Art & Entertainment News in Brief
Camp for disabled to open in HCM City
More than 7,000 people with disabilities in HCM City and neighbouring provinces will take part in the 2015 Camp for Disabled People in HCM City on Sunday.
Organised by the city's Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs in co-operation with its partners, the event is part of the city's cultural and charity activities to celebrate the International Day of Persons with Disabilities (December 3).
It will include a buffet party and cultural programmes and games. More than 500 volunteers will support the participants during the camp.
Dozens of local and foreign organisations and companies have donated over VND1.9 billion (US$86,000) for the event.
The camp will begin at 9am this Sunday at the Suoi Tien Cultural Tourist Park in District 9.
Doi Cave in Cao Bang province becomes National Relic Site
The Doi Cave tourist attraction in Ha Lang district in the northern mountainous province of Cao Bang was awarded the National Relic Site title on November 26.
The Doi Cave is created by natural erosion through thousands of years in the middle of a limestone mountain in Lung Sum hamlet, Dong Loan commune, Ha Lang district.
Running 1000m deep into the mountain with an average height of 40m, the cave has three chambers and two storeys separated by stone walls and stone windows.
The first opening has many layers of glistening stone reminding people of silver or golden waterfalls. The floor of the cave has many stalagmites in the form of cakes or pools of crystal water.
In the second chamber, with a length of 200m, stalagmites stack up to form mountains with terraced rice fields, or fairy paddy fields as they are called by local residents, surrounded by clear water and hundreds of silver waterfalls.
The third part of the cave has two storeys. The first storey is around 80m high with rocks in various shapes and sizes.
The second storey has an average height of 60m, winding in the shape of a semi-circle. From the ceiling of the cave, stalactites hang down in harmony with rising stalagmites.
Bright yellow stalagmites rise in the deepest part of the cave, looking like solid stone columns propping up the ceiling.
With its magnificent beauty, the Doi Cave has attracted many local and international visitors.
The cave is the second national relic site in Ha Lang district after the Stone Steles in Sung Phuc Pagoda was recognised in 1993.
Cao Bang authorities pin their hopes on the Doi Cave, the Sung Phuc Pagoda and other beauty spots in the province such as the Ban Gioc Waterfall and Nguom Ngao Cave to draw more tourists to the province, thus promoting the social-economic development in the border areas.
Children's books speak to the heart
The winners of a ‘writing for children' contest received their awards in Ha Noi yesterday.
The awards included two first, two second and two third prizes in two categories of short story writing and picture book writing.
The first prizes went to the picture book Nguoi Ban Tuyet Voi (Wonderful Friend) by illustrator Ta Lan Hanh and the short story entitled Hoang Tu Rom (Straw Prince) by Nguyen Thi Kim Hoa.
"I have been writing for children for a long time. The prize will encourage me in my future work. It's great that my efforts are recognised," author Hoa said. She is a volunteer teacher from the central Ninh Thuan Province.
Her short story aims to give strength to unfortunate people and help them find joy in their lives.
Meanwhile, Hanh's Wonderful Friend won the panel's hearts with a simple story about friendship and beautiful water-colour pictures.
"I knew that I was shortlisted, but didn't know who would win the big prize. It is a great surprise for me to win the first prize," illustrator Hanh said.
"I really want to thank my Danish teachers, artist Tove Krebs Lange and writer Sally Altschuler, who gave me latest illustration methods and helped me to understand children's psychology," she said.
From Da Nang, Hanh is now a contributor at the Kim Dong Publishing House. She attended four workshops on writing for children that were jointly held by the Kim Dong House and the Danish embassy in Ha Noi, under a 10-year project on children's books from 2006 to 2015.
"Denmark is proud to have contributed to the development of Vietnamese literature for children through our 10 years of co-operation with Kim Dong Publishing House," Danish Ambassador Charlotte Laursen said at the award ceremony.
"Across cultural differences, we have found ways to make magical books, which talk directly to children and enable them to comprehend and understand all kind of topics and human situations."
Under the project, hundreds of interesting books and picture books have been published and distributed to children over the years. About 40 trips to 16 rural and remote provinces have been organised, giving children the opportunity to read books and discover the magic of reading.
Eight contests were launched during the past 10 years, receiving nearly 4,000 literary works, such as 216 picture books by amateur and professional artists.
Several Danish children's books by Soren Jessen, Tove Krebs Lange, Sally Altschuler and Birde Poulsen, besides Jan Kjaer Jensen and Merlin P Mann were translated into Vietnamese.
Books co-authored by Vietnamese and Danish writers were also published, such as Mot Chuyen Di (A Trip), Popo Tim Ban (Popo Finds Friend) and the Luc Buc Stories series.
"The children's book project is an amazing connection between Vietnamese and Danish writers and artists," Le Thi Dat, the project director, said.
"It is also an impressive connection between the creators and readers. This connection and its fruits will be continued by the Kim Dong House," Dat said.
The best seven books selected from more than 50 awarded books over the years were reprinted on the occasion of the end of the project.
Schools add Cor language to curriculum
The central province plans to introduce the language of the Cor ethnic group in the primary school curriculum in Nam Tra My and Bac Tra My districts.
The two districts have the largest populations of the ethnic group in the country.
The provincial ethnic board said almost all written languages of ethnic groups in the province had disappeared.
Researchers from the Viet Nam Institute for Lexicographic and Encyclopaedic Dictionary revived the language of the group by completing a study project on the alphabets and then compiling a textbook of the Cor language.
The department of science and technology in collaboration with agencies in the province will begin printing textbooks and teaching documents for introducing the language in primary schools in the two districts.
There are 33,000 Cor people living in Quang Ngai, Quang Nam and Kon Tum.
Quang Nam is home to 5,300 Cor people.
The Cor language is seen as the second language that has been revived in the province after the language of the Co Tu people.
The province has 11 ethnic groups living in six mountainous districts, among which Co Tu people have the largest population, totalling 45,000.
VN, Korea singers to headline festival
Vietnamese and South Korean pop artists will perform at a festival jointly organised by the culture, sports and tourism ministry, the South Korean embassy and the Korean Association in Ha Noi.
The artists who will perform are Viet Nam's Minh Hang and Thanh Duy, and Baek Ji-young, Jung Jun-ha and the Nolza Band from South Korea.
The two-day festival, which will focus on food and culture, will provide visitors a chance to sample authentic Vietnamese and Korean food.
"It will be wonderful to see everyone enjoy the activities, art and cuisine that the festival will offer," a representative of the organisation board said.
There will be traditional music and dance performances, as well as Vietnamese and Korean folk games.
A talent contest was launched by the Korean Cultural Centre on Monday as part of the festival, in which Vietnamese youth can express their love for Korea through videos clips they produce.
The contest winner will be announced on Sunday night. The festival aims to celebrate the 23rd anniversary of the establishment of ties between Viet Nam and South Korea, and will be held at My Dinh National Stadium on Saturday and Sunday.
Linguistic, cultural diversity to drive innovation
People and nations should make linguistic and cultural diversity, and differences between humans, a driver of tolerance, respect and values to face challenges, experts at a symposium said yesterday.
The symposium, on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the convention on the protection and promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions, was organised by the International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF), UNESCO, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
The convention was adopted in 2005 by UNESCO. Members of the OIF tried hard to adopt this convention.
Eric-Normand Thibeault, OIF's regional representative said that OIF has had a strong commitment and involvement in the promotion of the diversity of cultural expressions. La Francophonie (French-speaking community) constitutes a space representing not only a unified language, but also a set of values on human dignity, human rights, and equality among men and women.
Ten years after the adoption of the convention, it has faced some challenges related to its effective implementation, its fragility in matters of settlement of disputes, and the defence of linguistic diversity, and intellectual property compared to the signed bilateral treaties.
"The 2005 Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural expressions is a legally binding international agreement that ensures that creativity is promoted to the fullest extent possible. The convention is a tool that ensures that cultural professionals can produce a broad range of cultural goods and services for humanity to enjoy and enhance their well-being, too. It is not only about the commercial value of these goods and services, but the value they have for human development," Katherine Muller-Marin, UNESCO Representative to Viet Nam said.
She added that the convention was a powerful tool to work towards this end.
"Every culture provides a key to understanding the world. None can be lost. It would be a mistake to think that uniformity makes understanding easier: it simply masks differences. Education, science, culture and communications are pillars in the construction of a united human community and the foundations of sustainable development," she said.
Viet Nam ratified the Convention in 2007. Its annual organisation of Hue Festival since 2000 has proved its active contribution to the promotion of cultural diversity.
The recent emergence of creative entrepreneurship, interdisciplinary practices and networks of practitioners has breathed life into the domestic market and is creating new momentum for cultural industries in Viet Nam.
With the support of UNESCO, Viet Nam has drafted the first ever national strategy for the development of cultural industries, with a vision for Viet Nam to be a major centre and market leader for cultural industries in Southeast Asia and a globally-recognised creative economy. The specific objectives of the strategy include making cultural industries a major source of jobs and inspiring a new generation of cultural producers and consumers.
Katherine Muller-Marin said that UNESCO will continue to support Viet Nam through the new memorandum of understanding between UNESCO and Viet Nam for the period 2016 to 2020 which will be signed in Paris by the UNESCO director-general and a Vietnamese delegation on December 1.
Festival promotes Thai Nguyen tea products
“The quintessence of Vietnamese tea” was the theme of the 2015 Thai Nguyen Tea Festival that opened on November 26 in the northern mountainous province of Thai Nguyen.
The prominent attendees at the event, the third of its kind, were Politburo member and standing member of the Party Central Committee’s Secretariat Le Hong Anh, Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, and Secretary of the Party Central Committee and head of its Commission for Mass Mobilisation Ha Thi Khiet.
Addressing the opening ceremony, Deputy PM Phuc hailed the significant achievements the tea sector has gained to date, as well as joint efforts made by relevant ministries, sectors, localities, enterprises and farmers.
He also highlighted the support international friends have provided for the development of the tea sector in Vietnam, hoping that more and more tea branches of Vietnam will become renowned in the international market.
The Deputy PM expressed his belief that the provincial Party’s Committee, authorities and people will continue upholding their tradition, turning Thai Nguyen into a hub of economics, culture and education in the northern mountainous region, thus contributing to the nation’s development and protection.
Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Duong Ngoc Long, who is also head of the Organisation Board, said the Thai Nguyen Tea Festival has helped introduce Thai Nguyen tea products to more domestic and international friends.
The festival, with the participation of such key international partners as Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Thailand, Brunei and Russia, has also helped promote the culture and landscapes of the province while introducing local potential and drawing more investment in the locality.
The event also saw 20 d elegations from many tea areas across the country, enterprises, trade villages, cooperatives and thousands of visitors attend. There were dozens of art performances, featuring the cultures of all ethnic groups across the nation.
The Tea Master Cup competition, the first of its kind in Vietnam, was also among the highlights of the event.
The competition aimed to select the most outstanding individuals to represent Vietnam at the international tea making competition in the Republic of Korea in 2016.
Thai Nguyen tea products are popular in Vietnam. Currently, Thai Nguyen is ranked second in terms of tea output nationally, just behind the Central Highlands’ Lam Dong province, with more than 20,700 hectares of tea producing some 192,000 tonnes of fresh buds annually.
The province currently sells an average of 31,500 tonnes of tea in the domestic market every year, or 80 percent of its total yearly output of over 39,000 tonnes.
Only 20 to 30 percent of Thai Nguyen tea is exported to overseas markets.-
Tourism promotion efforts proved to be fruitful
Incentives and overseas tourism promotion campaigns have proved effective as seen in the growing number of foreign visitors to Vietnam recently, industry insiders said.
Vietnam welcomed 732,740 foreign arrivals in November, rising by 12.9 percent month on month and 20.4 percent year on year, according to the General Statistics Office (GSO).
More than 7 million foreigners visited the country so far this year, down 2 percent from a year earlier.
During the 11 months ending in November, the highest surge (35.5 percent) was seen in the number of Hong Kong tourists, followed by those from the Republic of Korea (30.5 percent), Singapore (16.5 percent) and China’s Taiwan (12 percent).
More visitors from the UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have spent their holidays in Vietnam as a result of the visa exemption for citizens from these five European countries. The number of Spanish tourists rose by 10.7 percent while the figures for Germany and the UK showed increases of 4.5 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively.
Meanwhile, 43.7 percent fewer Cambodian tourists visited Vietnam compared to the 11-month period of 2014. Decreases of 18.4 percent and 17.9 percent were also reported in the numbers of Lao and Thai visitors, respectively, the GSO added.
Specialists and travel agencies attributed the encouraging outcome in the tourism industry to the ongoing peak foreign tourist season, which will last through early 2016, along with visa exemptions for holiday makers from the five abovementioned European nations.
A recovery in the numbers of Chinese and Russian travellers since September has also augmented the overall foreign arrivals since these two countries, especially China, are major markets of Vietnam’s tourism sector.
The recent decision on visa exemptions for overseas Vietnamese is expected to attract more foreigners of Vietnamese origin, especially those in Europe and America.
At the same time, the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) has bolstered overseas promotion campaigns. Since late last month, a 30-second video clip on Vietnam produced by VNAT with the collaboration of international experts has been broadcast on the UK’s Travel Channel. The clip will be aired 300 times over three months, in the hope of drawing more visitors from the UK – a key tourism market of Vietnam.
The GSO also revealed that 53.8 Vietnamese people chose domestic locations as their travel destinations in the first 11 months. The tourism industry earned 312.93 trillion VND (13.9 billion USD) in revenue during that time, up 5.2 percent from a year before.
Danang gearing up for Int’l Theatre Congress
Chairman Huynh Duc Tho of the Danang Municipal People’s Committee on November 26 provided an update to the press on the city’s selection to host the 36th International Theatre Institute (ITI) World Congress in 2018.
Chairman Tho said it is an honour to have been chosen to represent the prestigious organization as it provides the city the opportunity to take centre stage and promote its image, tourism potential and culture.
“Everything is right on track,” said Chairman Tho and plans are being distributed to the appropriate agencies as they are approved.
He said currently there is a site selection process underway for the construction of a new theatre to house the event, which in turn will need the review and approval of the Municipal People’s Committee.
President Mohammed Al-Afkham of the ITI in turn said the biennial event promises to be the largest ever and potentially could attract 1,000 actors from as many as 100 countries around the globe.
2015 Vietnam Supermodel kicked off
2015 Vietnam Supermodel contest has been kicked off throughout the country for Vietnamese male and female models aged 18-25.
Application forms for the contest can be sent to the organization board from now. The Northern regional qualifying round was held on November 24, while the Southern regional one is scheduled to be taken place on November 28.
Male candidates must have a height from 1m78 and female contestants with height 1m67.
They have not been married yet and got no children; never been arrested or convicted of any crime, including misdemanors.
Launched in 2002, the Vietnam Supermodel contest provides many well—known models, such as Hoang Yen , Minh Trieu, Ngoc Thach, Kim Cuong, Ngoc Oanh, Lan Khue and more.
"Color 6" exhibition to open in Hanoi
After five consecutive successful exhibitions launched in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Hue, the group of North-Central-South artists continue to organize the annual art exhibition entitled “The colors 6” in Hanoi.
The exhibition will introduce nearly 80 art works in different styles, using traditional materials such as oil, lacquer, arylic, fabric of 15 artists who are members of the associations of Art & Fines of Vietnam, HCMC and Hue.
The opening ceremony will take place at 4pm, 16 Ngo Quyen Street, Hanoi on December 8.
The exhibition will run till December 22.
No shortage of variety in alley 18A
When locals or expats in Saigon say “let’s meet at 18A,” no further explanation is needed.
What they do and where they eat when they get to the popular alleyway is another matter.
With numerous eateries and coffee shops at 18A Nguyen Thi Minh Khai in District 1 to choose from, you will see a suitably mixed clientele. At Bun Cha Di Xuan (18A/20 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai) I could hear chatter in Korean from a table of students nearby, mingled with English from some backpackers and Vietnamese from local office staff. Tasty bun cha and nem chua rolls came to VND50,000, served hot and fresh.
Pasta Box (18/2/A1 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai) offers another quick lunch option, with a variety of types of pasta and sauces, starting from VND53,000 and up. You can’t miss the Butameshi-Ya cart in front of Pasta Box, offering bowls of pork and beef with rice Japanese-style. Good value starting from VND30,000.
Petit Four Café (18A/69 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai) is a cute eatery at the end of the alleyway, although diners expecting only French fare will be pleased with the diversity of the menu. Coffee shops such as Tandem and Tintin offer a chance to enjoy some java in the shade, close to the colorful Bao An Temple, as well as multiple smoothie and juice bar options. There’s even a Dairy Queen at the entry to the alleyway if you’re jonesing for a Blizzard.
You aren’t hurting for choice at 18A, it’s having the time to enjoy all of them that will challenge you.