The Ghost of Gold

The trading platform I used to operate 23 hours a day with the software mt4. It attracts investors through leverage; if an investor is wise enough, the leverage will be their advantage, bringing profits when they have good luck. But the wise investor will never be distracted by the leverage.

Illustration by Dao Quoc Huy
Illustration by Dao Quoc Huy

At that time I owned a struggling printing workshop. I had to sweat day and night for peanuts. I was looking for a way out when an old friend of mine appeared, introducing me to a trading platform where I could buy and sell gold.

I was guaranteed to make a 20 per cent monthly, stable and riskless profit, he said. How lucrative, I said! My friend told me to transfer him some money and he would take care of the rest. I eagerly transferred one hundred million Vietnamese dongs to his account. But I lost it all only in a few days. He said that it was a temporary loss. There would be more opportunities once you have more money, he stressed. So I transferred another two hundred million Vietnamese dongs hoping to retrieve the loss. But the money did not return. Looking back, I was throwing bad money after good but at the time, I was hooked. I transferred more and more money and within two weeks I had withdrawn all my savings and borrowed from friends.

I had been a complete failure. My childhood friend advised me to go back to my old job. I could not blame him. I had to blame myself first. One billion Vietnamese dongs had vanished because of my greed. I sold my printing shop so I could have more time to study the gold market. And so the game started from that point!


I called Sua, a friend of mine, because she was an expert in trading gold. She traded it even when she was a high school student. She used the internet to compare the gold price at home and was dedicated to her craft.

At 19, her father had died. Her sister got married. Her mother split a large patch of land to her children and Sua had a piece of her own. She sold it so she could trade more gold. In 2011 and 2012, she had made substantial profits.

One morning, I could not contact Sua. She was not online yet. In the afternoon, I received the news that she was going to get married. That same date two years later, she also sent me a message, saying that she had just divorced. I was still wondering what had happened when she phoned me:

“I’ve been made a fool of. His mistress is pregnant!”

“Did he cheat on you because you trade gold?”

“I don’t know. He has abandoned me and my child! He was the biggest mistake in my life!”


In early 2013, the gold price was in freefall. The crash destroyed my family. My wife took our nine-month-old child and left. The house didn’t even belong to me anymore. Like a mad man, I rushed out onto the street at midnight, howling like a wolf. Death would have been a sweet release. I was in complete despair. I phoned Sua, but could not contact her. Then I sent her a message, telling her I was leaving the city and I wanted her to do me a favour by getting me some job, say, a motorbike taxi driver, anything. I had no way out!

Two days later, Sua sent me a message: “Go home now, dear! The market is primed to bounce back. If I put money in, the capital will increase by two or even three fold. I had one motorcycle left but I sold it to invest more.”


“I’m in big trouble,” Sua wailed to me a few days later.

“I’m listening.”

“I’m on the verge of bankruptcy. My husband borrowed all my money to pay his debts!”

“Why are you responsible for him?

“He was my father’s friend. He could go to prison if I refuse to help him!”

“Are you worried about not being able to get it back?”

“No. I am worried about another thing. I cannot continue to do business now!”

“So stop for now.”

“No, I can’t”

“Can you get some credit? The floor could lend you money and at the weekend, if you have profit, you can take it; if you lose, you have to pay it back. That’s it. There are not any more conditions.”

Sua quickly logged into the platform and borrowed 2,000 dollars. But she lost it. I said:

“I will make up this loss for you. Don’t worry!”

“Could you advance me ten thousand dollars?”

“This is a big sum, so I cannot guarantee it for you. You need a debit note, which is a troublesome task.”

“I’ll give you the deed to my mother’s house.”

“No, don’t make me crazy!”

“I’m crazy like a fox!”

“What if you lose it all?”

“I’ll accept it!”

“No, forget about trading. It won’t bring you any happiness”

“Can you quit it?

“No, I can’t.”

“Neither can I.”


“I’ve just bought gold,” Sua excitedly told me soon after.

“Is it a big order?”

“Huge! I’m bound to make a huge profit. I’ll have enough money to pay back the credit I borrowed.”

“It’s a dangerous game you’re playing.”

“What can I do now?”

“Cancel the order now!”

“But I am going on a business trip.”

“Where’s your mobile phone?”

“I’ve deleted the software on my phone.”


“Because I’ve promised my mother I’d quit playing the market.”

“Go home now. You’ve got only 45 minutes before the results”

But the news came as a big surprise. The gold price increased by 80 times due to Brexit. It was a record high since 2008. I tried to contact Sua, but in vain. I was waiting for her to come back.


The train left the station at 9 o’clock in the night. I had to see her at all costs. I only wanted to know that she was all right. A little girl was looking at me in surprise. I stayed to have dinner with the little girl and her grandmother. I was still wondering if she was smiling or crying. The gold price ebbed and flowed, but life was not eternal