Vietnam delta woman could be world's oldest person at 120

TN News

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A village in the Mekong Delta Can Tho City is possibly home to the oldest person in the world, 120 years of age.

Pham Thi Thuong from Truong Thanh Commune, Thoi Lai District still has an ID car issued in 1970 which says she was born in 1890.

Thuong has never renewed her card because she thinks she's too old and too poor to ever leave the village, said her youngest daughter Nguyen Thi Dau, 77.

She was not registered with local authorities as her granddaughter-in-law forgot to put her name on a new residential form when the family moved 30 years ago.

Several years after that, the family moved again, and Dau didn't register her mother as she thought she was too old.

Though people more than 85 years of age in the commune are given VND120,000 (US$6.45) a month, Thuong wasn't registered until she was 118.

"It's funny when the commune officials visited my home to convey a Tet message. They wished my mother 100 years of happiness... then they remembered that she was already two decades past 100," Dau said.

Thuong has hardly ever been sick and was walking until just a few years ago. Now she just stays in bed, but still speaks clearly and is sharp as a tack, if not a little wry about her years on this planet.

"I'm old now, I'm just a bother to my children," Thuong said as Dau spoon-fed her coffee. Dau said her mother is addicted to coffee and gets angry if she doesn't have one every day.

"My skin is wrinkled all over. I'm too ugly now," said Thuong when someone asked to take her picture.

Thuong was born in Tay Ninh Province neighboring Ho Chi Minh City. She moved to Can Tho at 20 after marrying a man from Vinh Long Province, also in the delta.

They had nine children, six of whom have died. Her husband died at age 90.

Thuong has worked odd jobs her whole life to earn a living and support her children, including farming, gardening, fishing, and making clothes, nets and bamboo baskets, Dau said.

Thuong was never sad or worried during hard times, and when life tried to get her down, she just worked harder, the daughter said.

"Maybe she has made it this long because she's truly carefree."

The children of a woman named Nguyen Thi Thanh in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang once insisted she was born in 1890. But her personal papers were all destroyed in several floods. The province then intended to perform tests to determine her age, but they failed to do so before Thanh died in 2008.

In January 2007, lady Yone Minagawa in Japan was recognized the oldest person in the world at 114 years of age. She died in August that same year.

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