Lost Home

My sister used to assist to set up site offices all around Malaysia whenever our company started a new construction project. A few years ago, she was sent to Brunei to do the same.

The company hired foreign workers to assist in clearing up project site, as well as setting up cabins for foreign workers to live in. Here, she met a hardworking and industrious Vietnamese worker named Dinh Xuan Tu. Throughout the few months working with him, he is conscientious and would take initiative to do things without being told.

My sister also returned favours by being nice to him and his fellow Vietnamese workers. Buy them some food and snacks as and when they completed back breaking tasks. We know they are paid to do what was needed to be done, but hey! Nobody says we cannot be nice to them! After all, a foreign worker took a leap of faith when they left their families and loved ones in their home country to work in another country. They don’t know what to expect except to make money to be sent home to their families to ease their burdens.

It was most unfortunate that, the agency which supplied him for our office was unscrupulous. Apparently, they refused to pay him his last salary as he is scheduled to go back to Vietnam after his work permit expires. Tu was adamant that they pay him his last salary otherwise he refused to fly back to Vietnam. After some ruckus, he managed to get his last salary and flew back to Hanoi feeling dejected.We reported this matter to management and gotten ourselves a new agent.

Since then, Tu been calling my sister to ask about her well being. All these years, the once in a blue moon chats were mainly about my sister’s family and his family. We learned that his mom passed away not long after he reached Hanoi. It was a good thing that he was back in Hanoi to take care of things. Since there weren’t many jobs in Hanoi, Tu went to Phnom Penh to work in a hotel.

Then, the Haiyan typhoon struck. It traveled from the Philippines to Vietnam. It hit Quang Ninh, where Tu’s family lives. When he got back to his home after the typhoon, he was shocked to discover his entire home was wiped out. He was left with nothing. Now, his wife and himself are taking refuge at a friend’s house nearby while searching for a new place to stay, which is rather difficult.

We simply do not know how to help him, except to send him some forms of cash relief. All these years, he never once ask for money and always ask us to visit him in Hanoi or Phnom Penh. So this time, he must be desperate.

He didn’t ask us for money but we know he would need some. Fortunately a friend went to Hanoi last Saturday so we just gave her some money to be handed to Tu. He has to travel at least a day and night, on a train just to get to Hanoi. Initially, we told him we would bank in money for him – he needs to give us his bank account number but he said it’s too complicated for him. He would make the trip to Hanoi. He was grateful and thanked my sister profusely over the 1 minute phone call.

We wish to thank our previous Hanoi tour agent as well, Mr Nguyen Truong who helped us to translate to Tu – where and when to meet in Vietnamese and helped us to communicate more effectively. We are grateful to friends who assist us to raise money for Tu. A friend in need is truly a friend indeed.

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