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Kaleidoscope (Oct 5, 2014)

Update: October, 05/2014 - 20:15

by Xuan Hiep

Viet Nam's oldest man shares his secrets to longevity

A 116-year-old ethnic Mo Nong man, who attributes his longevity to manual labour on his farm, is Viet Nam's oldest living male, according to the Viet Nam Book of Records (Viet Kings).

Born in 1898 in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong, Y'N Dong resides in a village in Truong Xuan Commune in Dak Song District.

The father of 14 children, Y'N Dong still has a sprightly walk and a memory that would be the envy of others much younger.

Asked about his survival secrets, he says his entire life "has been associated with farmwork, mostly growing maize and rice in a traditional way, without cutting-edge technologies. I also don't use medicine, but I've had a good life."

His wife, H'Doi, is 94. Only seven of their children are still alive. The oldest son is 61, and the youngest daughter 43. They have 64 grandchildren.

The Viet Nam Book of Records has also recognised Nguyen Thi Tru, 121, who lives in HCM City's Binh Chanh District, as the country's oldest woman.

The organisation is seeking a listing in the Guinness World Records for Tru to be officially recognised as the world's oldest person.

Misao Okawa of Japan, who is 116, currently holds that crown. Y'N Dong, who is the same age, apparently missed that designation as he might be a few months younger.

HCMCity metro replaces historic building

The Saigon Tax Trade Centre will no longer be. The 100-year-old building will soon be torn down to make way for a metro subway line in downtown HCM City. All of the tenants have moved out, leaving an eerie empty space that had once been so full of life for so many years.

On the day before the building closed, a grey-haired woman, who declined to be named, fondly spoke of her memories of the building as she stood on the corner of Nguyen Hue and Le Loi streets.

"I met my husband here, and we had dates here. After we married, we often came here to shop and relax," she recalled. "He passed away 10 years ago. But every year, I come here on our wedding anniversary. I'm so upset that it's being knocked down."

On the final days before demolition, many shop owners were packing all their wares to move to another location. But most of them did not appear to be busy, and were lingering at the centre. It was difficult to leave for some of them.

Of the 230 traders who had shops, many of them had been working there for decades.

One cosmetics seller, whose name was witheld, said: "I can't believe I have to leave after so many years. It's hard for customers to find a shopping centre that has good services like the Saigon Tax Trade Centre."

The centre was built in 1880. In recent years, a number of French-colonial buildings in HCM City have been demolished for urban development.

On the final day of closing, many people stopped by to get a last look.

Nguyen Thi Yen Nga, 54, of the city's Binh Thanh District, said the centre had been "a source of pride for all HCM City residents". — VNS

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