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Vietnamese writer’s novel translated into Thai

Nguyen Nhat Anh is in Bangkok for the release of the Thai language edition of his popular book “Cho Toi Xin Mot Ve Di Tuoi Tho” (Give me a ticket back to Childhood).

The launch is scheduled for tomorrow (August 24) at the Chulalongkorn University by the Thai Nanmeebooks Publishing House which bought the Thai copyright for the book.

Renowned Thai writers Prapassorn Saewikul and Binlha Sankalakeeree will take part in the ceremony.

“Give me a ticket back to Childhood,” published in 2008, has seen several print reruns and sold around 80,000 copies so far.

The book, which narrates the story of the innocent and playful childhood of four girls and boys, has won a clutch of domestic and regional awards including the Vietnamese Writers’ Association Award in 2009 and the ASEAN Literature Award in 2010.

It has been translated into Thai by Montira Rato.

An English edition will be published in Germany in October before being distributed in the US later by the US-based Hannacroix Creek Books Publisher.

Anh was born in 1955 in the central province of Quang Nam and move to Ho Chi Minh City in 1973. In 1985 he published his first work, “Truoc Vong Chung Ket (Before the final)” and has since become popular among teenagers.

His latest novel, “Toi Thay Hoa Vang Tren Co Xanh” (I saw a yellow flower on the green grass), has sold over 30,000 copies in just two months.

Students hold cultural activities abroad

Vietnamese students studying in New South Wales organised their 14 th annual gala night at the Wesley Mission theatre in the capital city of Sydney on August 20.

The gala, entitled “Memories”, drew nearly 1,000 spectators, who are staff members of Vietnamese representative agencies and students in Australia .

The organisers took this occasion to raise funds to help Agent Orange/dioxin victims in the home country, in response to the call from the Vietnam Fatherland Front Central Committee.

At present, about 26,000 Vietnamese students are studying in Australia , mainly in the states of New South Wales and Victoria .

The same day, the Vietnamese Students’ Association in Malaysia (VSAM) hosted a beauty contest for Vietnamese students in celebration of Vietnam ’s National Day, which falls on Sept. 2.

Nguyen Phuong Dung from Help University was crowned Miss VSAM 2011, while the runners-up titles went to Tran Thi Thuy Duong and Nguyen Thi Bich Hang, both from Sunway University.

Hanoi set to create cultural cuisine area

Along with the night market on the Hang Dao to Dong Xuan pedestrian route, Hanoi will have a cultural cuisine ward in the Old Quarter with special provision for pedestrians.

Dedicated walking paths will be expanded to Hang Buom, Ma May, Hang Giay, Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ta Hien and Dao Duy Tu from the Old Quarter’s core, according to Do Xuan Thuy, Director of the Dong Xuan Joint Stock Company, which was selected to carry out the project.

The expanded walking trail currently boasts many Hanoi treasures, such as architectural works from the 18 th -19 th centuries. Prominent are historic sites such as Bach Ma temple, Quan De communal house and Huong Tuong temple, an ancient house at 87 Ma May street.

The ancient streets are also well known as a home of Hanoi specialties, such as preserved fruits, confectionery, rice and pork paste, shrimp cakes and fried noodles.

Thuy said development of restaurants and food outlets along the streets with diverse types of dishes had partially met the demand of tourists, especially foreigners.

He expressed his belief in the project because his company has eight years of managing the Hang Dao to Dong Xuan night market on weekends.

Formed from the early 15th century and boasting a total area of 81 hectares, the Hanoi Old Quarter in Hoan Kiem district has a boundary of Hang Dau street in the north, Hang Bong, Hang Gai, Cau Go and Hang Thung streets in the south, Tran Nhat Duat and Tran Quang Khai streets in the east and Phung Hung street in the west.

The quarter gathered residents with small handicraft and trade activities, forming specific craft streets. With the unique architecture of 121 historic sites and nearly 1,100 old houses, the quarter is the favourite destination of foreign tourists.

Vietnam national flower features in exhibition

Vietnam’s national flower, the lotus, is being honored at an exhibition organized by the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Culture House’s Fine Arts Club to mark Independence Day, September 2.

“The national flower” showcases more than 50 paintings and many poems about the lotus created by members of the club.

“A lotus always scents and blooms in mud, like an artist always trying to overcome difficulties to create works of art,” Huynh Quang Linh, the head of the club, said.

The exhibition will be on until August 28 at the Ho Chi Minh City Youth Culture House’s, 4 Pham Ngoc Thach Street, District 1.

Japan’s TV makes film on Vietnamese tourism

Beautiful sites in the capital city of Hanoi and several central provinces are expected to become more popular with Japanese people after a documentary film made by the Kansai Telecasting Corporation (KTV) makes debut.

The International Cooperation Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said a KTV delegation is in Vietnam from August 19-25 to make a documentary on the Southeast Asian country’s tourism.

The Japanese film makers will shoot in popular sites in Hanoi and Thua Thien-Hue, Quang Binh and Quang Nam central provinces to capture beautiful landscapes here as well as special cultural identities of the local people.

Vietnam’s ancient hotels and its traditional dishes will be on spotlight of the film.

Thua Thien-Hue province is home to the imperial capital city recognised by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as the world cultural heritage.

The Phong Nha - Ke Bang National Park in Quang Binh province is placed in the UNESCO World Natural Heritage list and Hoi An ancient town and My Son tower in Quang Nam province are recognised by UNESCO as the World Cultural Heritages.

Cultural exchange strengthens ties with Japan

The ninth Vietnam-Japan Cultural Exchange began in the central city of Hoi An on August 20.

The event is jointly organised by the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam, the Japan Foundation Centre for Cultural Exchange in Vietnam (JF), the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the Hoi An municipal People’s Committee.

There will be a wide range of activities within the framework of the three-day exchange featuring traditional poetry, dances and dresses of Japan.

An exhibition displaying activities of the previous eight programmes and a charitable concert will also take place.

Kitamura Toshihiro, Japanese charge d’affaires in Vietnam, praised Hoi An’s thorough preparations of the event and highlighted the Vietnamese people’s assistance to help the Japanese people overcome the devastating consequences of the March earthquake and tsunami.

Many Japanese entrepreneurs had lived and run business in Hoi An since the 16th century and left their influence in the city up to now, he said, referring to Bridge pagoda, which was built by Japanese businessmen in the 17th century, as symbol of cultural exchange of the two countries.

The event, held in every August, receives support from many Japanese organisations and universities.

**Earlier the same day, Hoi An held a seminar to develop a contingent of professional tour guides and special tourism products that suit with the taste of Japanese people.

Truong Van Bay, Vice Chairman of the Hoi An municipal People’s Committee said the city will coordinate with agencies, organisations and individuals to increase cultural exchange with Japan as the plan aims to attract more tourists from the country.

Similarities in customs, practices and beliefs between the two countries will be taken into account in the plan, Bay said.

Many Japanese entrepreneurs had lived and run business in Hoi An since the 16th -17th century and left their influence in the city up to now, including many pieces of Hizen pottery and Bridge pagoda, which was built by Japanese businessmen in the 17th century.

According to preliminary statistics, Japanese arrivals to Hoi An numbered nearly 16,000 a year between 2006 and 2010, ranking sixth of the total number of visitors to the city.

The seminar was part of the Vietnam-Japan Cultural Exchange jointly held by the Hoi An People’s Committee and the Japan International Cooperation Agency.

Miniature gallery at Chuong Gio Cafe

Most Vietnamese people hesitate to visit art galleries due to many reasons, sometimes because of fear of the unknown or their limited knowledge of art.

But there’s an ideal venue which doesn’t require a profound knowledge on fine arts and it also brings a cozy environment, with good music and beverages. That’s Chuong Gio (wind chime) Cafe in HCMC’s District 3.

The coffee which nestles in a very quiet alley off Le Van Sy Street is home to a number of oil on canvas, bas-relief and pottery statues collected by the owner.

Coming to Chuong Gio guests will be make to feel comfortable as the old building features many souvenirs and paintings in strong colors hanging on the walls, old-style clock near the window’s threshold, some home-made wooden tables or some chipped pottery statues scattered around every corner of the coffee shop.

The name wind chime is easily explained as once you open the entrance door you will hear the merry sound of wind chimes to welcome people from the city and far away lands.

According to the owner, all the art works are created by Le Van Dinh, a seasoned artist of stage, photographer Nguyen Lai and sculptor Truong Duc Vinh who spent years learning pottery making in China in the sixties. The works by the three artists do not have the same themes but they blend in well with the surroundings.

Chuong Gio’s ground floor only holds around 50 people and a big stage where themed music and drama shows take place weekly. Another highlight is its ancient lighting, amplifiers and speakers which deliver to guests English jazz, French love songs or other instrumental pieces. Looking at interesting art work and listening to beautiful melodies seem the perfect way to relax, right?

It is a mistake not to mention the shop’s coffee ranging from Arabica, to Robusta to Moka priced from VND32,000 and other milk shakes, smoothies and tea. Food ranges from fried potatoes to noodles and rice - priced from VND25,000.

If you are looking for an escape for an hour or two make your way to Chuong Gio. Maybe the cafe itself means nothing to you but after one visit it will have a special place in your mind as you let all your anxieties vaporize into the air. The beauty of the artworks and warmth of the coffee shop will stay with you long after you leave.

Chuong Gio Cafe is located at 386/5i Le Van Sy Street, District 3, HCMC.

First National Comedy Festival to take place

The National Comedy Festival for northern provinces, the first of its kind in Vietnam, will begin on August 25 in Ha Long city, Quang Ninh.

Around 600 comedians from 22 troupes will perform with six full plays and 45 excerpts featuring daily life in the past and at present as well as during the country’s renewal process.

There will be a gala night on August 31 with famous comedians such as Bao Quoc, Hong Van, Hoai Linh, Xuan Bac, and Tu Long.

The festival will then move south to Ho Chi Minh City for comedians in the southern region in November.

Painter Vu Giang Huong passes away

Painter Vu Giang Huong, former Chairwoman of the National Committee for the Vietnam Union of Literature and Arts Associations, passed away on August 20 at the age of 82.

Vu Giang Huong was born in 1930 in Hanoi to a family with a rich cultural tradition: her father was writer Vu Ngoc Phan and her mother was poet Hang Phuong. She was one of the very first students to graduate from the Hanoi Fine Arts University and studied under many famous Vietnamese painters including To Ngoc Van and Tran Van Can.

She also held a number of important positions such as General Secretary of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association and Vice Rector of the Hanoi Fine Arts University.

In addition to her speciality in silk painting, her graphics and wood sculpture, such as ‘Chua Thay’ (Thay Pagoda), ‘Cau Ham Rong’ (Ham Rong Bridge) and ‘Ben Pha Dem’ (The Night Ferry-Boat) also received high praise from art critics. She was honoured with the State Award for Literature and Arts for her contributions to the country’s fine arts.

She recently published a book entitled ‘Love and Art’, focusing on her family and colleagues.


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