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Monday, 7 November 2005
Page: 21

Mrs IRWIN (1:48 PM) —An English language writing competition was recently held in Ho Chi Minh City by the Australian Consul-General. The idea came from a constituent of Fowler, Mr Dung Van Ma, who has coordinated two earlier writing competitions for young people in Sydney’s south-west. The My Dream English language competition for students in Vietnam revealed much about the aspirations of the younger generation in that country. Their essays, even though they are in their second language, are full of beauty, grace and imagination. They show the same impatience with poverty and war as their Australian counterparts; they show the same concern for the environment, freedom and the future. The senior prize winner, Kim Phuong, tells her personal story of losing her sight in adolescence. She now lives in a charity home for the blind in Ho Chi Minh City and attends a normal high school because there are no schools for blind people there. Her dream is to teach English to other Vietnamese who are blind and to be an interpreter. Her essay is a very touching piece of writing. I hope there are Australian companies and organisations who can help Kim Phuong to come here to study English and, most importantly, to have her eyes examined by an eye specialist; it would help her make her dream come true. I would like to thank the staff of the Australian Consulate-General and I would also recommend the competition book to members of the House. I would be pleased to provide members with a copy. (Time expired)