Pham and Her Gold Fish


An offer from a big telecommunication company in Vietnam took place and proved it easy for a girl with fluency in English and French like Pham Thi Nguyen to find a decent job.

To congratulate her beloved daughter’s achievement, Pham’s mother bought her a tiny aquarium with a gold fish in it. Receiving the gift in excitement, the lovely girl made the fish her good friend. She named him, “Vinh”.

Like a butterfly, time flew to witness Pham excelling at her job. To no one’s surprise, the girl was promoted within just two years. Everyone thought that she must be happy, but in fact she wasn’t. She did not feel contented. In front of her mother she confessed that even though working in the company gave her good money, she felt that she was going nowhere. After learning so much in the past two years, she felt there was nothing left to learn, no more mountain to conquer.

Pham leaned against the wall, gazing at the aquarium. She saw Vinh the gold fish was struggling to swim. His round eyes reflected a downcast.

Grimacing at the bitter melancholy, Pham said, “It’s funny that my happiness seems to be parallel to Vinh’s. We were both happy at the beginning of our acquaintance, but look at us now. We’re both miserable.”

“Do you notice Vinh has grown in size?” out of nowhere her mother asked the question.

“Yes, his body has grown much larger, but the tiny aquarium certainly isn’t,” Pham replied while thrusting her head to examine Vinh more closely.

Pondering the fact that Vinh’s body had been growing but the aquarium remained the same, Pham raised her eyebrows. Gradually her eyes gleamed. She then exclaimed, “Oh, he needs a larger aquarium!”

“And so do you,” her mother gave her a beaming smile. “You need a larger aquarium in your life. When you’re not contented with what you’ve accomplished, it’s mainly because you’ve grown so much that you have to find a much bigger aquarium. It is now time for you to embark on a new course of life.”

Everything changed six months later. After being awarded the Australian Development Scholarship (ADS), Pham was now enjoying an extremely challenging academic life in the University of Melbourne. Not only that she was excelling at university, she had now made good friends with people from all over the world, something that she had been dreaming of since she was a teenager. The jolly and brilliant Pham Thi Nguyen had returned.

63 thoughts on “Pham and Her Gold Fish

  1. Delightful story Subhan and I love the way your weave your lessons into a fun story. I agree with Pam that you have a gift with words and a bubbly spirit. Thanks for sharing your joy! Brad

  2. Pingback: Guest Post: If You Are Fire, Then Your Beloved Must Be Water. | Spiritual World Traveler

  3. Pingback: The Insightful Indonesian Author and Poet, Subhan Zein « Poetic Inspirations

  4. You are great, how beautifully you conveyed the message of life. Wisdom pen you have, write more. Your stories are insightful. I’m glad to read this one.
    Blessings and much love.

  5. Hi there Subhan,
    I enjoyed very much the posts I read here. Your spirit is irrepressible–you are like a bottomless bottle of champagne bubbling over, touching the minds and hearts of those who stop by. I’m making a link at my blog to your blog–your writing is inspirational and jubilant. I believe you have found your life’s work in touching others through writing. Write every day that you can and build a body of work that shines and draws to it the people who need it. Everything else will fall into place. 🙂 Thank you for touching my heart.
    Pam B.

  6. What a beautiful post, and so true! I am going through the very same thing right now. Being older tho, I knew the reason. 🙂 Trying to correct it. Great, great post!

    • Thank you very much for your lovely comment! I am glad you loved it. Thank you for visiting my blog, I hope you have a joyful ride in each of your visits here! 🙂

      Subhan Zein

  7. Reblogged this on talkact+ive and commented:
    Here is another nice piece. Are you stuck in your current position because you are in a small aquarium? Maybe it’s time to leap into a larger aquarium – more responsibilities and more challenges. Unless you move out of your comfort zone, you may not achieve much. Have a nice day!

  8. Hi Subhan,
    Eye opening story, and I enjoyed reading it. Maybe thats why we blog, to reach out to more people and make our ponds a bit bigger as well. I hope your endeavors allow you to buy your fish a bigger aquarium and a couple of pals.

    Cheers-

    • Hi Nate,

      Thank you very much for your kind words! 🙂 You are absolutely right! Blogging is not so much about honing your writing skills, but also about caring and sharing. Thank you for wishing me luck; I wish the same to you.. 🙂

      Subhan Zein

  9. You were right Subhan, I did really enjoy this and thank you so much for the invite to your blog! I am excited to read more of your works and please be well 🙂 ~Jessie

    • Hi Jessie,
      I’m so happy that you enjoy this. I’d like to thank you for following my blog! It’s great to have you here! 🙂

      I hope you have a wonderful day, my dear friend! 🙂

      Subhan Zein

  10. wonderful story of growth, and glad they both lived life happily ever after…. ; )

    • :-), thank you very much, Dianne.. Thank you. I’m looking forward to visiting your blog. And thank you for your kind heart to follow mine.. 🙂

      Subhan Zein

  11. Thumbs up for Subhan!! A gorgeous expression of love.
    (thank you for your kind comment on my recent poem!)
    Keep penning — keep in touch. Cheers, my friend.

    • Thank you, Shaheen, thank you! Now that the compliment comes from someone like you, I feel so much grateful! Thank you very much for your encouragement! 🙂

      May God Bless you, forever and for always.. 🙂

      Subhan Zein

  12. Reblogged this on Jenny's Serendipity and commented:
    Love the story…truly inspiring. Especially the mothers advice to her daughter… “You need a larger aquarium in your life. When you’re not contented with what you’ve accomplished, it’s mainly because you’ve grown so much that you have to find a much bigger aquarium. It is now time for you to embark on a new course of life.” Great post!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Thank you so much for your generous comment! And I’m truly honored for you to love the story and care to reblog it, Jenny… 🙂

      I hope you had a wonderful weekend.. 🙂

      Subhan Zein

    • Hi Sandy,

      It’s a reminder for myself, that I would need a bigger aquarium from time to time. In reaching adulthood, our body has stopped growing, but there’s an endless growth inside us when we don’t cease learning. It’s the growth of our mentality, intellectuality, and spirituality.

      Anyway, I’m just so happy that the story inspires you. With this beautiful Monday morning, you have my blessing. I do wish that you encounter a ceaseless growth, mentally, and, intellectually, and spiritually.. 🙂

      God bless you, as always.. 🙂

      Subhan Zein

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