Manh, who is twenty-six years old at the time of this writing, was born and raised in Hanoi in a family of four. His mother and father are both rice farmers, earning enough from the farm to pay expenses and support the family. He also has a younger brother, Tú, he is 20, he studied at Hanoi Architertural University, he loves drawing.
In addition to discovering that Manh speaks a lot of English, one of the first things you may notice about Mainh is that you actually don’t notice that he is blind. He actually likes it this way and chooses not to use the white cane because he doesn’t want to draw attention to his blindness. Manh expresses considerable frustration with his blindness, explaining that it keeps him from doing many things, especially driving a car. Clearly he is really frustrated by this. Even so, he says it has worked to his advantage that most people never even notice that he is blind, so he hasn’t had to deal with feelings of being discriminated against, slighted or any other sort of similar problem. At home, however, he admits to sometimes having received favorable treatment by his parents. He says his younger brother has never once complained about this or mentioned it.
Though born with considerable vision impairment, Manh’s eyes actually became considerably worse after a failed surgical attempt to repair the malformed retina. Manh began attending school at the school for the blind in primary school at the usual age, interrupting his studies to undergo surgery. Prior to the surgery his vision in one eye was only 2 out of 10. The surgeon tried to repair the deformity in the better eye first but unfortunately the surgery failed resulting in virtual blindness in that eye. With such a dismal outcome the family decided to preserve what was left of the vision in the other eye, forgoing further corrective surgery. Due to this surgery and his continuing medical complications Mainh missed a lot of school and was only able to finish his high school degree in 2017, at age twenty-three.
At school his favorite subject and greatest strength was mathematics. He felt it was easier for him because it required much less reading and it was easier to distinguish figures than the uncountable variants of the Vietnamese alphabet used in words. The Nguyễn Đình Chiểu School for the Blind, in addition to teaching the standard subjects taught at most schools, offers Braille instruction and teaches the use of the white cane. Additionally, there are a number of electives taught, including classes in IT, photoshop, graphic design and more. Manh has pursued an interest in photoshop work as well as IT. His hobbies also include watching football and playing Western chess.
Manh’s working experience consists mostly of his work helping the family on the farm and his work in massage studios, both traditional and modern. On the farm he helped with general manual labor, helping to prepare the fields as well as assisting with the harvest, though the family rented tractors and harvesting machinery for a lot of the work. His work with massage did not begin as a therapist, however. Rather, he started work as a receptionist in a Tam Quat studio owned and operated by one of his school teachers. There, it was felt that his eyes were not strong enough for him to work as a massage therapist due to the fact that hard physical work would also put a strain on his eyes. As receptionist, he was single handedly responsible for scheduling the appropriate therapist for each customer, handling all payments and assisting customers with parking their motorbikes. It’s hard to imagine the strain, then, that must have been placed on him when once, the day following the Tet holidays, had to single handedly greet and assist more than 100 customers in a single twelve hour day.
While he enjoyed his work as receptionist, after working this job for two years he stumbled onto an announcement on Facebook about the opportunity to get trained at Omamori and to work as a therapist in a high end spa. He liked the idea of learning a new skill while gaining the opportunity to improve his income potential and has been training here for a little more than six months, and while his training is ongoing, he has now mastered the Omamori massage technique, as well as the skills necessary to professionally perform Swedish massage for our clients. We trust that you will enjoy your massage with him and feel certain you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much he has accomplished since coming here