by Thu Hang
Love: The long and the short of it
He is a dwarf and she is a girl with long legs.
Afflicted by Agent Orange, 28-year-old Nguyen Van Thu is 70 centimetres tall and weighs just 25 kilograms. He is a member of a group of street actors and actresses with different disabilities who perform variety shows in Ha Noi City and neighbouring cites and provinces.
Thu was born to a poor family in Yen Thuong Commune in Ha Noi's Gia Lam District. He is luckier than his two older brothers who died when they were nearly three years old. And he is a lot luckier than even normal people, for he has a young, beautiful wife and a normal son.
His wife, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Mai, who suffers from congenital deafness, is 1.65 metres tall. She plays the organ in the street band.
They decided to get married after a long time of travelling and working together.
Never too late to learn
Le Thien Tan from the Central Highlands' Pleiku City has longed for the day when he sits in a university hall. His dream came true when he turned 72.
The retired teacher with white hair and a hunched back was admitted to study law at the Ha Noi Open University's distance education faculty last year.
Tan said the war had forced him to quit school and make a living teaching after he graduated in pedagogy from a vocational school.
"My children and my grandchildren all hold bachelor or master degrees. The lower education gave me a sense of inferiority," he said.
His overall study performance is rather good except for information technology subject, which he finds difficult.
The art of giving
A charity restaurant charges VND2,000 a meal in HCM City's District 4 has received an unusual makeover.
It now exhibits a total of 26 oil paintings done by poets that its disadvantaged customers can enjoy, and kindhearted art lovers can purchase.
The shop, one of six in the city that sells the VND2,000 meals, now wears a luxurious, cosy look worth an upscale restaurant. The makeover was a gift from an architecture company, said Le Van Chinh, president of the HCM City Charity Fund, which runs the eateries.
Many poor people having meals at the shop have said the paintings and new atmosphere have given them a wonderful feeling.
Fifty per cent of the money collected from sale of paintings will be donated to the fund, Chinh said. — VNS