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10th grader wins IMO gold medal in mathematics



Ngo Quy Dang has won the gold medal at the international mathematics competition IMO 2020. Dang, a student at the High School for the Gifted in Natural Sciences, got 36 out of 42 score and solved 5 out of 6 questions at the competition.

Dang was the only 10th grader in the selected team of six Vietnamese students attending the competition.

10th grader wins IMO gold medal in mathematics

Ngo Quy Dang

Dang’s gold medal helped the Vietnamese national competition team rank 17th out of 105 competition teams attending this year’s IMO (International Mathematics Olympiad).

‘King of prizes’

In the mathematics community, Dang is a well known name as he has won a lot of prizes at big competitions in mathematics.

When he was a secondary school student, Dang was called the ‘King of prizes’ because of th number of prizes he had won at competitions.

That was why he was accepted as a mathematics major at the high school for the gifted in natural sciences without having to attend the entrance exam.

In the 2019-2020 academic year, when he was in 10th grade, Dang won second prize at the national competition for excellent students. The other competitors were all 12th graders.

Le Anh Vinh, head of the Vietnamese IMO Delegation, said he could see Dang’s talent when he was in the 7th grade and put high expectations on the student’s ability.

“At that time, I asked Dang to solve questions designed to teach national competitors and I found that Dang always could solve them with original methods,” Vinh said.

Vinh said Dang was not only a good thinker and very clever, but also had a good learning attitude.

Vinh said that Dang is studious, eager to learn, and learns naturally. For the student, taking exams is just like going to school and he is always in a good mood when taking them.

Before attending IMO 2020, Dang attended the CMC (Cyberspace Mathematical Competition) which gathered competitors from 70 countries, organized by the American Mathematical Society. He won the gold medal.

When asked if Dang could break the record with three gold medals in international mathematics competition, Vinh said he hopes Dang can attend the International Olympiad of Informatics when he enters the 11th and 12th grades.

“If so, these would be great challenges,” Vinh said.

Chu Thi Thanh from Vinh Phuc province, the only female student in the Vietnamese national competition at IMO 2020, won bronze medal. 

Thuy Nga



One-arm hairdresser follows dream job, raises two kids by herself




Lê Thị Kim Trâm, who was left with only one arm following an accident four years ago, pursues her passion as a hairdresser. — Photo Việt Dũng

Việt Dũng

HCM CITY — Despite missing an arm, Lê Thị Kim Trâm is doing an inspiring feat: making a living as a hairdresser and raising two kids by herself.

Trâm, 41, opened her own barber shop in District 2’s Thảo Điền Ward in 2007, making use of her skills that had been passed down from her family. However, in 2016 while riding her motorbike, she had an accident in which a truck crushed her left arm, leaving her with only one arm.

During her stay at the hospital, she kept thinking about how she could continue her job and thought that she might be able to do everything one-handed.

“When I returned to my job, I was lucky to have a frequent customer who allowed me to practise cutting his hair with my one arm. Before, I had been able to do a person’s hair in around seven minutes, but it took me around 50 minutes, and it didn’t even look that good,” she told Việt Nam News.

Despite her worries about her haircutting skills, the customer spread the word about Trâm, encouraging more people to visit her shop. More and more customers were supportive in helping her return to work. With time, her skills greatly improved, and now she can cut hair just as well as any other abled barbers or hairdressers.

Unfortunately, not every customer was as open-minded and generous; when customers saw her for the first time, some were nervous about letting her cut their hair, while others outright took their leave.

“But customers who are fine with me cutting their hair always return and introduce me to other people. That is a great motivator for me, and I’m really happy about it.”

Trâm’s barber shop is called Nghi Nghiêm, after the names of her two kids.

Nimble skills 

Watching Trâm work is a sight to behold: she uses her pinky and ring finger to lift a customer’s hair up in place of a comb, then uses her three remaining fingers to hold the scissors to cut the hair.

Trâm is also able to use hair trimmers and razors with ease, delicately trimming bits of hair from her customers with great precision, who are now more comfortable with letting Trâm pursue her expertise.

Most spectacularly of all, her skill of removing ear wax (a common service offered by Vietnamese barber shops) even surpasses several barbers with two functional arms.

Ear wax removal is a difficult task that requires a great deal of finesse, and even abled barbers can struggle with removing wax located deep inside customers’ ears. Trâm, on the other hand, can meticulously clean out even the tiniest bits.

Watching her work so effortlessly may make you forget that she had to go through a great deal of practice to hone her skills.

Unsurprisingly, Trâm has had to improvise after her accident: she uses her thighs to clutch certain equipment or to help her roll cotton bits onto wax removal tools or a piece of flexible plastic to flatten the customer’s ear.

Trâm even uses her leg to lean the customer’s chair back for ear wax cleaning, and she has to bend in certain ways to get a better look inside customers’ ears, which she would not have to do if she had two arms.

“At first it was really challenging, but with passion for my job and supportive customers, I am still doing my job to this day,” she said.

Nguyễn Đình Biền, a frequent customer, said that he had always found her skills to be great, and admired her determination. Even when she was practising with one arm, he still preferred her over others.


Trâm raises two kids and does everything for her family by herself. — Photo courtesy of Lê Thị Kim Trâm

Overcoming challenges

One year after her accident, her husband told her that he wanted to divorce her.

“I was devastated. I felt like I had just escaped death from my accident, so how could my husband hurt me like that? Still, I decided that it was just fate so I let him go, and began anew, using my one arm to raise my two kids.”

After the divorce, Trâm and her two children moved out and rented a place on another street in the same ward, where she set up her barber shop.

Trâm has been shouldering multiple responsibilities, from earning an income and paying school fees and rent to daily problems like her bike breaking down or her children getting sick.

“Even though I sometimes feel really bad about myself, I try my hardest to keep my cool and deal with my problems so that my kids do not have to worry about me and can focus on their education.”

Her job allows her to raise her two kids, but though she has a frequent customer base, she charges less than other barbers, so her income is not that great.

“Still, I get to do my job and my kids still have their mother, so I am happy,” she said.

Thanks to recent media coverage, more and more people have been inspired by Trâm, who is originally from Nha Trang.

“Some people have told me that they had been involved in an accident and felt really bad about themselves, but they learned from my example and decided to persevere and overcome their challenges, which filled me with joy,” Trâm said with a bright smile.

“I hope that my determination can reach more and more people, so they will love themselves more. Even if your body is disabled, your spirit does not have to be.” —


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Breakfast @ Tien Phong News — December 5



Read what is in the news today.


— Vietnam’s COVID-19 patient tally remained unchanged at 1,361 with no new local cases confirmed for 24 hours on Friday. 

— A male body without head, arms and legs, alleged to be of a Chinese fisherman, was washed ashore in Phu Hai Commune of Phu Vang District, located in the central Vietnamese province of Thua Thien-Hue on Friday morning.

— The last domesticated elephant in the Central Highlands province of Gia Lai, Ya Tau, died at the age of 50, the local authorities announced on Friday afternoon.

— The Ministry of Transport ordered the Health Administration of Transport, in collaboration with the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam and related agencies, to establish a task force to inspect the COVID-19 prevention and control works at the national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and report to the ministry before December 10.

— The People’s Committee of Ho Chi Minh City put forward a proposal to the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for consideration and to seek the Prime Minister’s approval for organizing firework displays at the head of Thu Thiem Tunnel in District 1, Landmark 81 Building in Binh Thanh District and Dam Sen Cultural Park in District 11 to celebrate the New Year 2021.

— More than 150 local people in Ia Phang Commune of Chu Puh District, located in Gia Lai Province, have been hospitalized since Friday morning due to diarrhea, vomiting, dizziness after eating sticky rice given away by a charity group from the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho in collaboration with the district’s Red Cross earlier the same day. 

— Local authorities in Ho Chi Minh City on Friday afternoon fined each of three people drinking beer at a makeshift store on the sidewalk in District 1 VND2 million (US$86.6) for deliberately not wearing a face mask in public places.


— Vietnam’s ST25 fragrant rice ranked second after Thailand at the 2020 World’s Best Rice Contest in the United States.

— The Vietnam Travel Aviation Co. Ltd, which operates newcomer Vietravel Airlines, is scheduled to receive its first plane at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in Ho Chi Minh City on Saturday.


— The Hanoi Department of Education and Training on Friday issued a document to request local schools to avoid large gatherings and ask students and teachers to wear face masks from home to school for COVID-19 prevention and control.

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Double+ brings innovation of art perception through technology



Art performance series Double+, held from November 25 to 27, offered an unconventional, multidimensional and innovative perception on creativity.

Double+ lasted three days at the creative space Arcan in Binh Thanh District, HCMC. The event was co-organized by Colina Dreamcatcher, LAV Lab, Fundoo and Arcan.

On the opening day, attendees were introduced to the exhibited artworks and enjoyed performances backed by audio-visual technology. For instance, at the co-host Fundoo’s booth, visitors could get their hands on state-of-the-art AI technology, skillfully utilized to record a personalized video of inner discovery.

Attendees also had the chance to interact with Antonio Rosciano, creative director of Double+, guest artist Crazy Monkey, and Colina Quyen Tran, an organizer representative.

Guests experienced interactive sound technology with artwork.

Guests experience interactive sound technology combined with artwork at Double+ in HCMC.

The second day unfolded with two Art Talk sessions hosted by U.S. photographer Mike Hodges and Vietnamese contemporary artist Uu Dam Tran Nguyen. The following performances were infused with sound effects, lighting and color techniques, along with video mapping technology.

The third day’s highlight was the spectacular performance by sound artist Thierry Bernard-Gotteland from France. Ultimately, all attendees were invited to an After Party with sensational performances from renowned DJs – Wasabae, Ro-TUNE and Elek.

Some artworks on display at the event.

Some artworks on display at the Double+ event in HCMC.

Double+ is an innovative art series aiming to blow a new, mesmerizing wind into the Vietnamese art scene by harmonizing art and technology. With its dynamic and cosmopolitan theme, the event created a long-lasting, signature impression as a much needed burst of energy and positive vibe for the Vietnamese underground.

The event was a common destination for artists, professionals and art-lovers from Vietnam and around the globe to express their individuality, collaborate creatively and connect with each other as a community. Furthermore, people of different artistic backgrounds from all over the world had a shared space to create wonderful works together.


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