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Did ya miss us?

Wednesday, October 17, 2018, 01:35 GMT+7
Did ya miss us?
Le The Chu (first left), editor-in-chief of Tuoi Tre, signs deals with partners at the launch of the new designs of the newspaper's digital publications in Ho Chi Minh City on October 16, 2018. Photo: Quang Dinh / Tuoi Tre News

I must admit I was just as shocked as everyone when I was told Tuoi Tre News (TTN) would have to shut down along with the Vietnamese language version. Although I knew the shutdown was only a few months, it was surprising how much it had become a part of my life.

I didn’t realize how much I would miss TTN. Sniff…where’s the hanky?

After contributing to the ‘City diary’ section of the TTN website for five years and more than 300 articles, it was disconcerting to find my weekly writing process grind to a halt. It felt like being fired from a job. Initially I wasn’t too worried but as time passed, the lack of a creative outlet began to get to me.

No, my hands didn’t shrivel up in despair nor did I hide in the corner imagining my public life had come to an end. However I did eat more chocolate.

I wrote more than one story a week as some events during the year required more content, for example, between Christmas and the Western New Year and then over the Tet holiday. Other times I contributed comments and opinion pieces to Vietnamese language stories for Tuoi Tre’s other news products, mostly focusing on education as I’m presently a retired English teacher. (On top of my other talents!)

This meant I was usually thinking up stories in my head, jotting down notes and listening to people. Amazing what folks will tell you that becomes part of a story later. I didn’t stop compiling articles but my frustration at not being able to get the stories out there – particularly when an event is trending – did dampen my zest for observing Vietnam’s million and one issues.

Readers explore the new design of Tuoi Tre Online at its launch in Ho Chi Minh City on October 16, 2018. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre News
Readers explore the new design of Tuoi Tre Online at its launch in Ho Chi Minh City on October 16, 2018. Photo: Duyen Phan / Tuoi Tre News

Although I have never relied solely on TTN for keeping up to date with what’s happening, it has become part of my daily routine. Every morning I check about ten news websites while averaging two cappuccinos. Personally (and it’s a biased opinion!) I think TTN is better laid out and covers a wider range of topics than other local media outlets, so that’s my main resource. Officially, I’m not a journalist but I do love the feeling of being involved with people producing the news. I’m kinda proud of that!

Funny enough, I now had more time to catch on basic chores I had neglected for a long time. I defrosted two fridges and attempted some more graphics drawing. Came up with five more ideas for kid’s books and finally got my dog’s flea problem under control.  

One thing I have missed a lot is feedback from the stories. I do like getting ‘ego-strokes’ when people like my stories. Or when people point out other aspects of a story that I didn’t cover; that stuff is often filed for later. Occasionally I do get the irate or plain looney private messages – fortunately hard criticism of my writing has never worried me too much. It comes with the job when I get slapped on Facebook!

So now I’m looking forward to rolling out the articles that matter to our readers or just plain entertain them. There’s so much about Vietnam to highlight or point out. I have a keen interest in economics, tourism, science, urban and rural development and climate change. Vietnam’s narrative evolves at a startling pace, even when it sometimes feels like ‘one step forward, two steps backward’, which is a fascinating comparison to my own Australian culture.  

And if I can make you laugh or present Vietnamese life in a positive light; the more the merrier.  

Above all, Tuoi Tre News relies on you, the readers, too. Don’t be shy to send in your comments and opinions. Just as I write for you, we do want to know what you think too!

Now I’m ready, fingers poised at the keyboard, to inform and entertain you! So get clicking!

Stivi Cooke / Tuoi Tre News Contributor

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