The Hanoitimes - As a single foreigner taking part in the contest named 1000 year civilized and heroic Thang Long – Hanoi, Steven Tait, from Canada, 35 years old, caused a special impression with his entry written and painted on 5 palm-leaf conical hats.
The time Steven heard the information about the contest 1000 year civilized and heroic Thang Long – Hanoi, the admired the richness of the tradition and history of the 1000-year capital and decided to join the contest.
“Canada is younger than Hanoi at 1,000 years old. When I realize that, I feel lucky to be being living and working in Hanoi,” Steven Tait said.
To answer the 12 questions of the contest, Steven had to look at every source of information on the Internet, library, reading books or asking his friends. At first, he hid his participation in the contest from his colleagues, but being hard-pressed, Steven had to disclose his entry and depend on his Vietnamese friends for consultation and support information.
With further study, Steven better understood the interesting history, country and people of Vietnam. “The entry has to be present corresponding to the history and culture of the country,” he thought to himself.
After many sleepless nights, Steven suddenly flashed an idea. “Non la (Palm-leaf conical hat) and ao dai (traditional long dress) are specific characteristics of the Vietnamese people. Vietnamese women are most beautiful when wearing the graceful ao dai and non la. The charming and gentle beauty is not forgetful,” Steven dreamed
His entry was written on five palm-leaf conical hats with an essay. All are in Vietnamese. Steven said that it is difficult to write on palm-leaf conical hats. It required careful detail. It is harder for him to write the entry following the arc shape. To make the entry more lively, he also attached photos about Hanoi.
The first handwriting on the palm-leaf conical hat excited strange feelings. I sat for five hours continuously to complete the entry on five palm-leaf conical hats,” he said.
He admired volunteers as a child, when coming to Vietnam, Steven found it is easy to be conditional with Vietnamese young people. “In Vietnam, some voluntary activities have not been professional but young people have always done their utmost. That is one of most important factors to build a professional voluntary movement,” he said when evaluating the voluntary movement.
Steven Stait is an information expert for the Volunteerism for Development in Vietnam (VDVN) which was conducted by the Central Committee of Ho Chi Minh Youth Union (HCYU) and United Nations (UN).