Ha Phuong Foundation (Vien Dong Daily)
To understand more about her – a successful singer with an enthusiastic heart always heading to disabled and disadvantaged people who are burdened with mishap and hardship in this tragic life, please read the following conversation between Ha Phuong (HP) and Lam Tuong Du (LTD):
LTD: Would you please tell us the name of your newly-established charity foundation, when and where it is introduced to the public?
HP: The foundation is established by myself with the name of Ha Phuong Foundation. It will be introduced in the Orange County early April 2008.
LTD: Ha Phuong and Chinh Chu have a pretty big charity foundation named Vietnam Relief Effort, which has been in operations for years. Why are you going to set up a new one?
HP: To explain in detail would take a lot of time. Let me tell you in brief. Ha Phuong Foundation and Vietnam Relief Effort have the same purpose of doing charity, i.e providing necessary help to disabled and disadvantaged people. The only difference is that Ha Phuong Foundation focuses on providing more care to artists who are in difficulty or mishap.
LTD: Why the target beneficiaries of Ha Phuong Foundation are artisits but not other people?
HP: As an artist, Ha Phuong has been lived in this field. And I have experienced the sorrow and joy of an artist. Therefore, I understand the misfortune and mishap of an artist. The artists are like my big family. The only difference is that I am more lucky than some other ones. Therefore, helping those artists – though I can help only some of them – is the duty and responsibility of those who sympathize and love each other.
LTD: Could you please tell us more about the beneficiaries and support methods of Ha Phuong Foundation?
HP: In general, our beneficiaries are artists and people who has been working in this field including performance and production, music, theatre and films as well as their family. If they are in need of support, we would provide necessary help in our ability.
We also facilitate the disabled, orphans and disadvantaged people to develop their talent of arts.
Besides, we will hold competitions, grant scholarships in arts for the youth with ambition.
We will build classrooms and schools and let our professionals train those who are talented in arts but do not have conditions to pursue their career as an artist.
We provide jobs for artist families in mishap.
Moreover, we build clinics, provide medicine and raise artist orphans.
In a nutshell, the foundation will try its best within its current ability to provide support to help the disadvantaged overcome their hardship so that they can earn for their livings in the long term as well as support talented and ambitious people who lack opportunities due to their poverty.
LTD: According to what you have shared, the support program of Ha Phuong Foundation for disadvantaged artists are very diversified. So, apart from the founder, has the foundation received support from other benefactors?
HP: We have to initiate first. Then, Ha Phuong thinks there will be more benefactors supporting these charity activities. What we do will tell our will and then, more hands will join to bring happiness to other people and to ourselves as well.
LTD: Could you share with us which work will be initiated first as a platform for other steps of the foundation?
HP: The day on which we open Ha Phuong Foundation is very near already. On that day, in Huntington Beach, Callifornia, Ha Phuong will share more interesting and surprising facts. I hope that Ha Phuong Foundation will win understanding and support from other people. May God grant favours to those who are disbaled, underpriviledged and disadvantaged.
A heart for underprivileged people
Ha Phuong, a familiar singer of the first class Thuy Nga Paris Music Center, is a daughter of a family, whose 3 daughters including Minh Tuyet and Cam Ly are all famous singers. Although setting foot in US rather late, not long after that, Ha Phuong was brought into spot light as a singer favored all around the country. Five years ago, Ha Phuong got married to a young businessman, Chu Chinh, who soon got succeeded in his financial career and has been considered as one of few American millionares of Vietnamese origin in New York. The couple was praised as a hearty duet as both always hamonize and join enthusiastically into helping-people-and-bringing-yourself-happiness activities. Their beloved daughter, who will be 1 year old this April, is named Diana Phuong Phuong. Ha expects her daughter to have an altruistic heart for the poor like Princess Diana of Britain. With that compassionate heart, after a lot of tragic natural disasters in Vietnam, the Vietnam Relief Effort was founded by Chu Chinh and developed by Ha Phuong. The foundation has provided much support for the hometown. In its plan to build up a sustainable new life, the foundation has built up some hospitals, schools, vocational classes for the underpriviledged people.
Although living in New York, whenever hearing news from friends or acquaintances who are in hardship or organizations which are in need of help, Chu-Ha are always willing to reach out their hands for sharing sorrow and joy. Such an altruism, such a person – though they are very modest in their lifestyle and not willing to be put on the spot light for that, it is very difficult not to mention them as a model for good-natured people. The following interview is for readers as a general report on charity things that Chu-Ha have done during their trip to Vietnam to enjoy Dinh Hoi Tet holidays. In this you can find a sparkling altruism without any on-purpose intentions.
Billy Hung: In the country, some famous singers whose husbands are usually powerful and wealthy often withdraw from their music career after getting married to enjoy the happiness and glory with their family, like Minh Hieu, whose husband is General Vinh Loc, or Thanh Lan, whose husband is Minister Cao Xuan Vy. Even the Prime Minister’s lover also lives in seclusion now. Ha Phuong currently has a family considered very successful in US with a very lovely daughter. Why are you still pursuing music career to serve people and especially carrying out charity activities in different places where the poor people live, which also include providing help to friends in hardship?
HP: Maybe Ha Phuong is more lucky than other female singers in the same time in that I have a good husband who respects and supports my legitimate passion. The fact that I contribute my will and fortune to help disadvantaged people who are less lucky than me has been part of my aspirations when I witnessed unfortunate lives. At that time, I was still single and that feeling I had was influenced from my mother’s altruism. So, that’s it. I dare not say to much as the “ego” will steal the objectiveness of the demonstration.
BLH: It is heard that during the Dinh Hoi Tet Holidays, Ha Phuong did not stay in US but came back to Vietnam for charity activities there?
HP: Since I got married, I usually come back to enjoy Tet holidays with my family in Vietnam as well as visit some places where disadvantaged people live to provide financial support as consolation for them. This year, as usual, Ha Phuong came back with my husband and some members of Vietnam Relief Effort (founded by my husband). Especially, this time, Ha Phuong wanted to show my family our beloved daughter Diana Phuong Phuong, who is nearly one year old.
BLH: Could you share with us your charity itinerary during Tet holidays in Vietnam?
HP: On the lunar fifth, we went to an orphanage in Long Hoa pagoda in District 7. Here we set up stage and conducted a music show for them with the hope that it would help them to foget their misfortune in life. Also, we provided them with a warm family-like lunch, and gave them lucky money and gifts to bring them the feeling of being taken care by parents on the occasion of Tet like other children. A couple of days before, on lunar 27th, we went to Vietnam National Pagoda on 3/2 street to give Tet presents to the poor, the elderly, and the blind there.
BLH: Mostly living in US, when coming back to Vietnam for charity activities, how can Ha Phuong know which places or which people are in need of help? Who has given you guidance for these meaningful activities?
HP: In general, the number of people in misfortune in Vietnam is not small and the associations for the disabled and disadvantaged people are not just a few. Therefore, I try my best to provide help in my ability. I usually ask my family for preparation in advance, so when I come back, I can come immediately to those places for charity purpose. Besides, to arrange for this, my family has to prepare administrative procedures, itinerary and arrange time and venue for the poor to gather together. Take the visit to Vietnam National Pagoda for example. My parents usually go there and notice that there are lots of poor and elderly people who have no one to support and some other disabled, blind or sick people there.
BLH: Could you share with us some deep impressions you had during the charity trip to Vietnam on the occasion of Dinh Hoi Tet holidays?
HP: I could tell one which happened in the orphanage I visited. There, after I gave the children lucky money and gifts and prepared to perform music as their request, a boy, on behalf other children, came and sang the song “Mung Tuoi Me” (Happy Birthday to Mom). When it came to the passage that “being an orphan is so piteous as no one would take care of your life”, Ha Phuong as well as other people were deeply moved to tears. While I tried to hide my extreme feeling, another orphan came near me and said, “Since I was young, this is the happiest year in my life. I have no love from parents and have nothing in life for long. You have given me such a feeling of happiness. So overwhelmed. I love it.” Then, she held my hands saying “When will you come again? Can you come regularly like today?” I was so moved that I could not hold my tears. As if being speechless, I could only shake my head.
BLH: Was that a boy or a girl? How old was she/he?
HP: That was a boy, around 7 or 8 years old.
BLH: After that touching moment, did you respond with song?
HP: Yes, even though I had a sore throat at that time.
It was a spring song. I wanted to relieve the sorrow after the sad song “being an orphan is so piteous”. However, the sorrow seemed to present in the hearts of hundreds of orphans in Long Hoa Co Tu pagoda.
(Through the phone speaker, Ha Phuong mourned in very low voice “with very simple meals, the poor children there were over joyful!”.)
BLH: Besides VRE charity fund’s activity, how many times have you and your husband visited Vietnam for charity activities?
HP: In average, we travel to Vietnam for charity activities from one to two times. If I am unable to go to Vietnam and do charity by myself, I’ll donate money or articles through my parents. The payments for my singing activities have even been donated to charity activities.
BLH: Is there any offer or proposal from those in need that will help the charity activities get to appropriate people?
HP: Not yet. However, my parents always advise me the way to bring proper benefits to appropriate people to meet their actual demands.
BLH: Is it right to say that your generosity has been grown more since you led a very wealthy life?
HP: It’s not right. The aspiration to help the unfortunate has existed even when I was single. When I witnessed many suffering lives around me, I promised to myself that I would help them once I got a prosperous life.
BLH: Does your generosity come from your nature or from a deep impression?
HP: I don’t know if it is my nature or not, but it is right that some stories had left deep impressions on me.
BLH: Can you tell some stories?
HP: When I was in Vietnam, I witnessed two heart-breaking stories that left very deep impressions on me. Since then, I promised that I would help the unfortunate as much as I can. The first story took place when I was having meal on Nguyen Du street. I saw some beggars who had to sleep on the street being driven away. How poor they were! The second story was in a hospital. When I was there, I saw a crowd of poor people sleep, and cook in a very small corridor of the hospital. At that time I would like to help them when I grew up and earned money. Now I’m very lucky to have a prosperous life with a happy family. Therefore, I would like to make my inner wishes come true.
BLH: There are so many poor people and poor situation. Do you have any idea to make your support more effective?
HP: My family and VRF are supporting poor Vietnamese people or even poor Vietnamese overseas people in a long term method. We provide them with means of living for their self-support such as working instruments, hospitals, vocational schools, technology knowledge, etc.
BLH: What factors help you have a complete satisfaction with your charity activities?
HP: My husband, his family and my parents, my sisters, brother. My life is very lucky as my husband and I are very harmonious in everything. So is my husband’s family. They all love me and are always by my side in my charity activities. Next, my great family with my parents, my sisters, and my brother always wish all the best to me. To tell the truth, I’m blessed so much and very grateful for that. It is said that I was born in good luck, but I think I have so much more good luck than that.