Speaking about Age

Age: Youth & Old Age

1. Are young people generally more selfish than their parents and grandparents?

It is quite true. Lots of young people are self-centered (tự cho mình là trung tâm) largely because they have over-protective (quá bảo bọc) or over-permissive (quá nuông chiều) parents. There are also not many children in each family anymore, so the attention for each child is higher, and thus make them the center of family love and care. Their needs are even abundantly catered for, (được đáp ứng dư thừa) which familiarizes them with the feeling that everyone else is at their disposal. (ở tư thế sẵn sàng phục vụ) Such one-way taking (chỉ biết nhận, không biết cho) prevents the children from learning to share what they have, and develop selfishness unnoticeably. (lúc nào không hay biết)

2. Does age make people more aware of and caring for others?

Definitely. With age comes experience of hardship and appreciation (đánh giá cao) of helping and sharing. Therefore, as people age,(khi lớn tuổi hơn) they tend to think more for others and are more willing to give a hand when someone is in need.

3. Should adults try to teach young people lessons, such as the dangers of drinking too much, taking drugs or catching the AIDS virus, or should they leave them alone to find out about these things themselves? What are the advantages and disadvantages of both approaches?

Family education is an integral part (thành phần không thể thiếu) in forming the personality of children, and warning the young about the danger and consequences of drinking, drug using, HIV infection and the like (và những thứ tương tự) is the duty of the adult.

If children have total freedom to explore things they are curious about, at first they may have the feeling that they can live life to the full. (sống cuộc sống đầy đủ ý nghĩa) They can have lots of experiences both good and bad. However, that climax (đỉnh điểm) should soon launch children on to a downward slope of uncontrolled behaviors, drug addiction, or infectious diseases via sharing needles in drug injection, or via unprotected sex.

If the adults give proper guidance and intervene in time (can thiệp kịp thời) to correct misbehaviours from children or adolescents, chances are the young will have more discipline (kỉ cương) to lead a healthy lifestyle. (sống lối sống lành mạnh) The drawback of this approach is that the supervision of the adults sometimes annoys children and create conflict and argument between generations.

4. What do you think is the best age to be? Explain your opinion.

It depends on what people want in life.

The best age to be carefree is 3 years old when the toddlers (trẻ 1-3 tuổi) have almost all what they ask for without having to negotiate much.

The best age for learning is the high school years when students are aware of the importance of learning while the financial burdens (gánh nặng tài chính) from tuition is not high, and pressure from the transition into an adult independent life is not strong compared to that of university students. They can have almost complete concentration on learning, which is only in the dream of people at older ages.

The best age for getting married…

The best age to die…

5. Most countries give young people rights as they reach a certain age. For example, British people can legally make love or fight for their country at the age of 16; they can drink, vote and drive a car when they are 18. Does Vietnam have similar laws? Do you think that any of the age limits need changing?

Yes, Vietnam laws are quite similar, legal sex for 16-year-olds or older people, driver’s license and the right to vote from 18 years old.

I believe the age eligible for (được quyền) driving should be made earlier because now Vietnamese adolescents have earlier physical and mental development to enable them to drive motorbikes of small engines below 150cc. Also, the need for commuting to school is much higher when schools are not always in the neighbourhood, and parents are dealing with schedules that are too hectic (bận rộn) to afford driving their kids to school frequently. Therefore, allowing students aged 16 or more to have a motorbike driver’s license is a social need for many.

In addition, according to traffic law, people under 18 can ride motorbikes with engines smaller than 50cc, but it dangerously pushes those riders out on the street without the obligated (bắt buộc) mastery (sự nắm vững) of traffic laws. Therefore, many young riders violate traffic law unnoticeably. If these students can take driving tests, they obviously have to learn traffic laws carefully before hitting the road. (chạy ra đường)

6. Some people think you should give something to society before you have the right to join it. Should young people have to do some form of military or community service by law? (có nên đặt luật quy định giới trẻ phải tham gia các nghĩa vụ quân sự hay dịch vụ cộng đồng?)

I think laws are devised to solve problems of society, so if necessary, some laws about military draft (tuyển quân) should be enacted as applied for all men aged 18 in South Korea. It is because the country is next to an aggressive North Korea which can rage war (gây chiến) at any time. For other countries living in peace, forceful military draft by law is unnecessary.

As regards community services like cleaning up the street or the canal, planting trees in the local forest, or organizing a charity race, a charity auction (buổi bán đấu giá từ thiện) or a community blood drive,(hiến máu) etc., I believe that these should not be made obligatory (bắt buộc) for everyone because they have been voluntary work from the root of these activities.

7. Should people of between 50 and 55 be forced to retire from their jobs in order to make way for younger workers?

I think it would be quite ridiculous (buồn cười, vớ vẩn) when people’s life expectancy (tuổi thọ) is around 75-80, which is quite popular in many countries now and if they are forced to retire at age 50-55, they have to live a third of their remaining life jobless with pension and social welfare. That will put a heavy burden on young people who pay tax to support the huge number of retired people for many dozens of years in their increasingly prolonged (kéo dài) life.

8. If people are still able to (and want to) work, should they have to retire when they reach a certain age? Explain your opinion.

I believe it is the value people can contribute to the organization, not their age, should be the criterion to base working contract on. Therefore, there should not be any difference treatment for a 40-year-old worker and an 80-year-old one. This is particularly true in University education where professors may work in their 70s or 80s. The phenomenon is also quite popular in politics where those grandfathers at 70 plus are elected as presidents or mayors. A typical example is Donald Trump, who is the US president in the first tenure (nhiệm kì) in his 70s.

9. In most countries the legal retirement age for men is five years older than for women, even though women live longer than men on average. Why do you think this is? Is this fair, or should it be changed?

The first reason behind this fact is that women are usually considered homemakers,(người làm nội trợ) not the breadwinner. The patriarchal family (gia đình phụ hệ) type is lurking (lẩn khuất) here and there in this modern world so if there should be someone taking care at the home and do household errands (việc vặt ở nhà) for the other to go to work, the homemaker will most of the time be the woman.

The second reason may be that men are stronger than women physically. Even though there are claims that women are more durable (bền bỉ) than men from the physiological standpoint, (theo quan điểm sinh lý) physical records men keep are always higher than those of women. For the hardest and most dangerous jobs like workers on an oil rig, (dàn khoan dầu) sailors at sea, or construction workers, men are still prioritized because of their physical capability. Also, the convention (truyền thống) of treating women as a weaker sex has been deeply woven into the fabric of society (ăn sâu vào tư tưởng của xã hội). Therefore, women are entitled to (được hưởng) earlier retirement to rest for old age.

Third, women have to give birth, and this undoubtedly take strength from them. Each time they are pregnant and have offspring, (con cái) it is like they experience a major surgery (đại phẫu thuật) that even jeopardizes their life. (đe   dọa mạng sống). Maybe because of this, biologically, women’s body should be put into earlier maintenance with retirement.

10. Many countries are facing the problem of an “aging population”, i.e. there will soon be more old people than young people. What problems will this cause? What can be done to prepare for them?

The first problem of an aging populating is the financial burden on the shoulders of working people who have to pay tax to build the budget for social welfares (e.g. free medical treatment for the elderly) and pension. This challenge is expected to grow as people now enjoy an increasing life expectancy. (tuổi thọ)

The second problem is the overpopulation when extended families (đại gia đình) get larger and the living resources are harshly competed for. This will cause a reduction in the quality of life and more seriously, overpopulation is the umbrella problem for many different challenges like pollution, increasing social evils, (tệ nạn xã hội) unemployment, the depletion of natural resources (cạn kiệt tài nguyên thiên nhiên), etc.

The third negative corollary (hậu quả) is that with an aging population comes an increasing retirement age. That results in the competition for work between senior citizens who remain longer in their positions and the young who yearn for (khao khát) employment right after university graduation. This tension in the job market is the tug of war between the two generations which is a real conundrum (vấn đề hóc búa) for any country to solve.

The solution to this can only be decentralizing retirement schemes. (phi tập trung hóa chế độ hưu trí) Instead of completely trusting the government with their retirement plans, individual citizens should actively save for their old ages so that they do not have to rely much on social support that requires government’s spending.

11. How do you feel about your parents growing older?

I feel blessed if I can still have time to show my filial piety (lòng hiếu thảo) and gratitude (sự biết ơn) by caring for them and fulfilling their wishes in the old age. Also, I psy up for (chuẩn bị tinh thần cho) their intensive need for care when they are sick. So it is both love and care that I think about my parents when they grow older.

12. If your parents could no longer care for themselves, would you let them live with you or put them in a nursing home?

It depends on my conditions at that time. The elderly needs much of both physical and mental care. It would be best if I can arrange time to care for them at home. Or else, I have to send them to the nursing home (nhà dưỡng lão) for better around-the-clock care and only visit them in my free time, but this is only the last resort (cách cuối cùng) after every other attempt fails.

13. Are you afraid of getting old?

I am not afraid of that natural aging process (quá trình lão hóa) no one can resist. I am only afraid of getting old with dreams unfulfilled, and mission uncompleted. I am only afraid of the feeling of uselessness when getting old and looking back at the whole wasteful years living a life with lavish spending (tiêu xài hoang phí) of time for nothing.

14. What is your ideal old age to live to?

For the elderly, health is the top priority they are willing to trade anything for. (đánh đổi bất kì thứ gì để có được) Therefore, I think the age ideal to live is the age when people still feel comfortable with their physique. (thể trạng) When it is too hard to put up with their decrepit (hom hem) body, that is when they should leave this life. That age varies from one person to another.peope


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