Vietnamese beauty shines at Miss Grand International
Khanh, 21, is vying for the title against 74 candidates from many countries and territories around the world at the event.
Her performances were appreciated thanks to her natural beauty and gracefulness in Vietnam’s traditional long dress (Ao Dai) and Non La (traditional conical hat).
Designed by famous designer Thuan Viet, Khanh’s Ao Dai features the beauty of Vietnamese silk and lotus – national flower.
Themed “Stop the war”, the Miss Grand International 2013 pageant, is live broadcast in more than 100 countries, including Vietnam’s Let’s Viet and Fashion TV channels.
Vietnam’s largest gold striped scarf recognised
Vietkings representatives presented a Vietnam Record certification to Phu Nhuan Jewelry Joint Stock Company (PNJ), the maker of the scarf, at a ceremony in HCM City on November 10.
HCM City is hosting the Vietnam International Jewelry Fair 2013 from November 7-11.
The hand-made scarf was 130cm in length and 27cm in width and designed by PNJ with 2,880 gold bars. Bronze drum and flying bird patterns had been carved on each of the gold bars.
The artwork, made of 8k gold, weighs 44.7taels and is valued at more than VND2 billion.
It took PNJ designers and artisans a total of 240 hours to complete the product.
Vietnam promotes culture at ASEAN bazaar in Mexico
Vietnam had the chance to raise its profile at an ASEAN bazaar held at Mexico’s Peralta theatre on November 9.
The 2013 event brought together representatives from Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand. It aimed to deepenunderstanding of cultural identities and increase friendship and cooperation among the five countries, as well as with the host nation.
At the opening ceremony, Thai ambassador to Mexico Chirachai Punkrasin reviewed major milestones in the development process of ASEAN since its establishment and emphasised key challenges faced by the organisation.
The Vietnamese stand attracted many visitors due to its unique display of tourist information guides, handicrafts and traditional costumes such as the Ao Dai and conical hats.
A third-year student from Mexicana University, Graciela Fernández, expressed delight at tasting traditional Vietnamese dishes, helping her learn more about Vietnam’s sophisticated culinary art.
She expressed her desire to visit the capital city, Hanoi, the UNESCO-recognized World Heritage site of Ha Long Bay, and the Mekong River Delta to explore Vietnam’s natural beauty and landscape and experience the fascinating culture and hospitality of the local people.
Art and craft groups from various nationalities performed music, martial arts and a fashion show, as well as exhibiting traditional foods, handicrafts and garments at the bazaar.
Hanoi lights up for Diwali festival
The event, co-organised by the Indian embassy and the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam (INCHAM), marked the 41st anniversary of diplomatic ties and sixth anniversary of the strategic partnership between Vietnam and India.
INCHAM said that this year’s festival introduced special cultural programs from Indian art groups and other nations in Southeast Asia including dance, music, traditional cuisines, fashion shows and folk games. In particular there were special pavilions set up to introduce and demonstrate India’s culture, handicrafts and culinary arts.
Hindu’s Diwali festival is as significant as Christmas and is similar to the Buddhists’ Lunar Year Festival. It has been celebrated in India’s long-standing culture for centuries and has been held in many other nations across the world for years.
First Vietnam-Japan piano festival opens
Tokyo hosted the first Vietnam-Japan piano festival on November 9 to mark the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between the two nations.
Vietnamese ambassador to Japan Doan Xuan Hungdelivered aa speech emphasising how significant the event was in the context of the growing ties between the two nations.
He talked at length about how bilateral relations have increasingly developed over recent years with a series of economic, cultural and educational exchanges.
This is a valuable opportunity for pianists from both countries to perform in front of large foreign audiences, he said, adding that it is also an excellent chance for both nations to promote their culture and traditions and learn from each other through various diverse musical activities.
The concert has received thunderous applause from Japanese friends and audiences.Nguyen Le Binh An – a 16-year-old pianist, studying at the Vietnam National Academy of Music, was invited by the organising board to perform with Japanese artists.
The early stages of the festival saw a successful rendition of Mozart’s Concerto No 7, delivered bya 21-year old Japanese musictalent AiriKatada and Binh An. Despite having only met days earlier it was a pitch-perfect performance by the two young artists.
Meanwhile, a female pianist from Japan, Ayuko Higuchi treated audiences to a medley of music from famous composers such as Mozart, Bizet and Chopin.
Ayuko also performed a series ofspeciality pieces originally derived from Vietnamese folk songs like Ly Ngua O (Black Horse Melody), Trong Com (Rice Drum), and Beo Dat May Troi (Floating Water Lily and Wandering Cloud).
Ayuko Higuchi is a highly successful pianist in Japan winningseveral prestigious prizes and certificates of merit from the Japanese Education Minister. She has delivered outstanding performances in many nations including the US and France and inparticular Vietnam Festival 2008 with the accompaniment of Japan’s Crown Prince Naruhito.
President of Global Citizenship Club Kawashima Keiko was hugely impressed by the performance of young Vietnamese talent BinhAn who excecuted Franz Liszt’s masterpieces with the same confidence as a world famous musician.
Another Japanese spectator, Watanabe Mihoko, said that she was compelled to attend the festival as it reminded her of the time when she and her husband lived in Vietnam. She added that both sides shouldorganise more similar music festivals so that both nations have the opportunity to share musical experiences.
New directors show changing face of film
Trung, 23, who graduated from Ha Noi’s Cinema and Stage College, is hopeful production on the film can start next May.
Trung and his peers joined the four-day workshop, the Autumn Meet, last week, under the guidance of Vietnamese-French director Tran Anh Hung, plus local directors Phan Dang Di and Bui Thac Chuyen.
“I hope my short film screenplay can win sponsorship for production. I have produced four or five short films so far and I want to make something new from a different angle, focusing on the lifestyles of young people,” Trung said.
“Young men are always dynamic and eager to travel around the world. That’s the reason I decided to choose a tough topic for this film. I want to explore their desires, inner thoughts and dreams,” he said.
Trung’s film script tells the life of an elevator operator in a trading centre. His only job is to press the floor button that visitors want to reach. It’s his daily mission and he find it very boring. However, his life changes when a pretty young girl arrives to work for a fashion company on the fourth floor.
He feels elated whenever the elevator stops at the fourth floor because he can see her when the door opens.
He dreams that he falls in love with that girl on a white sandy beach.
The elevator operator is then devastated when the girl changes her position and he can no longer see her face from the elevator.
He finally quits his job and leaves the city on a bus.
Where he leaves for, nobody knows.
Trung said he planned to shoot the film at a trading centre in Ha Noi and Bai Tu Long Bay in Ha Long city.
He said investment for the film would need to meet VND112 million (US$5,300).
Trung’s short film, Ca Chuoi (Mother Never Cries), won first prize at a short film contest in Cambodia in March.
The story is about a middle-aged woman who tries everything to find a girl to sleep with her mentally-challenged son. She fastidiously denies that there is anything wrong with her son and expects a grandson to maintain the family line.
Trung said the film was completed in six months with an investment of VND24 million ($1,100).
At the Autumn Meet, Da Nang-born Nguyen Trong Khoi also introduced his screenplay Tinh Yeu va Du Hanh Thoi Gian.
Khoi tells the story of a college student and his female teacher.
The final-year student falls in love with the stubborn teacher strives to express his love and persuade the woman to reciprocate. He eventually finds true love.
Khoi’s first short film, Khong Co Gi Quy (Even Just for One Day), was selected to compete at an international competition.
Autumn Meet organiser Dang Hoai Nam said it was the first time the event had been held in Da Nang City.
“They are the youngest generation of film directors in Viet Nam. The event was a chance for them to gain experience from senior and famous directors,” Nam said.
“We hope Da Nang will host an International Film Festival next year. Da Nang and the central region needs to develop its film industry,” Nam said, adding that Autumn Meet would be organised annually in the central region to help this goal.
Australians school VN staff on heritage
Two Australian experts are training the staff of Vietnamese libraries in cultural heritage conservation towards ensuring the sustainability of these institutions.
The conservation training project is funded by the Australian International Cultural Council through the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the National Gallery of Australia.
Paper conservator Fiona Kemp and Preventive Conservator Lisa Addison from the National Gallery of Australia are conducting the training for two weeks at the HCM City General Science Library.
Later, staff of provincial libraries in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue and Ha Tinh will also receive the training.
In addition to providing both theoretical and practical grounding to participants, the Australian experts also want to learn from Viet Nam about local materials, techniques for treatment and what it take to work effectively in a tropical environment.
Australian Consul General John McAnulty said libraries were vital institutions in every community in that they are repositories of knowledge and history and greatly facilitate learning among people from all walks of life.
As such, it is important to preserve library material and content of all forms, he said.
Grand commemoration to honour Tran dynasty
A grand commemoration of the 705th anniversary of the Nirvana attainment of King-Monk Tran Nhan Tong, the founder of Vietnamese Zen Buddhism, will be held at the Yen Tu religious and historical site in Quang Ninh Province from December 1-3.
The celebration will also include the unveiling of a bronze statue of the King-Monk, according to the Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha (VNBS). Shaped by craftsmen in Dai Bai, a traditional bronze casting village in Bac Ninh Province, the statue stands 15m high and weighs 150 tonnes. It will sit atop Yen Tu Mountain.
Tran Nhan Tong (1258-1308), the third king of the Tran dynasty, ascended the throne when he was just 21. He is famous for defeating Mongol invaders twice during his 15-year reign.
The King abdicated the throne when he was 35 and spent the rest of his life on Yen Tu Mountain practising and propagating Buddhism. He founded the Truc Lam School of Zen and worked to unify different Vietnamese Buddhism sects into Vietnamese Zen Buddhism.
The VNBS is working with relevant agencies to submit documents to UNESCO to ask for World’s Cultural Celebrities recognition for the King.
Other commemorative activites will include religious ceremonies and a workshop entitled The Yen Tu Tourism and Historical Relic: Orientation and Development.
Korean culinary treats await Hanoians
A Korean food festival will be held in Ha Noi next weekend (November 16-17), South Korea’s Embassy in Viet Nam has said.
Visitors to Calidas Keangnam Hotel’s garden will have the chance to enjoy culinary treats and music shows by famous troupes of both countries, along with fashion shows of ao dai (Vietnamese traditional dress) and hanbok (Korean traditional dress), film screenings and lucky draws.
Last year’s event attracted about 70,000 visitors.
Participants raise their cups at Thai Nguyen Tea Festival
Addressing the ceremony on Saturday, Chairman of the National Assembly Nguyen Sinh Hung praised farmers and businesses for their efforts to make Viet Nam’s tea internationally famous.
He thanked the international community for their assistance to the development of the tea sector in Viet Nam.
He said he believed that together with endeavours made by Thai Nguyen and other tea-growing localities, Viet Nam’s tea industry would further mature and the tea culture would grow in stature both at home and abroad.
The wide range of activities during the three-day event include a tea culture festival, a tea carnival, plus the final round of a beauty contest for young women from tea growing areas.
Other activities taking place before and during the festival include a photo exhibition depicting tea production and the people of the province hard at work.
Festival goers can enjoy a market specialising in tea products and cultural items from Viet Nam’s various ethnic groups.
To further develop the Vietnamese tea industry, a workshop was held to discuss Thai Nguyen tea, which was recently recognised by the Asian Records Organisation.
The workshop yesterday gathered several scientists, researchers, businessmen and specialists in the tea business. Representatives from the Viet Nam Tea Association, the Viet Nam Tea Corporation, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, as well as those from tea-growing provinces, including Phu Tho, Ninh Binh, Tuyen Quang, Bac Can, Lang Son and Cao Bang, joined the event.
During the workshop, lecturers presented reports on the reality of tea farming and processing in Viet Nam; analysis on the market and elements affecting the industry’s economic value; plus how to build up and promote the “Thai Nguyen Tea” trademark.
The provincial tea industry’s current challenges were also mentioned, including the low-yield traditional processing method, limited range of products, unattractive packaging, inappropriate marketing strategies, plus tea growers’ lack of market knowledge and promotion skills.
At present, Viet Nam ranks fifth among countries with the largest tea growing areas, boasting 130,000ha, of which 18,600ha are in Thai Nguyen.
Thanks to a favourable land and weather conditions, Thai Nguyen tea products are presented in many cities and provinces nationwide and are also exported to foreign markets.
The province’s annual tea output is around 185,000 tonnes. Annual exports of dried tea amount to 7,000 tonnes, earning more than US$10.7 million, equivalent to 11 per cent of the country’s tea export turnover.
Thai Nguyen’s products are available in many countries and territories, including the US, Canada, China, Japan, India, Taiwan, Russia, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
Eighty-one tea growers and three foreign delegations are taking part in the three-day Thai Nguyen Tea Festival, which will wrap up today.
Short stories return to the airwaves
In September, HTV 9 launched the 90-minute Rubic Nhieu Mat (The Multifaceted Rubik’s Cube), a film about young people and their desire to become rich.
HTV9 airs newly made films of this length every Sunday at 3pm. VTV1 broadcasts films at 9.30pm every Sunday, beginning last month.
HTV and VTV now have nearly 50 new films.
HTV films like Tam Hon Tre Tho (Children’s Soul) and Nu Cuoi Cua Gau Con (Young Bear’s Smile) focus on family happiness while the film Ngay Tro Ve (Day to Come Back) is about same-sex relationships.
“The film scripts are written by well-known writers, ” said Pham Thi Dung, director of Kiet Tuong Film Co.
Kiet Tuong Co has signed a contract to provide 25 short films to HTV for the coming months.
“Many popular artists including Anh Thu, Huynh Dong, Le Be La and Huy Khanh will act in the films,” Dung said.
“Writing scripts for 90-minute films is not easy,” writer Nguyen Thi Thu Hue, deputy head of VTV Editorial Committee said. “VTV selected only 10 from 120 scripts for production. We want to introduce films with good quality to TV viewers.”
Many films, including Me Chong Toi (My Mother-in-law), Chim Phong Sinh (Releasing Birds) and Mua Sen (Lotus Season), aired two decades ago.
These shorter films were replaced by imported and locally made multi-episode TV series as television and film studios, some of whom are also major advertisers, earned profits from adverts paid by businesses during broadcasts.
“We’re tired of seeing lengthy TV series, with too much love, jealousy and revenge,” said second-year student Nguyen Thi Minh of HCM City Economics College.
Minh said an increasing number of locally made series were being aired on national TV networks, but audiences were displeased with the quality of the offerings.
“I like the short film Nu Xe (A Female Bus Driver) that was on VTV recently,” movie fan Tran Le Ngoc said. “Details of the film were interesting.”
“Film directors’ talents are reflected in 90-minute films. In multi-episode TV series, directors must follow scripts,” well-known film director Bui Huy Thuan said. “I welcome 90-minute film programmes.”
“Directors’ skills will corrode if they only make TV dramas,” said celebrated director Khai Hung to Tuoi Tre (Youth) daily.
However, costs to make 90-minute films are concerned by many film producers.
“The funding we received for a 90-minute film is equal to a TV drama episode,” said director Nguyen Duong. “But the time needed to make the film is longer, twice that of a TV episode.”
“Many well-known artists refuse to act in short films. They choose multi-episode series with months or year-long contracts to get more money,” said Quoc Anh, an official of Quoc Minh Film Co.
“Shorter films also have fewer adverts,” Anh said.
“Despite difficulties and challenges ahead, we’re determined to make 90-minute films for television to cater to viewers’ diverse tastes,” said Do Lan Huong, director of VTV Advertisement Co.
Art performance commemorates Truong Son soldiers
President Truong Tan Sang attended the event, which was also part of a charity campaign dedicated to the Truong Son soldiers.
According to Nguyen Tan Phong, Editor in Chief of Saigon Giai phong (Liberated Saigon) newspaper and head of the campaign’s organising board, four years after its launch, the charity campaign has raised 140 billion VND (6.6 million USD).
The money has been used to build memorial houses for fallen soldiers and houses for war veterans and fallen soldiers’ families, restore historical relics along the trail as well as to build schools and present scholarships to children in disadvantaged areas.
Songs on heroic soldiers and young volunteers who were ready to sacrifice their life to ensure the flow of supply to the southern battlefields were performed at the event, and benefactors of the charity campaign shared their feelings and deep gratitude towards Truong Son soldiers.
The Truong Son or Ho Chi Minh Trail which runs along the Truong Son Range was the key supply route from the north to the south of Vietnam during the war. It was the site of numerous fierce battles.
Nam Dinh to seek UNESCO recognition for musical genre
The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has asked the northern province of Nam Dinh to compile a dossier seeking UNESCO’s recognition of the Chau Van (spiritual singing) ritual as a piece of intangible cultural heritage of humanity.
Chau Van, which has national heritage status already, was created during the Tran Dynasty (1225-1400) and Nam Dinh province is considered its birthplace.
The highly rhythmic and trance-oriented form of singing often takes place during rituals to honour the Mother Goddesses and connect to other gods. It is performed mostly at temples and pagodas.
The music and poetry performed in the folk art are mingled with a variety of rhythms, pauses, tempos, stresses and pitches. The genre has also adopted folk songs from the highlands of the north, centre and south. The main musical instrument used in the genre is Dan Nguyet (moon-shaped lute).
Vietnam now has seven examples of world intangible heritage listed by UNESCO, namely Hue’s royal court music; Gong space culture in the Central Highlands; Quan ho (love duet) singing; the Giong festival; Ca Tru ceremonial singing; Xoan singing; and the Worship of the nation founders Hung Kings.
Hanoi prepares for Vietnam Cultural Heritage Week
The capital city of Hanoi will be the venue of the Vietnam Cultural Week from November 19-23, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism announced at a press briefing in Hanoi on November 8.
The week of events, culminating in Vietnam Cultural Heritage Day, will honour the values of Vietnam’s cultural and natural heritage sites, especially the UNESCO-recognised ones.
It will also offer a chance for localities which are home to the heritage sites to exchange experience in preservation efforts.-
Korean culture centre holds Vietnam art exhibition
The Korean Culture Centre in Hanoi on November 7 opened a painting exhibition called “Sympathetic”, which will last until November 20.
Painter Trieu Khac Le, who brought 21 works in oil and acrylic to the exhibition, uses his art to explore the ancient Vietnamese countryside.
Meanwhile, artist Le Van Thin has used lacquer to create nine Hanoi autumn pictures.
The “Sympathetic” exhibition displays harmony between the two artists and nature.
Director of the Republic of Korea’s centre Park Nark Jong said it will continue presenting diverse types of art which aim to foster bilateral cultural exchanges.
Artist turns up the heat, revives ancient celadon
Artist Nguyen Viet of Hanoi’s An Da village gave up ballet to pursue a dream he had been nurturing of reviving an ancient celadon that had long been non-existent. Radio The Voice of Vietnam finds out more.
Artist Nguyen Viet of An Da village on the outskirts of Hanoi has revived the celadon from the Ly dynasty in the 11th century after many years of painstaking research and effort. Bui Thi Hy, a merchant of the 15th century, was believed to be the first person to introduce Vietnamese celadon pottery products of the Ly and Tran dynasties abroad.
The 75-year-old Viet was the first director of the ballet troupe of the Vietnam National Opera and Ballet Theater. His life-long career spanned ballet, archaeology and pottery. Forty years ago, Viet directed a number of famous ballet performances, one of which won him the Ho Chi Minh Award in 2002.
However, he gave up ballet to pursue a dream he had been nurturing of reviving an ancient celadon that had long been non-existent. Viet said: “I worked at a pottery kiln when I was 7. I gave up the job at 11 when revolution came to my home village. I then worked as art director for a musical troupe. Pottery-making has been my family’s tradition for hundreds of years and that explains why I turned to this craft in the end.”
Celadon is the most sophisticated and difficult enamel for an artisan to produce. It requires timely and precise firing and ventilating techniques.
Viet has put all of his time, wealth, and efforts into pottery-making.
“It was extremely difficult to find the necessary materials to produce celadon. I’ve had to travel to any place across the country where I could possibly find them,” he said.
Viet began his research in 1979 and found success in 1991. His house is now filled with hundreds of pottery products, whose glaze stands outfrom any other at home or abroad. Celadon, with its mystical jade green colour, is irresistibly attractive to pottery lovers and creating its fragilebeauty is a huge challenge to a potter.
Viet has succeeded in reviving the five colours of Dong Thanh celadon: jade green, coffee, black, rice water, and pickle. Each of these has a unique formula using natural materials fired at high temperatures.
He said: “Each nation has its own distinctive characteristics and so does pottery. This is a unique culture that needs to be brought back to life.”
Viet has put all his love and pride into his products. The more passionate he is about Dong Thanh celadon, the more worried he becomes. “I want to contribute as long as I live. I have been able to revive the celadon of the Ly dynasty but there remain those of the Tran, Le, and Mac dynasties.
I’m afraid that after I die no one will do this anymore,” he said.
Viet has passed down his passion and knowhow to some young potters. Nguyen Thu, 24, said that meeting Viet was a turning point in his life.
Viet’s products and his advice quickly mesmerised the young man, who gave up his job and started making pottery.
Thanks to Viet’s teaching, Thu has quickly acquired most pottery and celadon production techniques. “Viet is a culturist and everything about him is about culture. Peace of mind is crucial in pottery making. People who lack patience will not succeed,” said Thu.
The Dong Thanh celadon that once was found only at the Brussels Museum has been revived in Vietnam, its homeland. Nguyen Viet’s success has not only revived a precious cultural value but also highlighted the deftness and dexterity of Vietnamese craftsmen.-
Japanese animation festival breathes fresh air into HCMC arts scene
The festival is the largest of its kind to be held in HCMC, offering the city’s cinemagoers 29 famous Japanese feature and short films, such as Mai Mai Miracle, Oshin, Wolf Children, A Letter to Momo, Rainbow Butterflies, and Love Strikes.
As part of the festival, Japanese animation directors and producers will share their thoughts about the development of cinematography in the new era at an exchange with Vietnamese cinema fans and professionals.
Free tickets to the event are available at the BHD Star Cineplex Icon 168 in the Bitexco Financial Tower, 2 Hai Trieu Street, District 1. Audiences should bring their Identity Card, as there is a limit of two free tickets for each person.
The event has been jointly organised by the Japan General Consulate in HCMC, the Japan Agency for Cultural Affairs and the Japan Image Council to mark Vietnam-Japan Friendship Year 2013 and the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between the two countries.