If you are lucky enough to be visiting Vietnam this August, you may see a number of people wearing roses on their shirts or blouses. Some will be wearing red roses and some will be wearing white.

The different colours signify whether the wearer’s mother is alive (red) or has passed on (white). These flowers are the most visible symbol of the festival of Mua Vu Lan, which commemorates filial piety, especially towards mothers.

Throughout the month of August, sons and daughters across the country will be paying tribute to their parents: doing good deeds and telling them how much they love them. Many go to temples to worship their parents’ memory if they are no longer here.

Mua Vu Lan started out as a Buddhist tradition and falls during the seventh month of the lunar calendar (mid-August in the Western one). But it’s also a festival that is celebrated by all Vietnamese people, since it revolves around one our central values, filial piety.

This is the foundation stone for Vietnamese culture. It highlights an important distinction with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, which is celebrated in Western cultures.

Individualism drives Western cultures, notwithstanding how much people love their parents. By contrast, in Vietnam children are taught “khiêm tốn,” which means humbling and self-restrain from a very young age.

We believe that elders deserve respect, love and care. Mua Vu Lan provides us with an occasion to make a public demonstration of this, on top of the private ones that we perform every day.

So I will be giving my mother flowers on Mua Vu Lan. My sister Bich will be doing the same.

We both know that we owe our mother everything. She has always been our guiding light and our inspiration.

She never filled our childhood with materials possessions even though she and my father had started to make money after THP was founded in 1994 when I was 13. Instead, what she gave us were life lessons, filling us with love.

The way that I conduct relationships inside and outside of THP today is largely thanks to the moral truths that my mother taught me. It’s why I give service to her every day of the year.

My mother taught me the value of relationships. I always say that she is the one with the soft skills, perfectly balancing my father and his logical thinking. She is yin to his yang.

She has always understood that successful companies do not exist as entities on their own. They are part of an eco-system founded on mutually beneficial relationships, whether it is with their raw materials suppliers, distributors, or end consumers.

The same applies to the way that we should interact with our colleagues too. Always be the person who empowers and projects the power of positivity as my mother has always done to me.

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