Uplifting moments of 2018 we can take with us

By Nguyen Quy   December 25, 2018 | 08:00 pm GMT+7

A mother-son reunion after 43 years and a dying girl’s eye donation are among 2018's most heartwarming stories in Vietnam.

Long time no see

Nguyen Thanh Chau, or Vance McElhinney as he is known in Northern Ireland, is with his Vietnamese mother Le Thi Anh in Quy Nhon on February 10, 2018. Photo by VnExpress

Nguyen Thanh Chau, or Vance McElhinney of Northern Ireland, kisses his Vietnamese mother Le Thi Anh in Quy Nhon, February 10, 2018. They met each other after 43 years. Photo by VnExpress

A British man who was among 100 babies rescued from an orphanage in Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 returned home this year to celebrate his first Tet, Lunar New Year, with his Vietnamese mother in February.

Nguyen Thanh Chau, or Vance McElhinney as he is known in Northern Ireland, was admitted to an orphanage after his mother, Le Thi Anh, had an accident in 1975 and was hospitalized for more than two months.

An airlift campaign organized by the U.K. newspaper Daily Mail took the child to the U.K., where he was adopted by a new family and started a new life. 

When he reached his twenties, he decided to go looking for his biological family, with a small photo carrying a relative’s name on the back. After a long search, he finally found his relatives in Vietnam and reunited with his biological mother after a DNA test proved their relationship.

After 43 years away, the long lost son had an emotional reunion with his biological mother in Quy Nhon Town, Binh Dinh Province.

An eye for an eye, in compassion

Nguyen Hai An, a seven-year-old girl in Hanoi, who has inspired a lot of  organ donors as she decided to donate her cornea before dying of a  brain tumor in February 2018. Photo by VnExpress/H.A.

Nguyen Hai An, a seven-year-old girl from Hanoi, has inspired a lot of organ donors after deciding to donate her cornea before dying of a brain tumor in February 2018. Photo by VnExpress/H.A.

Nguyen Hai An, a seven-year-old girl in Hanoi, won the hearts of millions of Vietnamese people after she donated her cornea before dying of a brain tumor last February. Her act was described as "rare" and "heroic" in a country where there’s a strong belief that people need all their body parts for the afterlife.

An was diagnosed with a brain tumor in September 2017, and her condition had worsened rapidly. During her time in hospital, her mother discussed the idea of donating her organs with An. However, Vietnamese laws only allow hospitals to take corneas from people under 18 years old. Nevertheless, the little girl decided to donate her cornea after seeing many people struggling in the hospital. Many people have been motivated by An and signed up to be organ donors.

A friend in need is a friend indeed

Xuka and her pup suffer from minor burns. Photo via Danny Nguyen.

Xuka (F) and her pup suffered minor burns while alerting their owners of a deadly fire in HCMC in March, saving their lives. Photo by VnExpress/via Danny Nguyen

Two pooches, named Alaskan Xuka and Siu Husky, took Vietnam’s social media by storm after a 29-year-old man, Danny Nguyen, who had a narrow escape in the Carina Plaza fire last March, shared the story on his Facebook page.  

Nguyen and his five-month pregnant wife were sleeping in their apartment on the first floor of the Carina Plaza in District 8 when the building caught fire. The two dogs started scratching the bedroom door and barking in the middle of the night, waking up the couple.

"They were our saviors," he said. "If they hadn't started barking, we could have been burnt alive."

The Carina Plaza fire killed 13 people and injured 28, making it the city’s deadliest blaze in the last 15 years.

Grass is greener on the outside

Hai Chan (Two Paws), named because she only has two left, lies among grass at Ninh Binh Bear Rescue Center in northern Vietnam. Photo by Four Paws/Bogdan Baraghin

Hai Chan (Two Paws), had two paws amputated and spent 10 years in a cage before being rescued. She now enjoys lying on the grass in the open at the Ninh Binh Bear Rescue Center in northern Vietnam. Photo by Four Paws/Bogdan Baraghin

A picture released in May by Four Paws, an international animal welfare organization, shows a bear, Hai Chan (Two Paws), lying on the grass at the Ninh Binh Bear Rescue Center in northern Vietnam, breathing in the fresh air. She’d been held captive in a bear bile farm for about 10 years before being rescued.

Her two other paws had been amputated by the farm's owner to make bear paw wine, believed to be a health-boosting tonic in Chinese medicine.

After years of captivity, freedom to lie in the open on green grass is sheer luxury.

Take some if you need it

A photo shared on Facebook shows the charity box on the street in Ho Chi Minh City.

A photo shared on Facebook shows a charity box in Ho Chi Minh City that invites the needy to take three notes from it.

Last May, the image of a donation box in the heart of Saigon went viral on social media, drawing positive comments from many Facebookers as a "beautiful and humanitarian" act.

The money box, which stands on a street corner in District 10, was the brainchild of the district’s general clinic. It aims to lend a helping hand to poor people and street children who are struggling to buy food.  

Staff from the clinic and generous passers-by drop small change, mainly VND5,000 ($0.21) notes, into the box. What struck people all across the country was a small sign stuck on the side of the box, which reads: "Take three notes if you are in need."

Kidnapped and sold, young woman returns home

Lo, a 20-year-old Vietnamese woman in the central province of Nghe An, was reunited with her family last October, seven years after she was kidnapped and sold to a Chinese man for VND60 million ($2,576 ). During her time in China, she was physically abused by her "husband" to the extent that she lost her baby.

About a year ago, she accidentally met another Chinese man who managed to help her escape. They lived together as a couple and he brought her across the border to Vietnam to visit the family and report the case to local police.

Unselfish action saves drowning man

A photo shared on Facebook shows Bong got wet after jumping into the river to save a drwoning man.

A photo shared on Facebook shows a completely drenched Bong, who jumped into a river to save a drowning man.

Pham Van Bong, 22, a resident of the central province of Quang Nam, became a hero overnight after he jumped into a raging river to save a drowning man.

Bong was on his way back home when he saw a man lose control while driving due to the tough weather conditions triggered by Storm Usagi in November. He fell into the river.

Bong immediately stopped his vehicle and jumped into the river, crying out for help. Sometime later, locals rowed a boat to where the two men stood, carrying life jackets, and got both of them safely to the shore.

 
 
go to top