Thursday, November 9, 2017

What We Had in October

Over the past 2 years, October has been a special month of achievement for us. This time last year, CoRE - the charity arm of Tea Talk - was awarded top 3 for the small organization category in Vietnam seen as having the best transparency and accountability practice. And now, we again were honored as one of the 10 CSO's Initiatives for Development Effectiveness in Vietnam (out of 27 organizations).
Furthermore, our colleague Luong, as a YSEALI (Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative) Alumnus, won YSEALI Mirco-Grant 2017 for her proposal of Wife Together Project. This project aims to equip 20 staff from Vietnam Women’s Union of Ba Vi suburban district (Hanoi) with skills to work with men to prevent intimate partner violence in their communities. Congratulations to Luong and her team!

Let’s Share and Let’s Chat enjoyed welcoming guest speakers from America, the Philippines, Vietnam, and Australia. One special guest in particular was photographer Danielle Maczynski of Photographer Without Borders Organization, who not only volunteered to take photos of out activities, but also did her own sharing on “The Power of Observation”, teaching us all some new tricks related to photography. Other topics ranged from discussions about famous poems and stories, and what they mean for us today, to recent research on the brain and what that means for us practically. Indeed, three speakers from three different countries shared about “Building the Brain You Want”, “Practicing Mindfulness” and “Thinking, Fast and Slow”. Each of these engaging sessions helped us to discover the different ways in which our minds work and how we can use them to understand ourselves and others better. The final Let’s Share of the month also happened to be Let’s Share and Let’s Chat founder Presley McFadden’s birthday. As such, he was surprised with a wonderful party and several gifts. For Presley, however, one of the greatest gifts is simply the young people that continue to come to the clubs every week!  

This month, Trang Nha - the program coordinator of Saturday Fun together with our new intern Linh - brought 4 fun adventures to our little friends, from how to make super cute flip flops and market bags with recycled materials to preparing home-made sandwiches in different shapes. A parent delightedly told us that her child was so excited that he wanted to be a baker and to serve Tea Talk's customers. How inspiring it is! 

Tea Talk Story Book is still available for sale! If you want to order one, please:
πŸ“š Leave us a message via this email (for those who are based in Vietnam and other countries);
πŸ“š Reach us at Tea Talk Singapore (for those who are currently in Singapore).

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Tea Talk - One Story at a Time

The story behind our dear colleague Luong
that you may not wanna miss πŸ˜‡

October 4th has seen a number of significant events over the years. In 1927 sculptor Gutzon Borglum began working on Mount Rushmore. In 1957 the Soviet Union launched Sputnik. And in 2011, our dear friend and colleague Luong met Tea Talk’s founder Michael Ong for the first time. Read more...

Three, two, one... Michael's short reflection from the USA

3 months ago, I relinquished all my responsibilities at Tea Talk and left it in the hands of 3 capable ladies, Thuy Trang, Le Huong and Thu Ha. The relinquishing of my responsibilities was challenging, not because there aren't any capable persons to hand my responsibilities over to but because I was still holding on tightly to what I had spent many years dreaming and many tears building. Read more...

Tea Talk - One Story at a Time

Some of you may have heard that Michael published a book before he left Vietnam for a sabbatical. This is the incredible account of the journey it took for a social venture called Tea Talk Cafe to shift from dream to reality. "Tea Talk: One Story at a Time" shows us the beauty and wonder of Vietnam and her people through Michael's challenges of starting up a social enterprise in a foreign land. If you have yet to walk through the doors of Tea Talk, where so many lives have been changed, then let this be your opportunity to have the doors opened to you, with the fragrances of faith, hope, and love touching your nose and inviting you to be the next in line to "express your soul".

Tea Talk - One Story at a Time. If you want to order this book, please:
πŸ“š Leave us a message at 
(for those who are based in Vietnam and other countries);
πŸ“š Reach us at Tea Talk Singapore (for those who are currently in Singapore).

Here comes the new LetsTalkers!

Let's Talk officially returned in early September with 17 new participants who though different in gender, age, background and perspective, all have sincere interest in mental health and counseling. In the 8th season of Let's Talk, we continue to provide professional training and mentoring/coaching phases in the hope of empowering them to be capable para-counselors for those who seek help in improving their mental wellness. 

Three, two, one... Michael's short reflection from the USA

Three, two, one.  3 months ago, my family and I left Vietnam and returned to Singapore. 2 months ago, we moved to the USA to help my daughter Grace settle into Calvin College. 1 month ago, Jacqueline and I officially started our long leave from Hanoi, or we can say, our sabbatical.

3 months ago, I relinquished all my responsibilities at Tea Talk and left it in the hands of 3 capable ladies, Thuy Trang, Le Huong and Thu Ha. The relinquishing of my responsibilities was challenging, not because there aren't any capable persons to hand my responsibilities over to but because I was still holding on tightly to what I had spent many years dreaming and many tears building. Not until my dear friend and beloved brother Presley asked me a question. Presley always has questions for me. Usually, I don't have answers for him and so I often ask him the same question he asked me. However, this time, I cannot not have an answer for him because the question is about me. He asked pointedly: "Are you worried about leaving Tea Talk?" It took me a day or two before I could give Presley an answer.  And not just an answer, but an honest answer. A less than honest answer would betray our friendship.

Worried I was! Very worried indeed. Will the 3 ladies be able to work together? Will the advisory council be able to provide counsel and support for these ladies when needed? Will Tea Talk be able to make sufficient revenue to keep it afloat? Will all the staff be able to carry the heart and soul of Tea Talk forward? Or do they actually know the core of Tea Talk?  Knowing is one thing. Applying it and carrying it forward is another? What about the countless individuals that need counseling or simply a listening ear. Who is going to listen to their stories?

Worried I was. In fact, so worried for the past several years that it has affected my health.  Just as I was pondering over Presley’s haunting question, the Holy Ghost started to speak to my spirit. For those of you who are not acquainted with the Holy Ghost, don’t worry. I am not losing my mind. The term “Holy Ghost” is a very old English way of referring to the Spirit of God. The conversations that went back and forth between me and the Spirit were: “Michael, why are you worried? If you say you are worried, you are saying you are God. As though you have all the answers and solutions to Tea Talk’s woes.” Truth is, I am no god. The conversation continued: “Michael, why are you worried? If you say you are worried and spending all your energy on Tea Talk, you are saying Tea Talk is your god.”

A few days later, I met Presley as he casually walked into Tea Talk. “What’s up?” “What’s up?

“Hey Presley, remember the question you ask me about Tea Talk and if I have any worries leaving? Truth is, I am very worried but God rebuked me and said: “Michael, if you are worried, you are saying you are God. And if you are worried, you have made Tea Talk god.” I told Presley that I am no god and certainly do not want to make Tea Talk my god. So I resolved not to worry. That was how I found the peace and courage to walk away from all that is happening at Tea Talk and begin my sabbatical journey. Step 1 - Relinquish.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

August's passed by, Moon Cake Festival for September

"We officially launched our arrow in Calvin College!"

Grace is finally enrolled in Calvin College (USA), surrounded by caring professors and good friends from all over the world. Michael, Jacqueline and all of us at Tea Talk are thankful for everything that the Lord has provided. All the best, Grace! πŸŽ‰


Let's Talk para counseling training course is officially back this September with the participation of 20 young people. This 8th season, besides theory training and mentoring activities, our experienced lecturers will conduct workshops to transfer knowledge to real life, and provide peer counseling sessions for each student. 

Are you ready for Moon cakes?

Moon cakes are usually sweet, dense and round, but their flavors have been changed over time with a wide variety of fillings to choose from. This year, Tea Talk would like to introduce our special moon cakes with modern fillings such as:
 πŸŒ Passion fruit πŸŒ
🌝 Cheese Green Tea πŸŒ
🌝 Bamboo Charcoal Powder πŸŒ
🌝 Spicy Fish, Mushroom πŸŒ
🌝 Banana Coconut πŸŒ

We believe that these new products will bring great satisfaction to those who enjoy them πŸ˜‡ Order Now!!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Joyful July 🌺

“Friendship is born at the moment when one person says to another, "What! You too? I thought I was the only one.” This quote from C.S. Lewis’ The Four Loves illustrates well what was birthed over the past month at Tea Talk with the great contributions of a volunteer group from New York, USA.

This group of NYU students and staff came to Tea Talk to serve – and serve they did.  They did everything from sharing in several different workshops related to smart parenting, personal and cultural identity, and writing therapy to singing, dancing, and doing fun science activities as part of a Kids Club.

Still further, they helped in facilitating every Let’s Chat and Let’s Share for the month of July, and went on several outings around the city (Museum of Ethnology, Temple of Literature, Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum, and more) with friends from both. They invited their new Vietnamese friends over to their apartments for dinners and their new Vietnamese friends did the same.
This was all in addition and a complement to the primary program they helped to pioneer at Tea Talk: The Cultural Exchange Program, where for two full, intensive weeks they were engaged with students in sharing about such topics as Family Life, Photography, Art in America, Music & Dance in America, School in America, and Food in America. They did this, though, from a uniquely multi-cultural perspective, as 5 of the team members were born in different countries. 

Thus, the beauty of the quote above, lived out on a day-to-day basis at Tea Talk. The students who signed up for the Cultural Exchange Program expected to learn many new and different things about foreign cultures from the New York Team, while also seeing it as an opportunity to improve their English. However, something much greater happened. They discovered that while they and the New York team did of course have special and unique differences, what was more stimulating and energizing was that even though they came from different sides of the planet, they actually had a lot in common – similar dreams and goals, similar fears and troubles, similar hopes for a better future. As different as their cultures were, they found that at their core, there were similar longings inside. And as much as they improved their English, what was better was that they learned to communicate openly about those longings and struggles. Both the New York Team and the Cultural Exchange participants truly found Tea Talk to be a place where they could “express their soul.”

We are excited about the relationships built over the past month with these friends and and the awareness it has helped to bring to other ongoing activities at Tea Talk.  And given the success of how the New York Team and Tea Talk staff were able to work together to make this happen, we are hopeful that Tea Talk will be able to help organize a program like this again!

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -


The Ong Family landed safe and sound in USA. Michael and Jacqueline, who are enrolling daughter Grace at Calvin College in Michigan, are themselves staying in Minnesota this academic year. 
As mentioned in our June Newsletter, during this period, Ms. Luong, the Communications Officer will be managing the chat on Michael's Vietnam WhatsApp number. For matters related to Tea Talk, please contact Ms. Luong to be directed to the person in charge.

Saturday, July 1, 2017

See you again...

"Goodbyes are not forever. Goodbyes are not the end.
They simply mean I'll miss you until we meet again..."

Dear Tea Talk friends,
Our dear founder Michael Ong officially left Vietnam for a long leave of sabbatical until June 2018. He and his wife will be enrolling their daughter Grace at Calvin College in Michigan, USA, and then moving to Minnesota where they will be based for a year of debriefing, writing, and planning after 16 years of dedication to Vietnam.
During this period, Ms. Luong, the Communications Officer will be managing the chat on his Vietnam WhatsApp number. For matters related to Tea Talk, please contact Ms. Luong to be directed to the person in charge.

As the last love message before his long leave, Michael offered his precious time to be the guest speaker at Let's Share. On this night, he again shared simply, yet ever powerfully, about the story of how Tea Talk began, with all of the ups and downs along the way. His engaging sharing reminded us all of the heartbeat of Tea Talk and even Let’s Share, inviting us all to continue to be part of the story as we share our hearts, learn from, and support one another.

Thumbs Up!!! πŸ‘ πŸ‘πŸ‘ 

It is obviously our pleasure to run our Tea Talk Vietnam fanpage and post daily updates about our cafe and social services. Your likes, shares, and comments have greatly contributed to our work for the community in Hanoi. Without your ongoing trust, encouragement over the past 5 years, Tea Talk would simply not be what it is today. Thank you so much for 10.000 likes and more in the days ahead. We always welcome you to join us to sit long, talk much and laugh often!

Monday, June 19, 2017

May, A New Chapter

Summer has come to every corner in Hanoi. If you are in the area of Tran Duy Hung street, don't forget to drop by Tea Talk for a cup of coffee and share with us your summer stories.

The Ong family has begun their transition for their move to America. Michael and Jacqueline are going to the US this summer to enroll daughter Grace at Calvin College in Michigan, and then move to Minnesota where they will be based for a year of debriefing, writing, and planning after 16 years of dedication to Vietnam.
This transition also means that Michael officially stepped down from all management work at Tea Talk. Our Social Enterprise is now managed by a new Board of Directors that includes Mrs Thuy Trang (Executive Director), Mrs Thu Ha (Business Director) and Ms Thu Huong (Communications & Operations Director).

The Ong Family has been in Hanoi for 16 years
Inspired by the visit and activities of our friends from Australia, Saturday Fun started in the middle of April 2017 as our latest program for kids from 3-10 years old. The purpose is to provide a place for kids and their parents to play together through a variety of kids crafts. Through these activities, parents and kids can have fun and understand more about each other. With different topics each week, kids will learn how to use different materials properly and creatively. Tea Talk's family room has gradually become a regular place for our young friends to socialize and experience new things. 

Saturday Fun's little participants

This month, together with Let's Share, the newest weekly session, Let's Chat, was launched. Now, every Tuesday and Thursday, friends can visit Tea Talk to not only improve their English, but what's more, grow in areas of critical thinking and life skills. Let's Chat started off with the topic of "What is Success?" in relation to how our Tea Talk founder, Michael Ong, views success at Tea Talk and in life. The next topic was a two-parter, spreading out over two weeks, where Let's Chat teacher and facilitator Presley McFadden took the students into "Adventures in Dating", and explored conflict management within his own relationship with wife Mary in their dating days. The topics have been relevant and fun, and have given opportunity for students to practice some of the basic elements of speaking and pronunciation. We look forward to more fun times of chatting (Tuesdays) and sharing (Thursdays) each week!

"Let's Talk PLUS" provided a special Team Bonding event for the first time, with select students from throughout the Let's Talk generations. It was conducted by CoRE together with Mrs Gwen Johnson. This event was such a great opportunity for LetsTalkers to improve relationships with each another as well as build an effective support network in mental health care. The team bonding was even more significant since it was one of the last activities Gwen hosted in Vietnam before leaving in June for her home country. Thank you Gwen so much for your continuous support towards our work over the past 3 years. You will be missed!

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Be Glad in April ( :

- Now it's May! But wait, how was your April? Was it fun?
- Yes, we were so glad to continue serving our community!

To celebrate our fifth anniversary this year, on a beautiful Sunday morning on 9th April, we organized a special event “Let’s Celebrate Family” to welcome many parents and children in the area of Hanoi. Along with musical performances on stage, we conducted different outdoor games to help strengthen the bonds between family members. While parents were busy attending workshops on parenting skills, their children were happy to join creative and playful activities like making small gifts, decorating cookies, face-painting or board games. We indeed couldn’t accomplish our mission without the great support from our volunteers, partners and all the attendants who spent their precious time to join our fifth anniversary. Together, we created a harmonious space that helped family members get closer.

πŸ”ŠSATURDAY FUN has officially launched! πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰
Saturday Fun is our weekly activity that aims to provide a place for creative play for children from ages 4 to 11 years. By joining our fun activities such as arts & crafts, decorating cookies or making handmade toys from recycled materials, we hope they can grow both physically and mentally.

In April, LET'S SHARE enjoyed a series of discussions related to Easter, as even the recent film "Beauty and the Beast" was revealed (by guest speaker Beka Reise) as a story that displays how true love sacrifices for someone who has done wrong, and restores that person, making them new. Indeed, the month kickstarted with REI-Vietnam staff Ginny Teel and Rebecca Hedges offering "Easter and Spring: A Time for New Beginnings". And as Let's Share enters it's second year, we know WHAT we do at Let's Share and HOW we go about doing it, but the question of WHY was explored in another session called "Life Planning: Vision and Values" led by Raymond Tan and Lawrence Liew. Let's Share continues to exist to give young Vietnamese friends an opportunity to truly express their souls while learning and sharing about new and relevant topics in life.  We saw this happen again with the final Let's Share of April entitled "Desert Storm: A Liberation Story", where a military veteran shared about his experience in war trying to help free a country, but how nowadays he's working to help people find personal freedom. Of course, we had fun playing some games and trivia, and winning some prizes along the way! 

Following the success of our events under Let's Talk PLUS in March, in April, 13 - 14th, Ms. Jean Lim (MA Counseling), Director of PowerVision EAP Inc. from the Philippines, together with CoRE, conducted a training workshop on Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT). SFBT is an approach to psychotherapy that, as the name implies, focuses on solutions rather than problems. This focus makes it shorter than other forms of therapy. Through the therapeutic conversations, the therapist and client collaborate to envision what the client wants and to discover solutions from the client’s strengths and experiences. This training workshop attracted social workers, psychologists and students. All found it helpful and easy to apply to their work.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Let's Run For Tea Talk and CoRE!

Hello everyone!

Our dear friend Owen Soon from Singapore would be doing an Ironman 70.3 triathlon race in Danang in May 2017 to raise SGD$ 10,000 for Tea Talk and CoRE.

So Let's Run for Tea Talk and CoRE! ALL funds raise would go to support our counselling services and other community outreach programs. The hope is that more people who are in need of help will benefit from these services.

To donate and update his fund raising journey, please click this link. Thank you so much for your donations! Each dollar will go a long way to help someone in need!
Read more about Ironman 70.3 Vietnam here!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Let's Celebrate Family

Tea Talk, in conjunction with its 5th Anniversary is organizing a community event "Let's Celebrate Family".  Do come out and join us.  You can also support us by purchasing a ticket and donate it to low income families.  Each ticket is 120k Vnd, or SG$8 or US$6.

Let’s Celebrate Family.
This community event will bring people together, a chance for individual, couples, young families to build, strengthen, and tighten family bonds with their loved ones.
Participants will enjoy a dynamic fun-filled atmosphere with activity corners on topics like parenting skills, family conflict resolution and skills to build your relationships. There are many interactive games for children and the whole family.

Tickets are available atTea Talk Vietnam, No. 16 Lane 100 Tran Duy Hung, Hanoi
Or call: +84 4 6269 6466/ 01254598261

To donate tickets for low-income families or volunteer for the program please
For more information, please visit:

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Tea Talk's new location

Tea Talk's new location:

House no: 16, Lane 100 Tran Duy Hung. Cau Giay. Ha Noi.
Read more about it here: