What do we teach our kids at school?

When Anh Vien, one of the best swimmers of Vietnam, returned to her home country without a medal on her neck, Lao Dong newspaper made a disgraceful headline:”Where did 30 billion VND of investment in Anh Vien go?”.

Why do we take this article as a disgrace? The purpose of sports is to improve one’s health, not to compete for medals. After years of intensive training, Anh Vien has owned an amazing physique, meaning that the 30 billion VND investment is worth every penny. So, let’s turn back to the above question. The answer is simple. The investment in Anh Vien is to improve the height, weight and gene of the Vietnamese. Not to mention that after returning from her oversea training, Anh Vien has blown a new air of culture through the country.

Every national level school in Europe and North America must have a swimming pool, even elementary and secondary ones. Swimming is the utmost important subject. In East Asia, South Korea and Japan also follow this model and build pools in their schools. Either their “good students”or education management is different from ours. In these countries, schools without a swimming pools cannot obtain national level. Our country, on the other hand, does not have such requirement. Therefore, our “good students” on the container smuggling them to England did not know how to open the air valve, leading to their demise. In the U.S., there are scouting clubs teaching children skills to survive in the wilderness.

We will put American athletesand Chinese athletes on the table. The Americans enter a competition with a different stance. They take the competition as a chance to improve their health. Winning a medal or not is not the matter of concern; therefore, their faces are always filled with joy. In contrast, the Chinese have to bring back medals to their country. That’s why athletes from China are always heavy like they are attending a funeral not standing on the podium. Sports is all about joy. In the past, the champion of the run to Olympia only received a laurel, but he was still proud of what he achieved. Medals did not exist at the time.

The obsession of passing exams of the Vietnamese from the Middle Age combined with the peasant mentality has caused parents to urge their children to take higher education. Employers in Vietnam require their candidates to have at least the College Degree; therefore, we suggest student should enroll in universities. For young athletes, they are forced to compete neck and neck against their American and Chinese counterparts. Meanwhile, the physique of South East Asians (Vietnamese, Malaysian and Indonesian) could not compare to that of the North Asians (Japanese and South Koreans) or the Europeans. Then why do they, the bureaucrats, have to forced Anh Vien to win against those tough opponents in a global sporting event? That’s why we view the headline of Lao Dong newspaper as an insult. Did they forgot the glory Anh Vien brought home? Anh Vien is a national treasure, and the newspaper has gone too far this time.

We have only invested in Anh Vien for 15 years. In the U.S., capitalists have invested in human resources for a hundred years. The monarchy of Japan sponsors milk and beef for students. Teachers persuade their pupils to drink milk in breakfast and eat beef in lunch. For 20 years, the height of Japanese has increased for 20 cm. They escaped the name “Short Japanese” dubbed by their neighboring countries to become one of the countries having the highest average height in the region. The fact that Anh Vien was able to become the champion of South East Asia after just 15 years of investment is worth praising. Investing in human resources always bear fruit. About Anh Vien, she must have endured great pressure these days.

 “In recent years, Vietnamese mass media love to broadcast news about the grades of the national high school graduation exam, especially Literature tests achieving the scores of 9 and 10. Is this worth celebrating? Mr. Phi, tell me do you see any countries broadcasting news about the scores of Literature tests in their national graduation exam? Maybe only Vietnam does that! What’s the point of spreading that news? The way I see it, it is meaningless. Looking back when universities still held their own entrance exam, we could barely hear about a 10-score Literature test. So why now the scores of 9 and 10 are abundant? Is it because the students are getting smarter or the criteria is getting lower? Is that 10 worth being proud of?”, my classmate commented.

A simple answer to this: the criteria is getting lower.

We should encourage Anh Vien for the glory she brought to her own country. Winning and losing is a part of sports. Thank you Anh Vien.

I am a fan of her.

Saigon, August 02, 2021.
Le Minh Ton
Contact: tonphi2021@gmail.com

Thanks for sharing.

P/s: Many major newspapers has changed their titles from “…. Anh Vien finishes last” to headlines that are more “educated”.

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