VietNamNet: Do you feel intimidated at National Assembly (NA) sessions because you are so young?
Huynh Thi Hoai Thu: I was nervous at the beginning but as of the second session, I had caught up with the NA’s activities. There are many young deputies in this NA (12th NA) and they are very confident.
I hesitated to speak at the NA because I was inexperienced, but the NA held some training courses to provide necessary skills to deputies.
VNNet: Do you remember your first question at the NA?
Hoai Thu: Yes, early in 2008 I questioned Minister of Industry and Trade Vu Huy Hoang. It was also Minister Hoang’s first appearance to answer questions about trade promotion and the organization of his ministry after it was formed by the merger of the former Ministry of Trade and Ministry of Industry.
VNNet: Were you nervous?
Hoai Thu: Of course, even though I prepared my questions very carefully. But it became easier for me to speak the next times and since then whenever I have a chance, I speak up in group discussions or plenary meetings.
VNNet: What advantages does a young legislator have?
Hoai Thu: That is so difficult to answer! My work focuses on youth affairs, of course, and I have opportunities to travel a lot and meet with many people, especially the young. I understand their thinking and aspirations and can report these to Government agencies and to the NA.
Another advantage is I’m not so tired when I attend long NA sessions!
VNNet: Do you “admire” any legislators and see them as your “model”?
Hoai Thu: Yes, I’m “fan” of many deputies, especially female deputies such as Nguyen Thi Bach Mai (Tay Ninh province) or young deputy Nguyen Thi My Huong (Da Nang). They speak very convincingly. I think each deputy has his/her own advantages and I’m learning from other deputies. In this NA term, I have been “trained” and have grown up a lot.
VNNet: Have you ever felt helpless because you couldn’t understand an issue?
Hoai Thu: When I don’t understand a matter, I ask for help from various channels until I understand it. When the NA has discussed specialized laws, for example the Law on Telecommunications and the Law on Wireless Frequencies, I only talked about the things that I thoroughly understood. Mainly then I listened to others to clearly and correctly understand the proposed laws to approve them later.
VNNet: You are the deputy secretary of Dong Thap province’s Youth Union as well as one of eight deputies who represent that province. Are Delta youth interested in politics or NA sessions?
Hoai Thu: Many young people are indeed interested in politics and they keep track of the NA’s activities, especially issues closely related to their interests like jobs, career, studies, etc. However, not all of them care about this.
VNNet: What do they say about your activities as a legislator?
Hoai Thu: They like listening to my speeches and questions. After each session, they supply me information or ask me to speak for them at the NA, so I’ve got information taken from life.
VNNet: How much time do you spend on NA activities?
Hoai Thu: Around one third of my time. I have to try my best to arrange my Youth Union duties to have time for NA sessions!
VNNet: Is there also time for your family, your friends and for yourself?
Hoai Thu: I have to arrange my time rationally to have time for both my job and my family. When I have free time, I like reading, hiking, cooking and especially playing with my children.
VNNet: Does your husband help you?
Hoai Thu: Yes, he is very capable and shares everything with me. I gave birth to my second baby during this NA term. She attended NA meetings while she was in my womb.
VNNet: So you have had to leave your baby at home alone though she is only several months old?
Hoai Thu: She is now ten months old. When I attended the 5th NA session, she was only seven months old and she stayed at home with my husband. I missed her very much but I couldn’t miss the NA session.