Do not watch and read this if you are in a rush

Because every single word and every single image in this article should not be ignored.

This is what has happened in the central provinces of Vietnam over the last month:

I’m in Ha Tinh, my little hometown, as I write this. Unfortunately, Ha Tinh is one of the most affected areas. It has been raining heavily for days. Some of the scenes in the video above are in Ha Tinh.

Lucky me, I’m writing this neither on the roof of my house nor in a boat. I’m still sitting comfortably at my desk, in my room, in my safe house, hearing rain drops falling against the windows…

Shortly after Typhoon 10 in September, Typhoon 11 Nari attacked the central provinces of Vietnam, including Ha TInh, Quang Binh, Quang Tri, Thua Thien Hue, Da Nang…Physical and material damages to the people in these areas have been extremely serious. At least 18 people have been killed, 3 people are missing and 116 people have been injured as of 19 October. Nearly 100,000 houses are submerged, 21 schools are damaged, and 489 classrooms had their rooves blown away (

Below are some articles about these typhoons and floods:

Calgary Herald : Typhoon that flooded thousands of homes in Vietnam kills 11 people, leaves 5 missing
Reuters: Typhoon Nari hits Vietnam, 122,000 people evacuated
ABC: Thousands evacuated as Typhoon Nari set to hit Vietnam
ABC News: Typhoon Nari leaves 11 dead, 5 missing in Vietnam

Needless to say, typhoons cause so much damage to anywhere they hit, including Vietnam. The saddest thing is that they come too often. There are on average 12 typhoons each year in Vietnam.

People in the Middle of Vietnam suffer from so much pain and loss that they can never fully recover. Poor people just get poorer and poorer after each time typhoon comes. This year alone, we have suffered damages from 11 typhoons.

Seeing all of this, knowing of what is happening to these poor people has given me sleepless nights, thinking that I should do something, I must do something, what I can do…and most of the time, I think about what WE, YOU AND I can do.

So I translated the above video, so I’m writing this blog, in the hope that we can together DO SOMETHING.

Pray doesn’t help. In this case, money does. In a blog about money and happiness I wrote ( Can money buy happiness?) , I said money can buy you happiness. It is when you give it away to those who really need it.

When the value of 1 dollar is more to someone than to you.
When with just a small gesture of kindness, you can make a big difference to someone’s day.
When you can proudly say to your children and your friends that you have done a good deed out of pure kindness.
When you show that you care.
You will be happy.

You can give however much you want. Because it doesn’t matter how much; what matters is you have put your love into what you give.
Even ONE DOLLAR can make a big difference.

This is the price list of some necessities in Vietnam ( we use VND, and $1 is equivalent to about 20,000VND )

  • 1 notebook costs only 6,000 – 7,000 VND (30 cents)
  • 1 pen costs only 2,000 VND (10 cents)
  • 1 kg of rice costs only 20,000 VND ( $1)
  • 1 tube of toothpaste costs only 21,000 VND ( $1.10)
  • 1 kg of washing powder costs around 50,000 VND ( $2.50 )

So I encourage you to open your heart and help these people. EVERY PENNY COUNTS. LET’S START FROM ONE DOLLAR!

I believe in human generosity. I believe that your heart was melted when you see these sad scenes. I believe that you won’t close the video, close this blog, and turn away, pretending that you haven’t seen or read anything. I believe that you want to help with all your heart.
I also believe in the power of blogs, of social network and in the power of us working together.

For how the donations will be spent and list of donors, Click here.


(For donations from countries other than Vietnam)

Name: Duong T T Tran
BSB : 015140
Account number: 250910197
Swift code: ANZBAU3M ( you need this code for transfer from outside Australia)

or send to Paypal account :

(For donations from Vietnam)

VIETCOMBANK – TRAN HOANG CHIEN – 0021000259135 ( Hà Nội Branch)
DONGA BANK – TRAN HOANG CHIEN – 0107022925 ( Hà Nội Branch)

(I was looking to use a fundraising site to set up the payment, but there are fees involved. As I want to put every single dollar you donate into good use, I decided not to use these sites, although they look more professional I know )

I have had $100 by the time I write this from myself, my parents and my brother 🙂
The rest is decided by you. Please help!
After 31/10, I will report on the received amount and how the money has been used, supported by images and video.
Please subscribe to my blog to receive updates OR leave your email address in the comments so that I can send the report to you.
And please share this post if you can. You are already helping by sharing.

I truly thank you very much for your kindness and selflessness, from the bottom of my heart!
Notes added after 20/10:

On 20/10, I initially started with a target of $1000.
After only 2 days, the target has been reached. I was blown away by the positive responses I received. This is absolutely something beyond amazing. I didn’t know this could happen until it did. Yes, it did happen, after a very short amount of time. My belief in human love and kindness was right.
Therefore, I would like to set a second target of $2000. I continue to welcome your donations from everywhere in the world.
By any chance the second target is reached before the deadline of 31/10, a FINAL TARGET OF $3000 will be set to be achieved by 31/10. The total amount will be equally divided to the three areas specified as in the Donation Information.

Magic can happen with hearts filled with love. We started small to do something big together.

More and more people will be helped. More sorrows will be washed away. I can’t wait to meet them and tell them all about you who are giving a hand to make this happen.


Donation information – HEARTS WARM HEARTS







Ending on 31/10/2013

Target 1: $1000
Target 2: $2000
Target 3: $3000


TARGET 1: $1,000 REACHED on 22/10
TARGET 2: $2000 REACHED on 27/10
TARGET 3: $3000 ongoing

TOTALLY $2254.10 has been raised so far!!!


Donations will be spent on buying food, clothes, stationery (for children), basic household and hygiene necessities.

These products will be hand-delivered by myself (together with my family and friends) to the most affected families in the following areas
1. Hương Khê
2. Hương Sơn
3. Vũ Quang

These are the most affected areas in Ha Tinh.

Below are links to the relevant news ( sorry they are all in Vietnamese) ( Hà Tĩnh – thousands of homes are isolated and submerged)

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 4.51.48 PM ( Floods in Ha Tinh , 4 people are dead and missing)

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 4.47.54 PM ( Ha Tinh residents are helped by soldiers to recover from flood damages)

Screen Shot 2013-10-20 at 4.49.40 PM


I would like to say big thanks to the following donors, who have opened their hearts to help the people in need. The donation amount is there for the purpose of transparency only. I treasure and highly appreciate your donations, no matter how much, because you share the same love and kindness. Love is uncountable.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
With lots of love.

($ is in AUD, and an exchange rate of 1 USD=1AUD=20,000VND is being used for estimation only)


1. Michelle Tran $50
2. Nghia Tran $25( 500,000VND)
3. Chien Tran $25( 500,000VND)
4. Hien Phan $30
5. Nga To $25


6. Nguyet Nguyen $100
7. Tra My Nguyen $80
8. Dung Vo $20
9. Ngoc Anh Vu $10
10. Ha Lan Nguyen $50
11. Yen Pham $20
12. Ngoc Anh Nguyen $15
13. Bao Nhi Vong $20
14. Nghia Trong Tran $27.80
15. Anonymous cool guy from Malaysia $4.30
16. Hung Nguyen $30
17. Huyen Thuong $25 (500,000VND)


18. George Baker $200
19. Alex Malubag $20
20. Thanh Hai Vu $25
21. Hanh Luu $20
22. Agi Erdiantini $20
23. Andy Choi $20
24. Thi Minh Tam Nguyen(Anna) $50
25. Bao An Truong $50
26. K A Pandrya $25
27. Khanh Vy Dang $50
28. Bernardine Grigson $20
29. Truc Nguyen $10
30. Lily Nguyen $25
31. Ngoc Nhu Quynh Nguyen $100
32. Anh Khoa Truong $20
33. Jean Jorel Alvarez $10


34. Khanh Chi Tran $50 (USD50)
35. Lai Nguyen $100 (USD100)
36. Thanh Linh Tran $50
37. Yue Xu $30
38. Aiden Ho $20
39. Thi Bao Tuyen Nguyen $25
40. Tra Thi Nguyen $20
41. Quynh Nhu Dang $15 ( 300,000VND)


42. Khanh Nam Ho $25 (500,000VND)
43. Zona Goh $30


44. Tu Ke Ha $250 (5,000,000VND)
45. Thu Dang $15
46. Sumaiya Zaki Mazid $30
47. Nha Vo $10


48. Kien Hoang $25
49. Linh Thuy Nguyen $50
50. Huong Thu Le $20
51. Thao My Hoang Vu $20
52. Manh Cong Ta. $20
53. Tu Nhat Nguyen Bui $20


54. Ha Viet Le $30
55. Minh Quach $50 (1,000,000VND)
56. Kia Been Koh $5


57. Nghia Trong Nguyen $20
58. Son Tho Bui $10
59. Mohanad Ardiartha Putra Kusuma $20
60. Phung Thi My Van $50 (1,000,000VND)

After 31/10, I also received donations from Mr.Kien ( University of Flinders) $20 and Serena Teh $2.

Things I love about BRS and easyconsult

Working as an intern at BRS & easyconsult has been one of the best experiences I have had so far. It was an exciting learning journey that I really enjoyed from the beginning to the end. I can’t help sharing this terrific experience with you because I know I am one of only a few interns out there who are 200% happy about their experience.

So, what makes me such a big fan of this company?

I love being part of a small team with only less than 10 people ( but the work it delivers is enormous). I was not overwhelmed when walking into the office. I didn’t struggle to remember names of each individual, and didn’t feel like I’m a little fish in a big pond. And more importantly, thanks to the small size, we got to know each other better, our strategy was better communicated and support was provided in a timely fashion.

I love talking and having a good laugh even when we were working. Instead of focusing too much on our own tasks, keeping silent and forgetting about what’s happening around us, I realized that it was better to spend time communicating with the team, telling jokes and breaking the ice in the office. This was something I was not familiar with initially due to my culture and previous experience. Straining our eyes in front of computer screens continuously without talking or laughing is very stressful. Chatting with others during office hours not only energizes us but also inspires us with more ideas and solutions to our problems. Now I really miss hearing Kym’s big laughs from the distance, listening to Erin talking about her dog, Kim telling about the movie she watched over the weekend, seeing Nicole describing how her son wanted a penguin pet, Jodie getting excited about her trip to Italy, and Sarah explaining the benefits of going vegans, and Louise showing pictures of her lovely daughters…

I love the proactivity of everyone in the team, from which I have learned so much. “It is better to ask for forgiveness than permission”, Kym, the manager, told me in one of our meetings. Being proactive means taking conscious control of situations instead of passively reacting to unexpected events. At BRS and easyconsult, everyone shows their proactivity by addressing problems and finding solutions before they are told what to do. Without the pressure to conform to expectations, everyone knows their own goals and be a leader in themselves, all working towards a common goal. Over the internship, I grew from an “obedient child” to a person who is more proactive in my choices, willing to take risks and I dare to make mistakes rather than asking for permission for fear of doing the wrong things.

I love being surrounded by positive people in the office. When being screwed up, we know that things will get better down the track, and look to deal with the situation rather than worrying too much. BRS has won so many awards such as Telstra Business Award, BRW Fast Starters, and startup smart awards. What’s the secret of a business that not only survived the economic downturn but also doubled their revenue? I would say it is the power of positivity, which results in positive outcomes.

I love the sheets of plans and goals on the walls as a reminder for the team to focus on our mission.

I love being challenged when someone asked me why I did this, why I did that, and what I could do to make it better.

I love it when someone asked me ” Do you need any help at all?”

I love it when someone returned from her lunch with a pack of chocolates and shared with everyone else.

I love it when we all cheered and clapped for getting more members into easyconsult coaching program.

There are so many other things I love about this wonderful place that I can’t fit them all to this blog space.


The team was well rewarded for their efforts

After all, I was so proud being part of this fantastic team, being part of easyconsult, a world-class coaching program that will go places in the future. And I believe that everyone in the team would be proud too. The power of having a great culture is huge, when the team becomes a family, when common goals become personal goals, when common success is everyone’s success.

I never knew that there exists such a great business culture until I worked here 🙂

A movie you definitely should watch

To me, watching movies is not only a way to entertain myself, but also to learn from it and enrich my soul. I have watched a host of good movies with great meanings about life, love and relationships. However, whenever someone asks me to recommend a good movie, the first title that comes to my mind is ” Three idiots”.

3 Idiots is a 2009 Indian coming of age comedy-drama film directed by Rajkumar Hirani, with a screenplay by Abhijat Joshi, and produced by Vidhu Vinod Chopra. It was loosely adapted from the novel Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat ( Wikipedia). It is one of just only a few Indian movies I have watched, but it is definitely my favourite movie of all times.

I won’t tell you the plot ( I personally don’t want to know this in advance), I’m just trying to persuade you to watch it if you haven’t. Hope this works

If you are losing your direction in life, and need a great source of inspiration….

If you want to learn lessons about friendship, about how true friends treat each other…

If you are in love and looking for some sweet romance and drama…

If you want to have some laugh with your friends…

If you miss your time at school and want to turn back those days even just for a while…

Or if you just want a watch a REALLY STUNNING movie…

This is the movie for you.

I don’t know what the definition for perfection, but to me, I don’t hesitate to nominate it as the symbol of a perfect movie. Great actors, great story, great lessons – all make terific 3 hours that I never regret even for a second. It’s an awesome movie in itself without special effects or breath-taking scenes. You will love it just for its own sake.


So, what are you waiting for?

Take a second to ask: What are the most important things in life?


A philosophy professor stood before his class with some items on the table in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with rocks, about 2 inches in diameter.

He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles, of course, rolled into the open areas between the rocks.

He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up the remaining open areas of the jar.

He then asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “Yes.”

“Now,” said the professor, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things – your family, your partner, your health, your children – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full. The pebbles are the other things that matter – like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else, the small stuff.”

“If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take your partner out dancing. There will always be time to go to work, clean the house, give a dinner party, or fix the disposal.”

“Take care of the rocks first – the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

Author Unknown

More than words…

This entry is dedicated…

To all the well-respected speakers and the organizing committee of the 4th University Scholars Leadership Symposium.

To all of delegates at the symposium who have contributed to its success.

To all of my friends who have walked into my life in the most graceful way I could ever imagine, and will stay in my heart for the years to come.

To myself, who have learned the lessons that can’t be taught anywhere else.

And to you, whoever is reading this, because you have made the right decision to know more about one of the best international events about humanitarian issues in the world.


The symposium means so much to me as the way it does to many other people. It has brought me…


With more than 700 delegates from 45 countries in the world, this symposium brought together the nicest and friendliest people who care about alleviating world poverty. Though it was impossible to meet and talk to everyone in the symposium, I managed to make so many new friends and remember their names as much as I could (it was hard to be honest, but remembering someone’s name is one of the sweetest things we can do).



The symposium has connected me with the people that have become my soul mates. Even though we just met for a few days, I feel as if we have been friends for years and we can share everything together without hesitation.


We learned, we ate, we sang, we played, we laughed and we cried together. We were so happy together, sharing moments, sharing life…

Love is sometimes that simple. We love each other unconditionally, and I’m grateful that we found each other in the crowd.


All too often we pursue the knowledge that helps us get a better job and we forget about the kind of knowledge that helps us live a better life. The symposium has provided us the latter. We had the chance to listen to and learn from the people who have devoted their entire life for a better world and give them our warmest hugs.



Thank you, Bam Aquino, Peter Baines, Pushpa Basnet, Geraldine Cox, Ibu Robin Lim, Tony Meloto, Simerjeet Singh, Pamela Wigglesworth, Lloyd Luna and Francis Kong for sharing your experiences and giving us so much inspiration to make ourselves better people and the world a better place.

“ A day well spent brings a happy sleep at night. A life well spent brings a happy death” ( Simerjeet Singh)

Remember to respect the soul of other people” (Robin Lim)

You have to believe in your dreams before everyone else does” (Pushpa Basnet)

Problems are always there, but we can choose the only problems that relate to what we care” (Miguel Bermundo)

The purpose of going to university is to have the capability to learn” ( Francis Kong)

We can’t change what happened, but we can change what happens next” (Peter Baines)

Start young. Start early.” (Pamela Wigglesworth)



Since the very first day I came to Manila, I have seen so many homeless people and poor children on the street. They sleep alongside the bay, on the pavement, in their tricycles and in doggy tents. Street children who are just from 3 to 10 years old will run around you, with their hands open asking for food and money. Looking at these people keeps me aware of what we take for granted. We are so lucky to be able to afford good accommodation, good food and even travel around the world while so many other people have to live on the streets, eat anything they have and have never stepped out of their own city. Poverty is just a “global issue” when you read about it in newspapers, but it becomes a pain when we really witness it with our own eyes.

I have learned how to treasure what I have right now, and I feel blessed that I was not born in poverty like those children. We cannot choose how we are born. We cannot choose how other people are born either. God does. However, he doesn’t do so for free I believe. We have to give as much as we receive. We don’t know when we will be in the situation that needs help from other people, so why not open our heart and share what we have with those in need?


For every single day of the symposium, I was always happy. I was happy to meet new friends, to learn from the speakers, to hang out with my buddies, to give a hand to building schools for children. We smiled, we talked, we laughed all the time. The happiness I felt was so huge and deep that it is still resonating in my heart right now.


There are little things that could make me feel like I was the happiest person in the world. How happy I was when my friends told me that they loved me so much. How happy I was when I saw people around me laughing and talking cheerfully. How happy I was when the children at Quezon ran to me, called my name and hugged me so tight. How happy I was when I played a game with these little kids and they liked it! How happy I was when I received some little gifts from my friends even though we had just known each other for a few days. How happy I was when I knew that I became a special friend to them.



This is a life changing experience to me and many other people I believe.


Dear my friends who have shared this time with me: Stay passionate. Stay positive. Stay focused. Keep your fire burning. I have faith that we can together make a lot of differences in the world.

Dear others, I strongly recommend that you attend this symposium next year. It will definitely be something that you will never be able to forget. Life is short; we had better spend it well. Time is finite; we had better spend it wisely.

Experience it, try it, and feel it in your own way.


Michelle Tran

10 August 2013