Wednesday July 17,2013

Hello and welcome to VOV’s Letter Box, our weekly feature particularly dedicated to our dear listeners. We are Mai Phuong and Ngoc Huyen.

A: This week, VOV’s Letter Box has been flooded with mails and emails from our dear listeners throughout the world. Despite the rapid growth of the internet and online media, the number of VOV shortwave listeners keeps increasing and so does the number of DXer Clubs. This shows that this traditional media remains a popular and effective channel of information. VOV has been broadcasting for 68 years and will continue in the years to come and, we greatly appreciate your listening.

B: First of all, we very much welcome a letter from Hiroyuki Akiba of Miyagi, Japan, who listened to our program on April 7,2013 from 11:30 to 11:57 UTC on a frequency of 12020 Khz with SINPO rated at 45343. Hiroyuki wrote: “As you mentioned in the Sunday show, this year is the year of the snake in the oriental zodiac. We believe that the year of the snake represents “change” because snakes shed their skin. What does the year of the snake mean or represent in Vietnam?”.

A: Well, that’s a very interesting question. As you know, the 12 zodiac animals symbolize the changes of the heaven and earth. The 12 zodiac pictures reflect good wishes, good luck, hope, and harmony between human beings and nature.

Images of 12 zodiac animals in Vietnam

Images of 12 zodiac animals in Vietnam

B: The 12 zodiac animals are the rat, buffalo, tiger, cat, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig. Although to many people, snakes are associated with venom and danger, in Vietnam, the snake is considered a symbol of luck. 2013 is thus anticipated by many to be a year of prosperity and peace.

A: Ancient wisdom says a snake in the house is a good omen since it means your family will not starve. This could be taken metaphorically. A snake individual’s family never has the problem of starvation because he is a great negotiator, making him good at business. Or it could mean that a snake individual is willing to sacrifice his own possessions in order to pay for his family’s food. Anyway, the snake’s character is interpreted, it is a measure of the value he puts on his material wealth.

B: People born during the year of the Snake are endowed with wisdom and deep philosophical understanding. They are natural thinkers who excel in finding solutions to complex problems. In life, the majority of these people are financially successful and generally lucky with money; their fortunes come from their careful and considered judgment in financial affairs and their intuitive feelings in business negotiations. Even when a snake individual is at her laziest, her mind still works overtime, devising schemes and hatching plots for the future.

A: Vietnam’s tropical monsoon climate is accommodating to snakes. In the countryside, snakes can be found in the gardens, paddy fields and bushes along trails. Children even play with the snakes that they catch.

B: Snakes are considered important creatures in Vietnamese life. They help balance the ecosystem by eating mice, which are despised by wet-rice farmers. Snakes, in many places, are cooked and eaten. (Snake meat in Lệ Mật village, Hanoi is a prime example). And a snake’s skin, venom, and gall bladder provide valuable medicines.

A: Vietnamese women often make their husbands a big container of snake wine, in the hope of strengthening their partner’s health. It is believed that a snake’s skin, venom and gall bladder can cure illnesses such as arthritis, and cancer. There are a few of the reasons why the snake that mysterious and dangerous animal, is the 6th zodiac animal among the 12 in the Vietnamese horoscope.

B: Well, that’s a short take on snakes in Vietnam. We hope Hiroyuki and our other listeners found it interesting. John Burczyk of USA sent us some beautiful postcards of the US: Greenport, beautiful flowers and peaceful scenes in Northfork, Long island, the Empire State Building and aerial view of midtown Manhattan. John didn’t say much just expressed his enjoyment of VOV’s program. Thank you John. Keep tuning in to our program.

A: From Essex, the UK, Grant Skinner reported listening to VOV on June 24 on the 9730 frequency, at 19:13 UTC on a Grundig Yb400 with an extendable rod which gave a SINPO of 45254. Grant wrote: “Dear friends at Radio Voice of Vietnam. It’s a pleasure once again to report near perfect reception of your broadcast. It is always interesting to learn more about life in your country through your broadcast. I am especially pleased that you continue to broadcast on shortwave”.

B: Thank you John. As we have mentioned, the number of shortwave fans is increasing and VOV always consider shortwave broadcasting an effective channel of information for introducing Vietnam to the world. So, we have no plan to give up this channel though we have expanded to other media including an online website. We have sent a QSL card to confirm your listening. Thank you.

A: Tjang Pak Ning of Jakarta, Indonesia sent us several emails last week with reception reports on our programs of July 10, 11 and 14. In his messages, Ning said he was interested in learning the names of VOV announcers and some Vietnamese words. Good idea, Tjang. We have posted photos of several VOV announcers on our website at with the names below. We hope you can find it.

B: The name of the song we played on the Letter Box last week was Bien Hat (Sea song), (spelled) and the last song in the program on Monday was Dong Mau Lac Hong, which refers to Vietnamese blood (spelled). Tjang, we think your idea of introducing a few Vietnamese words to our listeners every week is a good idea. We will take it into consideration and find an effective way to introduce them. We have sent you our QSL and map.

A: On the Letter Box each week, we can’t avoid mentioning Fumito Hokamura of Japan, our most dedicated listener, who sends us a reception report almost every day. We really appreciate your dedication, Fumito as well as your recommendations which are very useful to us in making our program more interesting. This week we welcome Allan Loudell, our colleague from WDEL 1150 AM in the US. Allan listened to our program on July 4th from 1:00 to 1:27 UTC at 12005 Khz with good reception, SINPO was rated at 55444. Allan, it is nice to hear from another shortwave broadcaster from another country. We appreciate your comments and will send you our QSL card to confirm your reception report.

A: This week we also received letters from Chris Jenkins of the US, Reiner Peuthert of Germany, and Vashek Korinek of South Africa. Your reception reports were not detailed enough to earn a confirmation report of your listening. But we will send you our frequency and program lists so you can tune in again.

B: Last but not least, we would like to confirm reception reports from Siddhartha Bhattachajee of India, Georgi Bancov of Bulgaria, Baramurali of South India, Toshiya Nishimura of Japan and Richard Lemke of Canada. We have processed your reception reports and will send you QSL cards to confirm them along with the items you requested such as stamps, maps, postcards, T-shirts and caps.

B:Thank you all for spending time with us and for your detailed feedback. Before we go, let us remind you once again of our address:

English section, Overseas Service, Radio Voice of Vietnam, 45 Ba Trieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Or you can email us at: You’re invited to visit us at, where you can hear both live and recorded programs. Ta Ta for now.

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