Vietnamese man turns to civil service after 13 years being lottery ticket seller

The 37-year-old’s 13 years of wandering rural roads to sell lotto tickets has finally come to an end

Kim Thai shows lottery tickets at his home in Soc Trang Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

An ethnic-minority man who spent over a decade selling lottery tickets in southern Vietnam has turned to civil service after successfully completing a bachelor’s degree in law.

Kim Thai was admitted to the office of the administration in Soc Trang Province as a worker for administrative and sundry jobs, a local official told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper on Wednesday.

The new opportunity will mean the 37-year-old no longer has to wander the province’s rural roads to sell lottery tickets, as he has done over the past 13 years.

“I’m really happy to know that my dream has come true. I’ll continue to learn and focus on my new career,” Thai told Tuoi Tre.

Thai was born into a large Khmer family, an ethnic minority primarily residing in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta provinces.

Thai dropped out of college as a second-year student in 2000 to care for his ill father and tend the family’s rice paddies.

Kim Thai and his daughter are at the family’s house in Soc Trang Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre
Kim Thai and his daughter are at the family’s house in Soc Trang Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

After getting married in 2001, he worked as a farmer, motorbike taxi driver, construction worker, fisherman, and lottery ticket seller in order to provide for his family.

“Selling lottery is nothing to be ashamed of. What matters is that you make money from honest work,” Thai said.

He was inspired to resume his education after the wife completed a medicine course and was able to find a job.

Though constantly busy with work, he enrolled in a long-distance-education law program in 2010 hoping it would lead to a career that could help resolve the frequent arguments between neighbors in his area.

Thai graduated with a good bachelor’s degree five years later and passed an entrance exam for would-be civil servants in Soc Trang in 2018.

“There was a night before the exam when I had had to leave home at 3:00 am to sell lottery tickets.”

“We’re very proud of Thai. We hope he uses his knowledge and competence to help the people. He’s set a good example to others, especially the Khmer people,” said one of Thai’s neighbors.

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