Van Thanh Nga [ngatuan1234]
What is your profession? What is your title printed on your business card?
I was trained in the speciality of English-Vietnamese-English interpretation and translation and I worked in various positions of admin jobs for more than 17 years. Finally I worked as a Sale Support for the recent 2 years. Now since my family opened our own business, I have stopped working as an employee and stay home as a housewife. Though not working, I still keep in touch with the surrounding community through internet clubs, societies and training classes online on various subjects, for example home decoration, curtain treatment, color combination, and most recently I have started blogging. I have been always a positive person, very determined to overcome all challenges to win better goals in my life. However, I also know to be happy with what is relatively satisfactory.
What did you study and why did you choose to study that field?
I studied English language and interpretation and written translation skills at university. I decided to choose English language to study because at that time (late 1980s) Vietnam newly opened to the world economy, which opened better path for all those students who knew English well. Moreover, I was one of the best learners in all the training classes I ever attended, I found English not only interesting but also easy to learn. Another important factor was that then my mother who was my first teacher of English always encouraged me to try better to become a good learner of English and she persuaded me to become a good translator or interpreter, the profession she herself followed before.
What is expected of you in your job, and how do you accomplish it?
In my previous position as a Sale Support (or Sale Assistant) in a Singapore-owned company operating in Vietnam, I was expected to be in ongong connection between the Sales staff and the Regional or International Sales Managers of totally over 40 manufacturers. Everyday, I was responsible to keep in close contact with all these key persons to get their support for all and each salesperson in various forms: special pricing policies, support in organising training, conferences, helping with updated information for new catalogues, inviting doctors (clients) to attend international confrences and have tours to many countries etc. With a good memory, good organisation mind and high sense of responsibility, I always followed up every work items to its good end, always met deadlines. Especially I was capable of writing emails to our partners persuasively. However, when I found my health not enough to work longer in such a pressure work, I had to choose to stop and stay home for a more important goal that is better health.
What links do you have on the Internet: website, blog, social networks?
I have some links as follows, mainly including my daily stories. The purpose of writing these is sharing with all my friends my thinking and experience for their better sympathy and understanding and also for fun. When I can write what difficult to speak out by mouth, I feel much more comfortable and happy.
and some others but incomplete. I promise to share with you soon later.
Are you satisfied with the education that you received?
First of all, I must say sincere thanks to my parents who taught me first steps at my very young age. Second, I thank all my school and university teachers and professors, each of them taught though bit but all important. But I must say practical experience have taught me a world of knowledge. I have been a lucky employee to have met some General Managers who all liked literature and encouraged me very often to read books in English. I have learnt from my excellent colleagues, learnt by myself very much from all forms of information. And even now I am thankful to internet sources which have helped me to access to all fields of the world. Finally I can't forget to thank my Darling Thang who has taught me to behave properly in diferent situations and guided me to accept things relatively.
In which areas have you thought of building upon your education?
Besides working as full-time employee for more than 16 years, I always find some extra job not only to have extra income but also to extend my knowledge and practice my learnt skills. I worked as freelance translator of English-Vietnamese-English for several English-speaking employers being lawyers, doctors, customer-service lecturers etc. Sometimes I also translated novels and books on various fields: quality control, marketing, women's health, food & beverage, shipping... I know the more I try the better my background knowledge gets. I really felt happy when I could write almost any idea to any of my partners without difficulty. Before I left my previous company, when I said good bye to them, I received so many encouragement words from my partners. Now everyday I am happy to still have friendship from them who have now become my friends.
In which tasks are you good at, and in which could you better yourself?
I am good at organising data both in filing and in software, also good at correspondence with partners. I can better myself in time management and money spending planning. I must be more strict to myself to control me from spending money too much on lulury things. I also need to improve my time arrangement everyday for doing more useful work items more effectively.
Do you usually attended seminars or coursework to advance your professional work or would you consider yourself a more self-taught person?
I'm more self-taught person. I have learnt many things from internet by day by day exploring by myself, which way is very exciting to me. Besides, I have also attended some training courses if necessary and to keep updated with new information. Most recently, I learnt and applied effectively some home decor basic skills to my own living space.
When did you realise that your work was being considered important and that it could possibly take you places?
Earlier when at work, I was very pleased whenever I could help any salesperson of the whole sale staff to get best support from the brands (manufacturers). I was usually favourable in communicating by emails with the Regional Sale Managers and my wording seemed always persuasive to almost all of them. In the role of information-connection, I found myself helpful to my colleagues. Especially before I left my office, many partners said good bye to me with friendly words and promised to keep personal friendship. I really respect such valued friendship.
Who have been the most influential people in your career?
The most influential people in my career include my some General Managers being Mr Jon Akerman, Mr Frank Brophy, Commercial Manager Mrs Bui Thanh Nga (Nga Chi), all of these three persons were my bosses when I was office secretary for an Australian then French oil & gas company operating in Vietnam.
With which types of persons do you feel you work well with as a team?
I can work with all people, but prefer to work with those honest, friendly, open-minded, responsible, hard-working, fair people who are willing to help team members.
Which goals have you focused on in your professional career?
In my various positions, I always accomplished every assigned task with high responsibility. My upmost goal of my jobs is obtaining a systematic working manner, a better background knowledge and wider relationship with more people. Besides, I also got considerable economic targets at my age 40, a basic foundation for a stable life for myself now and also as first bricks for paving my son's future way.
Which publications associated with your field do you regularly read?
After attending some online lessons on home decor in May-June this year, I usually receive from interiordezine.com monthly basis newsletter on interior decoration and relevant topics. Besides I also read some other links and websites by other authors. I am most impressed by the website Design On The Edge by Robert Petril.
Which languages do you speak, and how have you learned them?
I speak English quite fluently. I also speak some French and Russian but not well.I have studied English by many ways, from my mother, my teachers, from books, from TV programs in English, daily communication, frequent writing correspondence, frequent reading and listening. The most important as I have experienced is that you have to keep on practising what you have learnt and go on learning to improve.
Do you have a website or blog? How was the process in making it? Does it accomplish the purpose for which it was created?
I have some blogs for my own and family as well as my friends' stories. The goal of my writing these sites is sharing my real happenings to myself, my husband, my son with my friends, relatives, and colleagues because there are many things difficult to speak out by mouth but easier to express by words. I would like to tell them my interests for their better understanding of my character. And sometimes I would like to share my unexpected experiences I have passed and would like my friends to avoid in their own. At the moment, I am going on with progress in 3 - 4 blogs with blogspot.com, yahoo.com. fanbox.com etc as I find with each of them their different special features. I think my purpose for blogging is for fun and for my better knowledge of internet has been achieved and will be more achieved in the future.
How do you feel about speaking in front of an audience? What experience have you had in this arena?
I have no problem speaking in front of an audience, speaking both in Vietnamese and English. This may have come from my English-speaking skills during my education and my jobs.However, I do not like speaking, I prefer writing English because I write really better than speaking, and I find writing is easier to express my thinking and more thoroughly.
Do you attend cocktail parties, presentations, fairs or conventions related to your profession?
Yes, I attended many parties, presentations, conventions, conferences, workshops, related to my previous jobs with petroleum industry, medical equipment, customer goods etc. Sometimes I also took part in organising these activities if these were held in Hanoi.
Have you explored the social networks for professionals online? Are you member of any of them?
Yes, recently I have studied some online training on home decor, I also attended some websites as a fan or a member or follower of some designers in order to learn and to have wider communication.
How are you different from others in your professional sector?
I think my English writing style is different from others. My writing style reflects my personality which is simple. I do not like to make things more complicated than their nature, I always try to keep things simple. That's why my friends, my fans (my readers) always find my articles easy to understand. My personality is sentimental, my viewpoint toward life and happiness is simple, so my way of expression is like a mirror of these aspects, quite clear, simple and persuasive.
How is the Interent changing the way you work?
With internet support, I can work with so many people in any country in the world. I can access to information from my computer right at home. I can read anything of my interest online, no longer need for newspapers. I can chat, communicate with my friends everywhere through networks. In general, everything impossible before now becomes possible with internet.
Do you do telecommuting?
Yes, sometimes if the work required.
Do you feel your hobbies serve to elevate your career?
Some hobbies have helped me a lot in my work, for example, my tidying-up hobby at home had a good impact on my job of filing at the office. Or my careful personality influenced quite positively on my task as a secretary which always required patience and detailed mind.
Do your hobbies aide in professional networking?
Yes, my hobbies help me to develop conversation with people at work.
Would you relenquish some of your income in exchange for more free time?
No, at the moment I have enough free time. The point for me now is how to organise and balance my timing between my housewife's tasks (at home everyday) and sociali activities on internet (to make my life more interesting)
What are the things you least like about your job?
When at work as Sale Suppot, the only thing I dislike is that working with computer all the day. thus sometimes rather stressful.
Besides your current profession, what other things would you have liked to have been?
- home decorator
What is the most important thing you have learned from experience?
From my experience, patience and determination plus good luck can bring every dream to truth.
When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was at school, sometimes I wanted to become a diplomat like my mother before. Some other times I also wanted to become a teacher because teaching was noble as everybody told me. But most of the time I still dreamed to become a businesslady who would have my own business. And now my this dream has become true.
Save some excpetions, do you believe professional and personal relationships should not be mixed?
I have been not mixed between professional and personal relationships, this viewpoint has helped me much in easier behaviour to people in various situations. However, in practice, I have welcome some of my former colleagues and bosses to become my friends now (personal relationship) without negative impact. When they come back to you in the role of a sincere friend, why could you refuse them ?
List any credits, publications, competitions, etc.
At present, I have only some articles or posts in my own blogs as listed:
No, I live in Vietnam and have no religion. However, my family has followed Budda.
How do you handle customer complaints?
In every position experienced up to now, I have always performed my tasks well without complaints from partners or clients. But if there were any from my client, I would listen to their queries and check carefully with the relevant brands (manufacturers) to find out what's is the problrem because I always keep in mind good quality and service are the key for our stable relationship with our clients.
Someone wants to ask for a pay rise and they ask you for advice in how to approach the matter with their boss. What do you tell them?
First of all, he / she should persuade his / her boss by considerable good results in the recent and current time of working. In addition, he / she should commit to the boss what benefits he / she could get for the company (or what progress he / she could make for the required pay rise). Besides, the speaking way to the boss should be soft and concessive, should not be hard.
What do you do to manage stress?
There are many ways to manage. I uusually listen to music, meditate, have my hair washed, sleep, or sit at some cafe talking with friends.
What are the most common mistakes clients make when they judge your work?
There has not yet any really.
How and why did you begin to be creative?
I'm not quite sure but likely creativity has come from my interest of painting and home decor. From my very young age, I was very keen on color selection for my furniture and decorative things. Especially in my married life, as a wife, I always pay special attention to making every corner of my home nicer and more interesting. I see beauty in simple things. I do not like to decorate too much, but by nature I know how to combine different color tones into a good harmony. I am interested in changing decorative items to give my home a always new and impressive atmosphere. I especially like those colors calm for my sleep. which include light green and blue hues. In general, I prefer those colors close to nature.
Your mind is your work tool. How do you take care of it?
I must train my brain by reading internet day by day, gradually. I keep my good memory by always learning something new, never letting my mind lazy. And one very good food for my mind is fish.
How do you avoid repeating yourself, or falling into formula? How do you stay fresh?
I am a person who always likes new and fresh things, I hate old things. I think through my communication with many different people, combined with my own knowledge, I can express myself in my own ways. Whatever uninteresting to me should be modified to more interesting feature.
Do you have a ritual like retiring to a lonely place from time to time to cleanse your mind?
To cleanse my mind, a light music is always helpful for me.
What cultural sources do you draw from the most?
My cultural sources I have drawn most from my own and surrounding living community's culture in Vietnam, including my working process, living condition, daily communication, relationship and friendship development.
Who have your teachers been?
The list is very long to answer. I can say I learn from many people, besides my real teachers at school and university, for example my parents, my friends, my colleagues and my daily life too. Learning is never surplus.
When you accept a job, how much value do you place on each of the following? Money, creative liberty, visibility, and to work with the best.
Money is important but not all. Creativity is always of my priority. And who to work with is also important.
Have you ever had a job that was so stimulating that you could not get your mind off of it?
Many times. When I love something, I can do it without stop.
"To give birth to ideas." Is this only an expression, or are there really parallels between giving birth and creativity?
According to me, there is similarity between giving birth to a child and creating an artwork: To start, an artist needs various materials and some formed ideas, then step by step build and edit the work for more perfection, finally throw a soul into his/her work for it lives with its audience. Similarly, the mother needs to prepare for enough nutrition for the child from her pregnance to her birth-giving to the child's growing process. These two process both require patience and determination.
Does spirituality contribute to your creativity?
Very much so. Spirituality is an imaginary world, so it can help much develop my creativity.
It is possible to fall in love with a bad idea simply because it is yours. How do you avoid this?
In some particular case, I painted based on my idea, not very good, but I respect every work done as I consider anything done like a step of progress. Moreover, I am not a professional painter or designer, so I view all my creative work pieces as achievement because all of them make me happy, keep my life interesting.
Must someone be the leader or boss in order for a creative team to function well?
Maybe there must be a leader to coordinate well every member's ideas.
Declaration: With what person or business would you like to work?
I would like to work with people with friendly character.
What criteria do you use when selecting someone to be a part of your creative team?
Creative mind. cooperative spirit, responsibility, honesty, willing to help each other in troubles.
The armchair psychologist: Is creativity an act of rebellion for you?
Maybe when I was younger, but now for me creativity is expression of love of life
What is the best advertisement you've seen recently?
I'm most impressed by the blog by Robert Petril, an American designer who is living in China. So many marvellous real things !
Do you work well under pressure?
I can work under pressure if the work requires, but of course I do not like to because working so can quickly makes me older.
What city in the world currently attracts you due to its creative environment?
MAny cities in the world, maybe most attractive is European cities with wonderful architechture.
How is an idea sold?
Interesting ideas always are felt by certain revelant audience. They are ideas close to real life and persuasive, touching to many people, can help them to draw lesson for themselves.
What do you feel when, after two or three years, you see an idea of yours again?
Smile of embarassment. But I hope this would not happen because after 2- 3 years I will learn so much.
Ideas can come simultaneously to different people in different places with no connection to one another. How do you explain this phenomenon?
The same thing can come simultaneously to many people at the same time but according to many different viewpoints and ways of inspiration, that sane thing can be absorbed differently and created into very many different artwork pieces. Moreover, no need for direct communication, only need indirect reception of information from public media or sources of information, one thing can known and written or drawn by many people in all over the world, each person adds his or her own style of expression. That's why this world is so exciting and endless to explore.
You are as good as your last idea. Wouldn't you like to have a more secure type of work?
No, I'm quite positive in all situations. Now I stay at home as a housewife and take part in some home decor online classes and societies and clubs to keep my life interesting and my mind active and also to have more friends from all over the world. I'm quite happy with my position now.
What is your blog address? What subjects do you deal with?
I am quite new to blogging. For me, blogging is a form of expressing and sharing my thinking to close ones in my family, my friends as well as former colleagues. I think we can be friends to some extent because we are all in the same world.
Up to now, I have built some following links: all of you are welcome to visit:
The main content of my blogs, as their names show. is about my daily events and thinking, viewpoint toward my family simple pleasures, my efforts to overcome challenges to live better. I have also written about my Dad, my Darling, my son, my friends etc ...that means the continous flow of my life.
My goal of blogging is for fun, for making friends with all other people, espescially those who have the same interests with me and who like English language. I hope for you to share with me also your real stories of your life because I simply think that life is much better and easier with more sympathy between people.
What hobbies have you got?
- Working with time planning
- Learning new things: interior design, blogging etc
- Tidying up my living space, decorating it and renewing it.
- Writing correspondence to my friends on their birthdays or holidays.
- Listening to romantic music
- Reading books or magazines on health care, children nutrition
Which actor would you like to be?
I don't want to be an actor. My life is a lucky one so I just want to be myself.
If you were sent to a deserted island, which book, CD and film would you take with you?
I would take my laptop with all my favourite data.
Besides, CD with all favourite songs in English and Vietnamese.
Film: Gone with the wind or Thorn Bird.
How do you find the balance between working to live and living to work?
Time control and planning. I have been a good employee and also a good mother because I know to organise my working as well as living plans. I know when to stop working to spend time on relaxing my mind because I know resting is good for avoiding stress and restoring my nerve system. And my goal for working is in the end living better and living for my future generation that is my son's growth.
In moments of tension, what techniques work in calming the mind?
This depends on each person. For me, in moments of tension, for example being patient to wait for somebody, light music always really helps calm me down. Or another method is that I can deep my thinking into something and imagine it positively and optimistically. This way always helps me avoid headache.
A simple pleasure that for you is quite big or important.
Listening to music alone. Forgetting every worry. Swimming and playing with my darling and my son at the seaside, eating seafood.
What is the greatest loss you have had in your life?
The greatest loss I have had in my life up to now is my mother's passing away at her age 69. This feeling of deep grief has come from the fact that when alive my Mother taught me a lot of knowledge, had a good influence on my background knowlege and my behaviour toward my friends, colleagues and social community.
How do you respond to telemarketing calls?
'No, thanks. And I hang up'
Are you an ex-smoker? How did you quit?
I never smoke and never plan to have such habbit.
It is 5 pm on a typical Sunday: what are you doing?
Likely spending my time with my son practising English or going shopping together with him, or having some small party with my family as a tea gathering. So cheerful !
Something in which you are completely incompetent.
Sewing and fixing clothes torn.
Of what are you an addict?
I like chocolate very much. I am also addicted to coffee. I like listening to music, watching love movies, home decor, painting, travel.
You have nine wins in a row in a game of roulette: do you continue because you are on a good run, or abandon the game because statistically, it is your turn to lose?
I'd better abandon the game because it it turn good luck is no longer with me. In this context, the sooner I run the less I lose.
What toy gave you the best moments of your childhood?
I still rememeber the days when I was as young as 6-7 years when my Mother offered me a nice doll from her tour to Germany. She looked so beautiful to me as before that I had never had such a lovely toys. The doll became my close friend and memorable image in my childhood.
What was your favourite primary/secondary school teacher like?
Among all the primary school teachers, I remember best Mrs Tuyet who was my teacher of grade 4 when I was 10 years old. She was a beautiful lady and paid special attention to me, she appointed me as the monitor for continuous 3 years of the class she was in charge. My records of study were at that time quite good, encouraging her even behave more favourable and special to me.
How did you meet your current boy/girlfriend?
My current boyfriend is also my current husband. I met him the first time by chance after our some conversation on phone. We shared the same interest to have the other half. So we met and met and got closer and closer and got married.
What was your first vehicle?
Now I can only remember it was a Honda second-hand bicycle bought by my father in Japan for me. But for a young girl of 18, everything was loved. I like riding on it.
Your New Year resolutions.
- To plan a tour to China
- To plan for my son to start training on dance sport.
- To buy a new high-tech TV set
- To discuss new investment plan for buiding and leasing house to students
- To have some vacations either at the beach or mountainous region to relax
- To plan saving money from selling land/house
Is there any superstition that makes you change your behaviour?
Generally not. However, sometimes I believe in lucky numbers as they have given really good luck to my life.
Does knowing someone's zodiac sign help you to better understand that person?
No. Zodiac signs are very interesting to read about but cannot help us understand a person. Only through communnication, observation of his/her actions for a long time can help understand him or her.
Please list something you have not yet done, but that you would definitely like to do someday.
To visit China and Europe.
In your lifetime, what is the best news you have ever seen printed?
Probably the news of Vietnam open to the world. This was opening for career prospect for all students like me who selected to learn English at that time (in early 1990s).
To which other place in the world would you move without hesitation?
I would like to travel to many places, whenever I have not yet been to, especially those places with clean air, no huimidity. But I think I am still a bit hesitant to move permanently as I am quite Ok to live here in Vietnam.
A bad habit you have overcome.
Eating too much and sitting too long.
A word or expression that you love.
Better later than never.
A word or expression that you detest.
Greed, selfish, conservative
Which animal do you prefer for company?
A rabbit because it looks so lovely.
What do you imagine yourself doing for your retirement?
Still go on writing, keeping in touch with other people through internet to know more about the world. But also spend more time on travel to see the real world. And most important is helping my son to build his future career orientation.
If you were to return reincarnated, which real-life person would you like to be?
Myself but improved.
Van Thanh Nga
|| ||Robert Matysiak|| |
|| ||Richard Gosselin|| |
|| ||DR. DEMOSTENES MARCIAL CHAVEZ GOMEZ|| |