Saigon parents take to the sidewalks in wait for their “small soldiers”

By Duy Tran   July 2, 2016 | 06:15 pm GMT+7

Tempers ignited as the college entrance exam in Vietnam kicked off yesterday under the heat of summer. Those in the front line have every right to worry. But no war is won by soldiers alone.

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In the morning of July 1, thousands of parents from every corner of Ho Chi Minh City took to the national exam venues. While the children sweat inside, outside on the pavement, their parent line up in wait.

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At a venue, some dads manage to find a bit of shade and words start to flow. “Though I'm not taking any exam, I still stayed wide awake the previous night for I was anxious. I was fully ready by 3 o’clock in the morning. The exam is the turn of life to the children, so no parent can be reckless. That’s the main topic of our daddy conversations,” said Hoang Anh Tuan, a dad whose child sat for today’s exam.

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Some try to take nap on the pavement while waiting for their children.

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Parents taking up shade on roadsides is the prevailing image.

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Sleeping on bikes is also an option for many. “I try to take a nap whenever possible. Later, after my child finishes the exam, we’ll go get a room to rest and prepare for the afternoon session,” said a dad from Thu Duc District.

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Present at an exam venue at 5 o’clock, a mother leans and ties herself to the bars waiting for the children.

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Having been sitting in front of the venue for three hours, Vo Tien Nam shared: “This exam is like the gate to life for the children so I’m quite nervous. I hope my child is confident inside. Out here I’m like on fire, not knowing if the exam is easy or hard for my child.”

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Many prepare as if they're going on a long trip. They send their children to Ho Chi Minh City for studies and get there to care for them once the exam descends.

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As the morning session nears its end, people start making their moves. Vehicles leave sidewalks for the roads, signaling a race home.

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Traffic jam happens throughout Saigon marking the end of the morning session.

Photos by Duy Tran