Hanoi senior makes 'super' reader

TN News

Email Print

A woman in Hanoi has spent 37 years since her retirement reading newspapers and books intensively to voluntarily report content errors to their authors or editors.

Many writers and reporters in Hanoi consider Pham Thi Minh My their friend after receiving her friendly but constructively critical phone calls and letters about their errors.

The 92 year old was honored in a report by Van nghe (Arts and Performance) newspaper, published by the Vietnam Writer Association, as the "Hanoi Super Reader."

My told Vietnam News Agency in a report published Wednesday that she became concerned about book and newspaper errors when she worked at the Foreign Ministry's Expert Department.

But she said she only began to have enough time to seriously track errors after she retired at age 55.

My called her job "dotting the i's and crossing the t's."

"At first, I was surprised there were so many mistakes, and some were really funny.

"I don't understand why the whole editorial staff didn't uncover the errors," the woman said.

She said in her time, "people knew ten and they wrote one."

But now, she told the newspaper, people want to write more than they know, so there are a lot of errors.

The funniest mistakes were when people used old words incorrectly, changing the original meaning, My said.

As an example of language getting scrambled between the generations, she mentioned the old saying "Vua Ngo 36 tan vang" which means a King must have 36 gold parasols.

But some books now say "A King must have 36 ounces of gold," according to My.

She suggested newsrooms and book publishers hire elderly editors as their consultants.

Many writers like Nguyen Tri Huan receive her calls with open arms, but some established authors refuse to answer any calls or letters from her.

My also writes every day in a memoir-style collection of writing she calls "Thao thuc" (Sleeplessness). It is now more than 800 pages long. 

More Arts & Culture News