by Hoang Ha
Early one morning late last month, the corridor outside the emergency ward at Thong Nhat Hospital in HCM City was overcrowded.
About 30 students had gathered there, waiting anxiously to donate blood and save the life of their friend, Thai Ngoc Thanh, a second-year student of the Mien Nam Economics Technical College.
Thanh had been seriously hurt in a traffic accident, suffering a ruptured liver and kidney failure.
Doctors had to cut off two-thirds of his liver and he had lost too much blood.
To make things worse, his body was not accepting transfusions of stored blood, doctors said. They felt he did not have much of a chance to survive.
There was just one hope, they told Thanh's friends and relatives – the transfusion of fresh blood, which has a high clotting mechanism that his body could accept more easily.
The call went out and many friends rushed to the hospital. Among them were at least ten studying or working in Phan Rang City in the central province of Ninh Thuan. They caught buses and travelled over 300km to get to the city at midnight.
They were just in time to save the life of their friend.
Phan Thi Huyen Tran, a student of Lotus University, Thanh's friend since high school, said: "He is always ready to help others. We are all heart-broken by this accident."
A hospital representative said: "This is a special case at the hospital because the patient has been given a huge volume of blood transfusion, around 37 litres so far.
"The timely help of friends and relatives has been crucial in Thanh overcoming the danger to his life."
Furthermore, Thanh's family, residents of Phu Thuan Hamlet (My Son Commune, Ninh Son District, Ninh Thuan Province) is poor. Part of the hospital fees has been paid by money his friends had saved by providing tuition or doing other part-time jobs. They also raised money through donations from the public.
So far, they have paid VND170 million of the total estimated fees of VND400 million.
They have also taken turns to be at Thanh's side.
"We are from the rural area, we know nothing in this big city. Without these young people taking care of Thanh and encouraging us, we really do not know what we would have done," said an emotional Thai Vinh Long, Thanh's father.
"I am so grateful to them."
Is it all an act?
The news of actress Hoai An opening a class in acting has raised eyebrows in thespian circles, not so much for her initiative, but for the faculty she has been able to attract.
The names mentioned in websites and via word of mouth include a number of little known actors. It appears that all it takes to become a teacher is that one has to have appeared in several TV films or plays. The quality of one's acting is of no consequence.
It is a job for jobless actors, is one joke doing the rounds.
The skeptics ask, "If the actors were not able to convince the audience, what can they teach their students?"
They say some of these teacher actors have shown a lack of skills and experience in the roles they have played so far, which means they have not been able to analyse and understand the psychology of characters.
If it becomes a trend that young actors become teachers irrespective of their qualifications and experience, it is bad news for the next generation, they warn.
One argument made by the defense is that the teaching experience itself will help the teachers improve their acting skills. Not many are buying it, though.
What the critics are seeing is a cynical attempt to make a few quick bucks out of the rising interest among people in the showbiz industry. Maybe the positive spin on this story is that it offers evidence of market economy mechanisms at work. — VNS