Skip to main content

FORGET ME NOT - My Cow Book Project

Some years ago, to be exact 39 years ago, if my memory does not fail me, I dreamt of building a library for the Youth community in Dalat, Vietnam. We were about a 100 young people along the street of Hai Ba Trung where I grew up and lived until my move to Saigon - rebaptised into HOCHIMINH CITY after 1975 - for further studies.

By an accident of youth, I was elected the Youth General Secretary of my district and was asked to lead my group of young enthusiasts. To raise money to build up our library, we had decided to raise a milking cow - yes, I was backed up 100% by my young followers between 18 and 30 years of age. I was then 18 years old myself. So, in order to raise fund to buy the cow, we decided to go into the woods, to cut down trees, make the logs for heating and cooking (cui) and sell them on the market as there was no more other cooking gas by the end of the war.

The woods are quite far from our street (in Camly area, about 10 km by foot) and there were still FULRO rebel troops hiding in these newly 'liberated' areas. I was heading our small group of 30 to the woods during some ten days, with the intention of cutting down enough trees to get x cubic meters for sale, to raise funds for the milking cow for our library project.

Of course at that time, nobody was thinking far enough about HOW to raise a cow. The only cows we saw were on their way to the slaughter house (abattoir), and the only contact I had with the cows who could have been my friends was in the bowl of soup (pho') or the beefsteak on our plates - we did not have any McDonald by then until late 2010 or even now - so I had no idea, as a leader, when compromising the security of my young followers for such an utopian project. We simply dreamt of the cow that would eat plenty of the green grass of the Langbian Plateau and would give us plenty of milk, which would be sold to young mothers, and somehow the income from that 'production' would help us to raise the necessary funds to set up our library.

During this mission with my young fellows, I learnt a lot of things: some of them could not read, some were not at all in books like myself, but ALL were believing and participating willingly to the project, although the conditions were very tough. I also learnt to appreciate the enthusiasm and the team spirit of young boys and girls - my age and over - who really supported me. They worked very fast, cutting down trees with their hand seesaws, chopping them into small bunches (bo cui) and transporting the bunches to the road with the baskets (don ganh). Some of the girls were incredibly strong and could work as fast as the boys. Our group was in competition with another group from the neighbourhood, led by a team of 3 sisters, all as ugly as the other, and equally ambitious. Out of this competition, my followers decided to speed up even more to get the final say.

Once we got the bunches ready and had sold them, the question of how to raise the cow - OUR COW - arose.  We then realised that this was an impossible mission after having gone through the issues on Where, Who, How etc. -None of us knew by then about making  'Business Plan, Risk Management or Due Diligence and the likes' - I only learn later in my MBA studies years later - so we were functioning in 'Enthusiasm management' only. I guess our case could be duplicated in multitude of cases in the then newly liberated South Vietnam, and probably now in bigger scales. In any case, we decided that we would go directly for the solution of buying books, set up the library, using my home as HQ.

Besides the library space, with my parents permission, I also let them come to play the guitar and organise singing lessons, take part in pingpong competition, and follow evening language classes where I could use my skills. Of course, I was in heaven myself with all these activities and feeling like Che Guevara.

For over a year, we had a beautiful time sharing with each other this lovely activities and friendship. Young people would drop in at my home, there is always food and drinks - Vietnamese hospality oblige - , somebody to chat with, some playing the guitar with us singing youth songs, others playing pingpong in the garage area. My younger sister who spent hours playing with me, later became a champion of the town and underwent training as a national athlete. One of the youth is now MP (Member of Parliament), but some were less lucky, certain died of sickness, others became disillusioned in life. After I left for university, the library run for a while and slowly disintegrated due to lack of support from my core supporters, who, like me, found jobs elsewhere and left town or the country.

I still keep the dream of seting up a library, in memory of my young companions of the 'COW PROJECT' who had believed and supported me, and helped me build my confidence in the potentiality of my inner strength, which helped me get through multiple challenges in my still short but eventful life.

For years, I have been dreaming about a library. I have tried many options, from animating a forum which nobody knows of and working on the list of the thousand books which I shared with nobody - I was aiming at the wrong target and using the wrong means - to discussing with my university and other universities' libraries to negotiate a place to put a bookshelf on Vietnam topics. Other efforts involve sending school books to Schools and Universities back home. The project keeps haunting my dreams and urges me to fulfill what I consider as a mission - my Dharma.

Today with technology, I think this dream is about to take shape in a sustainable way: I can still help to share the knowledge with the wonderful technological inventions which are offered to our generation. We do not need to go chop down trees, we do not need to raise milking cows to achieve our goal, but we do still need to keep the conviction that teamwork is the first condition of success.

I am appealing for your support to make this project a success, to help our younger generations to have something to believe in, and to share with the community about the culture of Vietnam and the spirit of Vietnamese people.

All yours,

Anh Tho Andres, PhD Candidate
Project Initiator and Founder of
Books on Vietnam and about Vietnam
Virtual Library: Alezaa Cloud Reader


YourVietBooks is a selection of books and articles on and about Vietnam. Categories include: Culture, History, Vietnam War, Politics, Biographies, Contemporary Vietnam, International Relations, Doing Business in Vietnam, Reference and Languages, Zen Buddhism, Philosophy, Art and Literature.Some articles are available only in English, French, German or Vietnamese. Our qualified and experienced translators can provide translations of e-books or articles on demand. Read more...

Samples of Translation | Our Translators | Need a quote? | Contact us

Popular posts from this blog

GT sách nói: Hồ sơ mật Dinh Độc Lập

Bản nguyên thủy bằng tiếng Anh: Nguyễn Tiến Hưng, The Palace File, 1986
Bản dịch: Nguyễn Tiến Hưng, Hồ sơ mật Dinh Độc Lập 

Về tác giả: Nguyễn Tiến Hưng (sinh 1935), tiến sĩ kinh tế, nguyên Tổng trưởng Kế hoạch và Phát triển của Chính phủ Việt Nam Cộng hòa, hiện là giáo sư tại Đại học Harvard. Ông cũng là tác giả hai cuốn sách thuộc loại bán chạy nhất (best seller) là Hồ sơ mật Dinh Độc Lập (The Palace File, 1986) và Khi đồng minh tháo chạy (2005).

Là người nắm hồ sơ, văn thư mật liên quan đến cam kết giữa hai tổng thống Mỹ-Việt, tác giả đã công bố những hồ sơ nầy để minh chứng sự phản bội của Hoa Kỳ (qua những nhân sự cầm quyền) đối với “đồng minh” Nam Việt Nam, dẫn tới kết thúc của Việt Nam Cộng hoà qua biến cố 1975.

Năm 1986, ông cùng với ông Jerrold L. Schecter (cựu chủ biên ngoại giao Tuần báo Time và nguyên Phụ tá Giám đốc Báo chí Nhà Trắng, và Phát ngôn viên của Hội đồng An ninh Quốc gia Hoa Kỳ) viết và xuất bản cuốn The Palace File do Harper & Row Publishers phát hành, và sau…

GT sách hay: 100 cuốn sách cần đọc

Chính trị – Xã hội 1. Chính trị luận – Aristotle ( Alpha Book) 2. Tinh thần pháp luật – Montes Quieu (NXB Đà Nẵng) 3. Bàn về Khế ước xã hội – Jean Jacques Rousseau (Alpha Book) 4. Khảo luận thứ hai về chính quyền – John Locke (NXB Tri Thức) 5. Tâm lý học đám đông – Gustave Le Bon (NXB Tri Thức) 6. Khổng học đăng – Phan Bội Châu (NXB Văn học) 7. Hàn Phi Tử – Hàn Phi – Phan Ngọc dịch (NXB Văn học) 8. Các mô hình quản lý nhà nước hiện đại – David Held (NXB Tri Thức) 9. Sao biển và nhện: Cơ cấu phân quyền - Ori Brafman & Rod A. Beckstrom (NXB Tri Thức) Các cuốn từ 1-4 là những cuốn sách nền tảng về nền chính trị phương Tây và các giá trị vẫn còn ảnh hưởng đến thế giới hiện đại. Cuốn số 5 là một tập tiểu luận phân tích cách các chính trị gia, các thủ lĩnh phương Tây mê hoặc đám đông bằng cách nào và sự tàn phá của đám đông. Cuốn 6 là tác phẩm tổng hợp lại các giá trị cốt lõi của Khổng giáo do cụ Phan Bội Châu viết. Cuốn 7 là tác phẩm của Hàn Phi trong thời Chiến Quốc, xây dựng những ý …

Radio Saigon

Hi All,

I just discover this radio station, broadcasting from Houston in Vietnamese. Here are some highlights of their news.

Radio Saigon is a broadcasting center that distributes programs to multiple stations in the Vietnamese community including Houston, Dallas, Northern California, and Southern California.
RSH 900AM KREH, the first station of Radio Saigon, is the leading Vietnamese radio station in Houston, TX since 1999. Radio Saigon provides original and informative programs covering issues on all aspects of life; diverse daily and weekend hosts; guest experts and celebrities appealing to all age groups; veteran journalists with established reputation; and traditional values combined with modern vision. News and Information Good morning, Houston!SportsFinanceScienceMedicineEntertainment Headline NewsTraffic & WeatherTalk Shows Youth TalkLaw & LifeHeath & LifeUs WOMENVoters' ForumThe Car & YouBusiness ForumPolitics and YouLove and FamilyHome ImprovementSafety & th…