askST: What happened to the Vietnamese orphan whom cartoonist Lee Chee Chew was helping?

Reader Vicky Chong asked cartoonist Lee Chee Chew for an update on the Vietnamese orphan, Thien Nhan, for whom Lee was helping to raise funds.


Thien Nhan was abandoned by his teenaged mother as a newborn and was so badly mauled by a wild dog that he lost his right leg. His groin was also badly savaged. 

He was adopted by Tran Mai Anh, a Hanoi journalist and her husband, journalist Phung Quang Nghinh. The Straits Times ran a story about Thien Nhan's plight in 2008 and Lee decided to help raise funds for the many operations the child will need as he grows up. 

Lee got an update from Tran. 

Thien Nhan is turning 10 this year. He is doing well at school and enjoys learning Aikido.

Thien Nhan is also active in helping other kids who need genital and urinary surgeries,
visiting them in hospital and explaining what to expect, etcetera. He also helps with fund-raising.

So far, the surgeons who did Thien Nhan's operations have returned to Vietnam nine times to perform surgeries on 180 other kids with genital and urinary problems in Vietnam.

This year, an English/Vietnamese documentary film called The Human Flame
was released about Thien Nhan.

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