by Van Dat
Dutiful son takes over mum's lottery route
People in Nhon Ai Commune often see a young man selling lottery tickets every day to feed his seriously ill mother. At 7am, he says goodbye to his mum, who tells him to take care of the money that he earns that day.
The mother, Le Thi Deo, who is strong enough to cook lunch for both of them, often stands at the door to wait for her son to return home at the end of the day. Happy to earn some money for the two of them, La Hoang Viet, 29, always shares pieces of meat and other food with his mother when he gets home. Seeing their hard life, neighbours often give the mother and son some rice and vegetables.
Deo recently told a reporter at Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that when she was 18 years old she married a man who was poor like her. Two years after the marriage, their first child, Viet, was born. There was a problem with one of his legs, and doctors said that his mental faculties had not developed as well as other children of his age.
After her husband died at the age of 50, the mother began selling lottery tickets to support herself and her son. She often took him along for fear of losing him. But she had to stop working when her heart disease worsened.
Then, suddenly, Viet stopped wandering around the neighbourhood aimlessly, as he had done for many years, and began to sell lottery tickets for his mum, shouldering the family's responsibilities. Viet now earns VND40,000 (less than US$2) a day if he can sell all of his 40 tickets.
Locally made animal-feed handbags a hit in Japan
A popular item seen on the streets of Japan are handbags and raincoats designed and made from animal feed bags by an American woman, 50, who lives in HCM City's Tran Hung Dao Street in District 5.
Ten years ago, Lisa Rosenthal married a Vietnamese man, Hoang, after moving to the country. Shortly afterward, the fashion designer began to design and sew handbags from materials that he collected for her. She especially liked to use unusual materials that are both durable and distinctive.
Hoang had noticed as a child that many people used animal-feed bags, made of a synthetic material and painted with colourful animals, to cover their roofs. They also filled them with sand or food to take to the farm.
Recently, he saw someone at a countryside market carrying a handbag made out of the same bags, and wondered if he could emulate this. So he and his wife decided to recycle the bags and sell their products in Japan, Laos, the US, Canada and other countries, where they have become popular.
Although few people can understand the Vietnamese words on the handbags, they love the story behind their origin as well as the lively images of the ducks, pigs and chickens. — VNS