by Van Dat
Drug trafficker goes to prison, frees herself of poverty
Not in her wildest dreams did Vu Thi Thuong, of Nghe An Province's Yen Thanh District, think she would now own a two-storey house and car.
The 47-year-old, who spent 12 years in prison for illegally selling and transporting drugs, was born in a poor family, and later married a poor man.
Soon after marrying, Thuong's husband became ill and her family was suddenly in dire financial straits. She did not have enough money to pay her husband's hospital bills, and, even with several jobs, could barely afford to take care of her two children and mother-in-law.
Then, a few strangers offered her money if she would agree to transport drugs over Viet Nam's border with Laos. Thuong immediately accepted, and each time, she received VND100,000, which was big money for her at the time.
Police later discovered the drug ring, and they were all arrested. The news shocked her husband and relatives. After nine years in jail, she was released in 2009.
Thuong had to start her life from scratch, as her husband had sold all of their valuable possessions to support the family.
With money from a bank loan, she opened a small grocery store in her neighbourhood, and later borrowed more money to expand the business. Now, after 10 years, she owns a shopping centre.
With her earnings, Thuong built a house and bought an expensive car. However, she says her daughter's graduation from university and her son's current university study in Ha Noi are her biggest assets.
Octogenarian shows off his hair, tells a hair-raising story
To show gratitude to their parents, Tien Giang Province native Nguyen Van Chien, along with his two brothers, one of whom has since died, decided to stop cutting their hair when they were very young.
Chien's hair, which is three metres long and weighs 3kilos, has been a subject of conversation among local people in Dong Hoa Commune in the province's Chau Thanh District for 70 years.
The 88-year-old man, who has lived in a 15-sq m house for several decades, said his late younger brother Nguyen Van Day and brother Nguyen Van Tien chose to have the same hairstyle.
Chien is more than happy to show off his hair to curious onlookers. He has been braiding his long locks since he was 17 years old.
Besides gratitude for parents, Chien says he has kept his hair long to ward off illness. In the past, he would get a bad headache and become ill after cutting his hair (at the request of his teacher, who thought it was too long). In fact, he was suspended from school for refusing to cut it.
The habit runs in the family. Of Chien's seven children, two of them, Nguyen Van Luom and Nguyen Thi Bich Thuy, also have very long hair and have not cut it for years. — VNS