weather, twice a day, Mrs. Hai Tri stands by the signboard in the middle of the crowded lane to help students get home safely from school.
The human ‘mobile sign’
The scorching, suffocating and dusty summer road of Hung Nhon (Hamlet 3, Tan Kien Commune, Binh Chanh District, Ho Chi Minh City) at 11pm does not keep Ms. Nguyen Thi Bach Phuong (Ms. Hai Tri, 62) from going out to offer students of Tan Kien Secondary School support as they struggle to cross the crowded roads.
Grabbing her conical leaf hat, she rushes out onto the noisy lanes jam- packed with vehicles holding a sign: “Please stop for a second and let students cross the street”. Whenever a large car approaches with no intention of slowing down, she points the board towards it to ask for giving roads. When she notices that the two lines of cars has slowed down, she graciously leads the students across until they are safe, she then motions for the drivers to move normally.
Year after year, Ms. Hai Tri has become a “mobile traffic sign” to help students cross the street safely.
The small road from Tan Kien Secondary School to Hung Nhon Street. After school, students have to stand here for a long time trying to cross the road.
What she’s doing is of her own accord and comes from her love for the children. Her house is opposite the road from Tan Kien Secondary School leading to Hung Nhon Street.
She said: “One day, I saw the children standing on the other side of the street for a very long time looking at each other and not daring to pass. This road is quite narrow with 2-way traffic. At noon, there are more cars, trucks, and containers, so it is dangerous with no traffic signs.”
Some of them even pleaded for help so she ran out to them. After that day Mrs. Hai Tri wondered how to assist these kids with road crossing. She soon decided to take a pen and scribble on a cardboard, then waited every day for students to finish school, holding a doodle board in the middle of the traffic lane, leading the students through. In fear of what was written on the board as too small to be seen by the drivers, she even tried to bold the text with a felt pen.
Offering help, even without money
To help students cross the street safely, Mrs. Hai Tri hang a cardboard which writes: “Stop for students to cross the road”. Later, the parent of a student presented her a professionally-design signboard.
The students now feel more secure when crossing the street. Parents are no longer worried about their children being in traffic jams after class.
Seeing that the children were more confident and bravely crossed the street, Mrs. Hai Tri didn’t think there was any need to hold a traffic control sign anymore. But one day, the students, after crossing the street, came to her again and asked: “Grandma, why haven’t you been holding the signboard to lead us across the street for several days? I’m afraid of cars.”
Mrs. Hai Tri said: “I was deeply moved by that. For now, I think I will do it all the time as the children are used to having me ask for help. If they do not see me, they will look forward to it and dare not pass.
“I don’t see myself as much help for them. It’s only a little time and effort but the children are safe and happy. People have money, they go to charity. I don’t, so I devote my effort and love and time,” she added.
After school, she holds the board on the street to regulate traffic, helping children cross the street safely.
While some view her as a weirdo doing a “strange thing” or laugh at how she’s not minding her own business, a great many others highly appreciate what she’s doing for the children.
“I got laughed at a lot but also loved and cheered. Many parents see me, nod and say thank you. There was a parent named Tam who often picked up his children, saw me holding a handwritten cardboard board, and gifted me a more professional and beautiful sign. I offered some money back but he refused to take it, saying that he just wanted to pay it forward,” said Mrs. Hai Tri.
However, being kind is not always easy. There have been countless times she was shouted at and scolded for standing in the middle of the road by reckless drivers who refused to slow down.
“It does take my breath away standing between two lanes of vehicles. I have no right to stop anyone’s car. I just want to kindly ask them to speed down a bit so the students can cross the street, and then they can keep moving,” she said.
“The traffic in this section is quite complicated. After school, students and parents at two primary and secondary schools in Tan Kien commune pour in a lot. This road has no signs or traffic lights, so it is very dangerous.
One parent said: “I could not rest my mind if it’s not for the signboard and Ms. Hai Tri helping my child cross the street. We hope that the authorities do some research and arrange the traffic lights here to make the traffic circulation safer and easier.”
HÀ NỘI — Party General Secretary Nguyễn Phú Trọng has sent a message of sympathy to Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) President and Prime Minister of Cambodia Samdech Techo Hun Sen over the resurgence of COVID-19 in the country.
The Vietnamese Party leader, on behalf of the Party, State, and people of Việt Nam and in his own capacity, offered fraternal sentiments and heart-felt sympathy to Cambodia over the losses caused by the pandemic.
Noting that COVID-19 continues to seriously impact human health and every aspect of socio-economic life in all countries, including Việt Nam and Cambodia, General Secretary Trọng said Việt Nam has been keeping a close watch on the pandemic situation in the neighbouring country and deeply understands the difficulties Cambodia is facing.
“We value the measures that the CPP and the Cambodia Government have undertaken to prevent and control the COVID-19 pandemic in the recent past, and believe that under the CPP’s sound leadership and the drastic governance of the Cambodian Government led by Samdech Techo Hun Sen, along with the support and unity of Cambodian people, Cambodia will successfully contain the pandemic,” Trọng wrote.
He went on to say that Việt Nam has implemented a host of strong and timely measures to mobilise the involvement of the entire political system and the entire people in containing the pandemic. Despite the complicated developments, Việt Nam has so far basically curbed the pandemic.
This outcome has been appreciated by both the international and domestic community, General Secretary Trọng said, affirming that the Vietnamese Party and State will continue with drastic measures to contain and minimise sources of infections, detect infected patients early and promptly treat them to make a swift recovery, while implementing a vaccination campaign.
The Vietnamese Party leader stressed that with the tradition of solidarity and mutual support between the two Parties, States and people, Việt Nam is always ready to cooperate with and support and share experiences with Cambodia in the fight against COVID-19, so that the two countries can stabilise the situation as early as possible.
He used the occasion to thank the CPP and the Cambodian Government for providing COVD-19 vaccinations for staff members at Việt Nam’s representative missions and Vietnamese students, as well as support for the community of Cambodians of Vietnamese origin in COVID-19 prevention and control.
On the occasion of the Chol Chnam Thmey festival, the Vietnamese Party leader wished Hun Sen, the CPP leadership and Cambodian people a happy new year with good health and prosperity. — VNS
HÀ NỘI — A total of 14,386 people, mostly frontline medical staff, received COVID-19 vaccine shots on Tuesday, bringing the total number of vaccinated people in the country to 106,929 in 27 localities in the two phases of the vaccination drive, according to a report released on Wednesday by the health ministry.
Việt Nam is pressing ahead with the 800,000 AstraZeneca doses received from COVAX Facility in the second phase of the national vaccination campaign (with the first phase using 110,000 AstraZeneca doses bought from the manufacturer) and plans to administer all of the doses before May 31, the expiration date of the batch from COVAX.
Also on Tuesday, Tuyên Quang, Bình Định and Vĩnh Long provinces started their inoculation campaigns.
Việt Nam recorded no new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday morning, keeping the national tally at 2,801, according to the Ministry of Health.
Out of the total patients, 2,490 have been given the all-clear, while the death toll remains at 35.
Among patients still under treatment, 12 have tested negative for the coronavirus once, 11 twice and 17 three times.
Meanwhile, 39,385 people are under quarantine nationwide, including 514 at hospitals, 23,870 at concentrated quarantine facilities and 14,991 at their residences.
The northern province of Hải Dương, the hotspot in Việt Nam’s third wave from late January to March, has went 27 days without any new domestically transmitted infections, while major cities like Hà Nội, Hải Phòng, Quảng Ninh, HCM City have gone more than two months without new local cases. VNS
This is the oldest case of giving birth at the hospital, said Dr Mai Quang Trung, head of the General Planning Department of the hospital.
The woman and her husband have two children, one of whom unfortunately died in a traffic accident long ago. Despite their age, the couple had longed to have a new baby, but tried in vain.
In 2010 the couple visited Thanh Hoa Obstetrics Hospital to ask for help. At the time, the woman was 60 and her husband was 68.
“It was a difficult case as the woman had suffered from postmenopausal syndrome for seven years while her husband’s semen had no longer produced any sperms. I initially refused,” Dr Trung recalled. “As they insisted, we decided to give them a try”.
Because the woman’s ovary had shrunk, the couple had to apply for an egg to do artificial insemination with the husband’s sperm, then transplant the embryo back to her womb to become pregnant.
Doctors operated the husband’s testicles using the TESE technique to find the fine sperm. Through semen culture, the sperm improved qualitatively during young adulthood and was then injected directly into the egg.
At the end of August 2020, doctors began to transfer the embryo. Luckily, pregnancy passed and the embryo developed very well. Into 32 weeks of pregnancy, the expectant mother was threatened with pre-eclampsia and was hospitalized for monitoring.
Four weeks later on April 3, doctors indicated a cesarean section to avoid risks to both mother and baby. A handsome 2.2kg boy was born shortly afterwards.
The woman and her son were discharged from hospital after two-week stay in hospital.
The 61-year-old woman is one of the very few women over the age of 60 giving birth in Vietnam.
Previously, a woman, 60, hailing from Bac Giang province, gave birth to a 2.7kg son at 37 weeks pregnant. Notably, the woman exclusively breastfed her baby until the boy was 2 years old.