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Statue of Russian great poet Puskin presented to Hanoi

The Russian Writers’ Association has presented a bronze statue of Russian great poet A. S. Puskin to Hanoi on the occasion of the 1,000th birthday of Thang Long-Hanoi.

Vice Chairwoman of the Hanoi Municipal People’s Committee Ngo Thi Thanh Hang received the gift at a ceremony in Hanoi on Dec. 21.

Addressing the ceremony, Hang said the gift, and the current working visit by the Russian Writers’ Association would help strengthen and develop the close ties between the two capital cities of Hanoi and Moscow, as well as the two countries.

The statue, which is 60kg and 72cm high, will be placed at the Huu Nghi (Friendship) Park that is now under construction and is expected to be completed in 2011./

Campaign to preserve folk festivals

Vietnam should carry out a long-term campaign to conserve and develop folk festivals because people from industrialised countries are fascinated by culture of agricultural societies, experts say.

The Tin tuc (News) newspaper cited the experts as saying that the campaign should heighten public awareness of the need to preserving the nation's folk culture and at the same time, intensify to research into rituals and festivals with a view to restoring them authentically.

Concerned agencies should create favourable conditions for the festivals to thrive by supporting ethnic minorities develop economically and improve their living standards.

They stressed the need for macro-level policies to manage and organise these festivals regularly, preserve the national character, and promote the traditional skills and talents of residents, in making various handicraft items for instance.

Folk festivals are "live museums" of cultural and historical value and they play a big part in attracting visitors to the country, the paper said.

In 2000 – when the national programme of action on tourism was launched – the sector chose to develop products associated with 15 major festivals typical to various regions and ethnic minorities.

These included the Long Tong Festival celebrated by the Tay people­the earliest known ethnic group in Vietnam , the Kate Festival of the Cham people and the Ooc Om Bok Festival of the Khmer people.

While the programme aimed to respect and conserve the nation's tradition while meeting the demand of tourists, there have been several inadequacies in implementation, said Hoang Thi Diep, deputy director general of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism.

She said the organising of folk festivals of ethnic minorities in several instances left a lot to be desired because they were "supplemented with modern and miscellaneous cultural aspects" that robbed the events of their authenticity, disappointing visitors.

Some festivals were overly commercialised and some even took advantage of superstitions, Diep said.

Le Thi Minh Ly, deputy director of the Cultural Heritage Department under the Ministry of Culture and Information, said it was necessary to spread accurate information via mass media about the festivals so visitors can also respect and not destroy the festive environment.

"Authorities in localities should also make residents aware of the risk of commercialising their traditional festivals, as also not misuse them for gambling and other negative activities," Ly said.

It is estimated that 7,966 festivals are held every year nationwide, 88 per cent of which are folk festivals.

Festivals of ethnic minorities are usually linked to their daily lives and a valuable social and cultural resource that need to be preserved well, experts said.

Vietnam’s entertainment centre opens in Moscow

A Vietnamese entertainment and food centre named Kowloon International opened in Moscow on December 18.

Prominent at the opening ceremony was Vietnamese Ambassador Bui Dinh Dinh, and representatives from Chinese and Russian associations and businesses.

Kowloon International Chairperson Pham Thi Yen said the centre is expected to become a popular destination for Russians, Vietnamese and other foreigners in the country.

Within the framework of the event, the Vietnam-Russia Bank (VRB) and Lotus Moscow, a real estate company, set up their branches at the centre.

Binh Thuan to host int’l yacht festival

An international yacht festival will take place in the central province of Binh Thuan from Jan. 15-18, 2011, said Ngo Minh Chinh, director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism on Dec. 20.

The “Ship, Sea and Sun” festival will feature an exhibition and performance of 200 yachts, four music gala nights, a light show along with a welcome gala, a series of gala dinners and a closing ceremony.

Additionally, two seminars entitled “Yacht manufacturing, marketing and trading” and “Developing Vietnam’s maritime tourism trademark” will also be held.

20 yachting teams from Russia, Australia, Holland, Sweden, the United States, France, Germany and Italy are expected to attend the event, which is considered a stepping-stone to turning Mui Ne bay into a regional yachting business centre.

Program to develop rural literature kicks off

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Vietnamese Writers Association have worked together in a program to develop rural literature for 2010 to 2020.

Vietnamese writers have produced many famous literary works over the years and have reflected on the beauty of rural life from many regions of Vietnamese culture.

Only writers who have a close attachment with nature could create profound stories such as: Song mon (Desperate life) of Nam Cao, Lang (Village) of Kim Lan, Dat rung Phuong Nam (Southern forest land) of Doan Gioi and Dong song tho au (River of the childhood) of Nguyen Quang Sang.

These stories were written from the authors’ experience of the countryside and their rural life.

Several of Vietnamese writers were born in rural areas. However, the modern life has pulled them away from the cradle of creativity in the countryside.

As a result, they have made their livelihood in urban areas with a rustic manner. To approach young readers, their works join the urban movement but each written page carries a provincial sadness.

A generation of ‘suburb writers’ have moved away from their originality and have tried to work harder and more in touch with civilization.

It is hoped that the program will awake and build up the rural part in the soul of each writer.

Spring Flower Festival 2011 to display 8,000 exhibits

The Spring Flower Festival for 2011 will be held at Tao Dan Park in HCM City from lunar December 25 to lunar January 6, 2011 (January 28 to February 8, 2011).

The annual festival will feature around 8,000 exhibits including bonsai trees, ornamental plants, orchids, cacti, apricots and peach blossoms, ornamental birds, fruit arrangements and rock gardens from more than 600 Vietnamese and foreign artisans and flower clubs.

The annual festival is a traditional, cultural activity in Ho Chi Minh City. It is for the occasion of the Lunar New Year and attracts many people to the city.

Tourists and visitors will have a chance to enjoy many things such as: a bird singing competition, traditional music, folk games, a food fair, painting and a calligraphy exhibition.

Three special music performances will take place in the opening ceremony of the festival, which is the evening of lunar December 25.

The event aims to mark the 11th National Congress of the Communist Party of Vietnam and the 100th anniversary to the day late President Ho Chi Minh left Vietnam to seek a way for national salvation at Ben Nha Rong (Nha Rong Wharf) in 1911.

Exhibitions on television open

A photograph exhibition on Vietnamese television industry opened in Can Tho on December 21 within the framework of the 30th National Television Festival.

On display are 142 best pieces of work selected from 350 entries of 29 television stations.

Lam Kiet Tuong, Deputy General Director of Vietnam Television, said most entries are good in both content and quality, reflecting the tireless efforts of reporters, editors and technicians, especially those working in remote mountain and border areas, and on islands.

Later, the same day, an exhibition on television technologies also opened, in the presence of Tran Binh Minh and Lam Kiet Tuong, both Deputy General Directors of Vietnam Television.

The event showcases different kinds of equipment and services provided by Sony, HD Vietnam, Mtek, Tri Viet and Broadcom, to local television broadcasting stations.

Visitors also had opportunities to find out about production process of television products, programmes and services.

The two exhibitions will last until December 25.

Italy helps My Son World Heritage restoration

Findings on ancient Cham bricks and mortar have contributed to the restoration and conservation of My Son World Heritage.

At a press briefing held in Hanoi on December 21, Italian Ambassador to Vietnam Enzo Angeloni said the result of the second phase of the “Safeguarding of My Son World Heritage” project was attributable to the joint efforts of the Vietnamese and Italian scientists and the assistance of the Italian Government and the UNESCO representative office in Vietnam.

The Italian diplomat said the project is on the Italian Government’s priority list for development cooperation in Vietnam. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the Italian Government will continue assisting Vietnam to implement the third phase of the project.

He introduced a draft manual on the restoration of heritages based on experience gained during the implementation of the project. This publication, in English and Vietnamese, will soon be available at national and international level.

The project, financed by Italy through UNESCO, was carried out with non-refundable aid of US$642,000 in the first phase from 2003 to 2005 and US$453,000 in the second phase from 2006-2010.

Under the project, Italian, UNESCO and Vietnamese experts have conducted research activities and materials analysis and tested building techniques and provided vocational training for officials and management officers of the My Son’s archeological area.

The My Son archeological area, one of the most important relics in Vietnam, was recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site in 1999.

Artist captures General Giap’s activities

As many as 101 photos capturing moments of General Vo Nguyen Giap’s life, taken by photographer Tran Tuan, are on show at an exhibition opening in Hanoi on December 21.

The photos, taken since the 1980s, captured General Giap’s visits to former revolutionary base Tan Trao in Tuyen Quang province, and the former battle field Dien Bien Phu in Dien Bien province.

They also include the General’s meetings with heroic Vietnamese mothers, scientists and historians, former US Defence Minister McNamara and foreign friends.

Photographer Tran Tuan expects that the exhibition, co-sponsored by the Vietnam News Agency and launched on the 66th anniversary of the Vietnam People’s Army (December 22), will be a present to the General on his 101st birthday.


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