When the couple got married recently in the southern province of Ninh Thuan, they had to stand on a high platform so guests could see them above the flowers and decorations.
Nguyen Van Hung is 31. His bride, Le Thi Diem My, is 31. Both are less than 1.2m tall. They decided to tie the knot after years of dating and overcoming a glut of challenges that society threw their way, not to mention their own demons.
Hung was born in Nam Dan District in the central province of Nghe An. When he was 7, his family noticed that he had stopped growing. They were told by doctors that a pituitary gland problem meant he might not grow further. He didn’t. He was 1.17m then, and he is as tall now.
Hung and My, in their thirties, at home. Photo by VnExpress/Hoai Nam.
Hung’s height, or the lack of it, was a source of huge problems at school. He had to suffer the ignominy of being lifted up and played with like a child by his classmates. He cried by himself and never told his parents, not wanting to add to their troubles.
After high school, he joined an IT course in the southern province of Dong Nai before settling down in Hanoi in 2011. He found a job at the Dream Seed Center, which supports people with disabilities.
He quickly became a teacher helping others learn about IT and photo editing. His story spread and began to inspire a lot of people, and reached the ears, and eyes, of a woman in the southern province of Ninh Thuan.
My, who had the same condition as Hung, saw him share his story on a TV program. She fell for him at first sight.
Working in her hometown as embroider, My earned just enough to make ends meet, and knew nothing about computers. Seeing a man who shared her plight talk about these new things, she was inspired.
She tried to contact her crush and talk to him, but he did not show any response to her affection. But My was not going to give up so easily. She packed her bags and left her hometown for the big city. After reaching Hanoi, she applied for a course at the center where Hung worked, but he still showed no inclination to talk.
Heartbroken and homesick, My got drunk on beer one day and called him. Unable to control herself, she cried poured her heart out. The ice in his heart melted.
They rented a house with some other colleagues and love blossomed.
She won his heart, and he fell in love, but their dating was fraught with problems, too.
When they sat next to each other in the park, some elderly people saw and thought they were “first-grade students” and reminded them not to cross the lines.
When they went to the cinema, the staff asked them to show ID cards to prove that they are adults.
On the walking streets in Hanoi, people laughed because they believed that two people holding hands were children.
Hung and My on their wedding day. Photo by VnExpress/Nguyen Tien Dung.
One time, My called an online store to buy some things. The seller kept asking the 30-year-old woman to give the phone to her mother, because of her soft and child-like voice.
Many are shocked when they come to learn that both Hung and My are grownups.
“We have got used to that kind of look from other people,” Hung said. He added that during all those years, they only made a fuss once.
“I do not want my love to be sad,” Hung said, explaining why he never wants to quarrel with his wife. Their love grew stronger as they faced all the obstacles thrown in their way, and they decided to get married and move in together.
My’s parents did not support the marriage initially, afraid that their daughter would be living too far from home.
My stands on a stool while cooking. Photo by VnExpress/Hoai Nam.
“You can’t live with me forever, and I need a man to love and take care of me,” My told them, and they saw she was right.
The wedding took place in earlier this month. “This is the wedding of our dreams,” Hung said.
The couple will continue to live in the same house with their friends, the only difference being that they will now stay in the same room.
Hung will still the “house manager” who takes care of the odds and ends and reminds people to save money when they get their monthly salaries.
My is in charge of cooking. After finishing her work at 5.30 p.m., she goes to the market with her small bicycle and comes home to prepare for dinner.
Standing on a stool to clean the vegetables and start cooking, she waits for her husband and other housemates to return.
They will soon have dinner together like a family, and there will be a lot of talking and laughing.
Hung and My have found themselves, found each other and are standing tall.