by Hoang Ha
Do what you really want to do
Talented at foreign languages, including English and German, with a BA degree from a German university, Minh Hang once worked as an editor for a TV channel before deciding to pursue her dream to be a singer, despite family opposition.
When she was13 years old, she moved with her parents to Germany where they were working at the Vietnamese Embassy. A graduate of European University Viadrima, Hang worked for two years at Red Bridge TV and Film Production and Vindragon JSC as a film production specialist and graphic designer.
In 2012, she returned to Viet Nam and began work as an editor at a TV channel on national defence. At the same time, she studied how to dance.
Hang says that because of her passion for music, she quit the job of editor to become a dancer for the St319 Group. In her new role, she took on a new name: Min.
The group placed in the Top 20 of the Kpop Star Hunt2 competition in Viet Nam, and Min received a scholarship to study in South Korea. But she chose to stay and work with St319 in Viet Nam.
The group later won international awards, including top prize at the Wonder Girls-Like This Flashmob Worldwide Festival competition. They were also crowned champions of the Twinkle World Dance Cover Contest.
In October 2012, Min was chosen to dance in the video clip of Only One of South Korean singer BoA, which has received more than 1.4 million views. BoA praised and introduced Min and the group on her Facebook page one day after the video's release.
Min's first album Tim (Finding), with the support of famous singer Nguyen Tran Trung Quan and rapper Mr. A, marked her career as a solo singer.
At a press briefing, Vietnamese diva My Linh said Min had the advantage of a nice face, perfect body and beautiful dance steps.
"If she takes pains to practice singing, she will soon become a multitalented artist," she said.
Min says her parents at first made every effort to prevent her from becoming a dancer and singer.
"They were afraid that I would indulge in pleasure and become depraved," she says. "It took me a long time to persuade them. They now feel confident after seeing my achievements."
Min plans to launch her second mini-album Nho (Missing) soon.
Strays get a Full House
"Whenever I hear a 'meow meow' on the street, I cast my eyes around," Amy Lim, founder of Full House, says. "Anyone who loves cats and dogs is sensitive to their cry."
Full House, a shelter in HCM City's Go Vap District for dogs and cats, is staffed by volunteers who care for the animals. Dogs are kept on the ground floor, kittens on the second, and cats on the third.
Amy and the volunteers are able to recall all the names and characteristics of each cat and dog. "We are all at once managers and helpers for these animals," Terry (his nickname), a volunteer who stays at the House, says.
Volunteers perform all of the tasks at Full House, including tidying up, bathing, feeding, giving medicine, and changing kitty litter for the cats and keeping the dog loo clean.
Terry says he cleans, feeds and uses eyedrops for cats with bad eyes.
Injured cats and those with spotted scabies receive special care.
Long, 26, a volunteer who collects donations of food, sand and paper (used to line the cages), says the job is easy to do in a day or two.
"But you need to feel true love for the pets and have a strong and long attachment to the house," he adds.
Thao, a teacher in District 8, another volunteer, has saved the life of many cats in the last four years by caring for them in her small house.
She says that people and her students call her whenever they find stray cats.
Besides Full House, there are several groups and teams in HCM City that provide aid for animals. Petmaiam (House of Gratitude for Pets), the predecessor of Full House, was founded in 2012. In order to ensure care for abandoned cats and dogs with bad health, Petmaiam volunteers study medical information themselves, and then contact veterinarians.
The cost for operating the house and payments for surgeries come from donations from house members, volunteers and pet lovers nationwide. — VNS