Posted by: fatherandson | 11 July 2007

American Visitors List

1. Anderson, Mellissa Louise (student)

2. Barnes, Sanford Carlyle Jr. (student)

3. Barnes, Susan Lewis (student)

4. Blair, Wendy Louise (student)

5. Botos, Sasha Lee (student)

6. Gibson, John Alan (student)

7. Hoagland, Valerie Helene (student)

8. Kohjima, Joji Wilson (student)

9. Nguyen, Chau Giang (student)

10. Nguyen, Kim Uyen Thi (student)

11. Nguyen, My Dung Thi (student)

12. Nguyen, Uyen Thuc (student)

13. Phan, Mai- Lan Le (student)

14. Phan, Phuong Tu (student)

15. Tran, Hoang Oanh Thi (student)

16. Tran, Nhi Yen (student)

17. Davis, Bradley Camp (Assistant)

18. Giebel, Christoph Johannes Friedrich (Professor- Head of the delegation)

Posted by: fatherandson | 11 July 2007

Let’s sing to wipe off anxiety

After being informed of a delegation of professors and students from Washington University coming to exchange with Mai Linh Center, all of my students really got kind of anxiety. Some of them expressed their true feeling of being very worried about how to survive from working with American students. 🙂 It is easy to understand because it is the first time for more than half of the students to meet foreigners.

With the help from PeaceTree Project Office, a detailed schedule has been worked out for the delegation. During their visit to Mai Linh center, they will replace me, your teacher, in five lessons. It means I would still go to class but only act as an assistant to American teachers.

Tuesday is always devoted to free talk. But it wasn’t last Tuesday. My students kept me busy with a lot of questions, such as what should I prepare to welcome the delegation? should we tell them about Quang Tri? would it be all right to put questions to American teachers? should we prepare any gifts for them?…etc. I tried to answer as much as I could in order to convince my students that Americans are friendly, frank and open. To conclude, I gave them a list of tips when working with Americans.

  1. Dress nicely or neatly.
  2. Be friendly and open.
  3. Speak slowly and clearly.
  4. Arrive at class on time.
  5. Be cooperative.

Finally, the class came to an agreement that the students would sing a song to welcome the delegation. Thanks to Quynh Trang, I wrote down the song ‘Proud of you” on the board. Suddenly, the class turned into a choir.

Love in your eyes
Sitting silent by my side
Going on Holding hand
Walking through the nights

Hold me up Hold me tight
Lift me up to touch the sky
Teaching me to love with heart
Helping me open my mind


I can fly
I’m proud that I can fly
To give the best of mine
Till the end of the time


Believe me I can fly
I’m proud that I can fly
To give the best of mine
The heaven in the sky




Stars in the sky
Wishing once upon a time
Give me love Make me smile
Till the end of life


Hold me up Hold me tight
Lift me up to touch the sky
Teaching me to love with heart
Helping me open my mind


I can fly
I’m proud that I can fly
To give the best of mine
Till the end of the time


Believe me I can fly
I’m proud that I can fly
To give the best of mine
The heaven in the sky


Can you believe that you lie down my way, no matter how that is my birth, I never loose my day.


See me fly.
I’m proud to fly up high.
Show you the best of mine.
Till the end of the time


Believe me I can fly.
I’m singing in the sky.
Show you the best of mine.
The heaven in the sky.

Nothing can stop me to spread my wings, so wide

Posted by: fatherandson | 5 July 2007

Are you an impulsive person?

im‧pul‧sivesomeone who is impulsive does things without considering the possible dangers or problems first

‘Are you an impulsive person?’ was the question I asked my students at the beginning of last Tuesday lesson as a warm-up exercise. Most of them understood the question well but they found it hard to answer, so I wrote on the board the following scenario:

You REALLY like someone. You…

a. tell him/her your feelings the next time you see them.

b. write a beautiful poem and send it to that person.

c. say nothing because you’re afraid that she/he won’t like you.

The students became noisy and gave me different choices. Linh, Nhan, Dat, Ha and Anh chose Option a while Option b was chosen by most of the girls. Interestingly, Mr Nhat, the eldest student and a successful manager, selected Option c. Ah hah, well 🙂 he is a careful person who always think before making decision. It’s easy to understand this because he’s deputy manager of Quang Tri VTN.

The classroom atmosphere was heated when I introduced more scenarios in a worksheet to them. Then I asked them to work in pairs discussing what are the good points and bad points of being impulsive. The warm-up exercise was so successful that almost every student got up to talk. A lot of their findings were far different from what I expected. Oh, I couldn’t be happier when my students worked. What else can I seek for?

Despite their different opinions about being impulsive, they almost agreed that we should have a right mix of common sense and impulsiveness.

To end the lesson, I asked them to read the following story just to get more understanding of the word ‘impulsive’. It is a true story which was posted on 27 July, 2001.

Lovers criss-cross world in vain

London, July 27: Ian Johnstone missed his girlfriend so much he flew back to Britain from Australia to propose to her. The problem is she did the same in the opposite direction. He and Amy Dolby even managed to miss each other when they sat in the same airport lounge in Singapore at the same time to wait for connecting flights.

Dolby, heartbroken when she arrived at Johnstone’s Sydney apartment to find he had flown to London, told The Times: “It was as though someone was playing a cruel joke on us. “He is the most romantic person I have ever known. I think our problem is that we are both quite impulsive people. We are always trying to surprise each other.”

After an 11,000-mile flight across the globe, she was greeted by Johnstone’s astonished flatmate asking what she was doing there. “The awful truth dawned when I found that Ian’s rucksack and most of his clothes were missing. I sat on the end of his bed and cried my eyes out,” she said.

Johnstone, a 27-year-old bricklayer, had taken a year off to travel round Australia. But he was missing Dolby, a 26-year-old secretary, so much he got a job on a Sydney building site and started saving for a surprise. He then flew home to Britain and went to her apartment armed with an engagement ring, champagne and flowers.

“I really missed Amy and I’d been thinking about her all the time. I thought she was winding me up when she phoned me from Australia,” he said. Johnstone then asked Dolby to marry him on the phone. “I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but I accepted,” she said.

Dolby was given a tour of Sydney by Johnstone’s friends before wending her weary way home. Johnstone had to stay in Britain for two weeks because he could not change his ticket.

Posted by: fatherandson | 28 June 2007

Pop music can help improve listening skill

Just when you open my blog, you will listen to my favorite song. Thanks to SongSpots™, the song The Day Before You Came is now played right on my blog. It’s always been my favorite song since I first listened to it in early 1990s.

It was late summer of 1991 when my Dad decided to send me to Dong Ha town in order to get a better eduction. Until then I was introduced to a foreign language for the first time in my life. What we had was merely a poorly-illustrated text book. Just reading and reading. No listening at all. Young learners found it hard to fluently listen and speak, let alone a ‘country’ boy like me.

And I met Chung, who is now a successful officer of a Ho Chi Minh-based international transportation company. He was the only one who introduced pop music to me. We often listened to a lot of pop singers but our favorite band was ABBA from Sweden. Though the band dissolved in late 1980s, their music had a strong influence on pop music lovers then. We were surprisingly happy to find their songs were written in easy-to-understand, simple-structured English. As a result, Chung and I often scored good marks in listening lessons.

The Day Before You Came is a song about daily routine of an ordinary person. What you hear is just nothing but a list of actions. “I must have read the morning paper going into town… I must have made my desk around a quarter after nine with letters to be read and heaps of paper waiting to be signed… I must have gone to lunch at half past twelve or so…”. It is easy to understand this person is leading a boring, gloomy life which seems endless, a life before a miracle happens. It’s love. That’s when love walks in through the door. It is a love song but you can’t find the word ‘love’.

This explains why The Day Before You Came has been always my favorite. The great power of love is stressed without its presence.

If you are interested in the lyrics, click here.

abba.jpgPowered by ScribeFire.

Posted by: fatherandson | 27 June 2007

Idioms with ‘hat’

I’m sure that you understand what ‘a hat’ means in Vietnamese. In English, ‘hat’ is used in various idioms. Let me introduce some. You will find them very interesting.

at the drop of a hat:if you do something at the drop of a hat, you do it suddenly and easily, often without any preparation. We now have a situation where laws may be changed at the drop of a hat.

be talking through your hat (old-fashioned, informal):to be talking about a subject as if you know a lot about it when in fact you know very little. The man’s talking through his hat. He doesn’t know the first thing about banking.

be wearing your [teacher’s/lawyer’s etc.] hat:to be acting as you do when you are working as a teacher, lawyer etc., which may be different from the way you act in other situations. I was wearing my teacher’s hat at the meeting.

come/go cap in hand (British, American & Australian, American):to ask someone for money or help in a way which makes you feel ashamed. I had to go cap in hand to my parents again to ask for some money. (often+to)

hang up your hat: to leave your job for ever. When I stop enjoying my work, that’ll be the time to hang up my hat.

hats off to someone:something that you say when you want to express your admiration for someone. Hats off to her – it takes a lot of courage to go traveling on your own at that age.

I take my hat off to someone (British, American & Australian, American):something that you say which means that you admire and respect someone for something they have done. I take my hat off to people who do voluntary work in their spare time.

I’ll eat my hat (old-fashioned):if you say you will eat your hat if something happens or does not happen,
you mean you will be very surprised if it happens or does not happen. If we can’t beat a second-rate team like Sheffield, I’ll eat my hat.

If the cap fits, wear it: (British, American & Australian, American):something that you say to tell someone that if they are guilty of something bad, they should accept criticism. Look, I didn’t say who was to blame for this mess – but if the cap fits, wear it.

keep something under your hat:to keep something secret. I’ve got some interesting news, but you must promise to keep it under your hat for the moment.

old hat: if something is old hat, it is not new or modern any more. A 24-hour banking service may seem old hat in the United States, but it’s still innovative in Europe.

pass the hat around/round: to collect money from a group of people. We’re passing the hat round for Simon’s leaving present.

pull a rabbit out of the hat: to surprise everyone by suddenly doing something that shows a lot of skill, often in order to solve a problem. He’s one of those players who, just when you think the game’s over, can pull a rabbit out of the hat.

throw/toss your hat in the ring (American & Australian): to do something that makes it clear you want to compete with other people, especially to compete for a political position. She’s seriously considering throwing her hat in the ring and declaring herself a candidate for the election.

with your [teacher’s/lawyer’s etc.] hat on: be wearing your [teacher’s/lawyer’s etc.] hat – to be acting as you do when you are working as a teacher, lawyer etc., which may be different from the way you act in other situations. I’d like to talk to you with your lawyer’s hat on.

at the drop of a hat: suddenly, without any planning and for no obvious reason. He’d buy her expensive clothing at the drop of a hat and worry about how he would pay for it later.

hang your hat on something:1. to depend on something. The company’s earnings were up 70% last year, but I don’t think you can hang your hat on that kind of growth.
. 2. to believe something. It’s hard to hang your hat on a lack of money as the real reason they didn’t take the trip.

hat in hand: with an attitude of respect for someone powerful. The Secretary of Defense must go to Congress, hat in hand, to get approval to close military bases.

🙂 So I would hang my hat on your effort in English study.

Posted by: fatherandson | 22 June 2007

Baby announcement

Pardon me, but I have an important announcement


My families are rejoiced to welcome the birth of my son who was born 3.5 kg weigh, 0.7 m long at oo:01 a.m on June 15th, 2007.


We agree to name him Thang. So his name in full is Ngo Xuan Thang. At home, he will be called ‘Bean’.


June 15th, 2007 was also my 32nd birthday. What an excellent birthday gift I was given by my wife.


Posted by: fatherandson | 21 June 2007

Hello world! Hello my son!

The name of this blog, fatherandson, is likely to tell you what is really inside. I’ve just become a Dad since my 31st birthday. It was a coincidence that my wife gave birth to a boy on my birthday. Many friends of mine congratulated for the most special birthday gift I’ve had from my wife.

I would like to start my blog by Ctrl-V a post I wrote for my child-to-be at my yahoo 360 blog (this blog was obsel)on Tuesday November 14, 2006. At the time, my wife had been pregnant for 2 months and suffered a lot from initial pregnancy symptoms.

“Dear Child,

Yesterday was exactly the fourth month “anniversary” of your parents’ wedding. 120 days ago, 13 July 2006, I got married to your mom. Because of your mom’s family circumstance, we had to organize engagement party and wedding party on the same day.

We sent invitations to about 450 guests who are relatives and friends of the two families. The party was organized in Mekong Hotel Restaurant, a famous wedding party organizer in the town then. You know, 410 people came to your parents’ wedding party. Lots of beer and fun, of course. Your daddy also sang a song himself.

After the wedding, we stayed in your grandparents’ house for more than two weeks. Since your mother’s mother agreed to handover her old, unused house on 20 Ngo Quyen to us, your father’s father allowed us to accommodate there. A new era just began.

Your parents started to enjoy a new life together with both excitements and anxieties.
The idea to write the above words came to me also yesterday. It would be great for you if one day you would read the diary, getting to know how hard your mom had gone through until the day you came into this life. It is the reason for my writing, my child-to-be.

Since your mother has been carrying you for more than ten weeks, she is always feeling uncomfortable. She eats less, loses weight, vomits in early mornings and suffers from a lot of painful symptoms that every pregnant woman
has to endure.I’ve never been in this situation before, so what I can do at present is to comfort her and take care of her. You know, I take over the clothes washing, reduce my free time for weight-lifting down to only 30 minutes…In general, I must change my routines because of your taking shape in your mother’s “belly”.
Tuesday November 14, 200610:54am


Read the following article from the BBC News:Internet serves as ‘social glue’
The internet has played an important role in the life decisions of 60 million Americans, research shows. Whether it be career advice, helping people through an illness or finding a new house, 45% of Americans turn to the web for help, a survey by US-based Pew Internet think-tank has found.
It set out to find out whether the web and e-mail strengthen social ties.
The answer seems to be yes, especially in times of crisis when people use it to mobilise their social networks.

In the past, it has been suggested that the internet and e-mail could diminish real relationships. But the report, entitled The Strength of Internet Ties, found that e-mail supplements rather than replaces offline communications.
“The larger, the more far-flung, and the more diverse a person’s network, the more important e-mail is,” said Jeffrey Boase, one of the report’s authors.
21 million Americans use it to get additional career training
Helps 17 million when dealing with major illness
17 million use it for choosing a school for a child
16 million use it to buy a car
16 million use it for a major financial decision
10 million use it for finding new place to live
8 million use it when changing job
7 million use it to cope with family illness

Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project
“You can’t make phone calls or personal visits to all your friends very often, but you can ‘cc’ them regularly with a couple of keystrokes. That turns out to be very important,” he said. The old cliché that times of crisis reveal who your real friends are seems to hold as true in cyberspace as it does in the offline world.
“When you need help these days, you don’t need a bugle to call the cavalry, you need a big buddy list,” said John Horrigan, associate director for research at the Pew Internet Project.
The internet is providing Americans with a path to resources, whether it be dealing with family crises or finding a new job. The reliance and accessibility of the web is creating a new social phenomenon according to sociologist Barry Wellman. Co-author of the report, he identifies what he terms as the rise of networked individualism – where users of modern technology are less tied to local groups and increasingly part of more geographically scattered networks.
“This creates a new basis for community. Rather than relying on a single community for social support, individuals often actively seek out a variety of appropriate people and resources for different situations,” he said.

2. So, what about you? How important is the Internet in your life? Tell the class about your opinions.

Posted by: fatherandson | 13 June 2007

Climate change: What is it?

Earth has warmed by about 1ºF over the past 100 years. But why? And how? Well, scientists are not exactly sure. The Earth could be getting warmer on its own, but many of the world’s leading climate scientists think that things people do are helping to make the Earth warmer.

 Greenhouse effect

The greenhouse effect is the rise in temperature that the Earth experiences because certain gases in the atmosphere (water vapor, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and methane, for example) trap energy from the sun. Without these gases, heat would escape back into space and Earth’s average temperature would be about 60ºF (about 15.50C) colder. Because of how they warm our world, these gases are referred to as greenhouse gases.

We can make a difference?

Climate change may be a big problem, but there are many little things we can do to make a difference. If we try, most of us can do our part to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we put into the atmosphere. Many greenhouse gases come from things we do every day. As we have learned, these greenhouse gases trap energy in the atmosphere and make the Earth warmer.

Driving a car or using electricity is not wrong. We just have to be smart about it.Some people use less energy by carpooling. For example, four people can ride together in one car instead of driving four cars to work. Here are some additional ways you can help make the planet a better place!

Read: Learning about the environment is very important. There are many good books that will help you learn. To get started, ask a teacher or a librarian for some suggestions. You also can look at the Links page to find other good web sites with information about the environment and climate change.

Save Electricity: Whenever we use electricity, we help put greenhouse gases into the air. By turning off lights, the television, and the computer when you are through with them, you can help a lot.

Bike, Bus, and Walk: You can save energy by sometimes taking the bus, riding a bike, or walking.

Talk to Your Family and Friends: Talk with your family and friends about climate change. Let them know what you’ve learned.

Plant Trees: Planting trees is fun and a great way to reduce greenhouse gases. Trees absorb carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, from the air.

Recycle: Recycle cans, bottles, plastic bags, and newspapers. When you recycle, you send less trash to the landfill and you help save natural resources, like trees, oil, and elements such as aluminum.

When You Buy, Buy Cool Stuff: There are lots of ways we can improve the environment. One of the ways to reduce the amount of greenhouse gases that we put into the air is to buy products that don’t use as much energy. By conserving energy, we help reduce climate change and make the Earth a better place. Some products – like certain cars and stereos – are made specially to save energy.

Posted by: fatherandson | 6 April 2007

First words to my students

Hi Students,

How long have we been together? How much of English have you learned after more than one month attending Mr.Hien’s communication class?

As an ESL (English as Second Language) teacher, I’ve been trying my best to deliver my lessons to you in an easy-to-understanding manner. Though the textbook, Person To Person, only provides you with how to improve your listening and speaking skills, I’m sure you all have been given opportunities to increase your confidence in using your English and to refresh your grammar as well.

So far, we’ve digested Unit 1 and are going to kill Unit 2 next Saturday. We are all busy, aren’t we? Some adult learners and I are busy with my daily work. You students are occupied with school papers. So, my intention to write this blog is to give an opportunity to review basic, important vocabulary, structures and to share your classmates’ ideas.

I hope you will welcome my idea.