Tuesday, April 24 2018

VietNamNews

Help after dark in HCM City

Update: January, 27/2018 - 09:00
Useful vigil: SOS Sài Gòn members drive around HCM City every night, looking to offer timely assistance to people in trouble. — Photo courtesy of SOS Sài Gòn
Viet Nam News

A small group of people in Ho Chi Minh City have given themselves a big job.

They help people who land up in trouble in the city, especially on the roads at night.

The group, called SOS Sài Gòn carry medical kits to help people when they get hurt and also car repair kits to fix vehicles.

The group helps both locals and tourists. They hope they will build up a good image of their city and their country.

by Lương Thu Hương

When night falls, the bustling city becomes quiet and peaceful but in some corners, there are always people in trouble that desperately need help.

It is also when members of the SOS Sài Gòn team — a business director, an engineer, an officer or a student — start to take up their second job, which is offering help to people in need.

As usual, they get together at around 9pm every day and then spread out in different directions around HCM City near National Highway 1A, Phạm Văn Đồng Street and Hà Nội Highway.

Since their establishment last March, the SOS Sài Gòn team has offered help in time to thousands of people. Most of them have trouble with vehicle breakdown, traffic accidents or encountering criminals.

“We feel that people in contemporary societies have become more and more insensitive to what is happening around them. In other cases, many people do not want to get into trouble by helping others even though they are good in nature,” says Hồ Tuấn Sang, a founder of the team and also a construction engineer in HCM City.

“SOS Sài Gòn was established with the aim of evoking kindness among people and gathering individuals willing to help others. By working in a team, we hope to help more cases. During its first days, the team received nearly 30 applications from people who learnt about it through friends, newspapers or Facebook. However, after three months, the number of its members has reduced to 17 — 12 of whom are stable members — which somehow reveals a part of the difficulties that we are encountering,” Sang adds.

SOS Sài Gòn often finish their work at 2am or later if there are more people in need of help every Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday and until midnight on the other days. They normally receive from 30 to 40 calls for help per night, but can only assist one-third of the cases due to shortage of time and members.

Before setting off, each member brings along vehicle fixing tools and medical first-aid, which they have purchased themselves. The local authority has also allowed them to equip their vehicles with flashes, priority horns and luminous sticks for better professional service.

Besides, they have to spend their own pocket money on purchasing petrol and for phone call expenses, but they never accept even a penny from the people they help.

Sang says he has had many unforgettable memories while helping thousands of people.

“Once, we helped a young man whose motorcycle broke down on his way home at midnight. There was no one there to help so he had to walk his vehicle for nearly seven kilometres until he met us and had his vehicle fixed,” he recalls.

“I cannot forget the day we saved a drunkard from falling into the swamps. If we had been late by 15 minutes, this man would not have survived,” he explains.

He also adds that the team has helped many foreigners in the city. “Their most frequent problem is vehicle breaking down or being stolen, or being deceived,” he adds.

Every member has worked wholeheartedly with a volunteer spirit, but sometimes they have gotten into trouble themselves in winning people’s trust.

“Some people ignore us or refuse our help because they are afraid that we are deceiving them for money. In such times, we show them our uniform or vehicle fixing tools to make them believe that we really want to give them a hand,” says Nguyễn Văn Nam, a member of SOS Sài Gòn.

Of course, sometimes they cannot succeed in repairing the broken motorbikes. On encountering the seriously damaged ones, they still help to push the vehicles back to their house, no matter how far it is.

“Our priority is helping people in the best possible way. We cannot rest until the person in trouble is back home safe and sound,” he adds.

Despite his tight working schedule, Huỳnh Quang Nhật Minh, another member of SOS Sài Gòn, still manages to volunteer after learning about the team via Facebook.

“Many people advise me to stay home to take a break instead of joining the team but I find it is a waste of time if I come back home and stick to my smart phone. I have been in trouble many times, running out of petrol or having my bike broken down at night, so I feel very happy by helping others in the same situation,” Minh says.

According to Sang, contributing to the voluntary work of the group significantly affects the health, primary job and income of the volunteers; therefore, many of them have left the group due to difficult situations.

However, many others get determined to stay due to their dedication to help people in need. They always try to arrange their time and work for SOS Sài Gòn.

“Our biggest wish now is maintaining and expanding the team’s activities to help more cases,” Sang says.

“Particularly, we want more foreign visitors to learn about us so that we can give them a hand on time. We expect to enhance the image of Việt Nam in general and HCM City in particular, in the eyes of international friends. What we need now is the support and contribution of the whole society so that kindness will be widespread,” he adds.

So, when you encounter any trouble while discovering the city at night, let SOS Sài Gòn know by contacting them on 0974 131 709. They will always be there and give you a hand in time. — VNS

GLOSSARY

When night falls, the bustling city becomes quiet and peaceful but in some corners, there are always people in trouble that desperately need help.

Bustling means crowded and full of activity.

Most of them have trouble with vehicle breakdown, traffic accidents or encountering criminals.

Encountering criminals means coming across them.

“We feel that people in contemporary societies have become more and more insensitive to what is happening around them.”

Societies are communities that live together in ways that have developed to make them work. Contemporary societies are societies that exist now.

 “SOS Sài Gòn was established with the aim of evoking kindness among people and gathering individuals willing to help others.”

Evoking kindness among people means to bring back a feeling of kindness among them.

However, after three months, the number of its members has reduced to 17 — 12 of whom are stable members — which somehow reveals a part of the difficulties that we are encountering,” Sang adds.

Reduced means “gone down”.

People who are stable members have been members and are likely to remain members rather than suddenly stop being members.

Reveals means “shows”.

Before setting off, each member brings along vehicle fixing tools and medical first-aid, which they have purchased themselves.

Purchased means “bought”.

The local authority has also allowed them to equip their vehicles with flashes, priority horns and luminous sticks for better professional service.

Priority horns are horns that emergency vehicles have, which send out a siren sound telling other traffic to get out the way so that they can reach a scene of an emergency.

If something is luminous it can be seen at night.

Besides, they have to spend their own pocket money on purchasing petrol and for phone call expenses, but they never accept even a penny from the people they help.

A penny is a coin that is not worth much, like the old hào or xu coins.

“I cannot forget the day we saved a drunkard from falling into the swamps.”

A drunkard is someone who has drunk too much alcohol and is therefore drunk.

Swamps are marshes or wetlands.

He also adds that the team has helped many foreigners in the city. “Their most frequent problem is vehicle breaking down or being stolen, or being deceived,” he adds.

When someone is deceived they are tricked into believing something that is not true so that the person who is playing the trick can get something.

Every member has worked wholeheartedly with a volunteer spirit, but sometimes they have gotten into trouble themselves in winning people’s trust.

To work wholeheartedly means to do so in a very dedicated and committed way and with the aim of being nice and decent.

To volunteer means to do a job without asking for payment.

To win people’s trust means to get them to believe in you.

“Our priority is helping people in the best possible way. We cannot rest until the person in trouble is back home safe and sound,” he adds.

If someone is “safe and sound” they are unharmed after having been in danger.

However, many others get determined to stay due to their dedication to help people in need. They always try to arrange their time and work for SOS Sài Gòn.

To have dedication means to be very committed to something, giving it lots of your time and resources.

“We expect to enhance the image of Việt Nam in general and HCM City in particular, in the eyes of international friends.”

Enhance means improve.

The image of Việt Nam is how people feel about the country.

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

  1. The SOS Sài Gòn volunteers often find themselves pushing people’s motorbikes.
  2. The SOS Sài Gòn group’s contact number has ten digits.
  3. The group ends up helping every single person who calls them.
  4. The group were not able to help a drunkard who fell into a swamp.
  5. When people first wanted to join the group, its numbers swelled from twelve to seventeen.

ANSWERS: 1. True; 2. True; 3. False; 4. False; 5. False.

 

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