Vietnam Vice Education Minister
On the morning of October 17, 2019, it was a refreshing and sunlit autumn day. It’s an unusual description for the unpredictable weather of Hanoi, Lê Hải An arrived at his workplace. The Ministry of Education situated on 35 Đại Cồ Việt street, in the Hai Bà Trưng district of Hà Nội. Typically, he would enjoy a hearty breakfast at the office canteen before proceeding to his second-floor office. He dedicated rest of his day in resolving the myriad issues afflicting Vietnam’s education system.
At precisely 7:10 AM, a witness observed a figure plummeting from the 8th floor, leading to a bone-chilling crash upon impact. Regrettably, the individual was pronounced dead immediately. Identifying the man was not a challenge for those present.
Within a few hours, the Vietnamese media declared the demise of Vice Minister Lê Hải An.
He slipped and fallen from the balcony. However, the tale I am about to narrate is far from a simple accident.
This story resembles a conspiracy theory, akin to those propagated by individuals donning tinfoil hats on the streets or circulated on sensationalist websites and fringe extremist forums. It appears more akin to a discarded script from Hollywood rather than an account of real life. I confess that my sources are primarily secondary. Most of them exhibit biases and promote unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. Numerous original sources have been tampered with or removed, vanishing into a memory hole reminiscent of Orwell’s “1984”.
In my endeavour to remain faithful, I have omitted fantastical elements lacking supportive evidence. Nonetheless, I will strive to provide a comprehensive portrayal not only of Lê Hải An but also of the treacherous world surrounding him. An ominous realm fraught with political rivalries.
To those who harbour doubts, I implore you to grant me the benefit of uncertainty and bear in mind one crucial statement, “This is Vietnam”.
The Exemplary Educator
In Vietnam, there is a saying: “Tôn sư trọng đạo,” which translates to “To honour the teacher and cherish knowledge”. A teacher was not merely an instructor. They were the epitome of society. The illuminator who upheld and embodied all virtues, imparting them to younger generations.
Lê Hải An was such a man.
Born on April 1, 1971 in Hà Nội. An was the son of Lê Hải Châu, a renowned educator in Vietnam whose mathematics textbook had once been the gold standard for Vietnamese mathematics education. His books were part of syllabuss in the 90s or early 2000s. Recognizing his contributions, Châu was honoured with the title “The People’s Teacher”. It’s a prestigious accolade for the most dedicated educators. With such a family background, An seemed destined for a comfortable life.
However, An did not chose the path of least resistance. He continuously challenged himself. He was a government-sponsored student to study Mining and Geology at Moscow State University of Geodesy and Cartography. Even in the later stages of his career, he remained passionate about the mining industry. He successfully defend a thesis on the application of neural networks in the oil industry at Heriot-Watt University.
Given his background and training, Lê Hải An became a professor at the Hanoi University of Mining and Geology. Initially he teaches in the Petroleum department. Then he steadily ascended through the ranks. He was a knowledgeable and compassionate mentor for his students, who never sought to exert his authority. He was a man of honour and dignity, embodying the archetype of teachers.