At 119 years old, Trinh Thi Khong, residing in Dong Nai, southern Vietnam, surpasses Maria Branyas Morera, an American woman acknowledged by the Guinness World Records as the world’s oldest known living person, by two years.

Documents show that Khong was born on June 14, 1905, in Trieu Son District, Thanh Hoa Province, north-central Vietnam. 

Currently, she resides with her daughter in Long Khanh City, Dong Nai Province.

The Long Khanh administration is currently working with Khong’s family members on gathering necessary documentation to officially recognize her as the world’s oldest living person, according to Do Chanh Quang, chairman of the local People’s Committee. 

According to recent statistics, Long Khanh City is home to 45 centenarians, with Khong being the oldest.

Quang stated that Khong personally receives monthly state support of VND1.1 million (US$45), while her caregiver is provided with another state support of VND300,000 ($12) per month.

Trinh Thi Khong’s citizen identification card indicates her birth year as 1905. Photo: A Loc / Tuoi Tre

Sharp mind

Do Thi Ninh, Khong’s 81-year-old daughter, revealed that her father her father had sacrificed his life as a martyr during the Dien Bien Phu battle against the French in 1954.

Khong has four boys and three girls, all of whom are still alive.

Among them, the eldest is 91 years old and resides in Thanh Hoa.

Currently, Khong has a remarkable legacy with more than 150 descendants, spanning children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and even great-great-great-grandchildren. The majority of them are based in Long Khanh City.

Although she struggles to recall all their names, they often gather in person or connect through social networks.

Trinh Thi Khong (L) and her 81-year-old daughter Do Thi Ninh in Dong Nai Province, southern Vietnam. Photo: Binh An / Tuoi Tre

According to Ninh, when Khong still dwelled in Thanh Hoa, even at over 100 years old, she regularly commuted by bus to Dong Nai to visit her children and grandchildren, staying for three to four months each time.

In late 2014, Khong made a decision to permanently reside in Long Khanh City with Ninh.

“She’s very easygoing and sleeps soundly at night,” Ninh shared. 

“She still enjoys three meals of porridge daily and indulges in cakes and bird’s nest drinks before bedtime.”

Do Kim Thanh, Khong’s grandson, was raised by her from a young age. 

He later accompanied her to the south to establish a business and start a family.

“Despite her age, grandma’s mind remains sharp,” Thanh remarked. 

“She insists on feeding herself during meals. 

“Whenever her children and grandchildren visit, she is overjoyed and spends her days happily playing with them.”

Trinh Thi Khong holds her descendant. Photo: Binh An / Tuoi Tre

Khong fondly recounted stories from her days of trading in her hometown upon a recent visit by Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper reporters.

“In the mornings, I had to travel 40 kilometers round trip,” Khong reminisced.

“I sold three main products: oil, honey, and tofu. 

“Tofu was sold at the market, while oil and honey were delivered to stores for making cakes.”

Also in 2014, then-Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang extended his congratulations to Khong on her life milestone. 

In his congratulatory card, the leader expressed wishes for her good health and a joyful family life.

Miraculous near-death episode

According to Ninh, Khong used to enjoy robust health. 

Even at the age of 100, she actively assisted family members with household chores such as cleaning, peeling peanuts, and gardening.

In 2018, Khong unfortunately suffered a fall resulting in a broken bone. 

Due to her advanced age, surgery was not an option, so her family resorted to applying herbal medicine at home. 

Miraculously, she made a full recovery thereafter.

Three years ago, Khong fell seriously ill, and her health deteriorated rapidly. 

Then-Vietnamese State President Truong Tan Sang’s birthday card issued in 2014 confirms that Trinh Thi Khong was born in 1905. Photo: Tuoi Tre

At one point, she stopped breathing and her extremities grew cold, prompting her family to make preparations for her funeral.

“As we were preparing for the last respects, my younger brother suddenly exclaimed, ‘Mom is warm, sister, mom is warm’,” Ninh recounted. 

“Two hours later, she began to breathe again, gradually regained consciousness, and even sat up.”

Additionally, Ninh mentioned that during Khong’s illness, the family members shaved her head in an attempt to cool her down. 

Surprisingly, following her near-death experience, her hair regrew and turned from previously white to black, an occurrence that was both astonishing and eerie.