Professor Nguy Nhu Kon Tum - a good teacher

Posted at: TUEsday - 21/10/2014 09:37 - post name: Cộng tác viên

Professor Nguy Nhu Kon Tum - a good teacher

Mr. and Mrs. Kon Tum are very close friends with my parents. During the war against the French when my father was Director of education of Zone X and North Vietnam Zone, Dr. Tum was General Director of Studies, then Secretary of State for the Ministry of Education which was superior of my father. Although having a long distance and using bicycle, doctor had visited our family one time. At that time I was a middle school student so in my imagination, this was a very good scientist, a former graduate student of Dr. Frédéric Joliot- Curie who was one of the first 4 masters in our country in the early 40s (Besides Mr. KonTum, there were Mr. Hoang Xuan Han, Mr. Nguyen Duy Khiem and a French named F. Brachet)

 In 1951 for visionary, Uncle Ho had discussed with France to establish the Central Campus to train teachers and scientists for the postwar period. Both Dr. Tum’s family and my family had been sent to there. Since then, the two families were close together and he and my father were enthusiastic to participate in training the next generations who hold the key task of education and science of the country.

Peace started up again when I became the youngest lecture of the University of Hanoi and my first principal was Dr. Kon Tum. About building this great school as well as Vietnam Physics Industry, there were many people mention quite adequate about his achievement. I just recalled the image of a real scientific talent but exemplary life. As an outside Party intellectual, but Dr. Kon Tum knew how to unite every old and young intellectual in the school, knew how to work closely with the principles of the Party, so that all tasks had smoothly. Thus the University of Hanoi deserved a first flag in the field of training teacher and the outstanding scientists in basic science. Hardly any principal that can work closely and effectively throughout the 26 year life of the 9 different Party Secretaries. He was so simplicity that only received a tiny room in Nguyen Huy Tu Street. This was originally a beautiful villa, but he only received a small portion and gave it to other families. So far though he had been passed away for 22 years, but his wife and children still stay in that tiny room. Only this thing alone is worth enough for officials to think. He often ride bicycle until his superior force him to drive car to school. Everyone can remember a smile always on the principal‘s lips when he met any young or old colleague. In the American war, the school evacuated twice quite far from Hanoi (Dai Tu, Ha Bac) but the doctor and his family were happy to live in houses like everyone else and still went thorough between the facilities for directing not only the expertise but also the military training as well as encourage youth people to leave the school to go to the South for fighting. The doctor went abroad to attend many conferences on science and education but only used a single watch (!) This watch was donated by President Ho Chi Minh physicians (until he returned this watch to Ho Chi Minh Museum). I was friends with Tam, Nhung and Chi - the sons and daughters of doctor so that I had many occasions to visit his family. In the evening I saw a father, sons and daughter sat around a small table with a few lamps which were not bright enough and everyone stared at the books to study (the doctor) and to learn (the sons and daughters). I'm probably the last person to see the Secretary of Party Committee of the school - Mr. Le Hoang Linh, when he was being treated for serious diseases in Beijing. Although he was very weak, but he had spent time to tell me about his emotionally and admiration for the principal who was the best exemplary and honorable.

Dr. Kontum has never abused his power. Even Nguy Huu Chi, the youngest son who studied in the Physics Department of the school volunteered to join the army and participated in Ho Chi Minh campaign history, he did not stop but also encouraging him that after the liberation, his study will be okay.

Dr. Nguy Huu Tam and Dr. Nguy Tuyet Nhung were educated in Germany and Russia because of their strength, not by the father's position. Dr. Tam now is probably not only the Physics who follows her father’s job (Working in the Academy of Sciences in Vietnam) but also the best translator of German literature. Dr. Nhung is one of the leading experts in Gem and she is still very passionate about her profession.

Nhung told me that she always remembers the old rubber sandals that her father used to wear until it broken and always have a steel string to floss every time dropped straps (!), It's hard to imagine a international scientist, a principal for nearly three decades, a People’s teacher who had two Resistance Medal and three first class Independence Medalcould have a simple life, humility and dedication to work as Dr. Kontum for his entire life. Anyone could have a love, hate, but for Dr. Kontum I could not find anyone who used or know about him, but not all love and respect.

The last and most painful memory for me: I was the first who found out doctor had unconscious coma when attended a meetings of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front in Ho Chi Minh City. I sat behind the doctor and saw doctor suddenly abnormal then collapsed sobbing. I screamed and everyone gathered around doctors, but unfortunately it was too late. The only choice was contact the airline to transfer doctor to Hanoi. He was in a coma for a week and then passed away forever in eternal place. The funeral of Professor Nguy Nhu Kon Tum was perhaps one of the well-attended funerals that I saw (even in the lecture hall of the University and all the way down to Mai Dich cemetery). There were not only children, relatives, old friends, colleagues, countless generations of students but also all the people I have not met them once.

He will live forever in people’s hearts and especially in the hearts of generations who have had the opportunity to study or work under his dedicated guidance.

Nguyen Lan Dung

Translated by Nga Nguyen

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