“Không có lí do gì để trở thành người giàu nhất trong nghĩa trang. Bạn chẳng thể kinh doanh gì ở đó cả.”

– Colonel Sanders, người sáng lập KFC.



All hail Mathematica!

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 11.01.39

I’m amazed by the power of Mathematica! I know I wasted my time not exploring it earlier.


Tank27 band

Tank27 is a quite new band whose style is a combination of traditional and modern music. They have 6 core-members, in which I’ve known some of them for years. Having the chance of attending their performance, I took a few photographs to keep as a memory, and also to give them as a gift from me.

Visit them at their Facebook page:






























Sing for resolution

Screen Shot 2014-07-01 at 20.20.41

(This is the outline for my speech in Public Speaking class on March 2014. Since I spent a lot of time on it, I really want to share it and see everyone’s opinion.)


General Purpose: To influence the audience on the way they study foreign language.

Specific Purpose: To propose the benefits of learning languages by singing, and to share personal experience in using that method.

Central Idea/Thesis Statement: Singing is not only an interesting way to learn a language; it is also an effective method.

Estimated Time: 7 minutes.



<Monologue Song – Taylor Swift> (If the embedded video doesn’t play, click link:

 I want to tell you that I love singing. I really want to talk about singing in shower as an extension for my previous speech about morning shower, but – I’m not gonna say about that.

Today, I’ll talk about singing and how it helps us study languages. Did you notice that there were 2 different subtitles in the clip? One was English, and one was Vietnamese. As listening to music and singing are always my favorite things to do, this method helped me improve my English a lot. Beside of English, I also studied Japanese, Italian, and Korean in this way. 

Transition: I am not the only person who finds songs are useful. Dr. Karen Ludke at University of Edinburgh has done many researches on integrating music and language learning. She even wrote a workbook, “Teaching foreign languages through songs,” in which she describes how to use songs to help learners improve their memory, their speaking, and their culture knowledge.



  1. Memory

–     Dr. Katie Overy: “[…] listen and sing learning method can facilitate verbatim memory for spoken language phrases.”

–     Songs have short sentences, or long sentences that are cut into short parts with rhythm, so it is easier to remember a sentence in a song than a normal sentence.

–     Many Japanese and Korean songs are mixed between their own languages with English. In some songs, English even takes more than 50% of its lyrics.

“Endless Rain… Fall on my heart, kokoro no kizu ni,

Let me forget all of the hate, all of the silence.”

(Endless Rain – X-Japan)

In this example, there are only 4 Japanese words, and the rests are English. It’s a good amount of new words to start with learning Japanese.

Kokoro = Heart

No = Of

Kizu = Wound

Ni = To / On

–     With technology these days, it is not difficult for us to find the lyrics, and to roughly translate it so we can get the idea of the song.

–     When you like a song and sing it, you will surely sing that song plenty of times. I don’t think it’s normal if I learn by heart and read out loud Harry Potter more than once; but for a song, it is completely fine.

Transition: By repeating the lyrics over and over again with your voice, your brain can recall it easier when you see them again. Also, you can remember very well how those words are pronounced.

  1. Listening & Pronunciation

–     Carmen Fonseca Mora, professor at University of Huelva, Spain, stated, “Singing can facilitate development of auditory capacity and improve word articulation.”

–     From my experience, it is not easy to find someone who can help you practicing listening and speaking correctly. Before using this method, there were many times when I pronounced a word, and the listener could not get what I said. Then I realized: I can understand what the singers sing, so it’s reasonable to imitating the way they speak. I listened more, I sang more, and what I learned was not only how to mimic their pronunciation, but I also saw the differences in accent. While letter “R” is read very gently by Koreans, “sa-rang han-da neun ma-eum eu-ro do…” (Can’t Have You – Hi I Ni), the Italians try to make it sounds clear and strong “Con te partiro…” (Con Te Partiro – Andrea Bocelli).

Transition: By exploring the way singers sing and try to mimic them, you can improve both your pronunciation and listening skill.

  1. Culture

–     “Music does not exist in a vacuum; it exists in and reflects a society and a culture, and thus can refer to a whole world of ideas.” – Music and Language (1992), Christopher Dobrian, professor at University of California, Irvine.

–     When I first listened to the song “When you say nothing at all”, I did not understand the sentence: “Old Mr. Webster could never define…” as I could not understand who “Mr. Webster” is.When I realized Webster is the author of a famous dictionary, they all made sense to me. Their love is so beautiful that no word can describe.



Finally, I have an interesting information for you.

This is my name written in English: Tran Thanh Hai

And this is my name written in Vietnamese: Trần Thanh Hải

Do you see the difference? Yes, they look difference. And they sound different too. <Read the words>

Each vowel in Vietnamese has its own rhythm. Therefore, if you want to study Vietnamese, singing method is absolutely the best way to learn quickly. If you are interested in my language, you can come and ask me after this speech.

Because, today, I’m not gonna say about that, in my persuasive speech.


Work Cited

“Saturday Night Live Taylor Swift.” NBC. New York. 07 Nov. 2009. Television.

Gray, Richard. “Singing Can Help When Learning A Foreign Language.” The Telegraph.

18 Jul. 2013. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.

Fonseca-Mora, Carmen, et al. “Melodies that help: The Relation between Language

Aptitude and Musical Intelligence.” Anglistik International Journal of English

Studies (2011). Academia. Web. 06 Mar. 2014.

Dobrian, Christopher. “Music and Language.” Department of Music, Claire Trevor

School of Arts, University of California, Irvine (1992). Web. 06 Mar. 2014.


Nhìn lên con quạ đang đứng vắt vẻo trên đường dây điện cao vời vợi, tôi thấy mừng cho sự tự do của nó. Nhưng có phải ai cũng nghĩ như tôi?

Xưa nay quạ là thế – có mấy khi được dành cho những lời tốt đẹp đâu. Khéo tay, tài hoa, nhưng phải trút trọn lên mình một màu sơn đen thủi. Nó sinh ra để làm nền cho loài công. Nó đóng góp cho đời, để rồi đời đáp trả bằng những tràng cười chế nhạo.

Nhục, nhục lắm chứ.

Nhưng quạ chỉ im lặng.

Trong các truyện cổ tích, quạ còn được đóng vai những mụ phù thủy độc ác nữa. Kể cũng phải giỏi lắm mới làm được phù thủy, nhưng cái đó làm sao cứu vãn được điều tiếng, khi mà người đời chỉ nhìn thấy nhìn thấy quạ khi nó làm điều xấu xa? Ừ, quạ ạ, không chối được đâu. Cho dù mày chỉ mưu cầu hạnh phúc cho mình, họ cũng không tin mày đâu.

Và quạ lại phải im lặng.

Nhưng thực ra, quạ cũng có lúc được khen đó chứ. “Chú quạ thông minh” – hẳn không ít người đã từng được kể từ khi còn bé. Ừ, quạ thông minh đấy, nhưng nó chỉ biết mình nó thôi. Hẳn nếu thỏ muốn uống nước thì con quạ chẳng giúp đâu, nhỉ? Ai chẳng biết là quạ sống ích kỉ? Trí khôn của quạ đâu dùng để lừa mấy con sói như loài thỏ, hay dùng để đánh lại hổ như con người?

Ờ thôi, uống nước xong rồi thì đi đi. Mày không thích giết sói giết hổ thì mày cũng vô dụng thôi.

Thôi, quạ ạ, cứ đứng trên cao ấy đi. Tốt hơn hết là như thế. Tao phải đi rồi.

Seattle Ladies Choir


Yesterday I allowed myself to relax and attended a live performance. Well, it has been a while since I went to a theatre. I chose an annual event by Seattle Ladies Choir, which I guessed would be an easy-listening show.

I arrived The Cornish Playhouse at 7pm and headed inside. It was not crowded there; and it was not fancy also. However, that’s not important.

The show began after half an hour. The performers started to appear on the stage. 1, 2, 3, 4,… Oh my god, there were almost 50 ladies!

For a brief introduction, Seattle Ladies Choir is not just a “musical band”; it is a community for women who wants to meet and find people with the same hobbies with them. After 7 years, they now have members from different ages, different races and different professions. Together, they do talking, knitting, and of course, singing.

The ladies quickly formed 2 rows on the stage and waited for the pianist to get ready. And there the first song came. Their “Skinny Love” (Birdy’s version) really impressed me. But then there was more. I couldn’t stop being amazed when they showed their singing skills, not only in group songs but also in solo songs. They sang extremely well! I love the mood they created in “Hollow Drum” (Laura Welsh), as they varied the tempo, the pitch, and also their dances. More surprising, when it came to “Counting Stars” (One Republic), one lady stepped forward, took out a flute and presented the intro. Wonderful!

I didn’t notice how fast time flew until they finished their mashup “Titanium/Bulletproof” (Sia Furler, David Guetta, Giorgio Tuifort & Nick Van Wall). Everyone stood up, clapped hands and asked for more. The audiences did not want to leave the theatre, and it was obvious that the choir did not want to leave neither. “Ok, one more.” – said the female maestro. It looked like she was hiding a special gift. The crowd quickly turned quiet and held their breathe.

“Is this the real life… Or is this just fantasy…”

OH MY GOD!!! “Bohemian Rhapsody” came out unexpectedly, and the audience exploded with excitement. The vocals were excited too, I could tell how much they enjoy singing this song. The ending could not be any better.

It is such a pity that I couldn’t record any of their songs, so I looked for their Youtube channel instead. As I’m listening to their other songs, I am so eager to go to their show again. I can’t wait!

Fremont Sunday Street Market

I woke up at 7.30 with an excited mind about going to Fremont today. I caught a bus at 9, and it took me half an hour to get to the place that i’m heading to. The Sunday Street Market was there. Colorful flags welcomed me at the entrance.


The market was not as crowded as markets in Asia. Some stores were still in the middle of preparation although it’s nearly 10 o’clock in the morning already. No one was hurried, from the shoppers to the sellers; they seemed to enjoy the Sunday morning as if they were on a picnic with sunshine, which actually just bright enough to make it different from night time.

I grabbed a sandwich and a box of ice cream, found an outdoor table and started freeing up my stressful mind. I saw a little bird jumping from table to table in front of me. It was surely a nice day, wasn’t it?

After finishing my breakfast, i headed inside. It was like a quite different world. Too many lovely handmade stuffs.

A store that sells shirts with cartoon characters. So cute!!!
Wind Chimes made from kitchen stuffs, haha. Quite clever.
Wind Chimes made from kitchen stuffs, haha. Very clever.


After half an hour roaming around, I successfully found a gift for my father. It was a journal. I love journals. And when i saw the journal with leather cover, i was unable to resist.

Handmade. For sure.

I went to the one next to that. It was a marble store. The store owner suddenly ask for my name. “Uhm… I’m Hai. H-A-I.”

After assuring he got my name correctly, he turned to the corner that placed many trays of marbles in different sized, and took out one tray.

“Let see… H… A… I! Here you are!”

Guess what? He had, more than one, marbles with my name on them! Oh my god, i was extremely surprised. And, of course, i wanted to keep that memory by bringing the marble home.

A memory that worth keeping!
A memory that worth keeping!

I left that store, and caught another bus home after another half an hour holding myself from spending more there. God, this was my 2nd time going to Fremont Sunday Market, and I always felt satisfied. Always, the feeling of getting more than my expectation. I need to earn more money to spend it there!