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BTSO, A New Turning Point_Transl by Hoang Hai Ha

Another assignment by Hai Ha Hoang. Welcome to the Club!

Hai Ha Hoang's Blog

“Trở về điểm số 0- một khởi đầu mới”

Nếu có ai đó nói với tôi rằng tôi là một người tham vọng, đam mê công việc. Tôi sẽ phủ nhận điều đó bởi vì t không nghĩ rằng mình như vậy. Nhưng tôi phải thừa nhuận tôi là một người tham công tiếc việc. Và làm việc khiến tôi cảm thấy vui vẻ.

Trên thực tế, tôi thích làm những việc có tổ chức và sắp xếp cẩn thận. Vậy nên, đọc một quyển từ điển mang lại cho tôi nhiều niềm vui, bởi vì tất cả những từ ngữ trong đó được định nghĩa rõ ràng và có hệ thống, chữ này nối tiếp chữ kia, giống như đống quần áo trong tủ của tôi, được sắp xếp theo màu sắc, kích cỡ, chất liệu và mục đích sử dụng.

Tại công ty, tôi cũng yêu thích việc…

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Translation Assignments_links

SBI Training Solutions

Hi Group Members,


As part of my efforts to promote Vietnamese talents, I am sharing with you this first series of 12 articles I wrote entitled

“Back to Square One – Some Reflections on Communication”.

Translations in Vietnamese are done by Diemmy Truong, group leader of DENG-4-MBA.

Look for categories: “translation assignment” and “courses”.

Have a nice week.

Prof. Anh Tho Andres

Cac ban theo doi ban dich tieng Viet cua Diemmy Truong, group leader cua nhom DENG-4-MBA.

Ban nao muon thu tai dich tieng Anh qua tieng Viet co the nop bai cho co Anh Tho len tai khoan hoc sinh cua minh va se nhan duoc bonus point cho khoa hoc toi.

Cô Anh Tho

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Translation assignments Reminder

NOTE TO ENG-4-MBA Participants:

In the Forum for Creativity (FORUM-4-CREATIVITY) page, especially created to start a dialogue between participants to this first class, I invite ALL OF YOU to announce your WP Blog under the space dedicated to YOUR contribution, and ON MY SIDE, I will recommend, as we go along, samples of creativity found on FB, and other socio-media platform.

Don’t forget to announce your translation assignment for week ONE on this page to share it with your class mates.

Looking forward to hearing from your stories. Have a nice day.


Forum for Creativity #12

ENG-4-MBA Week-12 Translation Assignment

Deadline for submission: 10 days from date of reception.
Sample of translation available for your self-study. View HERE.

Note #12. Back to Square One, A New Turning Point – Being good, by Anita H.,
posted on her profile on LinkedIn:


Dear LinkedIN friends,

I found a small note I wrote some years ago, about ‘Being good’ which I would like to share with you.


First I would like to share with you this link on Lotus flowers, sign of purity in Buddhism. These pictures are the most beautiful piece of art I ever see.

I have at my desk a calendar of the Dalai Lama Teachings entitled “Insight from the Dalai Lama” which I flip through, to read a nice verse a day. I think the Dalai Lama will never know who I am, and I most probably will never have the opportunity to see him. Nonetheless, reading his insights keep me on the right track of ‘being good‘.

Some incidents in my youth remind me of the impact which other people, by their kind attention, have brought a significant change in my life.

I remember very clearly one day – at age 8 or so, that is about 50 years ago – I was playing badminton with my sister in the courtyard of my house, in my hometown, Dalat, in Vietnam, and the ball fell in the middle of the street. There was an American soldier who was walking by with an interpreter, he picked up the ball, came up to our courtyard, and gave it to us, with a smile, and walked away. The only word I knew in English was ‘thank you’. I guess that was what motivated me to learn English to speak more to other American soldiers who were very friendly to us. Since then, I have learned more languages, and am doing interpretation in 5 languages (at least) at some points of my professional life. My life has changed thanks to that friendly attitude.

Another incident that I remember was that I was laughing with my father in the store where my parents owned, then suddenly an American soldier (?) came in our store, and said to me, ‘Oh, you are such a beautiful girl‘ and took a picture of me and walked away, smiling. I was wearing something pink, and had long hair and had a beautiful sun tan. I still remember the look of admiration in his eyes, and the tone which he expressed his exclamation, although I was only ten by then, and was not beautiful in Vietnamese standards, but that compliment and the picture he took from me, gave me the confidence in my looks and shaped my behavior with other people around me – until today.

It was 1968, the toughest years for American soldiers in Vietnam. We were living in the heart of the war, with helicopters over our heads, fireworks lighting most of the horizon every night followed with heavy bombings somewhere at distance, resulting in losses of life and turmoil almost daily. Yet, my parents, in that chaos, made sure we had a very good childhood, that we, as children never lacked of anything, from shelter, to clothing, to access to the best education, to feeling empathy to the sufferings of others around us, and to believe in the good deeds of nature and the omni presence of ‘Ong Troi’ (GOD) so as to preserve our young days of fear and hatred. Only much much later, reading through the history books and viewing movies or video on that period of the war, did I realize the terrible situations we were living in.

I guess my parents life must not be easy, to have five children to raise in the midst of the war, struggling between 2 jobs, to pay for the very high school fees for our French private education. Yet, I could not recall any complaints or any dispute between my parents, nor any refusal to help other less fortunate people around us. Indeed, my family home was always open to welcome all the beaten wives colleagues of my mother, or some runaway children who came to take refuge in our home, some staying with us sometimes for months, fed and lodged free-of-charge by my parents. At a very young age, I was acting as the ‘foreign relations officer’ of the family, bringing our guests who came to visit us to discover the city, looking up for schools or jobs for some young interns, preparing gifts for the neighboring colleagues for special occasions such as Vietnamese (Chinese) New Year, or dead anniversaries. There was no social welfare assistants, nor unemployment office, we barely functioned by solidarity, with the conviction that ‘good deeds bring good karma‘.

My mother says she is a good Buddhist follower. And my father said he was not, but he still drove us year-in year-out, on the first day of the (Chinese) New Year, to the Pagoda to allow us to do our offerings to the Buddha. And while we are doing our prayers, he would stay outside in the garden and would wait for us. But coming to understand the Buddhist teachings, I realize that my father was a GOOD BUDDHIST, although he never admitted himself that he WAS one. In fact, according to the Dalai Lama,

“The practice of morality – which means guarding your three doors of body, speech, and mind – from indulging in unwholesome activities, equips you with mindfulness and conscientiousness. Therefore, morality is the foundation of the Buddhist path.”

My father just did that. Throughout his life, I have never heard him say nor act in any negative or harmful ways to others, nor pronounce any remarks that show it.

A further look on Buddhism, as interpreted by Bikkhu Bodhi in his book “The Noble Eightfold Path,The Way to the End of Suffering” shows that

The essence of the Buddha’s teaching can be summed up in two principles: the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path. The first covers the side of doctrine, and the primary response it elicits is understanding; the second covers the side of discipline, in the broadest sense of that word, and the primary response it calls for is practice. In the structure of the teaching these two principles lock together into an indivisible unity called the dhamma-vinaya, the doctrine-and-discipline, or, in brief, the Dhamma. The internal unity of the Dhamma is guaranteed by the fact that the last of the Four Noble Truths, the truth of the way, is the Noble Eightfold Path, while the first factor of the Noble Eightfold Path, right view, is the understanding of the Four Noble Truths. Thus the two principles penetrate and include one another, the formula of the Four Noble Truths containing the Eightfold Path and the Noble Eightfold Path containing the Four Truths.

Bikkhu Bodhi explains these in the follow terms (see links):


Conclusion :

In my upbringing as a young Buddhist, the teachings of Buddha, sum up in ONE word. “BE GOOD“.

This series ends here. My next series addresses the issue of ETHICS.


Thank you for being with me. See you next time,

Anita H.

You can join Anita H. on LinkedIN. See her profile.

Forum for Creativity #11

ENG-4-MBA Week-11 Translation Assignment

Deadline for submission: 10 days from date of reception.
Sample of translation available for your self-study. View HERE.

Note #11. Back to Square One, A New Turning Point – Coming Home, A Very Special Day by Anita H.,
posted on her profile on LinkedIn:


Dear LinkedIN friends,

I sincerely believe that the character of a child is built since his young days in the family. I think Vietnamese people rarely have psychical problems because they always “reset” from the shock of external inputs by the presence of family members or friends around them. At least, that was what I got from my personal experience. Here is a short note I wrote about family in 2013, during my trip to Dalat, my hometown.


BTSO – A Very Special Day

During the last 9 months, I had the opportunity to come back to my home country and carry out my dearest dream: sharing my good fortune to my countrymen who are less fortunate.

I had a vague idea on sharing at the beginning of my journey back home. In my Buddhist upbringing, and as a Confucian girl, we were taught about compassion since our childhood days. Having to share everything we have got to our brothers and sisters, then to our extended families – close relatives and in-laws – and also neighbours and friends. My parents used to let our guest who come from far away to share their bed, my father would sleep with the male guest, and my mother with the female guest, as so did we as children. As my home is in Dalat, a beautiful town with very mild climate, we used to have guests all year round to visit the city, and spend summer with us, sometimes up to 3 months, some of them even come on a yearly visit.

It was natural that when those guests come from far away, they would bring some gifts to us, for example, fruits from their garden, or things they manufacture. My auntie, who lived in Bao Loc, and had a tea plantation and an orchard, would bring a jack fruit that weighed about 8 to 10 kg, or dozens of avocado fruits, or huge bags of tea. In return, we would welcome them to stay sometimes for several weeks, with free lodging and meals. As the eldest girl in the family, my role was to guide them around town, showing the beautiful sightseeing spots, taking them to the market, and sometimes accompanying them to their school or jobs. My younger sister’s role would be to take care of all chores which a boy would do, such as riding them around on her motorbikes, climbing trees to pick up fruits from our garden, slaughtering the chicken for our dinners, or even checking out for all security matters such locking all doors at night, taking care of bringing the candle light when there is a black-out, or running to warn my parents at their shop downtown in case of emergencies, as there was no telephone nor taxis. My other younger sister would take care of all domestic matters: cleaning, dishwashing and any other chores at home.

My parents used to come home quite late after their official job, and tending the shop after office hours, and although we used to have maids at home, these girls would leave the house in the evening to meet their boyfriends in secret, and left us home alone. As the eldest sister, I had to make sure that my sisters go to bed early and sing lullabies to them, and invented some kind of games such as playing as radio-speakerine or paraphrasing my teachers at school. Later, with the war escalating, finding maids from the countryside became difficult, so the household was reduced to a few apprentices who came to learn my parents business and would act as playmates to us. Slowly my parents reduced furthermore these playmates, and it seemed to me that by the end of the war, we were left to do the chores ourselves. Nevertheless, my childhood memories were filled with activities in the company of my playmates and maids.

Apart from my immediate entourage, we used to have other playmates with my neighbours’ children and also my cousins, borne by my auntie, my mother’s younger sister.

It is quite funny how two sisters would develop in two different directions, although born from the same parents. My mother, who was educated in Hué’s best girl school – Dong Khanh – received a French education and a very strict Confucian education. She passed on her interest in education to me and my siblings. The result was that all five of us – my brother who is three years older than me, my three sisters respectively two, three and ten years younger than me – we all came out as graduates from foreign private schools, which are the best education we could get.

My auntie, having spent her childhood days in the plantation in the company of her mother – the second wife of my grand-father – ended up having a very acute sense of commerce, and did not finish her schooling by the end of the war. Unlike my mother, who practiced family planning very smartly and successfully, and thus only got five children – which is the average size of a normal Vietnamese family – my auntie also practiced various family planning methods, but she ended up with 14 children, instead of five. I recalled their conversation – between my mother and her – every time that she missed out one planning, and the way she nick-named her children – the first ones got called by the names they are known at school, but from the 6 child onwards, the nickname showed her intention of stopping her child-bearing process, so the first one was named little baby girl (bé), then came another baby girl, also another “bé”, so the first one became “BIG Bé”, then the second, “SMALL Bé”, but then another baby girl came out, so the series of nicknames continued with “Na”, “Ni”, and “No” etc…

I recalled my pleasure while on visit at their place. These cousins were about 10-15 years younger than me, and were equally big in size, with the typical split-eyed features which was characteristic of my uncle-in-law family. On my side, which is the side of my mother, we all have round or almond-shaped with double-lid eyes, although we do inherit the big “peasant” feet of my father’s line, but in general, we have the “standard” look of Vietnamese children, whereas my cousins all have some kind of “Chinese-looking” features with their split eyes. But as children, they looked very cute, with their red cheeks and big smiles.

I loved to sit and looked at them playing together. It was kind of relaxing entertainment for me. What struck me was their sense of solidarity, as their standard of living did not allow them to have a nanny for each of the child, so the bigger sister became the nanny of the next one, and in turn the younger ones took care of even younger ones. When my auntie died at age 53 – just like her mother did – she left 14 orphans in the hands of the father who was a bus chauffeur between two cities. So you can imagine how hard life must have been for the poor children. Luckily, his mother was a very caring grandmother, so she took care of the whole family but the responsibility of earning money was given to the elder children, among whom was the 6 child (the famous “BIG Bé”) who now is the mother of my two nieces.

Coming back to Dalat, my hometown, some 40 years later, I do not find much change as when I left it at age 18. I had vaguely in mind that I should bring some kind of help to my auntie’s family, but was not sure HOW. After my lightning visit in June, following which my niece came to join me at the MBA class, I understood that the best way to help them is to help this girl succeed, as she, in turn, would be bringing help to her own mother, and also her sister, which I just got acquainted some days ago.


To my surprise, both girls are extremely well raised to be a perfect wife, just as I used to be when I was a teen. Both of them took very good care of the household, although small and poor, but neat and clean. My cousin, who left school at age 16 to take care of her ten younger siblings, had been doing multiple jobs, from raising chicken and pigs – without much success – to cooking and tending to the small shop to make ends meet. She used to wake up at 3.00 a.m to prepare the meals that she was selling at her shop and spent most of her last pennies to make ends meet besides the meager salary which her husband brought home, if he ever did.

Although the official school fees are very low, about two US Dollars a month, all children were encouraged by their teachers to take up private tuition which were actually the REAL school programme. So children by age eighteen, preparing their final high school exams, would spend their whole days schooling, first at the official school, then by their private tutor’s house. They normally come home late by eight p.m or so, and had no time to play outside their school hours.

Entering university is the biggest challenge to any parent who wishes that their children pursue a higher education. Entrance examination only allows the best top 10 ten per cent, but with the ongoing practice of corruption, the chance of getting in these public universities are slim. So most parents spend their time bringing children to school on their motorcycles, wait for them to transfer to the private tuition classes at many places, then bring them home to sit with them for their homework, then they would bring them to extra English classes at night, or sometimes at weekends. Parenting is really tough, and on top of that one parent must make sure to get enough money to pay for the extra tuition fees.

Just as most parents dreams, my cousin’s wish is that both children get a good education and get out of misery by that way rather than arrange for a good marriage as in old days. But dreams are not realities, and the realities which I witness tell me a different story.

Visiting my other cousins’ household, I learned some other developments which are more common in Vietnam nowadays.

Most of my cousins have accepted the new life in a little town like Dalat, with not much perspective for development. However, with the economy picking up during the last 15 years, they have all managed to get a small business going, and some even managed to get beautiful houses for their family. I was surprised to be invited to one of my cousin – the “LITTLE Bé” – who has now become a mid-forty successful business woman. Her house looks like a palace, and I felt a real complex of inferiority when I compared with my 30-year overseas experience. The little “Na”, has now become a bank expert in housing loan, and is non-stop on her phone on deals. Even the youngest “Ni” is now also a Branch Manager, and manages both her business and her household very well, sending her children to English evening classes and driving her car around, which is still a sign of luxury in this very small town.

Being a special guest everywhere, with all my cousins rushing to welcome me home, I felt a lot of warmth looking at how a big family can hold hands together during tough years, to go through the upheavals of life. Hand-in-hand, they have been helping each other, the bigger ones guiding the small ones through the necessary steps up the social ladder.


The improvised lunch which I had 2 days ago taught me a lesson. My grand-auntie, now 98 years old, whose eyesight has declined a lot with age, but who still keep a very sharp mind, proudly took me to visit her 13 grand-daughter brand new house. Most of all, she proudly showed me the bathroom, with a lot of space, for showers and washbasin. Born in 1912, she would have never thought that with her only child – my uncle-in-law, who is now 75 years old – would generate a big family with nine out of the fourteen grandchildren borne by my auntie, and that these, in turn, by their marriage, would bring in five sons-in-law, two daughters-in-law, eighteen grand-children, two great-grand-children and a multitude of cousins and extended families who keep her days filled with laughter and happiness. What an achievement for a lifetime. She told me: “My principle in life, is that I NEVER owe anybody ONE CENT, and my greatest achievement in life is to see my family grow and be together.”

I begin to have THAT sense of family being among my cousins. For the first time of my life, I feel like COMING HOME…to a NEW FAMILY, MY GREATER FAMILY.

Dalat, 2013 New Year’s Eve



Conclusion :

I love to read the Dalai Lama teachings. Here is one of them: “Human affection is the foundation of proper development”.


Thank you for your attention, and till next time,

Anita H.

You can join Anita H. on LinkedIN. See her profile.