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Kaleidoscope (Jun 14, 2015)

Update: June, 14/2015 - 00:26

by Hoang Ha

27 year-old artist is 'father' to 23 sons and daughters

The image of Ngo Quang Trung, 27, taking three- and four-year-olds to the market on his motorbike is a familiar one with residents of Gia Nghia Town in Dak Nong Province.

A graduate of Thai Binh's art pedagogy college in 2010, Trung left his home in Thai Binh Province and arrived in Ha Noi to be a painter. First, he painted terracotta , and then learned how to tattoo. In early 2011, he moved to Gia Nghia to open his own tattoo shop.

One day, Trung and his friends visited the town's Bach Tuyet Charity Centre, where many children live. He was so moved by the gleam in the eyes of the children when he gave them a painting that he has since devoted his life to them.

After his first visit, he went to the centre every month, and the children's cries of "Bo Tung, Bo Trung (Dad Trung)" warmed his heart.

In 2013, he organised a Mid-Autumn Festival party for the kids as he was planning to move back to his home province to live with his family. He wanted to show his gratitude and say good-bye to the people there.

But, again, he was so inspired by the children, he decided to stay in Gia Nghia Town. He now takes care of 23 children, with the help of three nursemaids and three volunteers.

To make a living, Trung does calligraphy and tattooing. His customers pay him with cash, rice, milk, instant noodles or whatever other item they want to barter.

During the day, he often teaches children how to draw or sing, and in the evening helps others do homework.

With the Bach Tuyet Charity Centre, he has opened a place for women with unplanned pregnancies, some of whom have been able to keep the baby.

Nguyen Duc Thuan, an official of Gia Nghia Town, said: "A 27-year-old guy volunteering to be a 'father-in-law' for 23 kids aged three to 15 is certainly a magnanimous gesture."

Bike messengers take to the streets of HCM City

As online shopping has become more popular in the country, more goods are being delivered directly to people's homes. Most of the goods arrive by motorbike, but a new job has surfaced in Viet Nam in the last two years: bike messenger.

Though a novelty here, bike messengers have been racing through major cities of the US, for example, for decades. The 2012 film Premium Rush showed the actor Joseph Gordon-Levitt racing through New York City's streets, dodging cars, pedestrians and trucks to deliver packages to businesses.

Le Sy Hung, a bike messenger from HCM City, says the number of deliveries by bike have soared in the last two years.

"People can find delivery jobs on online stores or Facebook," he said.

Though environmentally friendly, the job is a demanding one. For motorbikes, 10 to 15 orders can be delivered a day, but bicycles are limited to around five to seven orders.

The fee for one order by bicycle ranges from VND15,000 to 40,000, with messengers earning from VND700,000 to 1 million a month.

Most Vietnamese bicycle messengers use a fixie bike because of its small size, but the tyres can easily go flat.

"We usually receive orders to transfer neat packages that we can put in our backpacks," Hung, a messenger, said. "We restrict orders for food and fragile goods. The food can become cool by the time we arrive."

"Riding a bicycle is daily exercise, and it helps me earn money and meet interesting people," Hung said. — VNS

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