Vietnam Time

12/5/2018 11:08:12 AM

With love, against tradition, Vietnamese man keeps mementos of late father in cabinet

A Vietnamese man loves his late father so dearly that he broke with traditions of his ethnic community to keep mementos of the parent in a cabinet he himself designed as a posthumous act of gratitude.

Siu SoRir shows a glass cabinet displaying his late father’s objects at his house in Gia Lai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

Siu SoRir places objects his deceased father often used in a glass-fronted cabinet inside his home’s worship room in the Ja Rai ethnic community in Gia Lai Province, located in Vietnam’s Central Highlands.

SoRir’s father, Rmah Y Luong, died just about two months after retiring from farming and public service two years ago.

The white display case is emblazoned with words written in verse expressing the 30-year-old son’s undying deep gratitude to his father.

The piece has three spaces for the father’s work clothes, neatly folded casual clothes, hats, ID card, insurance card, driving license, graduate degree, notebook, radio, belts, wrist watch, keys, pairs of glasses, loafers, sandals and less frequently used items.

One of them is a box of a dozen expensive South Korean pills that the father, with a frugal lifestyle, did not use all.

All the objects were expected to be buried with the late father in line with a long-established local custom but SoRir’s family decided not to follow the practice.

“He had devoted himself to work for years and passed away before he could receive his first pension. We as his children didn’t have a chance to repay his love,” SoRir said.

“The whole family misses him.”

“I want to keep the mementos to show my children how their grandfather lived and how hard he worked.”

The son SoRir also puts next to a memorial table the motorbike his father had used for uphill rides to work and farming fields for over a decade.

The motorcycle of Siu SoRir’s father is placed next to a memorial table in his house in Gia Lai Province, Vietnam. Photo: Tuoi Tre

The object that gave SoRir the most poignant reading experience was a love letter his father sent to his mother a few months before they celebrated a wedding in 1978.

The letter, reading ‘Don’t look’ on one side, was penned in plain wording of genuine love that SoRir found amusing and touching at once, he said.

It also filled him with admiration for the father’s love for the mother.

“My dad adored my mom. I once took him out for shopping. He’s busying choosing shoes for my mom and finally forgot to buy things for me,” recalled SoRir’s youngest sister, Siu Cuc Cu.

When the father stayed in Ho Chi Minh City, around 640 kilometers away from his rural hometown, for a short time to study and have medical examination, he tried to buy the wife sun lotion, cakes and clothing as gifts.

“My mom complained the sunscreen was a waste of money. But she smiled very happily at the time,” said Siu Cuc Cu.

The child said his parents went out of their way to pay all their children through college so that they would not tread the old-fashioned traditional path of dropping out of school, getting married and working as manual laborers.

As a public servant, the father used to advise his children to have integrity and learn to be good humans, not to simply accumulate material wealth, SoRir said.

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