The Vietnam Buddhist Church last week kicked off construction of Truc Lam Phuong Hoang Zen Monastery in Nham Son Commune, Yen Dung District, Bac Giang Province, reports VietnamPlus.
The Zen monastery is designed with many towers and temples, and architectural and art works on Nham Bien Mountain Range in Minh Nhuong Hamlet.
The project is being implemented out of the wish of local Buddhism believers to preserve, honor and promote intangible cultural values of Truc Lam Zen in the mountainous area.
The Zen Monastery is believed to contribute to promoting spiritual and cultural travel to the area which is already home to multiple pagodas, historic relics and tourist attractions including Tay Yen Tu relics, Vinh Nghiem Pagoda and Kiep Bac Temple.
Especially, Truc Lam Phuong Hoang will house bibliographies, dharma materials of Truc Lam Zen, a Vietnamese strain of Zen Buddhism created by King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308), the third king of the Tran dynasty.
Next Top Model to sue contestants for US$714,000
Aspiring models Hoang Anh and Phuong Nghi, as well as another contestant on Vietnam’s Next Top Model 2011, are likely to be sued by the show’s producers for allegedly leaking information about the program on the Internet.
Le Thi Quynh Trang, Executive Producer of the program, which is modeled after the internationally known America’s Next Top Model, said in an interview with Dat Viet newspaper last week that the show’s creators may seek legal action against the young models, as the leak caused a public stir which damaged the show’s reputation.
The leak appeared online last week, in the form of a picture said to capture the four finalists, Le Thi Thuy, Nguyen Thi Thuy Trang, Tra My, and Hoang Thi Thuy in a Singaporean fashion show, that quickly spread through the Internet.
The show is currently on its 9th episode, with eight potential winners remaining, so the revelation of the final four models came as a surprise.
Episodes of Vietnam’s Next Top Model are filmed well ahead of their air date, so it is important that those involved with the show’s production do not let details of upcoming episodes slip to the public. According to Trang, strict rules regarding information security dominate the contracts signed by contestants on the show, much like on the American version.
“We have made them sign three contracts in total, one in the semi-final round, one when they got to their common house, and one before they leave the show.”
“We have also repeatedly emphasized the importance of safeguarding the program’s information. They are all adults now, therefore when they violate what they have agreed to do; they have to be held responsible.”
Trang said the producer’s legal representatives had collected sufficient evidence regarding the leak, and would summon the three models who are believed to be behind it to their office for further legal discussion.
She also added that many viewers had said the leak spoiled the program’s remaining episodes, and that they did not want to follow the show anymore. Given this fact, the show will likely lose viewers and revenue from advertisements, with Trang confirming that “An estimated compensation of VND 5 billion (US$ 238,000) from each contestant is what we would like, since they caused such harm to the program’s reputation and financial state. Such actions are prohibited in Rule 13 of the contract.”
Vietnam’s Next Top Model, which is in its second season, also drew attention when Hoang Oanh, who was eliminated in the 8th episode last week, publicly criticized the show, its organizers, and panel members on her personal Facebook page.
Oanh wrote that “The show has taken many things from me, all of them. I hate it. I hate it all” on her status, and she also commented that she had been treated unfairly on the show and that the program was following a pre-arranged plot.
Judge member Do Manh Cuong, one of the top fashion designers in Vietnam, fought back, calling the young model “uneducated” while saying he would never allow Hoang Oanh to participate in his shows because of her arrogant and self-centered behavior.
Thrilling ox race to come back in early Dec
The annual ox race at An Giang Province’s That Son Mountain area, which has proved to be attractive to local and foreign visitors, will take place at Tho Mit Pagoda, Vinh Trung District on December 1.
The traditional festival of Khmer people to celebrate the planting of the autumn-winter crop has become a sporting event. The tournament will feature many best pairs of oxen selected from the province. Most of the oxen have a strong posture with a big head, straight back, solid bone, long tail, small ear, round neck and gentle eyes.
The competition will come with two rounds: ‘ho’ (shouting) and ‘tha’ (releasing). The ho round can be considered the qualifying round and the tha round the final. Both rounds display the strength of the oxen and the skills of their riders.
In the ho round, each pair of oxen has to go around the fighting ground two times for warming up and if any pair steps on the harrow of another, it will lose. However, in the 120 meter-long tha round, those stepping on the harrow of others will win. This round is the heart of the contest and the most boisterous time which thrills and excites viewers.
Along with the race, local authorities in An Giang Province will also hold many cultural and tourism festivities and workshops to promote Khmer people’s culture to visitors.
Chinese paintings, calligraphy on show in Hanoi
The Vietnam-China Friendship Association coordinated with the China-Vietnam Friendship Association to hold a painting and calligraphy exhibition of Chinese artists in Hanoi on Nov. 28.
The exhibition, part of the ASEAN-China friendship cultural exchange programme to celebrate 20 years of ASEAN-China dialogue, displays 35 works by nine Chinese artists.
Addressing the exhibition, Bui Hong Phuc, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam-China Friendship Association, said that the cultural exchange between the two countries has been increased, with activities in many fields including artistic performances, literature, calligraphy and painting.
At the exhibition, visitors can view and understand the traditions of Chinese painting more deeply. It is also an opportunity for Vietnamese and Chinese artists to meet and exchange information about their craft.
TV satirist ousted from singing contest
Singer Phuong Linh and her partner, TV satirist Dinh Tien Dung, were the next couple to be ousted from VTV3’s singing contest “Just the Two of Us” yesterday.
The pair lost to actor Quach Ngoc Ngoan and singer Ngoc Anh in the knockout song round that decided who would stay after the two couples had the same scores for their official performances.
Dinh Tien Dung said he and his partner felt lucky to make it this far and that being in the finale did not matter to him. Yesterday’s show saw an outstanding performance by singer Doan Trang and MC Tran Thanh who got the highest total scores of the night.
For their part, pop star Dam Vinh Hung and actress Kim Thu continued to impress more with their acting than singing.
The show’s finale night will be held on December 4 in Ho Chi Minh City.
Vietnam lights up for HIV patients
More than 3,000 people lit up candles across Vietnam last weekend to pray for people who have lost their lives to HIV and those who are living with it, VnExpress reported Monday.
At 19h40 – 20h30 on November 27, candles were lit up at 23 venues in 20 provinces, including Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi.
Held by members of the Vietnam Civil Society Partnership Platform on AIDS to mark the World Aids Day on December 1, the event titled “Thap Sang Ngon Lua Yeu Thuong” (Lighting up the flame of love) aims to raise public awareness about the disease and fight against social stigma.
Vietnam is among countries most heavily affected by HIV/AIDS in Asia Pacific. Every year there are more than 10,000 new cases, mostly drug users, sex workers, and MSM (men who have sex with men).
It has been estimated that one out of every 5 drug users in Vietnam is suffering from HIV.
Vietnam, Cambodia agree on cultural exchange
Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Thien Nhan has underlined the need for Vietnam and Cambodia to pay more attention to cultural exchanges between border provinces.
At a meeting with Cambodian Minister of Culture and Arts Him Chhem, in Hanoi, on November 28, Deputy PM Nhan called for greater efforts to boost cooperation between Vietnam and Cambodia in the field of culture and arts.
Minister Him Chhem said during its stay in Vietnam the Cambodian delegation held a working session with the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, during which the two sides agreed to step up their cultural and artistic cooperation, especially between border localities.
He also stressed the need for the two sides to enhance the exchange of artistic troupes and experience, saying there will be 30 Cambodian artists coming to perform in Vietnam in the near future.
VND 1,500 billion to preserve ethnic cultures
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, in co-operation with the Dak Nong provincial People’s Committee, held a conference yesterday on implementing a VND 1,500 billion project (US$72 million) to preserve and promote the culture of ethnic minority groups in Vietnam until 2020.
The project comprises six components focusing on making an inventory of the cultural heritages of ethnic minorities, improving the capacity to preserve and promote ethnic cultures, eliminating unsound customs and combining economic development with cultural conservation.
The first phase of the project will run from now until 2015 and the second phase will be from 2016 to 2020.
The first phase, invested with VND 1,030 billion (around US$49.5 million), aims to preserve the endangered cultures of ethnic minority groups with fewer than 5,000 members. 50 to 60% of ethnic hamlets are expected to have their own cultural houses in this period, and this number is expected to be raised to 70-80% in the next phase.
The second phase, capitalised at VND 481.3 billion (US$23.1 million), is aimed at the endangered cultures of ethnic minorities with between 5,000 and 10,000 members. The money will also be used to support ethnic districts in developing at least two traditional crafts or specific tourism activities each to help alleviate poverty and promote socio-economic development.
The funding for the project comes mainly from the State budget, the National Target Programme on Culture, and funds collected from donors at home and abroad, among other sources.