Honor Guard Soldier Trung Hieu Mai: I would like to build a bridge between the Czech and Vietnamese worlds
Private First Class (OR-1) Trung Hieu Mai is a member of the Prague Garrison Command. Serving with the Army or Police has always been his dream. Over the years, another has been added: to help the Vietnamese community in the Czech Republic and to improve coexistence.
Soldier Mai belongs to the so-called second generation of Vietnamese living in the Czech Republic. His parents came here thirty years ago. His father started as a laborer, worked out and now works in the real estate market. His mother and siblings help with the family business. Mai was greatly influenced by his Czech "grandmother", a nanny who raised him from the age of three because his parents had to work. Even then, he began to realize the difficult situation of the Vietnamese in Bohemia.
"A lot of them work from morning to evening and don't have the opportunity to learn the language. That is why it is difficult for them to fully integrate into Czech society," he says. Already during his studies at the Police Academy of the Czech Republic, he therefore began to actively support the Vietnamese community. He taught Czech within the program of the Ministry of the Interior of the Czech Republic, helped with interpreting in schools and hospitals.
After completing his studies, he received a security law education from a Vietnamese law firm. "It's good to have a legal perspective, but my dream has been security and defense since I was a child. That's why I wanted to join the Czech Army," he says.
Mai emphasizes that he feels responsible for improving the living conditions of Vietnamese in the Czech Republic. He would like the whole community to remain cohesive and help each other. At the same time, it is important for him to build a bridge between the two worlds, today more than ever: “What is important for me is coexistence and a possible change of perspective on both sides. On the one hand, I would like the Czechs to gradually get rid of prejudices and fears - not all Vietnamese are traders and we can be, perhaps like me, a benefit for the Czech Republic. And I would also like the Vietnamese community to become more integrated and learn that their children do not only have to do business, but can work for the state without worrying about how the Czechs will react."
Help during a pandemic
In recent months PFC Trung Hieu Mai has been part of the Honor Guard tracing team, which assisted the regional hygiene station in tracing positively tested persons and regularly briefed the Vietnamese community on current measures. He even got the opportunity to participate in the creation of a spot of the Ministry of Health, which is to motivate the Vietnamese minority to be vaccinated against covid-19. The Czech Vietnamese praise his commitment and are extremely grateful for it. "There was a close and very beneficial cooperation with Mr. Mai. He was an indispensable part of the covid team for the Vietnamese community. He regularly informed us about government regulations and measures during the pandemic, thus helping to reduce the spread of the disease. He indirectly helped citizens to care more and protect their health," Dieu Linh, Covid team coordinator for the Vietnamese community, confirms.
And that's exactly what Mai wants. "I would like to use my work to inspire peers and other second-generation Vietnamese that helping us all is right and working for the state, for example as a soldier, is possible."
PFC Mgr. Trung Hieu Mai graduated from the Higher Police School and the Secondary Police School of the Ministry of the Interior in Holešov, then completed his bachelor's and then master's studies at the Police Academy of the Czech Republic in Prague. He has been serving at the Prague Garrison Command for 18 months, he is in the position of rifleman.