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Supervisor Pham Ngoc Hoang Phuong

Cover Model Truong Thi Ngoc Hiep Tran Kim Duy Lan

Editorial Department Nguyen Hoang Vu (Editor-in-Chief) Le Do Thuy Tu Pham Hung Hau Tran Thanh Giang

Wardrobe Maison Joint Stock Company (Oasis, Topshop & Topman) Vincom Centre, 19th Floor 72 Le Thanh Ton, Ben Nghe Ward, Dist 1, HCMC

Design Department Pham Cong Danh (Art Director) Nguyen Vinh Hien (Production Manager) Vo Quoc Huy To Hong Nhung Nguyen Ngoc Phuong Uyen Jacqueline Shadforth Van Pham Nhat Lan Van Ngoc Thanh Le Thu Trang Nguyen Hoang Anh Nguyen Minh Huy Nguyen Nguyen Quang Nguyen Thi Thanh Duyen

Contributor Dang Minh Tuan Daniele Moretti Dao Ngoc Tuyet Nhung Do Nguyen Thanh Truc Duong Quang Ngoc Hoang Nam Phuong Jackie Simpson Jacqueline Langton Kim Thuy Vy Lieu Anh Vu Ly Thao Anh Ngo Linh Dan Nguyen Ai Quynh Duyen Nguyen Hanh Minh Chau Nguyen Huu Thuy Vi

Marketing Department To Bao Tran (Marketing Manager) Le Pham Minh Tue (Research Manager) Nguyen Ngoc Phuong Linh Pham Thi Thuy Lien Dang Huu Hoai Tran Thuy Quynh Nhu Le Doan Nhu Quynh Tran Thi Thao Vy Finance & Logistics Department Bui Tuan Nghia Pham Thi Linh Chi Trinh Du Linh Human Resources Department Pham Ngoc Bao Thoa (Project Assistant) Do Yen Ly

Nguyen Minh Dang Nguyen Minh Ngoc Nguyen Thi Nam Phuong Pham Ngoc Anh Tu Pham Ngoc Bao Thoa Phan Dieu Hien Phan Ngoc Dan Thanh Tran Thi Xuan Tra Tran Thuy Quynh Nhu Trieu Hoang Giang Trinh Le Dung Vo Song Ngoc Vu Do Mai Uyen Special thanks to our Silver Sponsor

Editors’ Letter Dear Readers, While the world was dancing in the streets as 2012 doomsday prophecies went invalid, we - the four editors of Blitz Magazine - still couldn’t cage the butterflies in our stomachs. Though it was just the start of the journey, we foresaw the day we would wave goodbye to our reign, which is literally today. Many of you have asked us: ”What’s the purpose of Blitz Magazine when it came to Earth?” In response, we called ourselves the wind, an invisible yet active moving force that served to breathe new life into campus whenever it blew by. As the wind, we rose from scratch, vying for your attention and engagement. Luckily enough, you picked the first magazine issue, you read it, you gossiped about it on confession pages, you gave us helpful feedback, and you waited for the next issues. Too much noise bewildered the wind, full of ambition but lacking experience. It got uncontrolled, sucking almost everything on its way to the second magazine issue. But soon the gust realized “Why so serious? Ultimately, it’s just an A5 magazine, and you can’t just put everything in such limited space.” The

wind became light-hearted again as it was meant to be, breeding the playful third magazine issue. This glass half-full attitude, surprisingly, paid off. Nothing could obsess the wind like how to gratify you, readers. Trite, but true. With such spirit, this magazine issue stands up for all the weirdos and misfits out there. Never give up your obsessions just because someone makes fun of them. At the end of the day, what is an obsession if not a passion overdose? For us, the secret of gaining momentum is to keep the butterflies in our stomachs flapping their wings every time the publication gets released. We allow ourselves to be nervous, because nervousness stimulates improvement. How about you and your obsession? Now that the four of us have finished our mission, it’s time a new breath of wind, stronger and fresher, emerged. Huge thanks to all the fabulous people who have made Blitz Magazine possible so far, and those who will continue to fuel the torch. Your dedication, the wind will never forget. XOXOXOXO, Vu, Tu, Giang & Hau Your very first batch of editors


Campus & Career


Project Management: Secrets Unveiled Words Nguyen Minh Dang

Club Mentoring Workshop, Student Council’s primary activity last semester, did a wonderful job in furnishing RMIT students, especially first-year students, volunteers and club members, with the secrets of effective project management.

Although tightly framed within only 2 hours, the workshop went through a wide spectrum of essential skills for future event and project managers, from hard skills (ENF booking, organizational structuring, proposal writing, etc.) to soft skills (negotiating with sponsors, empowering teammates, managing risks, etc.) and lots of stuff in between. The workshop featured two dynamic and successful women as the guest speakers: Ms. Tran Thi Thu Thao (Account Director, Leo Burnett) and Ms. My Le (Corporate Social Responsibility Manager, Vietnam Brewery Limited), whose down-to-earth tips gave the participants a real eye-opener. Predictably, when it came to the Q&A section, most of the students’ questions revolved around people-related issues that might arise throughout a team project. If you’ve missed the workshop, here are some highlights from the guest speakers that you may find useful:

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What can I do if a member doesn’t cling to his/her responsibilities? As a team leader, you should keep an eye on the “lazy” members and talk to them in private (e.g. in a coffee shop or over a beer). Don’t make them lose face in front of the whole team; plus, avoid gossiping behind their backs. If my project fails, how can I maintain the morale and keep moving forward? React properly – failure is common, thus you should recover and gain back the morale as soon as possible. Look back at the objectives, do selfanalysis, and examine the reasons for failures. At the end of the day, the ability to maintain and spread the positive spirit among the team members is what defines a good leader. One of my members does not have enough skills, but he really wants to take on the task, what should I do? You should figure out the strengths and weaknesses of that person and openly discuss with him why he thinks he’s the right one. Remember, true leadership is not only

about getting the tasks done, but also about developing and unleashing people’s potentials. My project has undergone a lot of changes, and I’m not sure whether we’re on the right track. What should I do? Change is good, be open to it. The plan itself is not as important as the planning process, in which you map out a framework of flexible adjustments to your initial intent. For example, you should create a clear management structure so that the communication within your team is smooth. However, if you’re on the top of the hierarchy, you don’t have to talk to the sub-managers right below you all the time; indeed, it would be good if you communicate with the junior members as well. So basically, you can change everything except for the project’s objectives. How can I deal with internal rumors if they take place? Rumor is derived from the need of being heard. Instead of panicking, you should stay calm and have a small talk with the rumor-monger in a relaxing setting. Maybe he/ she wants to tell you something but is too shy to do so, and thus he/she has chosen to talk to other people instead. Understand people and you’ll be understood in return.



Campus & Career



Words Kim Thuy Vy & Tran Thi Xuan Tra

Graduation Day is a once-in-a-lifetime memory in a student’s life. It’s the day to honor the graduands for their achievements, and to wish them all the best in their journeys to success. It’s the day of smiles and pride – one will never forget the beaming faces of the staff, the parents, the graduates, the graduate-wannabes, and of course, the teddy bears in black gowns.

Last November, RMIT University Vietnam celebrated its 13th year with graduation ceremonies in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City. Luckily enough, Blitz Magazine had a chance to “sneak” in the ceremony at Saigon South Campus and talk with these three amazing graduates. Hear what they said:

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Nguyen Thanh Luan - Bachelor of Information Technology Scholarship winner, RMIT Vietnam Former president, IT Club Web developer, East Agile

“Graduation Day is one of the most significant events in my life. RMIT Vietnam has brought me such great learning experience that I couldn’t ask for more. A big thanks to my parents, colleagues and IT Club friends, who have left their footprints in my adventure at university so far. While waiting for the Graduation Day, I had been working for an IT company, whose expertise in software and application development has armed me with fundamental knowledge and skills. I’m pretty sure that after this graduation benchmark, I can apply these knowledge and skills to my forthcoming start-up, a hub cafe.”

Luan (bottom left) with his IT gang



Campus & Career

Vuong Minh Chau - Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication) Graduate with Distinction, RMIT Vietnam Filmmaker for Vietnam’s team, KPMG Business Competition Hong Kong Former Marketing Manager, Enactus RMIT Saigon South Campus Representative, ProfComm’s Student-Staff Consultative Committee Freelancer, BBDO Vietnam

“One of the funniest things on Graduation Day is that RMIT arranged the graduates’ order based on their family names. From kindergarten to high school, my names was always “on top” because it begins with C (for “Chau”); but this time, it was the last one to be called because it begins with V (for “Vuong”) and then M (for “Minh”). I first blamed my parents for this; however, when coming to the Graduation Day, it turned out that the last name was the one receiving all the applause from the attendants. Happiness overload!

Chau & her family

Hardly any word can describe how delighted I am to have completed the graduation requirements, how proud I am to prove my maturity, and how excited I am to embark on the next chapter of my life. At the same time, I feel a little bit nervous. ‘You should spend 2 to 3 years working before taking a postgraduate program,’ I’ve heard people say this a lot, but who knows what the future holds? Maybe heavy workload or unexpected family issues will prevent me from pursuing higher education. Thus, I choose to go for a Master Degree right after graduating from RMIT, so that I’ll be more confident when throwing myself into the workplace.”

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Tieu My Trinh - Bachelor of Business (Economics & Finance) Graduate with Distinction, RMIT Vietnam Legal Finance Control & CFO Assistant, JPMorgan Chase HCMC

“Looking back to the Graduation Day, I still feel as if it were just yesterday. I was standing there holding the degree, overwhelmed with joy and pride, feeling thankful to the great advice from Mr. Christopher Butler (Office Managing Partner and Tax Market Leader, Ernst & Young), who infused a ‘can-do’ attitude into me. ‘Attitude speaks loud and makes a lasting impression. Take on any task with full enthusiasm, no matter how small it is. Take the initiative to acquire new skills, and don’t forget to ask questions. If we do small tasks well, then we’ll be assigned with bigger ones…’

Trinh at the ceremony

I also want to say thank you to an alumnus at RMIT Vietnam’s Networking Event last year that introduced me to JPMorgan Chase Bank, one of the most prestigious investment banks in the US. In such a professional workplace environment, I appreciate RMIT Vietnam and Finance Club for having furnished me with a strong academic background, excellent communication skills, and professional business etiquette, all of which helped me project a good image of an RMIT’s graduate towards my employer. School may be over but life’s lessons are yet to be learnt. I’ll always keep my heart and mind wide open.”



Campus & Career



“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So is disability.” – RMIT Vietnam Disability Resource Centre

Every time you twist a kaleidoscope, you create a flowery picture with colorful beads. Similarly, when you change your outlook on people with disabilities, you’ll be amazed at the diverse abilities they have. With this inspirational concept, a group of six Professional Communication students have initiated a creative project called “Twist Your Lens” to raise the awareness of RMIT Vietnam Disability Resource Centre among RMIT students, staff, and the general public.

Under the shade of the bamboos in front of Building 2, you walk past a line

of bizarre posters-on-canvas. At first glance, they look pretty much as if the models portrayed two conflicting sides of humans – their faces are split in half with symbolic patterns. With a second glance, oh, they are confiding their disabilities, mostly hidden and scarcely-known ones like Dyslexia, Auditory Hallucination, Topographic Disorientation, etc. Their stories may make you think of your friends, your relatives, and even yourself, realizing what you have deemed merely as weaknesses or inabilities are indeed impairments. Your lens is twisted by 90 degrees. But the message doesn’t just stop there. With a third glance, you read the whole testimonial and happen to be empowered. No sorrow, no desperation, only optimism and perseverance transcending all the barriers. These amazing people are celebrating their disabilities, or, to be precise, their priceless gifts. This time, your lens is twisted by 180 degrees. On the International Day of Persons with Disabilities 2013 (December 3rd), the Learning Skills Unit (LSU) collaborated with the “Twist Your Lens” project team to launch the Disability Resource Centre, the first service of its kind in Vietnam that supports students and staff with disabilities at university. The centre helps identify the students’ learning disabilities and provide them with appropriate assessments, support and adjustments. Vo Thi Kim Ngan, a Design student who has been using this service, said it has changed her view on her disability and helped her a lot with her study.

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and educational technologies, support to develop and improve learning strategies, as well as referral to specialist services within the community,” she said.

I ’m N g a n, R M I T s t u d e nt.

I ’ve g ot D y s lexi a ,

w h i c h t u r n s ‘d ’ i nto ‘ b ’ , ‘ le m o n’ i nto ‘ m e lo n’ ,

a n d w r i t i ng a s s i g n m e nt s i nto a t r u e n i g ht m are.

“We’re also keen to continue to develop our close working relationships with organizations such as Learning Strategies, the Disability Research and Capacity Development Centre and the HCMC Disability Working Group, as well as being open to sharing ideas and research with staff and students at other universities in Vietnam.”

T h i s e n a b le s m e to t r a i n m y b r a i n

to t h i n k i n i m ag e s.

Is n’t i t a p r i ce le s s g ift ?

Twist your lens

“I was born dyslexic. When I was a little girl, it frustrated me because I couldn’t read and learn as fast as my friends did. I didn’t know it was because of dyslexia back then,” Ngan said. “The Disability Advisor printed my course materials on yellow paper for me because I read better in that color. And she told me I was not disabled, I just needed a learning method different from that of my friends. I really appreciated that.” Ms. Carol Witney, Disability and Learning Skills Advisor at RMIT Vietnam, said the service would provide opportunities for students to access higher education, which previously may not have been an option. “We’re now able to provide a number of services such as dyslexia screening, reasonable adjustments and equitable assessment arrangements, course materials in accessible formats, access to assistive

Carol Witney (Ms), Disability & Learning Skills Advisor Email: Venue: Building 1, Level 4, Room 1.4.37 Promotional Video:



Campus & Career

YOUR WORDS HAVE WEIGHT Words Jacqueline Langton Le Do Thuy Tu Tran Thanh Giang Nguyen Ai Quynh Duyen

It started as a viral video about the life of a social outcast transformed by positive words. The words, having gained momentum, went beyond cyber-space and landed on campus in chalk, lovely notes on a board and an outdoor movie screening. Unlike any alien-invasion movie, the invasion of words sparked off a sweet overload of endearing messages. All the ‘words’ stunts you encountered in school is part of the Anti-bullying Campaign, a collaboration between RMIT Wellbeing & Counselling Service and Professional Communication students enrolled in the Interdisciplinary Communication Project (ICP) course.

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Not only physical violence but also words leave scars on a person. Negative use of words trigger bullying issues such as verbal, indirect, cyber and sometimes physical bullying.

The campaign has created a positive response at RMIT Vietnam, especially SGS Campus.

In this technological era with all the available social media sites, words can spread much further and have a much larger impact. Imagine if a negative story about you was posted on a public page. All of a sudden, there were 50 likes and multiple comments where people support that story with more negative comments. That story was then shared across multiple sites and soon thousands of people were seeing it, believing and reporting it as truth. Worse still, people might be gossiping about it behind your back. How would that feel? Words and pictures cannot be taken back once they are out on the Internet. The impact they have on some students has been devastating as their whole world is linked by technology so it is hard to escape and shut off the words. The Wellbeing and Counselling Service has thought about how to tackle the issue of bullying. This is something many schools and universities around the world have implemented as programs, written policy and tried to talk openly about. Therefore, our Anti-bullying Campaign focused on the ‘weight’ of casual words, and the impact they can have on an individual, especially the use of positive words as a self-empowering tool for victims of bullying, and reminding everyone to be more aware of their actions.

Offline: Act to fight against negative words: 141 people left positive messages on board. Discovery of how to support ‘anti-bullying’: 130 attendants of the outdoor movie screening event Online: Page likes and engagement: 322 new likes; 1,201 people engaged; 7,303 total post reach Viral video views: 693

The Counsellors are here to listen whenever people have the need to feel heard Wellbeing and Counselling Services, Recreation & Events Complex (REC) Room 10.02.04 Facebook: Wellbeing and Counselling RMIT Vietnam



Campus & Career

RMIT Residential Centre


UNIVERSITY LIFE In many countries, it’s common that one will move out and live independently when he becomes an adult. Therefore, many international students consider living in university dorms to be the coolest beginning for their growing-up journey. Apart from the exclusive accommodations and excellent services, RMIT Residential Centre also offers its residents a convenient living-studying community. Imagine you have more time to experience every single service and facility at RMIT and always get surrounded by your friends - how cool is that? Obviously, there will be a lot of of things you will probably miss out if you don’t live at RMIT Residential Centre, such as: Proximity: It only takes a few minutes of walking to access all of the university’s services and facilities. Take a five-minute walk to class. Wanna get fit, go to the gym. Have problems with assignments, library on the move. Get sick, SOS will take care of you. Connection: You can stay connected with your friends day and night. Security: 24-hour safety, enough said. Activities: Nothing you can miss out if you’re living on campus, right? Living-learning community: It’s time to make the most of your university life.

So if you’re an RMIT students and you’re about to start your independent life, perhaps you should take the RMIT Residential Centre into consideration. Basically, you have them all in this small town right at the heart of RMIT. What’s more, university life will be much easier and more enjoyable once you become a member of RMIT Residential Centre’s family. Why not give it a try? RMIT Residential Centre, in collaboration with a group of Professional Communication students, runs the D2D (Dorm to Doors) campaign from November 2013 to the end of 2014 with a view to refreshing the image of our university’s dorm. Stay tuned! Update the latest news of RMIT Residential Centre: Contact for more information:

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Myth #1: RMIT Vietnam IT Club (ITC) consists of IT students only. Truth: It’s true that most members of IT Club are, obviously, IT students. But there are many students from other programs as well. To illustrate, just within the executive board, there is one from Commerce and two from Design already. The main point here is not about your major, but more about your passion for technologies.

Deep under the mist of RMIT lurks a mysterious army. The RMIT community does not know much about who they are or what they actually do. Myths and gossips are piling up about their whereabouts. But are they all true or simply just some random made-up stories?

Myth #3: ITC only handles serious businesses and doesn’t care much about what its members are doing. Truth: Well, ITC does deal with serious IT businesses. But above all, they work hard and play harder. Besides the abovementioned workshops, the club also helps its members with their projects, and the leaders often take good care of their members’ well-being.

Myth #2: ITC is all about coding and programming. Truth: These are just small parts of their activities. The main focus of the club is technology in general, including gadgets and gizmos. They also reach out to other pools of interests such as graphic design, photography and business. ITC hosts weekly workshops, for which the members can propose their own topics.



Campus & Career

Marketing Challengers (MarCha) is the biggest annual competition organized by RMIT Vietnam Business Club for those interested in the world of marketing. Since its establishment, MarCha has never ceased to grow, from an RMITexclusive competition in 2009 to a nation-wide sensation with 150 teams from 32 universities across Vietnam in 2013.

What’s new?




Total prizes up to 65,000,000 VND and job opportunities.


No more “the winner takes it all”. Other prizes starting from the 2nd round: best presentation file, most creative idea, marketing effectiveness, etc.


More practical workshops provided by marketing professionals

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What is it like to be an organizer? Let’s hear from Tran Phung Khanh Lam, Business Club’s Marketing Manager & MarCha’s Project Leader:

Being a marketing member for MarCha 2012, I was inspired and fell in love with this competition. To me, MarCha 2013 marked a milestone in my university life. Becoming a Project Leader last year was a pleasure but a big challenge as well. Luckily, my team was full of talented and passionate people, who had worked so hard to bring the best things to this competition.

Seeking sponsors was by no means a piece of cake. One tip for those who are running projects on campus: the sponsors will only say ‘Yes’ if your interests and the benefits you offer them match their expectations. After a lot of meetings and ‘mind games’, Tiki was our final stop. The competition finally came to an end on 21 Dec 2013, with F-Storm team from Foreign Trade University reigning supreme thanks to their persuasive big idea: “The Beginning of Joyful Shopping”. The other teams, 5P, GOTCHA, The GEEK, and Lunatics, also said that they had gained useful knowledge and skills from the competition.

So if you wanna be part of MarCha 2014’s core team, why not join RMIT Vietnam Business Club now? The club, indeed, is not as serious as its name may sound. With various projects and a strong alumni network, Business Club is a place where you can practice your business skills while having so much fun with like-minded fellows.

For more information



Campus & Career

Live like a


Words Nguyen Thi Nam Phuong

My exchange trip to Melbourne lasted for only five months, but the beautiful memories I’ve had there would remain forever. Read on and discover how to enjoy everything Melbourne offers — believe me, you’ll love this amazing city! Eat like a Melburnian No trip can be complete without food. Luckily, the multicultural Melbourne boasts a wide range of dishes around the world — name the cuisine, Melbourne has it. Carlton, the suburb I lived in, is full of delicious Italian restaurants while Swanston Street, the main street for RMIT

City Campus, has Greek, French, Lebanese restaurants thrown in together. Besides being a global food hub, Melbourne is also known amongst locals for its little laneways hidden around the city. These laneways are “Melbourne’s best-kept secrets” because they offer a true insight into Melbourne’s street food culture.

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I still remember how stunning Degraves Street and Hardware Lane were: many cosy little coffee shops crammed into one busy laneway. Now, let’s talk about Australians’ all-time favourite cooking technique: barbecue, or “barbie” in Australian English. Every day, there’s a BBQ party somewhere, since to most Aussies, barbecue dishes are ideal for gettogethers, just like hot pot for Vietnamese. “Let’s grill, mate!”

See like a Melburnian Melbourne isn’t only about culinary cultures. There’re plenty of things to see in this “Australia’s arts capital”, including free street performances on Swanston, Bourke, and Elizabeth Street. The performers are just amateur but they definitely deserve applause for their passion. Melburnians also love theatres, galleries, festivals and concerts. Tickets for musicals and plays are frequently sold-out, even when it comes to afternoon gigs. For festivals, I still remember attending the White Night, in which the whole city stayed up all night, singing and dancing on the streets. As entertainers around the world often flock to Melbourne, I was lucky enough to see Ellen DeGeneres from America and CN Blue from South Korea on stage. Art lovers will certainly consider Melbourne a heaven on earth. If you prefer something more edgy, then Melbourne won’t disappoint you with its incredible graffiti laneways. The famous Hosier Lane is covered head-to-toe with building-sized graffiti, from the waste bins to the doors. And they change all the time to keep you coming back for more.

Play like a Melburnian Melburnians are crazy about sports: F1 Car Race, Australian Football League, Australian Tennis Open Tournament, or Melbourne Cup for Horse Racing. One fun fact is that, on contrary to America, soccer is a favorite sport here while basketball remains unpopular. Outdoor activities, ranging from surfing in summer to skiing in winter, are widely enjoyed as well. If you love adventure sports and the outdoors, Melbourne is indeed one of your must-visit destinations.

So, have you fallen in love with Melbourne yet? I hope soon you’ll eat, see and play like a local Melburnian too. Come here visit, Melbourne is waiting for you!



Campus & Career

SSEAYP ship of pride Words Vu Do Mai Uyen Tired of assignments and finals? Want to break free and do whatever you long for? If the answer is yes, then taking a semester off is something you don’t want to miss. Nguyen Le Thai Giang, Professional Communication student cum laude member of SSEAYP (Ship for South East Asian Youth Program), will tell you how she’s grown during a twomonth period off-campus. Sometimes what you learn is not from the school, but from the ship…

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Are you particularly missing someone or something in Vietnam?

Hi Giang, where you are now? What surprises you the most there - the people, food, climate, culture, etc.? Hi, I’m now in Nara, which used to be the capital of Japan. I’m amazed at the culture here. Deer is the mascot of the city, and thus this species is always taken good care of. The pace of life here is slower than in Tokyo, but the people are all friendly and kind. But the flip side is, Japanese people can’t speak English well. They are good at writing, but I didn’t expect their speaking skill to be that bad. My foster father in Japan is an English teacher at secondary school, but he can’t speak English fluently.

Actually, the schedule is so tight that I don’t even have time to think of what’s going to happen the day after tomorrow. The best thing I can do now is to put all of my heart, mind and soul in the upcoming presentations. The only thing I am and will be missing is Vietnamese food. Of course, I do miss my family a lot, just like the other Vietnamese participants. About your new foreign friends, are they different from RMIT students? What have you learnt from them? Yes, they are super awesome. We smile, we talk, we share, and we grow. I haven’t had the chance to work with international students at RMIT, so I can’t tell the difference. But here we interact a lot; therefore, we are more than just classmates or schoolmates. We are cabinmates, we are batch-mates. We learn from each other, and we grow up together.

Why did you apply for SSEAP in the first place? What were your expectations of this trip? SSEAYP is a once-in-a-lifetime journey, an adventure that anyone who love culture, friendship, and cross-cultural experience would never ignore. Taking school off for two months for a trip sounds adventurous, but to me, study is a process that isn’t just limited within four walls of the classroom. My vision has been broadened a lot throughout the course of this trip; in fact, sometimes I think the knowledge gained is even more practical than what I’ve learnt from the assignments [laughing].

Unfortunately, Giang had to say goodbye and leave for her next destination, promising to have another chat with Blitz when she came back from the trip. Let’s wish Giang good luck with her grow-up journey and stay tuned for more stories from her and the other SSEAYP members from RMIT Vietnam! Befriend SSEAYP Vietnam Network via:



Campus & Career

Green Ribbon: Keep Vietnam Beautiful Words Trinh Le Dung Green Ribbon (aka Ruy Bang Xanh or RBX) is a group of environmental activists established in January 2013 by Nguyen Huu Nhan, a lecturer at RMIT Vietnam, in collaboration with many university students throughout Ho Chi Minh City. This society was born with the mission to clean up the city and bring the fresh air back to the people in Saigon by fighting against littering. Last October, the “Green Ribbon Month” project took place across 25 universities in Saigon. During 2-3 consecutive days, the volunteers distributed the green ribbons to the students in the parking lots and encouraged them to tie these ribbons to their motorbike mirrors. This seemingly small deed acted as a bold statement against littering in public places. Currently, the project group has already run the demo version of the campaign at two universities: • RMIT Vietnam: 2250 ribbons were distributed, which means nearly half of the students on SGS Campus has received a ribbon. The reach would be even more than that, as word-of-mouth and social networks were also utilized. • Hoa Sen University: 858 messages were handed to the students and their parents. The campaign has attracted a lot of attention within this university as a result. Later, the project team continued to give out more than 500 green ribbons.

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Last December, the project was held in 15 universities. To achieve this goal, the External Relations team members had been working hard to find the schools, negotiate with the Youth Committee and persuade them to collaborate with RBX. Below are other projects that Green Ribbon is proud to present: • Factory Project: Green Ribbon helped some factories analyze the pollution problems in their areas and recommend the solutions. • “Thor” Movie Screening: Green Ribbon held a press conference and movie screening session last November, in cooperation with Miss Vietnam Mai Phuong Thuy. • Lesson Plan Project: Quite an interesting project! Green Ribbon crafted lesson plans for children in kindergartens around HCMC. The project aimed to teach kids basic facts on environmental protection, so that they would learn to show their respect Mother Earth via simple actions like recycling used materials. Visit Green Ribbon’s Facebook page to find out more about the project:



Campus & Career

Words Hoang Nam Phuong

RMIT Vietnam Music Club did it again with lots of “oohs” and “aahs” from the audience. Ever since We’ve Got Talent (WGT) - a singing competition at RMIT Vietnam - was officially born, it has received lots of support from not only the RMIT community but also outside stakeholders. RMIT Vietnam Music Club has again proved that they are strong and solid enough to organize such a massive show like WGT5. From music choice to stage presence, from dance routines to vocal skills, everything has been fine-tuned to perfection. At last, we’ve got a brand new champion, 19-year-old To Nhat Huy from Economics and Finance nailed it again for the final shot. Hear what he said after receiving the title! How did you feel when your name was announced? I couldn’t believe it was true. I was like... oh gosh, the MCs must be kidding me. I felt so blessed and bewildered at the same time. Was there any particular inspiration that paved the way for you to your championship? One of my biggest musical inspirations ever is Whitney Houston. Because of this wonderful

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woman, I was brave enough to go up there, did two of her songs, “I will always love you” and “I have nothing”. Phew, I’m so glad that the performances went down pretty well. Now that WGT5 is over, what would you miss the most? I’d miss the very moments when all the contestants shared their stories, had fun together, when everybody helped one another do the make-up, and gave advice on the song choice before getting on stage. Will you continue to pursue a career in music? Yes, of course. Music is my life-long passion, so I will pursue my dream until the day I don’t feel like belonging to music anymore. I don’t think that day is gonna happen, though (laughing). To Nhat Huy - We’ve Got Talent 5 Champion

“The Fantastic Three” The show couldn’t have been successful without the support from the three amazing judges: Patrick Sharbaugh, Anna Semmerling & Derek Miyamoto. Patrick has been so familiar with We’ve Got Talent since the first seasons; his wit always breathes new life to the shows, soothing the nervous contestants. Anna and Derek were later on introduced to the team, but don’t underestimate these “newbies”! Being the only female judge in the competition, Anna stood out from the crowd thanks to her sophisticated and adorable personality. It was typical of her to get emotional towards a song as well. Derek was like a pinch of spice to the judging panel, due to his creative and intelligent comments. He could be the next Randy Jackson, descriptive to details but not too harsh. Patrick Sharbaugh, Anna Semmerling & Derek Miyamoto



Campus & Career


Mrs Engagement

Master Work vs degree

Words Trieu Hoang Giang & Nguyen Minh Ngoc Semester A this year has started with an unpleasant guest: the pinkeye epidemic. It basked in reflected glory of infecting many people, including our lovely interviewee, Mrs. Le Lam Viet Trang – Manager, Student Engagement. Drained by a previous meeting, however, she still agreed to meet us with her usual radiant smile. Trang has been living in HCMC for nearly a decade and has been working at RMIT Vietnam for nearly 5 years. What many don’t know about her is that she completed her Bachelor Degree in English Pedagogy in An Giang, her hometown. Freshly graduated, she made her first tough decision: moving to Saigon on her own.

One step to the high Amid the hustle and bustle of the city, she found a job at Cleverlearn English Centre. In 2009, she left this English institute and became a staff at RMIT Vietnam. At that time, she also got her second Bachelor Degree in Business Administration at Open University.

“The desire to work in an international environment pushed me to go for RMIT. And I would never regret that decision.”

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The early days at RMIT were totally different from her previous workplace. Thanks to her dynamic and enthusiastic personality, Trang has challenged herself in 3 different positions at RMIT 3 times until she established Student Engagement & Support Group (SESG) in June 2012 and started involving in more engagement with the students. Her diligent effort paid off: RMIT granted her a full scholarship for Master of Project Management.

Dear beloved students All the ups and downs throughout Trang’s career propelled us to a common dilemma that many fresh graduates are facing: whether to find a job or pursue higher education after getting a Bachelor Degree. “It depends on your major and situations”, she put it briefly. “If the students believe they adequately understand their fields of interest and want to explore the real life, they should dive into a job first. Working will benefit students with sufficient experience to fully grasp what they’ve learnt in class.” In retrospect, Trang made up her mind to work first rather than taking a postgraduate program. “I kept myself busy with all the projects and those days were like a chain of sequences: the more I devoted to work, the greater my experience became and the more I wanted to further my study,” she recalled. “The working experience contributed to my comprehension in the postgraduate courses.” Nevertheless, Trang emphasized that her choice didn’t mean entering the workplace first outweighed pursuing postgraduate study: “Enthusiasm and burning ambition are valuable advantages for fresh graduates. It’s better to contemplate your youth to study higher. Time flies; if you keep hesitating, your intentions will be gone with the wind.”

And the conclusion is... Draw your future path and visualize the expected outcomes. Sleep on it. Once you’re certain about what you want, accept the challenges and do whatever you need, whether it’s a Master Degree or a job. Be optimistic! In the worst case, if you fail, it’s never too late to start over.” Turning to her future plans, we’re glad to hear that after finishing her postgraduate study, Trang will continue to devote to Student Engagement Office since her passion is to work with students. Apparently, if she had been afraid to start fresh, we wouldn’t have the supportive SESG, and thus the warm RMIT home today.



Campus & Career

GPA & Extracurricular Activities College Burdens, Aren’t They? Words Tran Thuy Quynh Nhu

Life is too short and there are still too many good pizzas I haven’t tried yet. Why do I have to waste my time doing things I don’t enjoy just to make my CV look better?

You are not defined by numbers There is an unspoken rule in college: You either do a lot of extracurricular activities or get a top notch GPA to get well-paid job after graduation. But what if you’re like me - an antisocial and not exactly the HD-achiever?

based on marks and grades – the utmost priorities, while knowledge was just secondary.

If someone asks me whether I remember anything from 12 years of schooling, I would say “no” - I forgot more than half of what I had learned, but I do remember that I got 8.5 overall at the end of high school. Teachers, parents, friends and even myself made judgments

Among my peers, the frequently asked question before choosing a course is “Is this an easy-to-get-HD course?” Almost everyone I know chose a certain course as their elective because the course was rumored to be easy. We were given a chance to learn what we desire, and we chose it based on a single meaningless number?

College is supposed to be a place where you express who you really are and discover what you really love - at least that’s what I was told. I was very excited about this - a chance to actually learn. However, the excitement didn’t last long. The idea is still the same: it’s about a good GPA for a good job, good pay and good future.

We are not defined by numbers, by GPAs, by how many clubs we have joined, how many extracurricular activities we have done, or how extensive our résumés are. Never let yourself be defined by anything or anyone, ever.

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College is supposed to be a place where you express who you really are and discover what you really love at least that’s what I was told.

Do what you love This doesn’t mean that we should be ok with a belowaverage GPA and just party it away. Work just as hard to get to know the lectures and textbooks as you do to get to know your dream jobs and work experience. And have fun while you’re still in college, because it’s not going to be easier to be hung-over at work than at a 9 a.m. lecture. Don’t just join any clubs you see on the Club Day. Find your true hobby, then join a club that can nurture it. If you aren’t happy with where you are, do something about it.

And if you don’t exactly love your major, change it while you still can, even drop out of college if you must and follow your true dreams (yes, this sounds Disney-ish, but it isn’t exactly dreamy). Seriously, follow your dreams. It’s never too late for anything, and better yet, you are only in your twenties.

GPA is just one of many factors considered for a job position. Between a boring person with extraordinary GPA and another with an average GPA appears to be a better fit for the job, the second has more weight. Ms. La Thi Thanh Phuong - HR Manager of Truong Long Auto Joint Stock Company

We don’t hire employees based on GPA at all. Sometimes students with high academic results just cannot deal with the real tasks.” Ms Vo Thi Truc Lieu - HR Executive of Square Communication Group



Campus & Career

What Obsession “I chose the broad Commerce degree because I was uncertain about the career direction I should take. Now I’ve spent 4 years completing my degree, getting involved in many club activities and building my skills but I’m still waiting for a passion that will drive me forward into a dream career.” - RMIT student. Many of us hope that finding a career will be like falling in love. That is, we believe one day our hearts will be captured by a career idea, and we will live happily ever after doing something we love. In the last decade, the concept of “finding your passion” has become very popular – think Steve Jobs urging us to “do what we love”. This, however, leaves many people without any passion feeling disappointed and lost. Some keep changing jobs in search of an elusive obsession, while others feel paralysed as they keep waiting for some urge to overtake them and show them the way. A high school student that I spoke with had sat in his room for 18 months after high school, trying to figure out what he liked and hoping to catch a passion like you would catch a cold. Not until he got out and did something, did he find his areas of interest. So what career direction do we take if we don’t know what we‘ll enjoy? What skills should we perfect if we don’t know what we’ll need? What can we do to get started?


Be Experimental

Revel in your uncertainty. Rather than sitting back waiting for passion to come and find you, go out and start looking for it. Try doing different things to test your various skills. Start to do things you like, even if you’re unsure where it might lead to. Keep your curious eyes and ears wide open.


Join a start-up

While a top tier firm looks good on your CV, the reality is that you will be employed in limited ways. You’ll get to practice one set of skills, which is fine if you know they’re what you seek to perfect. Start-ups, on the other hand, will often require you to do a bit of everything - a great way to try your hand at varied skills. Choose an industry that you are interested in, then seek to contribute in as many ways as possible.




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Which Passion Words Jackie Simpson, RMIT Career Counsellor

Hao Nguyen Anh, RMIT alumnus, studied Bachelor of Commerce (Accountancy). In his final year he had little idea about his passion. By chance, he found his current job at Astra Zennica through the RMIT Career Expo. Starting as a Financial Analyst he was soon recognised for his analytical skills and moved to Data Analyst. After 2.5 years, he had carved a unique position for himself: consolidating data to share throughout the company. He hadn’t expected his accountancy skills would be transformed into a passion for data analysis. So what is his secret of job satisfaction? Hao said that starting the work created the situation. But he had to build his own capabilities in order to be ready when opportunities came. And how did he know which skills to build? By working, no doubt!


Develop your skills

“Be so good they can’t ignore you”, as Cal Newport named his book. As you get good at something, you develop a passion for it. When RMIT alumnus Hao Nguyen Anh (see insert) worked, he was able to develop a focus on particular areas – and passion followed.


Observe, reflect, do interesting things

Spend time with interesting, passionate people. Take on short-term projects. Volunteer, read books about what fascinates you, and find a role model. Engaging with life increases your interactions and opportunities to discover your passion will follow. Marie Forleo, described by Oprah Winfrey as “a thought leader for our next generation”, said you couldn’t figure out your passion by thinking about it. Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.

And if all else fail, think of this little trick: What is it that I have strong arguments about? What topics do my friends and family avoid raising with me because they don’t want a speech/diatribe/sermon? Now there’s a clue. Check out these useful links: So Good: What if I don’t have a passion?


SPEAK U SPEAK UP! Campus & Career

Words Nguyen Huu Thuy Vi The class was vibrant until the lecturer began to ask questions. Having the answers in minds, the passive students made him repeat “Anyone?” in vain, still.

If your answers don’t solve the lecturer’s questions in the way he wants, think of them as opportunities for self-improvement.

When asked “How do you feel about uninvited silence in classes?”, many Vietnamese students questioned me back: “What if I say something wrong?” That moment, I realized the need to protect one’s self-image was quite common in Vietnam, which precisely reflected the fear of “losing face” rampant in many Asian cultures. The “face” concept refers to a person’s appearance and behaviors that construct a perfect image he/she wants others to perceive when they think of him/her. In fact, “saving face” plays a major role in many Asian nations by guiding its people to avoid hurting others’ and their own faces in public. Classroom is more or less a public place, and thus lots of students believe that a wrong answer will damage their faces. But hey, nobody’s born to be a know-itall by nature - you and your classmates are no exceptions! Keep in mind what the lecturers at RMIT often tell you: “There’s no right or wrong answer!”.

If the matter of “losing face” still prevents you from participating during class time, I suggest you have a look at the “Five Ps” guide opposite:


Nobody’s born to be a know-it-all by nature

1 “ 2 3 4 5

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Change your concern from “What if I say it wrong?” to “What if my answer impresses the whole class?” In many cases, this will motivate you to speak up.

Review the learning materials before going to class. It’s good to know in advance what you are supposed to be asked, isn’t it?

pal up with lecturers Think of your lecturer as a friend, who is not better than you. This little mind-trick will make you feel more comfortable and confident to voice your opinions.


You may think many people will stare at you when you speak up; but in fact, no one in your class is gonna judge you, except for yourself. So embrace yourself, unleash even the wildest ideas in your mind, and you’ll feel no pressure.


You may think many people will stare at you when you speak up; but in fact, no one in your class is gonna judge you, except for yourself. So embrace yourself, unleash even the wildest ideas in your mind, and you’ll feel no pressure.

It’s absolutely okay to speak up in class, since it’s a place for learning anyway. At the end of the day, the lecturers’ questions are the chances to reinforce your knowledge, so do not let your shyness shut them down.


4 Campus & Career




Kumquat Tea (Chu 7 Tra Tac)

Words Miss Possimpible

From just a humble vendor, Chu Bay Tra Tac (Uncle 7 Kumquat Tea) became a popular drink retailer among RMIT Vietnam students in the last few years. How did he do that? Sure it wasn't solely a matter of luck.

1 2

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#1 Know Your Cash Cow

Make the most out of your competitive advantages Uncle 7 sold many things, from noodle, strawberry milk to coffee; however, what made him really stand out was his signature kumquat tea. While it was almost impossible for him to compete in the saturated coffee-based drinks market at RMIT Vietnam, the kumquat tea market was neglected and thus highly potential. Furthermore, it was easy for him to improve the quality of this product, as it only took minor adjustments to the amount of sugar and kumquat to have the right mix. From a generic product, “Kumquat Tea” was made an integral part of Uncle 7’s brand name. Lesson learnt: know your competitive advantages, constantly improve them and make them your cash cows.

#2 Know Your Market

What do your customers need ? RMIT Vietnam is a profitable market with more than 6,000 potential customers. The problem, nonetheless, was the relatively high prices of food and beverage on campus. Uncle 7 saw this as a business opportunity. By minimizing the transaction cost, he was able to sell his drinks and foods at cheaper prices as compared to his competitors. So, know your customers’ problem and solve it by satisfying their unfulfilled needs.


3 4

#3 Know Your Service

#4 Know Your Business

Good things come to those who preserve It was not only the quality of his products that built his fame, but also his effort to deliver these products as fast as possible. The image of a tireless man riding an old bike back and forth everyday despite the harsh weather had become familiar to many students and imprinted on the mind of some loyal ones. The orders for drinks were especially high during burning noons, when everyone was desperate for a fresh, thirst-quenching cup of kumquat tea. Busy delivering drinks, he might not have time to enjoy his own tea cup but, for sure, had fun hearing his business cell phone’s unstoppable rings.

Licenses do matter Transparency is the default rule in today’s business world. Therefore, don’t end up getting banned from campus like Uncle 7 just because you overlook important legal documents.



Campus & Career


The good, the bad and the ugly Words Phan Ngoc Dan Thanh

Everyone is free to express their feelings to their beloved. However, romantic acts in public area, especially in an academic environment, can raise many concerns. What are the acceptable levels of showcasing one’s “love life” on campus?

Hold hands, spread love Pham Thuy Ny (Marketing): “I love how couples hold their hands while walking around the campus. It’s so sweet and I think when other people see that, the sense of happiness will be multiplied.”

A little hug doesn’t hurt nobody Nguyen Quoc Bao (Economics & Finance): “Honestly, I think I’m too influenced by Western culture. When I greet my friends, I also hug them softly. So, I find it normal when seeing people hugging their partners and others on the campus. But don’t show your love too strongly unless you want to break your boy/girlfriend’s bones.”

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Think twice before a row

Cheek kissing can be awkward

Cao Thi Ngoc Tran (Commerce): “Like many other couples, I and my boyfriend have conflicts sometimes. Time was when our conflicts reached the tipping point, I started to vent all of my anger. I, then, noticed the frowning faces of surrounding people and realized that they were bothered. So I told myself not to make emotional conflicts affect other students on campus.”

Vo Thanh Hieu (Professional Communication) : “Although I’d like to try falling in love with someone during my university time, I feel uncomfortable when encountering couples kissing in public. When my friends cheek-kissed each other in front of me, I always feel awkward. I understand it’s a simple love expression but when you keep repeating the act, it will irritate surrounding people.”

Campus & motel – they’re different! Cao Thi Thuy Dung (Marketing) “Nobody can tell whether expressing love to one’s soul mate is right or wrong. But when people complain, you should take a step back and objectively judge your own behavior. I really don’t understand why some couples find it okay to lie on the red chairs in Building 2 (or in front of Lygon), stroking each other as if they were in their private zones. It’s inappropriate for Vietnamese cultural values! If you don’t want to become the topic for gossip and damage your self-image, you’d better stop showing your love too personally in such an educational environment like RMIT.”



Fear Fear

Campus & Career


My Biggest



Interviewer Vo Song Ngoc

In the last issue, our lecturers revealed what they would do if they weren’t a lecturer. This time, let’s check out another aspect of their secrets: FEARS! Pakawat Kietisaksopon (Marketing lecturer)

Graeme Walker (Economics & Finance lecturer)

Lee Kam Ling (Economics & Finance lecturer)

“Actually my biggest fear ever is being unemployed. I’ve got this worry since I was an undergraduate student. Before every semester break, my dad always asked me: ‘What are you gonna do in this semester break? You should get a part time job, son.’ Having a broad network, he helped me find a job in his friend’s company. So then I started to have an obsession that I need to get a job whenever I’m free.”

“I’m scared of bugs that buzz. Bees, wasps, hornets, you name it. Whatever flies and makes a buzzing sound. No matter what I’m doing - reading, talking on the phone, or cooking - as soon as I see/ hear a buzzing bug, I can’t help jumping with terror. Unfortunately, where I am from in Canada is prevalent with bugs like these.”

“I think about diseases, every kind of diseases, especially cancer. When I have a disease, although I have a lot of good people around, nobody can help me. If I don’t have money or job, there’re still things those people can give me. But health is something that money can’t buy. That’s why I’m afraid of sickness the most.”

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Melanie Brown (Professional Communication lecturer) “I’m scared of sharks. I come from South Australia, where there’re lots of sharks, and I’ve always been nervous going to the sea. I don’t know where the fear comes from exactly as I’ve only seen sharks in aquariums. I remember having a screaming fit when I saw the movie Jaws on TV. Luckily, I think I have outgrown this phobia. I’m also scared of snakes. When I still lived in the countryside, I saw my dad killing a snake that had got into my bedroom. There was snake blood all over my dolls! So I avoid that fear by moving to the city.” Cristina Nualart (Professional Communication lecturer)

“What I’m most scared of is the inequality in our world seems to be getting worse. When you’re young, you’re very positive, very enthusiastic; and then you begin to find out things about the world as you grow up. This is very disappointing. The rich people are getting richer, the poor people are getting poorer, and the inequality between men and women is still enormous. I’ve lived in many countries and seen lots of people with different walks of life; I now have different impression about the world.”

Paul Williams (English Program lecturer) “I was never scared of ghosts until I arrived in Red Hill Town (Bristol, England) to visit my uncle’s family. I was hired to work at a country club called ‘Cadbury House’ and I borrowed a bicycle to ride to work. After a late nightshift, I rode my bicycle home with a tiny lamp that could barely enlighten more than 10 meters ahead. On my way home that night, I heard a shriek from the woods that sent a shiver down my spine. There was no moon, and it was pitch black. Another scream sent my pulse through the roof, so I put my head down and peddled faster. About 100 meters from my uncle’s house, I felt something touched me on the shoulder. I turned around, but saw nothing. I decided to take a different road home from then on. I never know what that was, but I’ve always been a little nervous in the dark alone.”



Campus & Career

Course name

Marketing Communications (MKTG1257)

Team members


Coors Light is the first American beer brand to enter Vietnam’s market. The brand positions itself as a very light beer Nguyen Canh Thao Nguyen brand within an affordable price. The target (s3312502) customers are Vietnamese young people Tran Loc Uyen (s3298281) over 18 years old (Generation X & Y), who Nguyen Bao Chau (s3310040) are active and eager to try new things. As Tran Thi Thai Huong (s3299774) a marketing communications agency, your Nguyen Minh Thao (s3275156) task is to create an integrated marketing Truong Hoang Duy (s3343821) communications (IMC) campaign for Coors Light with the total budget of 600 million VND.


IMC Objectives

To increase brand recognition & brand recall throughout the campaign.



To attain 50% sales growth after 8 months.

IMC Theme

Position Coors Light as a low-calorie beer for women. Three main hues: orange, purple, green are used to represent not only the three beer flavors but also the active, sexy, and natural image of female consumers.


To enhance Coors Light’s brand image after increasing brand awareness.





This will also breathe new life to the way people think of drinking beer.


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IMC Plan

Celebrity Endorsement Celebrity endorsement: Tra My Idol, Van Trang & Midu chosen as the brand’s endorsers, who represent the three desirable characteristics of a modern woman: active, sexy and natural.

natural Midu

sexy Van Trang

active Tra My Idol

New Year Eve Party at Canalis Club (HCMC). As the clock is counting down from 5 to 1, lucky lanterns will float down from the ceiling and “BOOM”. Inside each lantern, there will be a pair of Coors Light bottles for the attendees. Under the caps of these bottles, there will be numbers for lucky draw.

Canalis Club



Print ad Cosmopolitan, BAZAAR, 2!, Tiep Thi & Gia Dinh

Online ad Zing News, 2Sao, Ngoi Sao, Party in Saigon, Pose

Cinema ad Lotte Cinema, Megastar, Galaxy

Outdoor ad

Mock print ad Youtube link: :

Bus shelters

Mock cinema ad


Sales Promotion

Public Relations

Sampling booths designed like giant Coors Light bottles in supermarkets and cinemas.

“Journey to the Origin”, online contest with multiple-choice questions about Coors Light & its new products. Winners will be rewarded a trip to Coors Light factory near the Rocky Mountain (US), and a ticket to the pool party.

Pool party in Dai The Gioi featuring Andrea, Baggio, Dong Nhi, Ong Cao Thang and many other celebrities



Campus & Career


Course name: Professional Writing (COMM2495) Assessment: In 30 minutes, write up a story with no more than 99 words. Regardless of what your story is about, it should be as out-of-the-box as possible.

A Call from Below Mai Gia Vu (s3258286)

Yesterday, I received a call from my dead aunt. It’s been a few days since she’s gone. Mustering my courage, I swiped across the screen. There were the faint sounds of people rummaging. I yelled, “Hello? What’s the meaning of this sick joke?” But there was no answer. I hung up, frustrated and bewildered. For about a hundred years, I redialed, and a male voice answered “Is that you, nephew? What’s up?” I told him what was up. “That’s so?” he answered, “She must have missed you so much down there”. I bit my lips. We weren’t exactly close.

Sunrise Battlefield Nguyen Hoang Vu (s3360648)

“Fire the hole!” shouts the commander, husky voice. Grenades explode one after another, louder than anything on earth that can resonate. He rolls from one side of the terrain to another, trying to reach a machine that, he believes, can help him save the world. “Boom”. All of the sudden, his limbs freeze. So do his eyes. He falls deep into the well of unconsciousness. It’s painful to give up something when you’re about to grasp it. Just like Phuc, who struggles every morning to turn off the “Call of Duty” alarm ringtone of his cellphone.

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He Found “It”

Khuu Hoang Nhat Minh (s3360677) It’s pouring heavily on him. He cannot see anything. Surrounded by darkness, he doesn’t dare to step anywhere. He moves his arms randomly, trying to reach something who knows what. Oh, he touches something cold and wet. But it isn’t what he’s looking for. He slowly turns around. It’s still pouring heavily on him. He, again, touches anything he can, like a short-sighted man looking for his glasses. Oh, there he goes. It’s flat, soft and furry. He uses it to wipe his face. Thank God, the shampoo is wiped off his eyes. He continues to enjoy his shower.

Shiver Nguyen Thien Quoc (s3309931) Quynh awoke in the dark. Dead silence. The pale moonlight shone through the curtains gap, revealing the mirror on her desk. And the heat, it was unbearable. She peeked at the mirror, gasping. A shade disrupted the light ray. It was thin and curvy. Her heart skipped a beat, she forcefully shut her eyes, lying still, sweating. The curtains swung slightly. Fifteen minutes in, the silence remained, she shivered. Thirty minutes, a cold breeze blew through her. The air-conditioner. The lamp was also on again. She was at ease. Blackout in the middle of the night was a disaster.



Campus & Career

RMIT Design Showcase 2013 Unleash Your Artistry A great cooperation between RMIT Design Department and Design Club. A great chance for design students of RMIT Vietnam to shine in their own ways. It’s the RMIT Student Design Showcase. RMIT Design Showcase announced its very first present on RMIT SGS campus in November 2013. The showcase encouraged design students to submit their artwork in any of the five categories: Communication, Illustration, Interaction, 3D & Animation, and also Film & Motion. By the judges who were lecturers of Multimedia Design, top artwork of each category were selected from more than 100 applications over the past few months. The winners were announced and awarded at the Award Ceremony on 21 November 2013, followed by a Showcase Exhibition of the winning artworks, which took place from 21 to 30 November. Through this event, Design Club has lent a hand to nurture the students’ inner artistic sides and offered them great opportunities to truly unleash their artistry. The Design Showcase has served as a platform for Design students to explore themselves, to see where they are and how further they will go. We have chosen some of the best artwork to show you, so let’s sit back, stay calm and get ready for an explosion of creativity!

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Communication Design GOLD Saigon Branding (Identity Design) Nguyen Phu Hai (s3255278)

SILVER Soul Grand Opening (Event Graphics) Nguyen Bao Anh Duy (s3245604)

FINALISTS Time Keeper (Vinyl Cover & Poster) Pham Cong Danh (s3360604) S+FA Branding (Identity Design) Team Greater Than (>) Art Saigon (Identity Design) Tran Dang Thanh Danh (s3255279)



Campus & Career

Interactive Design GOLD Asteroids & Impacts (Interactive Data Visualisation) Nguyen Van Dang Nguyen (s3325045)

SILVER Bank On (Mobile Application) Team Jellybean

FINALISTS Sonic Application (Soundscape Interface) Vo Quoc Huy (s3343699) Personal Portfolio (HTML Website) Van Pham Nhat Lan (s3357539) RMIT Go Mobile (Mobile App) Nguyen Van Dang Nguyen (s3325045)

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Film & Motion GOLD Devil’s Wallet (Short Film) Team Prometheus

SILVER Thesis (Short Film) Team Mego Media

FINALISTS Today (Short Film) Team Daedalus Memory Lane (Short Film) Team Mego Media

Shifted (Short Film) Team Dementia



Campus & Career

3D & Animation GOLD The Masterpiece (3D Animation) Le Duc Vu (s3260794)

SILVER And The Sun Still Shines (Animation) Pham Hong Nhat (s3467616)

FINALISTS Character Arts (3D Stills & Animation) Chau Vo Ba Truong (s3372666) Living Room (3D Stills) Hoang Minh Duc (s3372708) Onitsuka Tiger Commercial (3D Animation) Hoang Minh Duc (s3372708) Lost & Found (Animation) Team Freeze

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Illustration GOLD Final Project (Concept Art) Chau Vo Ba Truong (s3372666)

SILVER The Moustache Portraits (Digital Illustration) Do Hong Phuc (s3255325)

FINALISTS 365 Doodles (Sketchbook) Dinh Tran Thao My (s3411684) A Rabbit (Digital Illustration) Le Minh Phuoc (s3410424) Breathe (Digital Illustration) Ryu Eun Jeong (s3312320) Time To Bear (Digital Illustration) Phan Minh Dang (s3296786)

Design Department and Design Club want to send a big thank to all students and sta interested in the event. In the future, there will be many other playgrounds for Design students to blast out creativity. Let’s catch all opportunities to unleash your artistry!



Society & Culture

Double-edged sword, ISN’T IT?

Words Duong Quang Ngoc Use the knife with maneuvers and you’ll get yummy fruit slices. Play the knife as if it were made of cotton and you’ll taste your own blood. Be cautious! The border between good and evil is tenuous when it comes to YOLO (You Only Live Once)!

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YOLO, You’re So Evil There are two types of YOLO advocates: those who were born with carefree (usually overly carefree) and those who think that being carefree and yelling “YOLO!” are actually cool. Whatever category one may be in, to me, being a YOLO zealot does more harm than good. By assuring yourself: “Oh, there’s nothing to worry about. Tomorrow is still in the mystery box, so just live for the moment!”, you may fall behind with schoolwork, bath yourself in your own illusion that the things you are doing are completely justified by the YOLO Bible. Where else can you get the excuse for your irresponsible way of living from? # Use drugs and act like Lady Gaga in a club # Drink like the world’s gonna end and then drive drunk # Have sex with a stranger #… And the simplest excuse for all of the above - “YOLO!” But does it indeed save your day? I guess not.

YOLO, You’ve Got a Bro Despite the above condemnation of the “You Only Live Once” motto, this lifestyle itself is not always unproductive and harmful. There’s in fact a less popular expression that pretty much captures the YOLO spirit with only a bit difference: the consequences of one’s actions are not completely ignored. Have you ever heard of “Carpe Diem” or “Seize the Day”? “I think we modify our behaviours as we want to see ourselves belong to society. But to me, nobody could tell you what would happen if you did something different. Just do what you love and at the end of the day, even stupid decisions can end up with brilliant stories,” said Luan, RMIT freshman (Economics & Finance). The difference between YOLO and Carpe Diem is that the latter encourages people to value their time and do everything within their reach at the moment to better off their future. A caterpillar must overcome its painful molting to grow into a butterfly. If it refused to transform, it would remain ugly forever. Likewise, by playing safe all the time, you’ll be more and more vulnerable to this cruel world. It’s time to say “Yes”. Believe me, you’ll soon realize how much fun you’ve missed. Don’t be afraid to take risks and accept failures, as they are “the condiments that give success its flavor” (Truman Capote). No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. You are the author of your life. So, between a thrill-seeker (negative YOLO) and a chance-seizer (positive YOLO), which one would you choose to be?



Society & Culture

Chat with

Lieu Anh Vu LGBT Rights Officer, United Nations Development Programme

Despite the long distance between Saigon and Hanoi and tons of work, Vu is willing to give us a bit of his time to share his viewpoints about the LGBT community and gay marriage with such an open-minded and sincere attitude…

Words Pham Ngoc Bao Thoa

Although many psychologists have confirmed homosexuality is not a disease or a psychological disorder, many Vietnamese people still hold a conservative view towards the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual & transgender) community. What’s your opinion? Saying that “Homosexuality is a disease” might have been accepted one or two years ago but now it’s heavily criticized because the youths have better understandings than do the older generations. To illustrate, Mrs. Nguyen Thanh My, a middle-aged lady with a Master Degree in Psychology, has lately sparked intensive waves among the online community by arguing that “Homosexuality is a sickness”. A lot of internet users were extremely disturbed and disgusted with such discrimination.

Such one-sided view videos as “Homosexuals are useless” and “Gays just find guys for sex” are very defamatory. What are some other difficulties that homosexuals have to suffer? Some separate themselves from the community. What hurts them the most is not being homosexual but lying to themselves. Because public gossips are so bitter and surrounding people are so selfish, they have to bury their real emotions. Once the truth is revealed, they end up with shock, embarrassment and ignorance. Open-minded homosexuals are not affected much by the criticisms, yet those who are vulnerably impressionable towards stigma and discrimination would even commit suicide. At some points, homosexuality is falsely equated with prostitution and murders.

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Homosexuals have difficulties in finding jobs and so they have to do surreptitious jobs instead. This pushes them, again, back to the vicious cycle of crimes with no escapes. Could you tell us about the campaigns you’re working on that help protect and support the LGBT community in Vietnam? “I Agree” (Toi Dong Y) is the first online campaign in Vietnam to support the equal marriage rights for the LGBT community. Just with one avatar, one video clip and one ‘like’, anyone can vote YES for samesex marriage. Strongly supported by the online community, it has created such substantial impacts that it brought the issues of gay marriage to the discussion at the XIII Session of National Assembly last October. Following the “I Agree” campaign is the “We Agree” stage, which has also been well-supported by the youth. Within the LGBT community, many people don’t have a favorable outlook on the transgender people due to their offensive and exaggerated behavior, which evokes negative public perceptions of the whole community. What’s your opinion? LGBT represents the diversity of sexual orientations. The transsexuals become the most abandoned ones in their own LGBT community since people equate gays with transsexuals. Meanwhile, the truth is unlike transsexuals, gays often don’t realize their real gender until they have emotional and sexual contacts with other

men. This misconception explains why the transsexual people are discriminated much by the gay people within the same community. The Vietnamese society remains such a feudal perspective that everyone has to be the same, and thus being different is often criticized. The transsexuals have to hide themselves in the closet for years, thus the excessive desire to switch gender causes them to act in a way that really shows their true color. Understanding this insight, you’ll see these people are in need of sympathy the most.



Society & Culture

Is there anything else you want to say to Blitz’s readers? I hope RMIT students will have more positive views on homosexuality, support the marriage equality rights, and boycott sexual discrimination. I think there should be an official body for LGBT people on campus. If I were still in RMIT, I would surely stand up for this. Thanks for the interesting interview, Vu. We wish you best of luck!

Lieu Anh Vu - Bachelor of Communication (Professional Communication), GPA 4.0 - Member of Golden Key - Former Vice-President, Student Council - Collaborator, ICS Vietnam (Information Connecting & Sharing) - LGBT Rights Officer, United Nations Development Programme

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Words Lieu Anh Vu Marriage is such a powerful institution that throughout history, it has been dictated and regulated by various parties. In most parts of the world, marriage was introduced by religions and marriage ceremony closely resembled a religious ritual. When the state started to replace religious institutions, they also took over the role to control marriage. Similarly, in Viet Nam, marriage was strongly influenced by Confucianism. Pre-arranged marriage, polygamy, or even incest, were not unusual in the past, and they are still being practiced in certain regions across our country. People got married to secure their wealth or to reproduce, but not out of love. The nature of marriage certainly had been changing over time. The first Marriage & Family Law, introduced in Vietnam in 1959, established marriage as a voluntary and monogamous union, moving away from a feudal custom to a modern institution. Same-sex marriage was neither forbidden nor recognized by the law.


1997 1998

Year 1997 witnessed the first media coverage of a public wedding between two men, who were holding a lavish ceremony in a big hotel downtown Ho Chi Minh City despite protests from the residents. Although that wasn’t the first same-sex wedding in Ho Chi Minh City, homosexuality had been a taboo ever since. Year 1998 recorded the first governmental intervention in same-sex marriage. Two women in Vinh Long decided to register their marriage, which caused much confusion for the local authority as they had never dealt with such case. This was soon put to an end to, due to the order of the Vietnamese Ministry of Justice in Hanoi. The two women were then asked not to see each other ever again by signing agreement.



Society & Culture


Homosexuality was first mentioned in a law in 2000, when the Marriage and Family Law was amended to include a ban on same-sex marriage. Since then, homosexuality had been declared a social evil by the media and equated to gambling, prostitution, and drug trafficking. Awareness of homosexuality in Vietnam took a turn of the tide in 2012 when the Minister of Justice publicly disapproved prejudice against homosexual people and mentioned the recognition of same-sex marriage. The latest draft of the Marriage & Family Law, amended last November, removed the ban on marriage between two people of the same sex, while stating that the government did not recognize such union. In addition, the government would deal with the legal consequences arising from cohabitation of two people of the same sex in accordance with the Civil Code.


The United Nations in Vietnam shared their recommendations for amendments to the law in late September. The recommendations included replacing gender-specific terms such as ‘man’, ‘woman’, ‘husband’, ‘wife’, ‘mother’, ‘father’, etc., with gender-neutral terms such as ‘person’, ‘spouse’, and ‘parent’.

Two people, regardless of their gender, cohabiting together even without registration should have the same rights and responsibilities as married couples, including those related to property, adoption, surrogacy, and family to ensure that ‘all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’. The law amendments were presented to the National Assembly this November for comments, and the new Law is expected to be adopted by the National Assembly in May next year. This is a critical time for Viet Nam to address the legal and social challenges facing the LGBT community, thus ensuring the rights of these people.

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What Did You

DRE AM Last Night? Words Tran Thi Xuan Tra

“I dreamt of a flood swirling me down into a black hole when I was swimming. It brought me back to my room and I saw myself lying on the bed. I thought I had already awaken, but there was an animated lobster sitting in front of me. All of a sudden, someone violently pressed my head against the pillow. I was panic and desperately resisted. I realized I was still in my dream and remembered the rules from a movie named “Inception”: Dying in a dream makes us wake up. The moment I intentionally broke my neck in my dream, I woke up with no pain, but sweat and fear.”



Society & Culture

The purpose of dream is to satisfy our id, which seems unacceptable in real life, especially when it comes to sexual desires.

Through this weird dream, my grandma said there would be an opportunity coming to me in the near future. My brother joked that I should buy a lucky ticket (so de) number 71 as I was dreaming of a lobster. I myself believed the dream was more or less related to my daily thoughts and unsatisfied wishes. Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939)

Sigmund Freud (1856 - 1939), the father of psychoanalysis, started to work on dream manifestation when he used hypnosis to treat patient with hysterical disease (being unable to control one’s feelings or behavior). The treatment was unsuccessful but what really jazzed him were the unconscious descriptions of the patients’ dreams, which eventually convinced him that dreams played an important role in revealing hidden drama. At the time when psychology was still in its infancy, Freud proclaimed his masterpiece: “The Interpretation of Dreams”, opening up a window to our inner secrets. According to Freud, humans are basically selfish animals controlled by a set of urges and desires. This animal self is called the id. Ego, our rational self, and superego, our ethics, are later developed, so that we can survive and adapt to our surrounding environment. As you can guess, our superego is frequently in conflict with our id: we learn to suppress our animal impulsive as we grow up to get along with the society, but this suppression is never complete. And often the purpose of dream is to satisfy our id, which seems unacceptable in real life, especially when it comes to sexual desires.

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Freud believed a dream comprised two parts: the manifest and the latent content. The manifest is what we could remember after waking up and consciously tell to someone else when recalling the dream. Meanwhile, the latent content, which we mostly forget, holds the true meaning of the dream. This appears under the guise of meaningless objects, thus you can hardly recognize it at all. Many creatives have been touched by these findings. Dali and Magritte once cited Freudian theory as the inspiration for their famous surrealistic paintings. Back to my dream, it’s likely that the lobster is the latent content. I’m not sure what it really means, but one possible interpretation is that I need to reduce the heavy workloads I’ve been shouldered for too long. On average, you spend six years dreaming throughout your lifetime. No one knows for sure why we have this mysterious nightly vision, but Freud helps us unlock the brain’s awesome potential. Now think of what you want to dream of. Whatever you wish, I hope you spend your night in bliss.

Rene Magritte, The Blank Signature (1965)



Society & Culture

Philias & Phobias

Everyone has something to fear and to love. However, when these fears and loves become obsessive, they turn into phobias and philias. Words Pham Ngoc Anh Tu


When the fear goes wild One of the most bizarre phobias is Chaetophobia - fear of hair. Some people fear their own hair and some dread others’ hair. Aprilrain, a member of Experience Project shares that she has no problem with hair except when it’s detached from a person or an animal. She feels ill and panic if the detached hairs are on her face or mouth.

Chaetophobes just can’t stand hair

Another irrational scare is the fear of technology – Technophobia. In this technological era, it can be freaking hard for the technophobes to control their obsession. Symptoms include panic feelings, trembles and extreme avoidance. Lisa, an American technophobe, says that she would flatly reject to touch a computer for fear of typing the wrong buttons. To technophobes, this is even scarier than ghosts

And the love goes wilder

The narrower the space is, the more comfortable they feel. Yes, they are Claustrophiles, who would love to live in small places. Kelly, a student of RMIT Saigon South Campus, shares that she prefers enclosed spaces as they make her feel safe and study better. “I usually come to class 20 minutes earlier to make sure I can sit in the corner of the class - it makes me feel protected,” says Kelly.

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Claustrophiles work better in tight spaces


Ranophiles can spend hours and hours playing with frogs

Another exotic philia is the love of frogs, or Ranophilia. While many people don’t like or even scare frogs, Ranophiles are addicted to these muddy amphibians. For instance, there’s a forum for frog lovers called The Frog. Nichole, a forum member confides that she can watch frogs for hours as she feels that they are clean, not slimy as other people say.

Relationship as an obsession Philophobia is the fear of love, due to which people tend to avoid aroused feelings for others. A common cause of this is trauma, which makes people afraid of getting hurt again. Some other people do not fear of love; instead, they enjoy being single so much that no one can tie them down. This is called Anuptophilia. Léonie (France) states: “I have a dream job and I love my single life. I did have boyfriends but when the relationship tended to get tied, I retreated.”

Anuptophiles love themselves so much that they don’t want to be tied with any partner The list of phobias and philias around the world could go on and on, with lots of weird obsessions like Decidophobia (fear of making decisions), Gephyrophobia (fear of bridges), Koumpounophobia (fear of buttons), Halophilia (love of salt), Notaphilia (love of bank-notes and cheques), etc. You’ve got any particular obsession?


Society & Culture

VIRTUAL OBSESSION, MIND-BLOWING OR MIndLESS ? Words Dang Minh Tuan & Do Nguyen Thanh Truc Whether it is to have a peek at our crush’s lives, participate in a community that loves heated discussion or escape to some lands of fantasy, we’re drowning in an irresistible world of virtual reality.

Stalking obsession 9:00 - Stare at your crush’s Facebook page. 9:05 - Refresh the page again and again. 9:20 - Feel desperate after harassing the F5 button. 9:50 - New update! Jump out of the chair in the heat of the moment, but still manage to hit “Like”. 10:00 Wait for the next post. The process starts all over again.

If you have been in this situation before, then welcome to the world of virtual stalkers! With the help of social media, accessing to our crush’s lives is a piece of cake. The deeper we dig into their personal lives, the more we become attached to our “love victims”. Yet, most of us don’t realize this bond only hooks up to a virtual self, which is probably being shaped to its owner’s desire. What do we actually know about them, beside all that they want us to see? Online relationships are similar to being stuck in a non-stop lift at a skyscraper. It is

amazingly speedy, but eventually we will get suffocated. Maybe it’s time to switch off our laptop and go grab somebody’s hand instead.

Honestly, I’ve never obsessed about stalking someone else’s Facebook. I often read the newsfeed but I hardly go to others’ timelines. I don’t mind if my friends stalk me but to make sure, I have changed my privacy setting to prevent stranger stalkers. Minh Chau Bachelor of Commerce

GAMING OBSESSION When people want to escape from their boring lives, some choose to travel or settle with their friends and family, while others sneak into another world – the virtual world of gaming. Gaming is all about unleashing possibilities. We can do almost everything we want in this virtual world. Take Hay Day for example.

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This game allows the players to build up a farm from scratch, become close to nature and take care of animals and plants. Thus, it awakens our “inner farmers” and satisfies the desire to break away from the material world. Another game worth mentioning is Candy Crush Saga. This game takes over the world by storm because of the yummy-looking candies and over 400 levels. It takes wit, perseverance, and a lot of luck to defeat all the blockers like chocolate, cake bombs or toffee tornados. With its challenging nature as a brainteaser, Candy Crush Saga pushes players to strive harder and harder for success.

I dislike people who are too obsessed with gaming. It’s really an addiction – you’ll be pushed hard to continue playing despite being exhausted. I was once obsessed with Plants vs. Zombies and it wasn’t a good experience at all. I should have spent that amount of time doing something more meaningful. Thao Ly Bachelor of Business (Marketing)

CONFESSION OBSESSION Confession pages are where emotions and memories are kept alive. The trend of Facebook confessions in Vietnam started out in mid February 2013. RMIT Vietnam Confessions alone has reached over 9,000 likes and over 15,000 posts since its birth.

The bright side of this is anonymity, which entices people to submit their stories. Even the admin wouldn’t know who confess what, so we can genuinely express our secrets. If we want to let out our frustration, happiness or simply jot down whatever is on our minds, then the confession pages can be the right place. The dark side, however, is that some students become so obsessed that they waste hours reading through all the confessions every day. Moreover, sex talks, masked advertisements, and nonsensical statements are so rampant that they may ruin the initial purposes of these pages.

One more thing I really like about confession pages is that I can share my feelings and opinions easily without revealing who I am. Du Linh Bachelor of Business (Economics & Finance)



Arts & Entertainment

GOOD GIRL GONE BEACH Using Disney’s princess characters to mock current issues in Vietnamese society, Tuyet B*tch Collection (TBC) has gained more than 180 thousand likes from the virtual community since August 2013. Blitz had a chat with Ta Ngoc Duy An, RMIT alumnus and TBC co-admin to get to know what made this guy initiate and commit himself to the world of satirical memes.

Hi An, could you introduce yourself to the audience a little bit? Hi guys, I’m An, graduated from Professional Communication. I’m currently working at Leo Burnett as a social community manager. It’s a big honour to be on Blitz though I’ve been “kicked out” from university for quite a long time.

Along the way, have you guys faced any copyright concern or criticism, given the sensitive subjects of and the prevalent use of slangs in those memes? Well, I don’t think we would have any problem with copyright because memes (Disney’s memes as well) are very common and popular in many other countries. Plus, we’re doing it “just for fun” and without any commercial benefit. Obviously, some people might find our page offensive, but I’m sure they will become more open and receptive when they understand our purposes. Does this help you with your career in advertising, and how? Yes, TBC provides us with new inspirations every day. It also gives

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us more motivations to improve our creativity, which is necessary for our present jobs in the creative industries. What are some elements of a good meme? Can you share with us the process of creating a meme for TBC from scratch? In my opinion, a good meme requires three elements: it has to be simple, funny, and meaningful (containing a message). About the process, we often google the images or capture some screenshots from the cartoons. All of the subjects are based on our knowledge about emerging trends and funny stories that are related to real life. Anytime an idea pops up, we start to create a new meme immediately. We create them mostly by Photoshop or PowerPoint. The other admin is a designer, so he often helps me design complex visuals for the page. If you were a character, who would you want to be, and why? I wanna be Mulan - tough, brave and humorous. Among all the Disney characters, I love her the most. However, since the day TBC was born, I’ve strongly fallen in love with Snow White and Cinderella. Seriously! I love them so much, the Disney princesses. Who is TBC’s target audience? Do you have any specific plan for the page in the near future? We mainly aim at Vietnamese Facebook users who are not “too serious” when it comes to entertainment. We try to balance our contents to attract a wider

range of audience, from students, office workers to teachers and even parents. Their comments and feedback encourage us to keep developing and maintaining our “common home” for entertainment. “Why so serious, just for fun” - our page’s slogan simply means “being serious” in funny ways. Hence, most of our posts contain messages and stories that are well-connected to Vietnamese’s daily lives. Although we get involved in this social media project only as a pastime, we’ll never cease to maintain and improve its quality. Thanks for the conversation, An. We wish you and TBC success! Visit TBC’s page for more memes:



Arts & Entertainment

Egos of the Possessed Words Nguyen Hanh Minh Chau

As humans, it’s normal for us to be preoccupied by our own obsessions at some points, regardless of what they are. But when it comes to artists, these obsessions would haunt their minds, characterize their work, and ignite their creativity outbursts. Get to know Mark Rothko, Yayoi Kusama and Grayson Perry, whose crazes for death, sexual organs and crossdressing respectively have been translated into ground-breaking voices in the world of art.

Every artist was a child Mark Rothko was born in 1904 to a Jewish family and brought up during an outbreak of war. Rothko struggled with his Jewish identity: a race discriminated within Russian society. Yale offered him a Liberal Arts scholarship; however, Rothko Background image: Mark Rothko - Red and Black

The memories that hang heaviest are the easiest to recall. They hold in their creases the ability to change one’s life, organically, forever. Even when you shake them out, they’ve left permanent wrinkles in the fabric of your soul. - Julie Gregory -

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Yayoi Kusama - Dots Obsession

left soon after as he couldn’t let go of his childhood repressions. The great American abstract painter went to his first drawing class in his twenties. This was a life-changing experience for Rothko, which ultimately fulfilled his religious pursuit, and more importantly, his insatiable obsession with the battle between Death and Life. Yayoi Kusama is a Japanese artist, whose legacy in the 20th century has been compared to that of Andy Warhol and Georgia O’Keeffe. Raised in a conservative family, Kusama grew up nervous and frustrated. She saw art as an escape from the dictatorial society. As a vulnerable kid, Kusama turned neurotic after witnessing her parents having intercourse. This triggered her phobia of the male sexual organ, and thus created distinctive identities for Kusama’s works with eyes, dots, spiky networks and spermlike patterns. The artist ceaselessly explored Cubism and Surrealism, which she later realized was the perfect match for her very psyche.

For transvestite Grayson Perry, his childhood was a series of tragedies. It all began with his mother’s adultery, which led to a bitter divorce and continual abuse from his stepfather. With little parental care, Perry developed a zest for cross-dressing in mourning for the death of Claire, his imaginary female alter-ego. Not wanting to let Claire go, Perry secretly wore female clothes until getting caught one day. Kicked out by his stepmother as a result, Perry went back to his catastrophic home and got maltreated by his blood mother and



Arts & Entertainment

her husband. Quite opposite to Kusama, Perry confessed having sadomasochistic fantasies since he was seven.

Come, thou haunted voices of identity... Utilizing gigantic colour blocks, Mark Rothko’s paintings send out powerful visual messages about the infinity of life. Once observed in real life, they caress a power that overwhelms and devours the viewers. The black blocks appear to be fierce and intimidating, as if it were a grave or an entrance to hell. Meanwhile, the different shades of red weave together, representing blood and sexuality. Minimalist as those paintings may seem, they represent a spiritual enlightenment that cherishes Life against Death, and embody the artist’s fearless will to confront Death in the flesh. This explains his suicide in 1970, which put an end to a great but possessed talent. Kusama’s disgust at sex prompted her to end up in sanatorium. The representation of phallus was repetitively exploited during the pinnacle of her career, 1960 - 1970. Kusama’s sculptures sparked a lot of controversy at birth: one portrays thousands of phalluses growing out from a couch, another shows a naive girl thrust by a penis-like entity, etc. This kind of mind-boggling art feel can also be found in Perry’s evocative potteries. The artist chose ceramics and tapestry to narrate non-linear stories about sex, social class and violence. At first glance, Perry’s vases seem harmonious: young girls in colourful clothes standing against floral backgrounds, gleaming hues. Yet, at the second look, the images tell frightening stories of teddy bears tortured with wires and women forcefully inseminated; plus, the decorative patterns turn out to be sexual organs. Like the artworks of Rothko and Kusama, they reflect not only the creator’s complex mentality, but also the unsettling society, through the most mundane things. They alarm us, vibrate our souls, and remind us to look at every situation twice.

I fear, therefore I am Essentially, all of these artists share one thing in common: they have fears, but instead of letting these obsessions take over, they challenge them. Mark Rothko, during the last few years of his life, still went beyond his physical constraint to embrace the infinity of life and death on room-sized canvases. Perry didn’t run away from his childhood wounds but turned them into ironic anti-violence messages. Likewise, Kusama’s phobia for sexual organs was transformed into ephemeral flows of creativity. Having struggled with brutal agonies, these artistic virtuosi had finally found peace in their souls, as Kusama once concluded: “I am pursuing art in order to correct the disability which began in my childhood.”

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AO Show- Sparkler in the Dark Words Nguyen Hoang Vu

The crabs crawl out of their sand dunes, following the conspiratorial moonlight. Deadly claws projected, they’re ready to crush the pitch darkness into pieces. Just like the valiant creatures they impersonate, the artists in AO Show are ready to remove the bleak, warstricken makeup Vietnam has worn for centuries with their theatrical spectaculars.



Arts & Entertainment

While the international fever for his debut show Lang Toi (My Village) hadn’t cooled down yet, last June director Tuan Le went on to introduce his second production: AO Show. Deploying the narrative capability of choreography, this time the director wants to tell the world an engrossing story about Vietnamese fishermen and the metamorphosis they’ve undergone. At first, I was afraid AO Show would fall into the trap of this formula: war plus ao dai plus grazing buffalo in a paddy field equal so-called Vietnam’s essence. So I dragged myself to the show only to please my fellow Couchsurfer, whose jaw would drop at the tritest “dogs learning math” or “gibbons riding bicycle” circus stunts on earth. Ironclad though my prejudices were, they all evaporated at the Saigon Opera House. Clashing with the neo-classical pillars of this majestic building, the larger-thanlife bamboo at the entrance heralds a string of juxtaposed imageries on stage. As the curtain is raised,

the sonorous flute notes cut open the motorbike horn sound, sailing me to a fishing village of the Southern coast of Vietnam. There, the splendor of everyday labor sparkles with the morale of the villagers, who are celebrating yet another working day. I couldn’t stop my eyeballs from rolling back and forth the highly-strung acrobatic acts, which did a great job in accentuating the artists’ graceful body curves. Through the prism of art, even the most ordinary fishing tools can reproduce mind-blowing imageries. The rattan baskets, for example, constantly transform into the moon-led dunes, the crab carapaces, and then the cozy nests for lovebirds – these enchantments injected my curiosity muscles with an overdose of imagination. And the surreal gymnastics of a boneless acrobat in the following scene simply stretched this sensation tenfold. Tuan Le’s Cirque du Soleil background leaves a vivid mark on the second half of the show as the fishermen break away from their hometown. The street artists’ parkour performance to the colorful medley of dan tranh (bamboo percussion) and dan nhi (two-string guitars) made me wonder how come these versatile instruments had shrunk into oblivion. The director must have struggled to sail his boat through the waves of skeptical frowns before he blazes a trail in such “cultural

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matchmaking”, I guess. Bumpy bus rides, dingdong street masseurs, and bittersweet dorm stories – together these slices of life craft an authentic mosaic that every Saigonese, natives and expats alike, can see themselves a very part of… Throughout 60 minutes, the artists take the audience to a poetical adventure not only through time and space, but also across the whole gamut of emotions. The show would, otherwise, become a mind feast if only the narrative structure was more graspable and the artists put more effort in their facial expression. Although the pair of diamond tickets cost me an arm and a leg, what I got in return was by far worth it. What does the name AO really mean if not an exclamation of amazement? For further information, visit:



Arts & Entertainment

Flip Side of


Words Ly Thao Anh & Dao Ngoc Tuyet Nhung

The sun goes down, the city lights go up. Hopping down the boulevard, I and my friend were on our way home. “Oops, I step on something!” “Is it dog’s poops?” “Nope! A diary. Let’s see…” And here’s what it says: This collection notebook belongs to me, Mr. Fame-the-Freak, Here I keep a journal of all lovely memories between me and my victims… Victim #1: Lance Armstrong World Cycling’s champion

First met: 1993 Shared moments: the World Cycling Championships in Norway. What a good friend! He could do anything to keep me around, even fooling the whole world. Who could imagine that he had been using doping for more than 10 years? Seven times winning Tour de France and all of his inspiring stories about determination or strength of will, turned out to be jokes. Well, Armstrong was just bluffing thousands of people for his own sake. Money and reputation, things that only I could give him. Genius!

Victim #2: Phuong My Chi The Voice Kids Vietnam finalist

First met: 2013 Shared moments: The Voice Kids Vietnam This little girl and her family owed me a lot. Thanks to me, she received dozens of precious chances to perform on fancy stages. Her mom was no longer a street vendor. The family even got 600 million VND for 10 unrecorded songs. Can you imagine that? How talented I am! Still, because of her fame, many people became jealous and slandered her. She got drained of energy and cyberbullied by anti-fans. I guess it would be more fun to tease this child for a bit longer... until she is drowned in the flood of scandals.

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Victim #3: Josh Marks Master Chef season 3’s runner-up

First met: 2012 Shared moments: Master Chef US, season 3 Wow! This guy freaked me out at first sight: a 7-foot-2 giant that could actually form a circus of flipping food in his pan. What a pity he died too young! I did put some tension on him after the show but who knew he would attack the police and kill himself later? Before joining the cuisine industry, Marks suffered from bipolar disorder. His emotional state was terribly unstable. Sometimes I found him as happy as a clam at high water, but then he suddenly went out of control and got depressed. Josh’s condition got worse after a series of stress from the fans and the judges, especially Gordon Ramsay, who planted into his brain the thought of “being a God”. What a waste! He could have been the God of food instead.

Victim #4: Wu Chun Brunei-born Taiwanese actor/singer

First met: 2005, when Chun debuted as a member of Taiwanese band Fahrenheit. Shared moments: Taiwanese dramas (Hana Kimi, Romantic Princess, Hot Shot and Tokyo Juliet), music, movies, TV commercials and business ventures. Although we were friends, I somehow got everything in control. Under my pressure, he’d been hiding a huge secret from his fans. I threatened Chun that he had to make everyone think of him as a “free, single and sexy” man; otherwise they, especially his female fans, would ignore him. My plan was going so well until he confessed that he was married and was a proud dad. Argg... Whatever things turned out, I still had a great time watching him struggling and stressing out to hide his secrets!

“What a wicked friend! People under Fame’s hands are manipulated to do whatever he wants,” I sigh. “Hmm.... But I think that’s not the point. Fame could be very cunning but he can be controlled. As long as you develop your talents, treat your fans well and be honest to them, Fame can’t harm you.” “Really?” “Yes, and it’s also important to brace yourself for pressure and unexpected scandals. Don’t you see many celebrities still get along well with Fame?”



Arts & Entertainment

Words Phan Dieu Hien

Movie trailer: Opening song:

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Oh, the pigs sneering at our will to advance as we step over corpses The livestock may be at peace in their phony prosperity But let us be free like the dying, starving wolves!

An epic story always needs an epic soundtrack to do it justice. Just like how this concise opening song perfectly reflects the world of Attack on Titan, where humans live at the bottom of the food chain and have to fight against monstrous species to survive. Attack on Titan (Shingeki no Kyojin) is a shounen manga by Hajime Isayama. Shounen mangas are all about fighting, but they often contain a sense of humor and growing bonds between the characters. This series was an instant hit when it debuted in 2011 - over 20 million volumes have been sold so far. However, not until the anime adaption premiered in April 2013 did Attack on Titan gain such a huge number of English-speaking fans. Netizens went crazy about it, even non-anime fans were waiting eagerly for each episode. This immense popularity was almost unprecedented. So why was it the case?

The battles are brutal, the plot is unexpectedly twisted, and the soundtrack encapsulates the woeful hopelessness. Through the main character Eren, Attack on Titan lifts the bar of a typical anime, presenting a profound philosophy behind the work. Like a starving wolf, Eren fights to the last for freedom; he just can’t stand being trapped within the walls that will eventually fall down. This also reflects the real world where people lock themselves in their own walls of insecurity, refuse any chance to explore the outside although deep down inside, they really want to do so.

After 100 years living contentedly without fear of the titans, human’s illusion of success is finally shattered when the city walls are destroyed by a 60-meter-tall Colossal Titan. Teenage boy Eren and his foster sister Mikasa witness a horrorstruck scene: their mother is being eaten alive. Enraged, Eren vows to wipe out every single titan on Earth.

To me, Attack on Titan is a successful anime, which leaves such strong impacts on the audience that they overlook its minor flaws. Just give it a try and I bet you’ll splash around in the pool of lifechanging inspirations.



Health & Fitness

INDULGENCEforCHOCOHOLICS These small handmade gifts can melt anyone’s heart as chocolate melts in his/her mouth.

Words Ngo Linh Dan

CHOCO MADNESS, HERE TO STAY INGREDIENTS 200g dark chocolate (75% cocoa mass) 200g caramel/berry jam/ peanut butter

EQUIPMENT Chocolate mould Double boiler Baking paper A cute box

INSTRUCTIONS 1 Chop the chocolate and place it into the double boiler. Stir regularly until the chocolate melts completely. 2 Fill the chocolate mould with melted chocolate and wait for 2 minutes. Then turn the mould upside down over the chocolate bowl to pour out the remaining chocolate. 3 Put the mould upside down on a baking paper and leave it to set for at least 3 hours. 4 Twist the mould to loosen the chocolate mini cups. 5 Fill the chocolate cups with caramel or berry jam or peanut butter (or whatever flavor you like). 6 Put all the chocolate pieces into the box you’ve prepared. Now they’re ready to be sent to your dear!

Blitz Magazine Issue 4

HOT CHOCOLATE, SAVIOR FOR A RAINY DAY What’s better than sipping a cup of hot chocolate, nibbling some crunchy cookies and reading your favorite novel on a rainy day?

INGREDIENTS 200ml sweetened milk 50g dark chocolate (65% cocoa mass) 1 tablespoon cocoa powder A pinch of salt Cinnamon powder Marshmallows

INSTRUCTIONS 1 Chop all the chocolate and put the milk into the oven. 2 When the milk boils, turn off the heat, pour the chocolate and cocoa powder into the milk. 3 Mix continuously until the chocolate melts completely. Season it with a pinch of salt and then pour hot chocolate into a cup. 4 Sprinkle some cinnamon powder and place marshmallows on top. Now the drink is ready to be served!



Health & Fitness

I make it no secret that I vehemently detest mainstream fitness media. I’m tired of all the ridiculous headlines reading nonsense like ‘Ripped Right Now’, ‘Scrawny to Brawny’, ‘Flat Belly Secrets’ and ‘Double Your Muscle’ in big bold lettering littering the internet. The truth is simple: shirtless Olympic champions, fitness models and Hollywood stars sporting perfectly symmetrical and photographically enhanced 6-pack abs (depending on genetics) are not a fair reflection of what an average man should look like. Genetics, contrary to the popular belief of being able to ‘blast belly fat fast’, unfortunately dictate the rate and extent of the results we achieve in the gym. A genetic study conducted in 2007 at Birmingham clearly illustrated that certain individuals have far greater athletic potential than others. In fact, in a group of untrained individuals, the range of muscle gain spans from absolutely no muscle gain to ‘jacked’. Another genetic study in 2008 provides some reasons why some people would achieve better results than others, given the same amount of effort exerted: satellite cell activation - a phenomenon which triggers muscle growth by activating dormant stem cells surrounding one’s musculature to multiply and fuse their nuclei to existing muscle fibers. Concisely, the more satellite cells you have, the bigger muscle you can get.

Blitz Magazine Issue 4

Other factors that determine our ability to gain muscle include: Muscle/Tendon insertion Muscle-to-tendon ratio Lever lengths and body proportions Individuals blessed with longer muscle bellies and short tendons are likely to enjoy far greater muscle gains upon a resistance training program. Now that I’ve thoroughly bummed you out with the science behind getting ‘ripped’, let me give you a bit of good news. You can and will get awesome results if you vigorously commit to training 3-4 times a week and straighten out your nutrition and macronutrients. We seem to be driven toward the idea of changing our body shape; hence, obsessing with impossible standards of aesthetics which are bombarded by magazine covers (as well as a generous dose of ‘pharmaceutical augmentation’).



Health & Fitness

I’m not against working hard in the gym and improving your fitness levels. I encourage it because I’ve experienced the benefits of the fitness lifestyle. However, you should train your given body because you love it, not hate it. We’ll never look like the man of steel. Or a Victoria’s Secret lingerie model. But we don’t have to, anyway. So get to know your body and check out my training protocols to stay in the best shape of your life:

SUPERBOWL VIETNAM OPENS! “REFRESH YOUR STYLE” SUPERBOWL VIETNAM - Tan Son Nhat (formerly Saigon Superbowl), the crown jewel of bowling in Ho Chi Minh City, unveiled in early December 2013 a newly refurbished integrated entertainment complex with a new name costing US$500,000. Besides the comprehensive mix of fashion, lifestyle, F&B and entertainment retailers across two levels of retail space, SUPERBOWL VIETNAM – Tan Son Nhat will also offer a variety of lifestylebased experiences for shoppers. The 43,000 square feet lifestyle and entertainment complex now boasts a 200-seater theatre, 2 wellness centres, a children’s play yard, a video game arcade, 32 fashion and lifestyle retail stores, and 10 F&B outlets including bars and restaurants concepts offering plenty of local and international dishes. “SUPERBOWL VIETNAM - Tan Son Nhat is a truly unique development set in a city landscape, bringing the integrated entertainment and shopping experience to Ho Chi Minh City. This has been a great journey for all of us and we are excited to see our vision come to fruition,” said Ms. Nancy Luong, General Director of SUPERBOWL VIETNAM - Tan Son Nhat.

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Blitz Magazine | Issue 4, February 2014  

In the joyous atmosphere of Lunar New Year, Blitz Magazine proudly introduces the fourth issue. New and updated content, improved aesthetic,...

Blitz Magazine | Issue 4, February 2014  

In the joyous atmosphere of Lunar New Year, Blitz Magazine proudly introduces the fourth issue. New and updated content, improved aesthetic,...