The Vietnamese community in Thailand tries to pass on its traditional values to a younger generation born and raised in a foreign country, and the first step is to make sure they learn the Vietnamese language.
by Ngoc Tien
Creating goodwill: Free Vietnamese language classes have become increasingly popular, especially in northeastern provinces such as Mukdahan and Nong Khai. — VNA/VNS Photo Ngoc Tien .
Free Vietnamese language classes have become increasingly popular here, especially in northeastern provinces such as Mukdahan and Nong Khai. These classes are held by the Vietnamese Association in Thailand's Ubon Ratchathani Province. The class is held in the home of an overseas Vietnamese here. Most of the students were school children, along with a few adults who haven't had the chance to speak their mother tongue since they've been in Thailand.
According to Nguyen Quoc Quyen, chairman of the Vietnamese Association in Ubon Ratchathani, in addition to the four classes that the association has set up around the province, there are basic Vietnamese classes at Thai colleges and universities, held to promote trade, investment, tourism and cultural exchanges between the two countries.
"Organising one of these classes in Bangkok met with considerable difficulty, including problems finding a venue in such a crowded city, a knotty commute and the scattering of the Vietnamese population," said Thai Van Hung, deputy chairman of the Vietnamese Association in Bangkok. The first Vietnamese class in Bangkok began three months ago and currently has 20 students.
"None of our students know any Vietnamese, so we are basically teaching foreigners," said Ninh Van Thong, a volunteer teacher at the class held on Sukhumvit Road in Samut Prakan, on the outskirst of Bangkok. "Adding to the difficulty is that we only have two hours a week," said Thong.
In addition to the language classes, on Viet Nam's Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays or National Day, the Vietnamese community in Thailand often holds get-togethers so families can cook traditional Vietnamese foods, speak Vietnamese, sing Vietnamese songs, place offerings on ancestral altars and hang up pictures of President Ho Chi Minh.
"On the Tet holiday, my family make banh chung (glutinous rice square cake), spring rolls and many other traditional dishes," said Hoang Van Toan, a Vietnamese in Bangkok.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Thailand Ngo Duc Thang has praised the effort of the Vietnamese community to preserve and promote traditional values, and he praised thecommunity for its patriotism and for creating healthy relationships among families. — VNS