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.”

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”