All work and no play hurts kids
by Minh Huong
THANH HOA — Despite the illegal nature of their work, many children still choose to defy the law by spending their summer break providing menial services to Sam Son Beach holiday makers.
“When I saw my teacher walking along Sam Son Beach during her vacation, I ran out of sight so as not to be seen,” says Nguyen Thi Dung, a 14 year-old female beach masseuse (tam quat).
We know that what we do is illegal, but we do not disturb the holiday makers, she says.
Local authorities are optimistic when it comes to enforcing the law on the beach, despite the fact that hundreds of children like Dung flout their regulations each year.
“Of course it is harder to control the children as we can’t punish them in the same way as an adult who breaks the law,” says Nguyen Trong Dong, head of the industry and trade office under the Sam Son People’s Committee.
“The only thing we can do is persuade them not to break the law,” says Dong.
Local authorities have put in place a number of initiatives they believe may curb the mischievous behaviour of the children.
“We have opened 15 classes that will train teachers on how to eliminate the beach-peddling behaviour of their students,” Dong says.
“We are not easily recognised as we do not carry massage mats” says Nguyen Thu Hoa, a 15 year-old student and masseuse from Quang Xuong Junior School.
“The authorities have no right to expel us from the beach, we have every reason to be there” says a defiant Hoa.
Of course, we do not dare work in front of our teachers as they are strictly opposed to our summer jobs.
The boys, however, are more likely to be found and caught as they often carry the massage mats around with them, she says.
“I was caught three times by the authorities, however I keep working during my vacation as I want to help my parents out, says 17 year-old La Van Thang.
Thang, who stopped studying last year, says he can earn nearly VND2 million for three months work on the beach.
“I paid my school fees last year through my work, bought my sister a new dress and presented the remaining one million Dong to my mother,” he says.
I really don’t understand why so many people consider our work wrong, says Thang just before leaving to service another male customer.
Local authorities and teachers both agree that it is hard to control the actions of the young Sam Son Beach workers.
“I know some of my students work on the beach, even though they tell me they are working as assistants in a shop. But I know they are telling lies,” says Nguyen Thu Suong, a teacher from Hoang Hoa District and a visitor to the beach.
Suong believes that she can change their behaviour by giving them extra class over the summer, or helping them find extra work that does not involve the beach.
They are mostly good children who want to help their families, however if they persist with their beach-peddling ways they will end up giving Sam Son a bad name, she says.
Dong says the town is planning to open classes that will teach weaving to around 200 beginners, including disabled children, providing the youth with an opportunity to do away with their bad habits.
Despite the children willingly choosing to work the various jobs, it is only a matter of time before they are exploited by older individuals and forced to undertake duties that restrict their rights, or are hazardous and harmful to their health, says Dong.
Viet Nam’s commitment to the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child, means that children should not be exposed to these kinds of situations that may arise on Sam Son Beach, he adds.
Authorities need to work actively with the community in order to curb this behaviour before the situation worsens.
Our province is striving to rid itself of its bad name, we instead want to be known for our beaches and win over visitors with their beauty, Dong says.
“In recent years, our investigations have revealed that Sam Son has developed a bad reputation as a tourist destination due to the large number of vendors,” says Chief Tourism Inspector Pham Huynh Cong.
“Most of the children working on the beach are honest and just want to help their family, but they will all set a bad precedent unless they are stopped,” says Dong. — VNS
- Would you take your kids and ex-husband on a ‘modern honeymoon’ like Gwyneth Paltrow?
- Day in the Life: Maiu the working student
- Dad creates adorable ‘Disney DVD den’ as Christmas surprise for his kids
- Fitness guru Kayla Itsines hits back at trolls who say she’s ‘hurting her baby’ with workouts while 24-weeks pregnant
- From flooding the bathroom to drinking from fish tanks, these hilarious snaps show just how mischievous kids can be
- My beautiful daughter died of shame after skipping her smear test – as sudden cancer diagnosis left her three kids motherless
- The day Adrian Lam played a Wigan Warriors-St Helens derby
- ‘I know Michael Jackson is innocent and NEVER abused kids – and millions of people agree with me’ says super fan Dan Osborne
- Nicola McLean reveals she fears for her life after online bullies called her a ‘sick blind b****’ and threatened her kids
- Mum, 24, who lost four kids aged 3, 4, 6 and 8 in Stafford ‘gas’ blaze ‘only ever wanted children’ says heartbroken pals