My cellphone was ringing. There appeared on the cell screen “VU”, the name of my ex-classmate from high school. I haven’t seen this guy for at least nine years. I was trying to guess the reason why he called me, and like most of the other calls people make he asked me if I could go have some coffee.
Having coffee is one of the most popular suggestions used for a meeting. You can talk about business or personal stuffs or just go see a newly opened interesting coffee shop somewhere downtown Saigon that some suggested. There’re some places you can have lunch. They have free wifi, and that’s great if you bring your laptop.
When I met him across the coffee shop, he looked much fatter. But it’s hard to mistake him with anyone else by listening to his intonation. It’s easy to recognize and there wasn’t any change about it. It’s not large in the coffeeshop and there were people taking time having lunch and some drink. Some others were working online. He said that his family moved to Saigon ten years ago and I can see that from the first number on his motorbike tag. Between 50 and 59 as I know are the numbers used for the scooters registered in Saigon.
We updated information about our friends from the high school. I reminded him why I have his phone number and called him months ago. He and me know Hieu, the guy I met in university, and I got Vu’s cell number from him.
Vu’s now working in Petro Vietnam, a state’s gasoline company, and at the same time working for his graduate degree in Polytechnic University of Hochiminh City. In order to get his master degree, he needs to have a Toefl test score of 500. Otherwise, there’ll be a degree with his name on it but he never has it. That’s one of the reasons why he feels the urgence of possessing the English certificate. Furthermore, he described himself as the dump and deaf without good English ability. He explained that most of the books in his field are now in English and their Vietnamese Translation versions are misleading due to sucking translation.
He’s shown himself that there’s no more theoritical grammar class with teachers talking about their personal topics in the classes. He got to find the weekest link in his English skills. Toefl requires good listening and I wanted to know if he has that, and his answer is a “no”. He may be ok with his speaking, he thought, but he’s never sure about his listening.
He has a long way to go with his English to get to what he wants. And he can’t just pick a language center, pay the tuition and quit the class after one week like what he did at many big famous language centers in Saigon like Vietnam US Society Center or even worse the Language Center of Hochiminh City University of Teaching though I believe in the fame they’ve created within the market. Along with the cheap school fees, fame can’t help his English any better. Go find good English teachers with effective and useful knowledge as well as methods to enable him to speak and listen in English to save him from the dumps and deafness.