Phuoc & Partners Vietnam International Law Firm

Your Language:
+84 (28) 3744 9977
Phuoc & Partners Attorneys At Law

Law from school and law from life

The article with the title: “Law from school and law from life” by Lawyer Tran Thanh Tung – Partner of Phuoc & Partners Law Firm is published in Doanh Nhan & Phap Luat issued 07 published on 20/02/2011.


There is another law quite different from the law taught at school, that is law from life. It contains no article, no clause, and is recorded in no document, but people can never learn it thoroughly.

While studying at a law university, I was taught that law is an impartial quantity for everybody. It is general and does not care of the sentiment of persons making the law, persons implementing the law and persons regulated by the law – hence there is the saying “the law is the law”.

Law from school, Law from life

With that viewpoint in mind, when coming out into society I realize that apart from the law from school it seems that there is another kind of law, since many cases are legally clear, but when the law is applied to deliver a sentence there occur reproaching looks, choked hiccoughs or a sigh.

I happen to remember that there is another kind of law that is quite different from the law taught at school, namely law from life. This law is not taught at university. It contains no article, no clause and is recorded in no document, and we can never learn fully, and the more we learn the more deficiently we know. We cannot learn it by heart but have to look, listen, think and meditate in order to understand it partially. If we give our whole mind to it, we can learn much, otherwise, we can learn very little.

One night, while listening again the song “The love of the mat seller” sung by late singer Ut Tra On, I was suddenly aware of the long distance between the law from school and the law from life.

In the viewpoint of the law from school, “The love of the mat seller” is the complaint about the breach of contract (!?) The story is that there is a girl who orders a couple of two-meter mats – the mats with particular size, to adorn her room, with the agreed price. However, at the time of delivery there is no buyer to receive them. The mat seller cannot sell to anybody the couple of mats woven privately for the girl, since the mats are dedicated ones ordered by the girl. It is obvious that the story is about the dispute on delivery condition in a sales contract. So, he can sue the girl at law to claim for the loss since the girl does not receive the goods under the contract.

Law or kind heart

However, is it possible that a masterpiece of traditional tune contains only that meaning? Surely not. Nobody complains and the author Vien Chau prepares this song not to complain on behalf of the mat seller. In reality, the mat seller does not sell mat at all – he just sells at a special price with the purpose of making friend with the girl! He sells his kind heart through every thread of rush or jute. Because of his kind heart to his job and his clients, he is sad when it is not reciprocated – the proof is that the couple of mats lay solitarily in the hold of the boat. Then all sadness and unhappiness in his heart stream out like the tide when he recognizes the misery of his job – like the back side of the mat – that only persons who are devoted to their jobs can understand thoroughly.

Only that kind heart or that sentiment is the highlight in the Winter night and the warm fire in the immensity and coldness of the heaven and earth. With that kind heart and that sentiment, the mat seller, without bringing an action against anybody, has won his case at the spirit court of a lot of generations of the listeners.

Hence, we know that in the viewpoint of the law from school, the traditional tune is so distorted. Is there any law able to describe the sentiment of the mat seller cherished in every thread of rush or jute or able to go through the coldness in his heart?

Sounds vaguely in a distance the heart-breaking moan in a Winter night “She has been in pair, and mat and blanket are not as warm as the sweetheart” – the probably most melancholy in this famous traditional tune.

Law from life is so important and sometimes prevails over law from school!