Finding Power Through Words


Tran Tra My is a young woman from Vietnam who was all smiles last month. She finally succeeded in getting her first book published. At the book launch at the Ha Noi University of Culture she could not keep the tears from rolling down her cheeks. Her book title, “Dream of the Angel’s Feet”, symbolizes her struggle and how hard her journey was until this launch day.

When she was a baby, Tra My got a bout of fever which lead to tumors in her feet. The surgery to remove the tumors damaged her feet and and also caused her to have difficulties moving her hands and speaking. That meant that she couldn’t go to school, move around easily or communicate with people. Not a great start in life but that didn’t stop Tra My.

When she was 9, her sister began her first grade school year. At night, while she was doing her homework, Tra My would sit besides her and imitate her sister. She would ask her questions and would keep studying with the school books left on the table. She slowly taught herself how to read, write and do basic math. That was enough to enable her to read books, especially fairy tales.

This reading opened doors in her mind. It lead her to teach herself slowly and painfully how to type on a computer. She then started writing poems to tell her story and reach out. Soon enough she was writing short stories and used emails to connect with others and share her creations. Her persistence finally paid off as she won several prizes in writing contests and caught the eye of the Labour Publishing House with whom she signed a contract.

Her amazing journey is not finish yet. Tra My has many dreams to fulfill. First she wants to study at the Literature Creation, Argument and Critic Department of the Ha Noi University of Culture. She is also thinking about writing scripts for TV and game shows. Finally she dreams of having a happy family. Why not? One of Tra My’s best short stories is “The Doors that Never Closed” which was written as an autobiography. She did open so many of those supposedly closed doors already that we can trust her to get much higher in Vietnamese literature. Via

I Am Blind but I Hear Life Better Than You


Blup Au is blind.

When he was 5 years old, he contracted an acute eyes allergy but living in Tay Nguyen, a highland area in central Viet Nam, there was no way to get medical treatment or even money to pay for it. His mother tried different herbs and leaves with no success. Desperate, she finally used bear bile, an acid that unfortunately blinded her son. In the small village of Ro Buop, everyone thought that his life was over.

From then on little Au would focus on sounds, developing a great hearing ability by listening to the music played by the sole radio of the village. In 1995, Au, as if life was not hard enough, accidentally touched a gun he couldn’t see,  setting it off and killing his own mother. His father to compensate for the loss bought him a radio and Au further developed aural memory. He could remember and sing any song after hearing it twice.

In 2001, it all came together. A group of students came to the village to do some volunteer work and at night, sang and played guitar around a campfire. Blup Au borrowed the instrument and amazed everyone at how quickly he could play a song on it. Astounded, the students gave him the guitar and  his life changed forever.

Blup Au still lives in his village. He looks like an ordinary villager who goes into the forest to cut woods, catch wild vegetables or grab snails in mountain streams. But when Au start playing guitar for children, for the community or just for himself he becomes a poet, proud of sharing his gifts for the delight of others.

Life can and will take unexpected turns. If you believe that what happens to you can get you closer to your gifts, you are a winner. Mark Lewis, previously featured here said it from first hand experience, whatever lemon life throws at you, turn it into an opportunity. Blup Au heard that song a long time ago. Via