A List, The Bloggies @UOW, and Gratitude

Thank you for making this little page Bloggies’ Best BCM Blog x


bcms@uow Bloggies.jpg
(The Specs is there in the background)


  1. The Specs has won Best BCM Blog at today’s #BCM110 and #BCM112 Bloggies Award at UOW, and I still can’t believe it. Well, not just yet.
  2. I’m not good at delivering award acceptance speeches. I can write on the spot, not speak on the spot…
  3. And no matter how true the above is, I still can’t find the words to thank Sue – my lecturer – and Renee – my awesome tutor, as well as the teaching staff, for this chance. It might be a tiny achievement, it means so much to me.
  4. I started The Specs hoping to find my voice heard. And I received so much more, I got friends supporting me on Twitter and WordPress and Instagram, despite the fact that I’m utterly shy and borderline incompetent in socializing. Thank you for your sweet support and your kind words.
  5. In that clumsy acceptance speech, I said how this little achievement has made me a little more confident. It does, it does. I set out not even dreaming of being a nominee, seeing how I’m not a native speaker and an international student. And now, I’ve been proven wrong. And never have I felt this grateful for being wrong.

Now that I’m quite sure that I’m a decent blogger/writer, I’ll try to make this my “thing”. Just wait and see guys.


20170531 Bloggies
(artwork by me for the occasion)


No, Mia is not my only name.

Am I Mia? Or am I not?

Note: slightly edited on 29 August 2018.

If you were to meet me right now, here, in Australia, and ask me what my name was, I’d be most likely giving out this answer:

“I’m Mia.”

But that is, in some sense, a lie. Because my original name is not Mia. It’s Đỗ Dương Minh Anh  (yep, the Vietnamese version with all the correct ‘accent marks’). ‘Accent marks’ aside, written in the first name – middle name – last name format, it should be Minh-Anh Duong Do or Minh-Anh Do-Duong. Unfortunately, I’m stuck with Duong Minh Anh Do in all of my translated ID papers, including my uni transcript and my name in the roll call for all of my subjects. Meaning, whoever looking at that would think my name is Duong. It hadn’t really bothered me much, since I requested to add an alternate first name – Mia – to my personal details, and my life became a teeny little easier.

Until today. Continue reading “No, Mia is not my only name.”

Mia got MIA – An Explanation & Something I’ve Come to Terms with

I feel like owing you guys a reason for my recent Missing-In-Action weeks

I’ve been Missing In Action for the past three weeks, and here’s why: (1) I had second thoughts about my choice of field, which pushed me to quite a break-down, and (2) my ideas kept showing up at very, very, very inappropriate time. Continue reading “Mia got MIA – An Explanation & Something I’ve Come to Terms with”

The forgotten dreams’ keeper

I picked those dreams up, I dusted them off/because they are meant to soar

White and black keys, fingers gliding,

melodies glistening;

I was four when Dad took me to my first piano lesson:

“You know what, sweetie,

I will learn to play it too,

very soon, you’ll see.”

but I wasn’t paying that much attention.


A prize in Math, good grades in Literature,

something about me being smart, and will have a bright future;

I was six when Mom went to my first-grade parents-teacher meeting,

“You know what, sweetie,

I was an A student, just like you,

I could surely have studied abroad.”

but I wasn’t really listening.


I was fourteen and my fingers were dancing on black and white keys,

Dad didn’t know the chords, he couldn’t find time to learn,  

“You’re awesome at this, sweetie, 

keep on, and surprise me.”


I was eighteen and couldn’t wait to get admitted into a college in another country,

“I didn’t get to go, but I met your Dad,’

Mom smiled and continued her story,

“and we had you, my good girl, now you can go wherever you want to be.”


Mom had her chance, Dad had his,

but they chose to leave their dreams behind

for me to keep mine


but little do they know

I turned back and followed the paths in stories they told;

I picked those dreams up, I dusted them off,

and now they’re with me wherever I go


for now I see it all 

what I never noticed,

what I never listened to;


they were hearty dreams, they were forgotten,

and they are meant to soar

Forgotten dreams
(artwork by me)


“Lấp lửng”, nhạc của H., và thơ Nguyễn Thế Hoàng Linh

Tranh mình vẽ, nhạc Hải viết, và một vài vẩn vơ về thơ N.T.H.L.


có gì để trách nhau đâu
gặp nhau thì cố một câu mỉm chào
có gì để trách nhau nào
khi ta lấp lửng chưa vào tim nhau

Nguyễn Thế Hoàng Linh

Continue reading ““Lấp lửng”, nhạc của H., và thơ Nguyễn Thế Hoàng Linh”

How Fireworks Sparked My Curiosity

Dedicated to Grandpa

We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things… and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

For years since when I was very little, my family has got a Lunar New Year’s tradition. Close to midnight of New Year’s Eve, Grandpa, Dad, and I (and later on, my little sister) would walk to Hoan Kiem lake (Hanoi), to watch the fireworks show. I would be standing completely still with my neck craning, marveled by the mesmerizing sparkly flowers blooming on the velvety black night sky.

Most parents, and of course, grandparents, would make ooh and ah sounds to kids or playfully clapping the kids’ hands together. But one year, Grandpa, being a former High School teacher in Math who’s extremely keen on natural sciences, decided instead to point at the sky-flowers and explain to me – who was, at that time, a tiny little five-year-old – how each different metals put into firework cannon balls would give off a specific colour when shot up and exploding. Continue reading “How Fireworks Sparked My Curiosity”

Tặng các thầy cô của con,

Hai ngày nữa là ngày Nhà giáo Việt Nam. Học đại học được một kỳ, lại không phải ở trong nước, dù trường mình đẹp, to rộng và hiện đại, và học hành rất hứng thú, mình vẫn luôn thấy thiếu và nhớ cái-gì-đó giữa thầy cô và học trò. Giữa giảng viên và sinh viên không có cái-gì-đấy mà giữa thầy cô và học sinh có, cái-gì-đấy mà mình chưa bao giờ gọi tên được rõ ràng suốt bao nhiêu năm đi học, cho đến khi ở môi trường mới, cảm giác đó không còn.

Thế nên sắp đến 20/11, mình muốn kể lại mấy chuyện. Chuyện đi học. Chỉ là lâu ngày không viết đâm giờ lan man một chút, vậy thôi. Continue reading “Tặng các thầy cô của con,”


Khi đi xa thực ra là trở về

Khi post này được up lên, mình đang trên máy bay tới Úc du học. Câu chuyện ước mơ du học thành hiện thực thế nào, thực sự mình rất muốn kể ngay bây giờ, nhưng bài viết này phải để dành cho những suy nghĩ quan trọng hơn là câu chuyện chỉ của riêng mình mình. Continue reading “Nhà”