Pain and grief

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Tears seem to be not enough to express the pain of a 70-year-old man and his family, as nine of their loved ones were killed in a boat accident in southern Vietnam last week.

 

It has been three days since the accident took place on the Saigon River, but an atmosphere of sadness and grief lingers at the house of Tran Trong Chinh in the central province of Ha Tinh's Ky Anh District.

 

Chinh held a funeral for his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, his daughter and three grand children the night before. Another daughter and her son, were sent to Quang Binh province, her husband's hometown, for burial.

 

The old man cried as he recalled the moment he was informed about the tragedy.

 

He said that fatal Friday night at around 10 p.m. his eldest son, Tran Trong Son, called him, saying that his mother, his sisters and brother together with their children had drowned in the Saigon River.

They were attending the third birthday party of Guo Hongda, the son of  Chinh's third daughter, Tran Thi Tuong, and a Chinese man, Guo Liangcai.

 

Chinh totally broke down receiving the information.

 

One of his neighbors in Tan Phan Village said, "Since he received the call from his son, Chinh has collapsed and seems to have nothing else to lose now."

 

According to Chinh, about four months ago, Tuong asked her elder brother, Tran Dinh Dong and his wife, Nguyen Thi Thuong, to go to work in Binh Duong. Tuong and her husband were running a company that specialized in manufacturing cooking accessories.

 

Dong agreed and took his three-year-old second daughter with them, while leaving the eldest son, 13-year-old Tran Dinh Quang, behind with his parents.

 

Later Tuong took her mother Dao Thi Luan to Binh Duong for treatment, too, Chinh said. His youngest daughter, Tran Thi Trang, and her two-year-old son, also went there to attend the birthday party before taking Luan home.

 

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No one then thought that all of them: Luan, Tuong and her two children Hongda and his five-year-old sister, Dong, his wife and their daughter, and Trang and her son would be killed in such tragedy, Chinh said.

 

"A couple of months ago my children called me, saying that they would return home to celebrate my 70th birthday.

 

"I have raised 100 chickens for the birthday celebration, but now my wife, my children and my grandchildren have all died," Chinh said, bursting into tears.

 

Meanwhile, Quang, who was left behind as his parents went to Binh Duong for work, didn't believe in the death of his parents and  little sister until their bodies were brought home Sunday night.

 

"Dad, mom, don't leave me! I promise that I'll study well and catch lots of crabs!", the boy cried out loud, screaming as his family members tried to sooth him at the funeral.

 

Seeing his grandson's pain, Chinh couldn't do anything but sigh, saying that Quang was catching crabs to sell for money when his parents and sister died.

 

"When he was out catching crabs, I felt nervous and worried. I then didn't think that he would become an orphan," said Chinh. 

 

The eldest son of the family, Son, who is in military service in the southern province of Dong Nai, kept silent, and burned incenses to his mother, brother and sisters and children.

 

"I haven't got enough place to wear all the nine mourning head-bands for my loved ones," said Son.

 

As the loss was so overwhelming that many people in Tan Phan Village could only dare to stand outside, looking into Chinh's house in silence and then went to a nearby hill to take turns in digging graves for his family.

 

It was the first time the poor village saw a mass funeral. And no one could hold their tears.

 

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