Coming from the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long, a mother and her daughter rented a place near an exam venue in Ho Chi Minh City. After taking her daughter to complete exam procedures, the mother waited in front of the school gate but did not see the young girl coming back.
Thinking that her daughter had returned home on her own, she went back, only to find no one there.
“When I called my daughter, she quickly said she was at her friend’s house and hung up. I called her again but did not get through,” said the anxious mother.
She didn’t sleep the whole night since she was worrying for her young daughter.
The next morning, the mother was startled to see her daughter coming back on a strange young man’s bike. Without saying a word to the mother, the girl quickly changed clothes and went to the exam venue.
After the first day of the exam, the girl again called up and went out with the strange boy, one of her online friends, the mother later learned.
“No wonder she insisted on going to the city for the exam alone. She’s gotten to know several friends online,” said the mother.
Another parent, T., was surprised to discover that his daughter was dating and living with a male university student when he came to visit her in Ho Chi Minh City.
He wasn’t allowed to stay with her and had to find a room for rent in the city. To meet his daughter, T. had to wait in front of the school gate.
Through his daughter’s friend, T. learned that she had been staying with a boy from the same hometown since the first day she arrived in the city to prepare for the exam.
T. soon packed and left for fear he would get mad and lose control of his temper upon seeing his daughter hanging out with a strange boy.
Nguyen Anh Tuan, who took an exam to get into the HCMC Industrial University, said he has several friends, both male and female, living in the city. Some promise to meet up and help him when needed.
“I only came here for three days with my father, so I refused them and told them to meet another time, probably when I have passed the exam and have more time,” he said.
Tuan said another friend also came to the city to take the test but has a tight schedule with girlfriends he has chatted with. Eventually, he only took the first test and abandoned the rest as he was too busy dating. The young man later called home and asked for several million dong to be transferred to his bank account, as he had spent all the money.
“I heard he has fallen heads over heels for a girl from Ninh Thuan, who also came here to take the exam,” said Tuan.
Tuan’s friend is one of several cases of students taking the chance of travelling to undertake the university exam to meet friends whom they had gotten to know through chat room or social networks. Putting trust in the new friends, the naïve students often let their guard down and do not anticipate any consequence.
The worst example of this is a recent case involving a young girl from the northern province of Nam Dinh. After meeting and falling in love with a boy she had met online, the girl later was raped and had VND2 million (US$100) stolen.
It is indeed exciting for young people to meet new friends in new places. However, if they are not aware, the students may suffer consequences, affecting them mentally and physically, making them lose not only money and property but also their future.