And Have A Happy New Year

It is only a few days until the new year – year of the Cat. I bet you guys are now busy cleaning up your house, decorating, cooking, preparing…

This is the time for family get together. I remember how we spent the day preparing for a big meal to celebrate the new year. I always enthusiastically waiting for the “Giao thua” play (the one about Ong Tao Ve Troi), I would watch it and compare it with last year’s. I was happily waiting for the midnight, feeling the holiday spirit in the air.

Of course with years far from home, I don’t have the luxury to celebrate and enjoy Tet like that anymore. Tet usually coincide with the most busy weeks in the semester with all the midterms and students coming for office hour. However, we, students oversea, still try to gather together, having a pot luck party (party where each person bring a dish or contribute something), and celebrate it in the weekend.

Well I said we’ll try to blog everyday, but I think now everyone is very busy, this is not a good time to study after all 😉

A new year is coming. I wish you all a happy time with family and friends, and a wonderful year ahead, with full of success and joy.



Chung tay giúp em Phan Hồ Anh Thư


Kính gửi Quý Thầy Cô và các bạn Đồng nghiệp.

Em Phan Hồ Anh Thư, hiện đang là Trợ giảng tại Bộ môn Giải Tích, Khoa Toán – Tin học, Đại học Khoa học Tự nhiên, Tp. Hồ Chí Minh.

Dự kiến ngày 12/02/2011, em Thư sẽ trải qua ca đại phẫu để lấy tủy ghép cho em trai bị căn bệnh suy tủy. Đây là ca phẫu thuật phức tạp và chi phí rất lớn, dự kiến từ 500 đến 700 triệu đồng. Trong khi đó, ba mẹ em hiện là giáo viên cấp 2 trường làng (Quảng Nam) nên kinh tế rất eo hẹp.

Qua thư ngỏ này Công đoàn Khoa Toán – Tin học rất mong nhận được sự chia sẻ về mặt vật chất cũng như tinh thần từ những tấm lòng hảo tâm quý Thầy Cô và các bạn Đồng nghiệp để giúp em Thư cứu sống em trai.

Chân thành cám ơn tấm lòng vàng của Quý Thầy Cô và các bạn Đồng nghiệp.

Công đoàn Khoa Toán – Tin học.

Ghi chú: Quý Thầy Cô và các bạn Đồng nghiệp xem chi tiết tại địa chỉ để biết hình thức tiếp nhận

đóng góp.


The secret power of Youtube and of yourself

So I came across this article from CNN about an interesting TEDtalk: “The secret power of YouTube”. You might still remember that we mentioned about TEDTalk a while ago in this post, and you can always visit their website for more talks at Please note that the talks there are more suitable for advanced learners only. The article, however, can be read with intermediate level.

In the talk, Chris Anderson defined the term crow-accelerated innovation, and he provided the three things he believe needed for such innovation to take off: a “Crowd”, “Light” and “Desire”. It is a notable article and talk, you should definitely try to have a look 😉

Now you might ask, “so what does it have to do with English learning?” Since I can’t practically add anything interesting to the table as his wording is just right, I will simply quote Christ here:

“Crowd: It can be any group, small or large, of people who share a common interest. The bigger the group, the better the chance that it contains real innovators. But successful crowds also depend on lots of other roles like trend-spotters, cheerleaders, commenters, and even skeptics.

Light: You need to be able to see what the very best people in the crowd are capable of. And the amazing thing about the Web is that even when the crowd is in the millions, the best contributors can readily bubble up to the surface — for example, by winning the most views or highest ratings on a website.

Desire: On the Web, this is provided through social recognition. If you can do something innovative and special, you get thousands of people viewing your work and talking about you. It’s intoxicating. And it’s driving hundreds and hundreds of hours of effort from potential innovators across the globe.”

This makes me think of our blog, of the reason why I decided to create this blog, ask for help from others, and why I decided to go back and keep the blog running.

I hope that I can create a bigger CROWD of students who are aware of the importance of learning English, who know how to learn English (as well as other foreign language) effectively and economically.

I have once been struggling with trying to get the best TOEFL test score out of the minimal amount of money my parents could offer me. I have made a number of trials, ranging from learning solely at school (university), at home, go to cheap to expensive learning centers. For the first type (cheapest) I only need to go to class once to decide that it does not worth my time sitting in and getting bored. For the most expensive one I only attend one of their class to realize that they don’t really worth the money I spent. I have also tried online study, and finally go back to self-study with a bunch of books and my cassette player. I realize that everything come down to HOW you learn it. That is the reason I would like to shred a LIGHT to you guys of what I have been able to do (and so you can, too), and asked that my friends help and do the same.

Of course there is that bit of DESIRE in it, that we have an audience, that we help 😉

We all know that we all DESERVE to be able to learn and get better.

English is not a goal, but more like a tool. High TOEFL or IELTS scores, however are our goal, and our tool to apply to study abroad. But after that, English come back again as a tool, to communicate and to help us advance in our life, as well as in our work. It burdens me that many of us have hard time to get better at English because of their financial problems. So, if you find us helpful, please, create a bigger CROWD and help your friends by introducing us to them. Spread the word.

The more people know English (or any other language), the more people go study abroad, the better we can help our country to develop. For a bright future of Vietnam 🙂

Học bổng Amcham – Information Session

Xin trân trọng giới thiệu đến các bạn buổi hội thảo Information Session của Học bổng AMCHAM 2010 tại TP.HCM. Năm nay là năm thứ 10 học bổng AMCHAM hoạt động. Tôi và một số các bạn khoa Toán khác từng vinh dự được nhận học bổng này trong năm học cuối Đại Học.

Để đạt được học bổng này, sau khi hồ sơ của bạn qua được vòng xét tuyển, bạn sẽ phải qua một kì kiểm tra Anh Văn, đánh giá năng lực, và cuối cùng là Phỏng vấn bằng tiếng Anh.

Nếu bạn nhận được học bổng này, ngoài phần thưởng là một trong 40 suất học bổng trị giá $500 và 60 suất huấn luyện kĩ năng trị giá $300, bạn còn được làm quen, giao lưu và học hỏi với các anh chị đi trước, đồng thời tham gia vào mailing list của Amcham Scholars.

Chỉ còn vài ngày nữa, các bạn hãy nhanh chóng gửi email đăng kí dự hội thảo đến Hạn chót là 17g ngày 24 tháng 9 đấy.

Daily News

Let me give it a try. Since I find Vietnamese newspapers untrustworthy, I give up reading them all. It would be nice if our friends can write here in English some messages that bring a piece of our country to this blog. Any kinds of news are welcome provided they are reliable. Then we can discuss more from there.
First, I start with yesterday’s news 🙂 . Yesterday was my birthday and today is somebody else’s. So Happy Birthday to that somebody else. All of my friends and relatives wished me good luck in … finding a soul mate. See how desperate I am now. Watch and avoid mistakes, my dear friends 🙂
How about you? Do you have anything to say?