Try everything, keep the best!

I have recently decided that every time I see something good or someone who has done something that I found meaningful, I will make a record out of it. Either to give them a recommendation on Social Media or at least to write a blog post or to tell the story to related people that I know just to show my appreciation.

I first met this brother – Kyo Phan about 2 years ago when I was in charge of the Sales and Marketing activities for Legacy Yen Tu – MGallery. He was the make-up artist in the first photo-shooting project which I had the chance to take care of. He didn’t really have chance to talk much as was mainly for him to listen to me and to what other people had to say. We added each other on Facebook, occasionally “Like” and “Comment” to each other’s post but hardly ever talked, maybe once or twice because there was actually no reason to do so. We barely knew each other. I remember that one time I told him that I had a job change to Hoi An area.

About a month after, he contacted me and see if we could have a chance to work on another shooting, this time at TUI BLUE Nam Hoi An, the new resort where I am currently assigned to work. I would love to say yes but the resort was not ready, I referred his proposal to another sister property in the area so that he could still get the work done. Then he said, whenever I need something regarding make-up or taking profile pictures I would need to let him know. I thought it was kind for him to say so but didn’t really care much at that moment.

I guess about 2 months after we finally had the chance to meet again when I was back in Hanoi for my business trip, we met up over a nice dinner at Ming Restaurant of the Pan Pacific Hanoi. He wanted to introduce me to the lead model in one of his recent projects – Dr Kha Le from Trend Smile. And the moment he introduced my name and how we met, I was stunned. He said I was the one who took care of him so well in one of the best shootings that he has ever done. Because of me taking time to introduce to him everything about the Legacy Yen Tu, from the pottery and the meaning of the rice-husk wall so he remembered and the crew was able to capture the best shoots of the property and models.

Then we kept talking the entire evening and ended up having a nice drink at Angelina’s of the Sofitel Legend Metropole. He reminded me that we needed to do a shooting for me so we decided to do in a few days after. And here are the results:

This is the most like-able picture of the entire album. I do not know why people like it so much ☺️
For this picture to be done, it took me no less than 30 times passing the road ☺️
I think I actually look more like an actress in this picture.
Another “celebrity” moment ☺️
I don’t know how they were able to capture this look…
And this too ☺️
I think it’s kind of fun to do this once in a while ☺️

And only once in a while should be enough I guess. But the experience was worthwhile as I do believe that I had the chance to work with one of the best teams in the make-up and styling industry in Vietnam. Kyo Phan is definitely a genuine, fun and talented make-up artist. I was also blessed to know Duc Nhat, his hair stylish and especially Ms Mai Giang who did a great styling job for me on the shooting day. She was so gentle and caring and so humble for her own tittle as Vietnam’s Next Top Model 2012. I guess the next level of maturity when you know how to stop taking yourself too seriously.

Here are two of my favorite people: Mai Giang (Left) – Vietnam’s Next Top Model 2012 & Kyo Phan (Right) – The super talented make-up Artist 🤗

He is also a fashionista and a great model, too 😇

The Little Bang Theory

It is said that a woman should never wear her hair over her forehead. God can grow hair wherever he likes, but no hair grows on the forehead.

I wish someone had told me this sooner because I used to wear a bang to cover my forehead all the times. As I was made to believe that I was not a pretty child to start with and not with a nice forehead so I would need to cover my forehead. Not until my teenage years, I came to the realization that I was actually not an ugly child of whom thought I was. And I as I grew a little older, I’ve been getting more and more comfortable with my own skin, the way I carry myself and the way I dress.

About over a year ago only, I have the feeling that I no longer feel comfortable for having to go to the hairdresser from time to time just to get a little cut on my bang to cover my forehead and I started to question myself:

1. Why do I keep doing this?
2. Do I feel confident with this look?
3. Do I want to change?

And here were my answers:

1. It was a long-term habit caused by my own perceptual adaption since my early childhood
2. No I am not
3. Yes

A woman should never wear her hair over her forehead. God can grow hair wherever he likes, but no hair grows on the forehead.

📷: Camellia Dinh

What about this “𝐿𝑖𝑡𝑡𝑙𝑒 𝐵𝑎𝑛𝑔 𝑇ℎ𝑒𝑜𝑟𝑦”? Although this theory came to me a bit later, but it proved me that I was quite right in a way. And here is a short description:

“A woman should never wear her hair over her forehead. God can grow hair wherever he likes, but no hair grows on the forehead. The forehead bone, the sinus bones or the frontal bone, is porous so it can function to transmit light to the pineal gland in the brain. When Ghengis Khan conquered China, he issued orders that all women must cut their hair and wear bang over their forehead. He knew this would keep them timid and subjugated. Believe it or not. The point is, you have a choice”!

The best version of you

It’s been a hazy Sunday afternoon today and I couldn’t get lazier. Life has changed a lot since my last blog post and I guess it was written 4 years ago maybe. The feeling is somewhat similar to what you do with a long distance relationship. You had spent so much time apart and you had so much to tell to the other person, but when you actually have the chance to meet and talk again, you simply don’t know where to start.

So what have I been doing over the past few years?

I am still a hotelier, but much different now. Not in a five-star city hotel where everything is just so close and convenient and professional like how much I wish I could have in my recent jobs. Although I do feel like I am going backwards in terms of system and technology but still, I am so glad that I got to see new things, new people, new challenges and finally managed to step out of my comfort zone.

I’ve changed my job twice (2018 and 2019 respectively) and currently moved to Saigon to live and work. Life has been fair to me I guess.

I have decided to go back to university after my first 5 or 6 years of work experience. For me this learning process has been quite complicated as how I find it, sometimes useful, most of the time a waste of time and money, but in the end, you’ll learn something anyway and you’ll hopefully get the degree, sooner or later.

I’ve got to meet new friends and re-united with some long lost ones. The best part, I guess is that I am blessed to be surrounded or under supervision of those who love me, to talk and laugh together during happy moments or to find ways to give me some comfort when I am weak.

“You haven’t changed a bit since we first met”. I have heard this several times from several people. Some told me: “You are still the same person that I met 5 years ago. My response was like: “What do you meant? How would that be possible? That’s not true, I have changed a lot, emotionally and physically, I am prettier, can’t you recognize?” I said jokingly. But obviously some people may perceive you one way while others see you in different way as how you allow them to see you. But for me, I think it’s quite true that I don’t change a lot, my habits, my way of seeing the world and seeing people. I just hope that if I had to change something about myself, that would be for the better, like how I am getting more and more comfortable with being my authentic self and to believe that I am a beautiful lady even with knowing that I do have lots of flaws and silly thoughts. Nevertheless, let’s keep calm and trust the process then, because I believe that the best version of yourself is always the current version of yourself, even when you are happy or when you are sad, when you are strong or vulnerable, there’s always beauty, if you know where to look.

This portrait is one of my favorite shots which was taken recently during my last trip back in Hanoi in July 2020. Some said it was definitely the best version of me while other said they would like to see me more in a natural and gentle form. Well, this is still me, a different version of me. This is just to show that I am capable of changing my style as I how I want to. It’s just the authenticity that I would like to keep for myself and the ones I love and treasure.

Okay that sounds very irrelevant but there’s a guy who keeps starring at me the whole time now as I am sitting in a corner of a coffee shop and writing my first blog post after a long time. Not that I am going to do anything about it, just find it quite amusing.

Saigon, 23 August 2020

Fish or Factory?


It could not get more dramatic than this, people in my country, in the Socialist Republic of Vietnam have been given a closed ended question of getting to choose between objects: Fish and Factory?

Both are worth having of course, and while many of us still do not know what I’m talking about, then here are a few facts from Channel News Asia:

1) In recent weeks, tonnes of dead fish, including deep-sea species, have washed up on the shores of four provinces along Vietnam’s central coast – Ha Tinh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri and Thua Thien-Hue – affecting the livelihoods of fishermen and businesses dependent on the region’s seafood industry.

2) Local media reports had pointed to toxic discharge from a multi-billion dollar steel plant in Ha Tinh belonging to Taiwanese conglomerate Formosa Plastics Group, riling public anger against the foreign investor. Local authorities have also been blamed for being slow to respond.

3) Vietnamese authorities say they have found no conclusive link between Taiwan’s Formosa steel plant and mass fish deaths along Vietnam’s central coast. “Until now, after our investigation and evidence gathering, we have not found any proof to conclude that there is a link between Formosa, other factories, and the mass fish deaths,” he said in Vietnamese.

Anyway, the given question of fish or factory was merely raised by internet users then eventually went viral on social media. It has nothing to do with legality nor to give Vietnamese citizens the right to decide anything. The scientists and investigators will do their jobs, and the victor will write history after all. Until then, we shall keep this social media campaign going just to see who saves the factory and who protects the fish.

I never wanted to have to think that our lives are in danger so let’s be a little bit more positive on this. At least right now we still have the options to scale and to decide whether to prioritise the fish, fishery, the tourism industry or the steel industry or whatsoever… Because once we still have options then it might still not be end of the world.

More than ever, I am thinking of Karen Reid, in case she might be reading this, who was my lecturer when I was at my third year of university. 4 years after graduation, I still remember the question once she asked in our Event Facilities class: “What do you think is the best way to stop immigrants to a city?”

Whatever you are thinking of right now, I was thinking the same… Whether it is about visa restrictions, safety, weapon, education or things to do with money… Everything is correct, but there is one element that not so many of us could think of. She said one word: “Water”. If we stop supplying water in that one single city, everyone will start to leave. No water, no life!

Similarily, while talking about killing, many of us think of wars or weapons or diseases… just like what I have seen in one of the most recent Korean dramas on air: “Descendants of the Sun”, which my sister had successfully ‘trapped’ me to watch. But no, if toxic water which could kill tons of fish at once, no matter what the causes were, that would be as dangerous as the wars with guns. I wish we had another option to make it more of a multiple choice one rather than a closed question, it would rather be: 1) Water – 2) Fish – 3) Factory.

I don’t believe in a life that have either Fish or Factories or both but without Water…

Photo Credit: Pascal Campion