Beauty is in the eye of the beholder


I had a nightmare about Portugal’s loss to Germany. Nothing compared with what it felt to look straight at the team being torn apart. But after all, I am a fan before a critic… 

There’s a saying that goes, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. I’m writing this for Selecao Portugal and Number 7.



I believe, for an average football hobbyist, the love for football starts from the very moment you decide to choose which team to support and to become a fan of. As simple as Dad has his team; Mom has her team; so then I should have one team to root for. It may sound irrational having chosen Portugal based on one article found in the famous teen magazine at that time, the H2T, in around 2003, but I did — at the age of 13. The article drew several maps describing how each team approached the opponent’s goal. While Germany had straight lines; Brazil had more crooked lines; Portugal found themselves trapped in a tangled bunch of threads, with caption, “Selecao Portugal plays attractive attacking football, and they tend to show off their skills on their way to scoring”. Those few words mesmerized me, making me feel that had it not been for Brazil and Portugal, I would never have come to realize the true beauty of football.

But it was not until Euro 2004 did I know Brazil didn’t belong to the European tournament! Then I felt like I had plenty of luck with Portugal, for the Euro 2004 was held right in Portugal, the farther western country located in the ravishing Iberian peninsula. The 2004 Portugal squad was amazing. They consisted of several spectacular players, who stunned people with their attractive football style and defeated many big names in their way to the champion title, yet surprisingly lost to Greece in a ruthless unlucky finals. There were times I was so deeply in love with Portugal that I reckoned I could fall for every Portuguese: the coach of our Vietnam national team, Calisto; the coach of Chelsea football club, the ‘special one’ José Mourinho; and the romantic tutor at Oxford University, Fernando Carvalho, in my favourite book Oxford Love Story.



The naive 19-year-old Portugal’s Number 17 stole my heart in Euro 2004 as he had his first performance in one of the most renowned tournaments, playing the role of a left-winger. He was close to my type of guys at the time: innocent and joyful. Every time Ronaldo walked in, I couldn’t help but laugh because of his attempts to catch attention— showing off his blessed blistering pace and uncanny turns and tricks, delivering instant charming smiles once he knew there were cameras pointing at him, and his wearing earrings in both ears like a teenage boy. But he was at times soft and fragile — he, like a child, sobbed and prayed for a magic to save Portugal from being defeated by Greece in Euro 2004 finals. Luis Figo was coming to console him and Felipe Scolari was hugging him like a father to his son. The shocked result was beyond what a 19-year-old, who played with all his passion, could bear.

Perhaps Ronaldo is no genius footballer but I like how he came to shine the way he did. He has discipline, passion, ambition and is aspired to personal development. Above all, like no other, his reckless living style— the self against the world sort of personality of a typical Aquarius zodiac sign— is what has kept me a fan for as long as I’ve known him.

“Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”, said Einstein, which I think is true to the case of Ronaldo. 10 years have passed with ups and downs, through failures and triumphs, from a boy to a man, from an unknown footballer to the best soccer player in the world today, either being a midfielder or a forward, he is always the player I’m most proud of, once most frustrated when he chose to leave Old Trafford, and sometimes most upset when he failed to prove himself the big name for the big games. Whoever he will become. However hopeless Portugal will be in conquering their dreams. No matter what. He is, and always will be, a special part of my love for football.

Brazil to kick-off World Cup 2014’s opening game today!


Some lines before the start of World Cup 2014 — or a festive mood for this year’s burning Brazilian summer


There are mixed feelings and thoughts going through my mind before the starting moment of this year’s biggest event — yes, it’s World Cup 2014 in Brazil. As always I’ve prepared myself a week in advance in supporting my favorite football teams, Portugal and Brazil, and by preparation I mean posters and articles posted on Facebook that could flood my friends’ feed. For Brazil, I have a solid belief that the team, having Neymar as the inspiration, are going to deliver a great showing this year. History shows that the host nation has never lost the champion cups to anyone while in their motherland. So then my anticipation of an ultimate win for Brazil sounds much more convincing.


Brazil 2014 Squad


Portugal 2014 Squad

But if I were to pick another potential winner that I’m truly fond of, my choice would go to Portugal. The squad of my golden players — C.Ronaldo, Figo, Deco, Gomes, Ricardo, Maniche and Carvalho —, though most of them are no longer in the team, has remained the number 1 team in my heart. Ronaldo is my bias of all and I count on him for the major improvement in Portugal’s attacking play. He is currently seen as one of the most successful forwards in football history, though I believe he would make an extraordinary player at any roles — I love him most when he was a rookie yet sharp left-winger in his first big show, Euro 2004. His football drills were what fascinated me then and have since kept me a big fan for 10 years and, I’m sure, even more.


Now to the 2014 tournament, the first opening game of the group of death — group G — is between Portugal and the great enemy Germany. It is predicted that Germany will top the group and Portugal will come second, though fighting against the rising star USA and the dark horse Ghana is by no means easy tasks. Now why I am not in an up-in-the-sky mood for the winning chance of Portugal. Reality gets in: there seems to be a single-man squad that relies heavily on Ronaldo, who, — we all know — is having a knee injury and looking for his fitness just right on the eve of the tournament. I’m not so sure about the goalkeepers, the defenders and even the midfielders except of Pepe — but only if he doesn’t get himself in a scuffle and loses his cool. That Portugal just thrashed Ireland in final warm-up game before World Cup would make fans feel much relieved yet there exists a threat we don’t want to think about. A draw against Germany would make a fantastic start, then the rest games would be just easier to tackle. If Portugal to advance to round of 16, they might be facing Russia — provided they would top group H — , and this, in my opinion, is not much a dreaded clash and is somehow less stressful to them. Anyway, let’s see how it’s going.

Can’t wait to June 16! Go Portugal!

And tonight, fire it on, Brazil!



Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
Weep, and you weep alone.
For the sad old earth must borrow it’s mirth,
But has trouble enough of its own.
Sing, and the hills will answer;
Sigh, it is lost on the air.
The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
Grieve, and they turn and go.
They want full measure of all your pleasure,
But they do not need your woe.
Be glad, and your friends are many;
Be sad, and you lose them all.
There are none to decline your nectared wine,
But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
Fast, and the world goes by.
Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
But no man can help you die.
There is room in the halls of pleasure
For a long and lordly train,
But one by one we must all file on
Through the narrow aisles of pain. 

Ella Wheeler Wilcox

The Notebook: Is there a Noah?


I took a day off from work as a treat for working hard the long week last. I forced myself into finishing some books I had left untouched since forever, which I knew had it not been for a free day like this, I wouldn’t have been in the mood to complete. I skimmed over a few books I almost read and not read at the same time - I was always eager to start before I got bored and gave up after a while. The atmosphere was inspiring - the rain danced in rhythm and the winds blew effortlessly - so then I knew I ultimately ended up with a romance novel. It was The Notebook


I’ve watched the movie as many times as I could imagine. I know every detail of the movie, like every scene Allie or Noah walks in. It is one of a few romance movies I truly love, as usually I prefer crime / detective genre. But it was not until yesterday did I get myself into understanding the whole picture of all characters, like Noah, Aliie and Lon, and their stories and feelings behind the cinematic imagery of the movie. The movie is amazing, but the book has much more than that.

Noah & Allie

Noah. I love, and I did get stunned by how different Noah in the book turns out. He is rather quiet and shy and sort of a bookworm - though it would be better saying he’s a poetry-worm. He doesn’t really look passionate, not if it means quirky and crazy and wild as portrayed by Ryan Gosling. But then he is passionate, because he has a warm kind heart, and eyes that always "gave him away" even when words fail to convey his thoughts. He’s silent and considerate, at the same time a type of man who "seemed to savor life more fully than others appeared to".

Allie. Somehow I find her less impulsive as she appears in the movie. Sparks spares most of the book, especially the middle part, describing how Allie changes and levels up her feelings and thoughts towards Noah. I like how Allie and Noah come to fall in love beneath the old oak tree, when he reads to her poems of his favorite. I believe they fall in love not only because of the rising chemistry between a country boy and an uptown girl in one blazing hot summer, but also because they share the same values and viewpoints towards life and its beauty. Allie was born a talented artist but no one, except her professor and Noah, has ever encouraged her to follow that path. She finds herself satisfied in every way when being with Noah. They are both lovers and best friends. 


"The way I see it, I got three choices. One, I can shoot him. Two, I can kick the crap out of him. Or three, I leave you. Well. all that’s no good. You see, ‘cause none of those options get me you…"

I get to know Lon a bit deeper as he shares some pages in the book. He is a wonderful man, but just not the type Allie has always been looking. Lon is rushing, driven in his work - I guess which has made him so successful. But he does love Allie by all he’s got. He’s sincere and tolerant. And I appreciate how Lon lets Allie run to the man of her life and accepts everything as it is. After all it’s only the matter of shared beliefs and values. Allie and Lon simply don’t click. They were not born for each other. 

I, however, kind of relate to Allie and Lon. Though I am inspired by Noah and Allie’s love yet I at times find it rare and unreal. But Lon and Allie’s situation is more common and their story is what we usually have to struggle in life: to choose a man who has everything but lacks a touch of true affection, which may assure a secured life but is no where near as fantastic as we dream about ‘love’. Now, what if we were never to meet anyone who we would call ‘Noah’ of our life? Should we follow the safe path, or should we wait for someone who has yet to come - and even we aren’t sure exist?

A life of travel?


Has anyone heard of this page, Humans of Hanoi? It was inspired by the more famous Humans of New York. I came across this snippet today:


"Đi du lịch khắp mọi nơi trên thế giới là cách sống mà chúng tôi đã chọn. Tuy nhiên, khi đặt chân đến Việt Nam tôi cảm giác hành trình đang quá dài và khó khăn. Vậy nên chúng tôi ngồi lại đây để nói về những thứ nên làm tiếp theo.Tôi cảm thấy chúng tôi đã đi quá nhiều, đã đến lúc trở về quê hương tìm một công việc để ổn định cuộc sống. Dường như mọi thứ đang dần mất phương hướng, nhưng cô ấy bảo cô ấy vẫn muốn đi tiếp…”

“We chose the travel lifestyle for ourselves. It’s not until we came to Vietnam that I felt like the journey is getting too difficult. We are having a talk about what’s next for us. I feel like this has been going on for too long, that we probably should stay away from the road and go back to a more routine lifestyle at home. I think we’re getting lost. But she wants to continue with this so I don’t know…”

The story kind of got stuck in my head. A life of travel appears fancy to most people, especially to youngsters who are obsessed with being ‘free’ and ‘on their own’. I once thought I would live such a life; and finding someone with the same free spirit would be an ultimate inspiration. But as time flies, we age and some friends even have concrete career/life; you’ll feel lost somehow - there’s only you who own nothing: no close relations, no family, no solid job, etc… Then you’ll realize the ‘travel’ dream you once aspire to doesn’t necessarily mean going non-stop days by days. It’s the best when it is the balance spot between working and enjoying life, the worst when being the whole purpose of living.…You still need an anchor to turn to in the end. No one can travel forever. Just that some people realize it too late….

3S reunion @ Thai House

They are my bestest boyfriend and girlfriend back in middle school. Ever since we met in 6th grade (around 12 years old), we have grew up together and have been close friends till now, when we all become young professionals (what a serious way to address!) in our early twenties. Some time around 2008, at the age of 18, we drifted apart from the others, for each had his own dream and pursuit: the boyfriend went to the States; the girlfriends both traveled to Oceania. More than 10 years have passed in ups and downs, we sometimes kept in touch via emails and social networks (yea, facebook!). I’m by no means a clingy friend but I truly appreciate how we’ve gone through those years without growing apart in personality and point of view. We’ve never had a whole lot in common like most close relations, yet we’ve been blessed to grow up having quite similar life values, like, how we treat things and people. Aww… so here we are again. A long-awaited reunion we’d always imagined, which appeared to be no less bizarre than we thought it would back then.

So the plan was to dine in Thai House, a Thai restaurant located on Hau Giang street near Saigon Airport, then we would head to Lotte Cinema to watch the latest summer blockbuster, Xmen. Things would never be as perfect as in plan. We arrived late at the dinning place, ate in a hurry while (still) making fun of the others. We, later, had to fly on scooter to the cinema… I’m writing a review for the movie but for now let’s dig in the foodie’s menu. What we had at Thai House (and what we believe the best there)

- Grilled Beef Satay

- Pad Thai

- Tom-Yum hot pot

We also had BBQ Pork (no photo) yet it was a bit salty to my taste. Overall, ThaiHouse, with no doubt, is in my short list for the best Thai taste in Saigon. The cooking style is pretty much similar to what I found in the Queenstown Thai restaurant – the one I always love. My most favorite dish is Tom-Yum hot pot. It was just superb! And so was the night…


Kimbap, located in Superbowl center near Saigon Airport, is my new choice for Korean taste. The decoration is the best in town, I mean, seriously Korean-styled. We had 3 traditional dishes: tuna kimbap, cold mixed noodle and kimchi soup. They were sooo yum. We were also given two cups of rice juice for free :).

Hey… how have you been?


Dear Blog,

I find myself guilty when I start typing this first line. I’ve been busy enough to leave you unattended, and I feel from my heart the selfishness of myself as I’m about to speak out this: I’m missing you as much as I miss my flawless writing back then, which has now turned into a junk of insipid words and clumsy ideas. But more than anything just listed out, I miss you as a habit. 

I miss you as we talked about things we both love, like those of music, movies and books. I miss you as I struggled sometimes with the commitment of writing I made yet failed to fulfill. I miss you as I stood among people having many stories to tell but hesitating to pull attention over me. Perhaps I’m too much of an introvert that I prefer to stay inside my safe shelter. Most of my time spent was with you, blog! As you absorb all my words and thoughts, I always know you are one of the best listeners I can have. 

Much humble as I sound now, I can’t help dancing on my feet because we finally reunite. It’s been a while since I first met you, designed the very first suit for you, and poured into you many awkward first lines. Today I’m glad we have our own land and pleased to call it That our onward journey together will be filled with meaningful proses and amazing visuals leaves me excited. 

Hey Blog… Let’s witness all moments ahead and share with readers how much passion I have for writing and telling stories…

With Love,