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Kaleidoscope (28-04-2013)

Update: April, 28/2013 - 14:42

by Thu Anh

Magnum opus on VN's garment

Literary researcher Tran Quang Duc took three years to write his book on the history of traditional Vietnamese clothes.

The 28-year-old's Ngan Nam Ao Mu (One Thousand Years of Traditional Costumes) provides insights into the country's culture, arts, lifestyle, and cuisine from 1009 to 1945 through traditional costumes.

On his Facebook page, Duc says he spent years just travelling and discovering traditional clothes worn by Vietnamese in various periods.

Cultural researcher Trinh Bach gave Duc's draft the thumbs up, saying his work was "scientific."

"The book is not about clothes or hats, it is about a culture," he said.

Bach believes the book will offer an insight into the evolution of costumes from feudal times to modern days.

One Thousand Years of Traditional Costumes is expected to be released early next month

Thumbing the nose at fate

"I wanted to set up a small factory to provide stable jobs to disabled women," Dinh Thi Tuyet Dao, owner of the Tuyet Dao garment shop, says confidently.

"I was absolutely sure I would be able to stand on my own disabled legs."

After overcoming all kinds of difficulties in life, the woman now has a shop that makes woollen products in HCM City's District 7.

Despite the noise of sewing machines inside, visitors can clearly hear her as she gives instructions to her 30 disabled workers.

They can also see how active she is, wheelchair and all.

Dao's legs were disabled by polio she had as a child. "My childhood was full of tears," she confesses, "but I never gave myself up to fate."

She spent years working in a garment factory, but never gave up the ambition of becoming a major garment producer herself.

"I want people to see me with admiration, not pity."

One day she opened her own shop with a loan provided by authorities in her Tan Hung Ward.

Thanks to her hard work and skills it expanded in just a couple of years to become prominent.

Having achieved nearly all of her major key goals, Dao is now a contented family woman with a healthy 13-year-old son.

"My husband, son, and workers have for long been a source of stability for me," she says gratefully.

Due to a lack of direct contracts and a stable consumer base, she is still unable to develop her shop into a full-fledged garment company.

Many customers "don't trust me after they see my legs," she says.

"Despite this, I keep on working.

"I used to work 18 hours a day to win the approval of my customers. I still work hard, but my shop is just a stepping stone for my dream factory."

Dao is one of 48 disabled women who have been honoured for their remarkable achievements by the HCM City Women's Association this year.

Last week the association organised an event to acclaim the women and their families.

"We wanted to tell everyone the stories of these special women, who are like the most beautiful flowers," Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hanh, deputy chairman of the association, said in a touching tribute.— VNS

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