The fighting spirit of a graceful flower

May 25, 2020 - 07:17

Việt Nam News Business Desk Editor Hoàng Như Hoa died on Saturday at the age of 47 following a year-long battle with cancer.

Hoàng Như Hoa (centre) was among the winning team from Việt Nam News to be awarded top prize for reporting on External Relations in 2017

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam News Business Desk Editor Hoàng Như Hoa died on Saturday at the age of 47 following a year-long battle with cancer.

Despite her condition, she was desperate to be back at work reporting on Việt Nam's economy bouncing back from the COVID-19 pandemic, but after a 26-year career, she was forced to call it quits and entrust her colleagues to cover those endeavours.

During her illness, she received wholehearted support and love from her family and doctors in both Việt Nam and Japan, where she sought medical treatment. And as ever, she remained optimistic until falling into a coma.

"Hoa’s infectious smile is the one thing that will stay with me, but I should add that she was a great colleague and friend. Her quiet, warm demeanour belied the pas-sionate, intelligent woman she was."

Matt Hunter

She was the youngest member of staff to hold the position of Business Desk Editor.

Starting out as a fresh graduate from the English Department at the Hà Nội Foreign Languages College in 1994, Hoàng Như Hoa followed her father, who was a Vietnam News Agency International Desk Editor, to start working at the then three-year-old, four-page English daily. 

She developed from selecting international news for the newspaper to translating local news into English and then going out to interview people to find that all-important quote. 

She worked across the different departments at the newspaper, from the Sports Desk in her early years before moving to Lifestyle, when she met and interviewed Oliver Stone while he visited Việt Nam back in 1995 in search of inspiration. She then spent a few years managing the Sunday edition, during which time she wrote travel and food articles.

Eventually she followed in her father’s footsteps to the International Desk of Viet Nam News, where she fought passionately for global news to receive more front-page coverage. 

Balancing work and life with a smile. VNS Photo Trương Vị

Inside her slender figure she carried strong spirit and stamina. When she was asked to head a team to start a website dedicated to business, she thought for several days and then decided to accept. Thus was born.

For someone who graduated with a BA degree in English, she learned most of her new multimedia, economic and business skills on the job. Be it trade deficit-surplus, volatile stock markets, privatisation or M&As, she took it all in her stride and wholeheartedly dedicated herself to the business website, focusing on all the nuts and bolts to make it work and succeed.

Workshops and conferences took her to many places around the world, with her first assignment in Finland and her last in China to be interviewed by China Daily. She also spent a year studying at the Korea University on a scholarship. 

For a series on Việt Nam's growing role in APEC, she was a member of Việt Nam News’ winning team that was awarded top prize for reporting on External Relations in 2017 when she interviewed Lê Lương Minh on the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and its role in presenting ASEAN as a region with rising opportunities.

Lasting beauty. — VNS Photo Phạm Thanh Hải

As a trade union leader at the newspaper, she helped develop relations between the management and staff, conveying a message from the bottom up to inspire her colleagues. She led company team-building trips and connected with each and every person with her wit, humour and sensitivity.

Her parents named her Like a Flower in Vietnamese, but taught her to be intelligent, caring and strong, which has been the driving force for people around her. Balancing her career with raising a family, she proved it is possible to have the best of both worlds.

The cancer took its toll too fast, and she has left a giant void that will be hard to fill.

Hoa is survived by her husband and two sons.

We will all miss her. — VNS

The Việt Nam News team