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​Photos featuring elderly’s dream journeys show power of children’s companion

Tuesday, August 15, 2017, 16:47 GMT+7

A photo exhibition titled “Uoc Mo Luon Xanh” (Dreams Are Blue) is being held by Ensure Gold (Abbott) and photographers Maika Elan and Tam Bui at the Nguyen Van Binh Book Street in Ho Chi Minh City from August 12 to 18.

Tuoi Tre News has had an interview with some of the participants, photographers and organizers of the photo project at the launch ceremony.

* Could you please tell us more about your dream behind the photos exhibited? Why didn’t you fulfill it when you were younger and what motivated you to follow it after the age of 50?

Le Thi Bich Hong (55 years old; recently won two gold medals at the swimming competition for the middle-aged and elderly in Ho Chi Minh City): I was always into water sports since I was young. I used to admire the popular champion swimmers back then and wished to become a person like them some day.

However, I never had the chance to realize that dream due to my family’s difficult conditions and I had to focus on study, and later, I devoted time for my own family, especially my daughter.

Several years ago when my husband passed away, it was a great loss that brought me down almost into depression. Then, my daughter – Nhu – encouraged me to get back to the swimming pool, and that was the turning point for me to retrieve happiness as I had a new goal to follow.

My daughter is also my motivation, as I would like to make her proud of her mother and set an example for her.

Le Thi Bich Hong, 55, dreams of conquering the 'blue race',
Le Thi Bich Hong, 55, dreams of conquering the 'blue race'.

Hua Thanh Giang (58 years old): I have a great love for music. Throughout my childhood and youth, I dreamed to play a musical instrument to truly live with music every day. But the war and difficult conditions of life didn’t let me realize that dream. Two years ago, after my retirement, I decided to learn to play the piano to fulfill that lifelong dream and my daughter Ninh joined me, too.

Ho Uyen Thom (63 years old): I had a dream to become a ballet dance artist since I was a young girl.

However, as my family was a traditional Hue family, my parents did not allow me to follow that dream. I passed that passion on to my three daughters, and my youngest Hai Anh is now a professional ballet dancer and instructor.

I once thought I could never realize that dancing dream because of my age and lack of strength as learning the ballet movements is very hard even for young people; but my daughter is always by my side, instructing and constantly encouraging me.

Ho Uyen Thom, 63, dreams of becoming a ballet dancer.
Ho Uyen Thom, 63, dreams of becoming a ballet dancer.

* Can you share how following dreams means to you now?

Hong: I used to have sinusitis when I were young and that was one of the reasons that made me hesitate when thinking about getting back to swimming. But surprisingly, swimming helps me improve overall strength including respiratory systems. With right nutrition and strength enhanced, now I swim one hour every day, and it makes me happy all day. When swimming in the water, all of my weariness, misery or boredom just fade away. I feel happy, stronger and fulfilled because I can live with my passion and make new friends day by day.

Giang: Now I feel so content when I can realize my dream of playing the piano. The sound of the piano makes my soul calmer and relaxed, and my life more romantic and vibrant. It makes the rain drops look more glistening and the birds’ singing tune sound livelier than ever to me. Life is so lovely and much more worth living.

Thom: Having my daughter by my side and together realizing my dream, I am so happy. She is not only my teacher but also my supporter who cares for my diets and nutrition to gain back strength. When I finally can dance, I feel like I am living my 20s all over again.

* One question for the organizers and photographers of the photo project: what is the inspiration and motivation behind this project?

Photographer Maika Elan: “Dreams of the seniors” is an intriguing photography topic to pursue, because we hardly talked about dreams of the seniors, and many of us believed that life of the people over 50 evolved around their children and grandchildren, and that dreams belonged to their past because they wouldn’t have enough strength to do whatever they dreamed to do.

However, I am inspired that dreams have no age limit through the real stories of the real seniors and their adult children. Therefore, I pursued this photo project to capture those moments, to visualize the dream journeys for others to see, to in turn inspire and motivate them to take action themselves, the seniors to follow the unmet dreams, and the adult children to accompany that meaningful journey.

Mr. Douglas Kuo, General Manager of Abbott Vietnam: Driven by the mission to empower Vietnamese people to live the best possible lives at all ages; and the understanding of the meaning of dreams in motivating people to live a full life, Abbott is committed to be not only the partner of health but also the partner of seniors’ dreams.

A photo says a thousand words and photography is a powerful language. Through the photo project, people can see it to believe that reaching for dreams after the age of 50 is not something extraordinary and unrealistic. With care and love, caregivers can take simple steps to support their parents to re-discover the unmet dreams, so that they live a more fulfilled life when they age.

The photo exhibit is launched on the occasion of Vu Lan, as a gift of love and appreciation that we together with the adult children are giving the Vietnamese senior parents.

They once put aside their own dreams for their children’s dreams, and now it is time their sons and daughters gave them back the unconditional love and accompanied their dreams like the way they devoted for us.

* Thank you!

General Manager of Abbott Vietnam Douglas Kuo speaks at the event.
General Manager of Abbott Vietnam Douglas Kuo speaks at the event.
Photogrphers share about their exhibition.
Photogrphers share about their exhibition.

Many Vietnamese people over 50 still have unmet dreams, according to a survey sponsored by Abbott in 2016. Abbott has then discovered and accompanied the dream journeys of eight inspiring seniors who are fulfilling dreams later in life with the support of their adult children, and had those journeys captured in the special narrative photography project “Uoc Mo Luon Xanh” (Dreams Are Blue).


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