Tinh, youngest of six children, is twenty-six years old and was born in Thanh Hoa province, about 280 kilometers south of Hanoi. His mother, widowed when Tinh was nine years old, is a farmer and managed to support the family with her farming activities until her older children went out on their own.
Each of them have established themselves in their own businesses. One son now has his own farm while two of his older brothers and his older sister each run small shops selling general merchandise, or in the case of his sister, lady’s clothing.
The baby of the family at twenty-six, Tinh claims that he is just one of six children and asks for no special recognition. We think he is either the black sheep in the family, or more probably simply “the gifted one”. Though totally blind he has managed to complete his high school education and has mastered the piano and several other instruments, including the “dan bau”, or one stringed zither, a hauntingly beautiful and mysterious sounding Vietnamese folk instrument. He often performs for us with Duong and other staff members at our Christmas and New Year parties, as well as at numerous other gatherings, both formal and informal. He has also performed many times in public, at cafes and other venues and was invited in December 2019 to perform along with Dương and Sơn for the public celebration of the White Cane Initiative sponsored by the Vietnamese Ministry of Planning and Investment.
When Tinh was growing up he didn’t feel that his blindness was an issue, either with his family or in the community. Similarly, continuing his education at Nguyen Dinh Chieu secondary school for the visually impaired,his blindness was simply a fact of life, qualifying him for normality, along with all the other students. It was only when he went on to public high school that he began to feel that he was sometimes looked down upon or discriminated against. However, he learned to disregard this behavior, going about his business and applying himself to the job at hand, completing his bachelor’s degree and graduating from high school. Once he accomplished this and found a job he discovered that people seemed to understand and accept him better, so for him, his blindness is now simply a fact of his existence. A fact of his existence that hasn’t stopped him from going to school, learning to play a number of musical instruments, finding suitable work, making more friends than he can count, nor harboring and actively working on numerous dreams.
Meeting Tinh, you’re sure to be magnetized by his smile and enthusiasm, as well as his optimistic outlook on life. His work ethic is commendable, also. Soon upon graduating from high school Tinh found a job working in a Tam Quat studio performing traditional Vietnamese massage therapy. Continuing there for seven years until learning about Omamori Spa, he provided for himself and managed to continue his love of music. Though Tinh is a man with many, many friends it was while working here that he made friends with another therapist who it seems has become in many ways, his soulmate. They have bonded over their common interests in music, business and more.
Now at Omamori Spa, he has mastered a whole new level of massage therapy techniques and managed both a considerable following of loyal clients as well as developing a large circle of friends and fans within the Omamori family (including his girlfriend,who formerly worked as a receptionist with us). Here he has found a home where his music is widely appreciated and where he can often sit down for a few minutes with a friend or friends and indulge in a few minutes of music making on the piano in the reception area during quiet moments. It’s not unusual to find him sitting at the piano, lost in his music while surrounded by a few of his friends and some of our guests.
Tinh is a man of many interests and many dreams. In school he took an interest in music at the age of fourteen but also learned to enjoy exploring the world through audiobooks, listening to books about music and musicians, business, psychology and more. When talking to him you will also soon discover that his enthusiasm for learning and using English may only be exceeded by his enthusiasm for music...and for his work. Where a number of therapists have expressed the notion that their sensitivity to their work may be enhanced by their loss of sight, Tinh says he feels frustrated not being able to see the client and judge immediately how the client is feeling. As a much sought after Master Therapist (one of only five at Omamori), however, it seems likely that many of his clients would be surprised to know this.
A dreamer like many other musicians, TInh has many dreams. Amongst these, a few that stand out include opening a coffee shop where he and his friends can share music and coffee, opening his own spa where music is incorporated into the treatment and therapy, and ultimately, planning and building a Technology Center where advanced technologies are developed and used to help the blind.
Tinh received a low-tech/high-tech cane (low tech because it’s simply a cane but high-tech because it is made of carbon fiber and sleekly telescopes into an inconspicuous small package) as a gift from the Ministry of Planning and Investment after his musical performance at the opening ceremonies for the White Cane Initiative in December of 2019. He acknowledges that it has indeed improved his confidence and mobility but feels he has lots to learn because he still feels overwhelmed when moving into new territory and wide open spaces. All of us at Omamori hope he will pursue his dream of developing and sponsoring new technology that may one day enable the visually impaired to move about with the same freedom and confidence of sighted people.
Here at Omamori Spa we’re sure you’ll be impressed at his ability to navigate through our premises. Even more so, however, we know you’ll be delighted by his skill as a therapist.
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