Steering Committee for National Urban Development Programme finalised
The Prime Minister has signed Decision No.220/QĐ-TTg finalising the Steering Committee for the National Urban Development Programme in the 2012-2020 period.
Specifically, a number of members of the Steering Committee will be replaced or supplemented for the implementation of the National Urban Development Programme in the 2012-2020 period.
The Steering Committee will be responsible for mapping out annual and five year plans to realise the national programme’s objectives, as well as directing and training local authorities to develop and deploy their own urban development plans.
The comittee is also responsible for inspecting and supervising the fulfillment of the Programme every year over a five-year period.
The National Urban Development Programme for the 2012-2020 period, targeting 38% urbanisation by 2015 and 45% by 2020, was approved by the Government in Decision No. 1659 dated November 7, 2011.
Indoor living spaces for each person will be at least 26 square metres by 2015, and 29 square metres by 2020.
Vietnam makes social security progress
Vietnam has made remarkable progress in ensuring social security during its Doi Moi (renewal) process thanks to the sound leadership of the Party and State.
The country has recorded significant achievements in implementing the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), especially in eliminating hunger and reducing poverty, and improving living standards.
Reducing poverty is an important goal of the Vietnamese Party and State, and the Party maintains its view that economic growth must go together with ensuring human rights and meeting the basic demands of the people.
The State’s policies and laws on social development are the result of the Party’s guidelines and the country’s socio-economic development strategies, contributing to ensuring the targets of equality and social advancement. Social polices aim to guarantee the basic rights of the people.
The State plays a key role in carrying out social policies and ensuring social security, especially for the poor, the elderly, children, ethnic minority communities and disabled people.
Social support policies have been implemented and adjusted, and the social allowance rate has increased.
Vietnam has escaped from low-income status for the first time in centuries. In 2010, Vietnam was officially listed as a low middle income country with average per capita income reaching over 1,100 USD per year.
With the implementation of the National Target Programme on Poverty Reduction and Programme 135 to improve living conditions for rural residents, along with the involvement of the whole political system in efforts to lower the number of poor households, Vietnam has set a good example in poverty reduction and received complements from the international community.
Vietnam has realised nearly all the MDGs, especially in poverty reduction. The rate of low-income families has fallen by three quarters, and their average per capita income has doubled. Social policy beneficiaries have also received more support, contributing to sustainable poverty reduction.
State budget and external resources (official development assistance (ODA) and non-refundable aid), and support from businesses and individuals have also contributed to the nation’s social security policies.
Thanks to investment resources from poverty reduction programmes and policies, the rate of poor households nationwide has fallen by 2 percent per year, from 14.2 percent in 2010 to less than 4.5 percent in 2015, while the rate of poor districts was cut by 6 percent per year during that time, from 58.3 percent to only 28 percent.
The Vietnamese population is also better educated and has a higher life expectancy than most countries with a similar per capita income.
Despite making stellar achievements in the implementation of social welfare policies, the efficiency of the work remains limited as poverty reduction is unsustainable and gaps between the rich and the poor in terms of income and access to social services are widening.
In order to ensure social security, relevant ministries and sectors need to take synchronous measures and full advantage of organisations and partners.
Tran Temple Festival pays homage to ancient kings
The Tran Temple Festival will open in the northern Thai Binh province from the 13th to the 16th of the first lunar month, or February 20 to 23.
The festival, one of the largest annual spring festivals in Vietnam, will take place at the national historical complex of the Tran Kings’ shrines and tombs in Tien Duc commune, Hung Ha district.
It will begin with an incense-offering rite at the kings’ tombs and a ritual for the opening of the gates of Den Thanh (Thanh Temple), Den Mau (Mother Temple) and the Tran Kings’ shrines.
They will be followed by a ‘water procession’, in which about 1,000 people will carry nine ornate palanquins with memorial plaques of the Kings of the Tran Dynasty and members of their royal families.
On the opening night, an hour-long performance entitled Sang Mai Mot Vuong Trieu (A Dynasty Shines Forever) will feature Tran Dynasty (1225-1440) milestones to pay tribute to the dynasty’s service to the country.
A series of folk games will also be organised during the festival, such as a rice-cooking challenge, clay firecrackers, chung (sticky rice) cake wrapping and tug of war, alongside traditional performances and sport games.
The Tran Temple Festival was recognised as a national intangible heritage in 2014. The historical complex of the Tran Kings’ shrines and tombs received special national relic status last year.
The Tran Dynasty repelled the Yuan-Mongols on three occasions, making it the most brilliant reign in Vietnamese history.
Thai Binh is considered the birthplace of the Tran Kings, while Nam Dinh was their first residential area. The festival is also held at the Tran temple complex in the neighbouring Nam Dinh province during the first lunar month every year.
Vietnam makes MDGs fulfillment progress in ethnic minority areas
The Vietnamese Government has prioritised resources for realising the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) over the last 15 years and made strides in boosting socio-economic development, especially in ethnic minority communities.
To promote minorities’ living standards, the Vietnamese Party and State have issued synchronous guidelines and policies, including the Government’s Programme 135 – which has been carried out since 1998.
This programme aims to promote socio-economic development in particularly disadvantaged ethnic minority and mountainous areas. It is one of the most important ethnic minority policies in the country.
At a recent forum on the MDGs implementation in ethnic minority communities between 2016 and 2020, the Government’s Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs reported that Programme 135 was implemented in 2,331 communes and 3,059 hamlets, of 415 districts in 52 provinces, from 2011 to 2015. It received over 1 trillion VND (44.6 million USD) in non-refundable aid from Ireland and the European Union.
During the period, the target localities built over 22,000 infrastructural projects, mostly roads, irrigation works and schools, and provided local residents with seedlings, livestock, agricultural equipment and animal vaccinations.
The programme carried out 195 agricultural development projects, and 970 training courses on agriculture and forestry management. It also transferred farming techniques to more than 458,000 people.
The Government committee said Programme 135 directly enhanced socio-economic development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas – the core region of poverty in Vietnam – in MDGs-related aspects.
The poverty rate in particularly disadvantaged communes and hamlets was cut down by 3.5 percent annually. The centres of all the communes are now accessible by cars while 97.5 percent of the target areas have gained access to electricity.
Speaking at the forum, UN Resident Coordinator in Vietnam Pratibha Mehta congratulated the country on fundamental advances that it attained during a very short period of time to achieve most of the MDGs. That illustrates Vietnam’s enormous progress during the Doi Moi (Reform) period.
The committee, which is tasked with helping the Prime Minister monitor and guide the MDGs implementation in ethnic minority areas, said it has oriented Programme 135 towards better fulfilling these goals.
In September 2015, the Prime Minister issued a decision approving some MDGs implementation targets, which are associated with the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals for ethnic minority regions.
Vice Chairman of the National Assembly’s Ethnic Council Nguyen Danh Ut expressed his belief that with efforts by the Government committee, ministries, sectors and localities as well as people and foreign sponsors’ support, Programme 135 will reach its targets by 2020 and contribute to the realisation of the Millennium Development Goals in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in Vietnam.-
Quang Nam works to tap My Son Sanctuary’s tourism potential
Authorities in central Quang Nam province are working to tap the tourism potential of My Son Sanctuary, a UNESCO-recognised cultural heritage.
My Son Sanctuary in Duy Xuyen district consists of more than 70 temples dating back to the Champa civilisation between the 4th and 13th centuries AD. It embodies a myriad of historical, cultural, architectural and artistic values and is comparable to famous relic sites in Southeast Asia such as Angkor Wat (Cambodia), Pagan (Myanmar) and Borobudur (Indonesia).
The sanctuary, named a world cultural heritage by UNESCO in 1999, welcomes over 300,000 visitors a year, 70 percent of whom are foreigners.
Deputy Director of the Quang Nam Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Ho Xuan Tinh said My Son is a widespread area of big rivers that were the crossroads of many civilisations, including Champa, in the past.
The relic site boasts a favourable location that links major economic hubs in the central region and is accessible by both road and railway, conducive to tourism development, he noted.
Chairman of the Duy Xuyen district People’s Committee Nguyen Cong Dung said to foster tourism development, the district has focused on expanding infrastructure, training a high-quality workforce and designing investment incentives.
Expanding on the subject, head of the My Son relic and tourism management board Phan Ho said more investment will be poured into infrastructure within the sanctuary.
While ecological and cultural tourism will continue to be prioritised, cooperation between managerial agencies and companies will be enhanced to boost travel, he noted.
New tourism services are also being designed to help preserve and utilise cultural and historical values, Ho added, highlighting the traditional Cham dance that has become a must-see for tourists visiting My Son Sanctuary.
He noted that preserving and promoting cultural heritage, creating jobs and ensuring a friendly environment are the top priority for his board.
“I never imagined myself teaching, as I was not trained to be a teacher,” said Senior Lieutenant Tran Binh Phuc, who has taught children on Hon Chuoi island to read and write for the last six years.
Hon Chuoi lies 17 nautical miles to the west of Song Doc Seaport in the southernmost province of Ca Mau. The 7sq.km island is home to 135 Khmer ethnic people, who do not receive educations and eke out a living through fishing all year round.
“When I got here, I saw illiterate children neglected by busy parents, and this kept bothering me,” Phuc said.
He asked his superior at the 704 border guard if he could try out a class and has been teaching nonstop ever since.
According to Phuc, he now has 19 pupils attending classes between the first and sixth grades. Two of them have disabilities.
The military-personnel-turned-teacher knows each student’s traits and background like the back of his hand, as if they were his own sons and daughters.
He spoke proudly about Dau Yen Nhi, an 8-year-old girl born with Down syndrome: “When her mother first took her to my class, she rarely talked and could barely control her behaviour . Nhi is now able to read, write and behave politely toward her elders.”
He also told stories about 16-year-old Tran Thi Thao, who is studying at the fifth grade level: “This girl is smart and industrious, but her family cannot afford to send her to school on the mainland after she finishes my class.”
Once when he saw one of his students hungrily looking at her peers eating noodles, Phuc asked the shop owner to serve even the children who came without money. Since then their meals have become part of his monthly expenses.
Before seeking further education on the mainland, local youth learned basic knowledge from Phuc inside a small makeshift shelter without electric lighting. The ramshackle classroom lies near the forest and is infested with termites. Phuc does all the classroom maintenance.
Pointing at an aluminum bookcase in the corner of the classroom, Phuc said it might be an average item on land, but it is extremely valuable here.
“We are lucky to get pens, clothes and books from various localities,” he added.
When asked if he feels sad not being able to celebrate Teacher’s Day (November 20), Phuc smiled and replied that he hasn’t been teaching to earn gratitude, but for the children’s futures.
Lai Chau villages develop after access to electricity
Many poor remote mountainous villages of the northern province of Lai Chau have access to the national electricity grid making their lives more convenient.
Ca Van Ngoan, head of Nam Cay village in Nam Hang commune, Nam Nhun district, said that the village had more than 200 households with more than 900 people. Most of them were Thai ethnic minorities.
Earlier, without electricity, the lives of local residents was hard and it was difficult for them to access information.
To receive electricity the residents needed to install mini electric generators by themselves making use of the stream water. There used to be many mini electric generators along the stream in Nam Cay village, but the generators only worked when the stream was full. When it was shallow, they had to use oil lamps, Ngoan said.
The Lai Chau authorities built the Nam Cay transformer station to reduce the difficulties in the lives of residents. The station was completed in December, 2014.
Since then, the living standard of residents has improved.
More than 85 percent of households in the village have rice grinders. More shops and restaurants have been set up to serve the demand of local residents.
Farmers also used machines and modern technology in agricultural manufacturing.
All of the households in the village had television.
At present Nam Cay village led the list in Nam Hang commune in developing breeding.
Ca Thi Choan, a resident in Nam Cay village, said that formerly she had to use an oil generator whenever she wanted to rub rice and she felt sick after smelling the oil for long.
After receiving electricity, Choan’s family spent 5 million VND (220 USD) on an electric rice grinder machine.
“My children can also study in the evening, while I study a lot about effective breeding methods via television,” Choan said.
Nguyen Van Hong, chairman of the Nam Hang Commune People’s Committee, said that four villages in the commune still did not have electricity. He hoped that the State and concerned organisations would pay more attention to set up the electricity grid to improve the lives of residents.
According to the Lai Chau Electricity Company, by the end of this year the expects to provide 92.6 percent of villages in the province with access to electricity.
Embassy receives President Ho Chi Minh’s memento
The Vietnamese embassy in France received a memento of President Ho Chi Minh -a hat that the Vietnamese leader presented to the late French physics professor Pierre Biquard in 1969 – during a ceremony last week.
The professor was an ardent peace activist and a member of the National Peace Movement in France, who raised strong voice against the US war in Vietnam, especially its use of chemical weapons.
On presenting the hat to the embassy, Biquard’s daughter, Claire Biquard recalled that during a visit to Vietnam, her father and a delegation of the National Peace Movement in France were received by President Ho Chi Minh on January 2, 1969. Noticing that her father was without a hat while it was very cold, the President gave his felt hat to her father.
Since then, the French professor and his family carefully kept the hat as an unforgettable memory, she said.
Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Nguyen Ngoc Son expressed his appreciation for Biquard and his family for keeping the special memento, adding that the hat will be sent to the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Hanoi for display, thus helping Vietnamese people and international friends have deeper understanding about President Ho Chi Minh’s warm sentiments toward French friends who passionately supported Vietnamese people’s struggle for national independence, peace and unification.
The story about the hat was discovered by historian Alain Ruscio who has helped Biquard’s family make contact with the embassy.
The historian said the hat, while a small gift, is a vivid symbol of the France-Vietnam friendship and solidarity.
The central province of Quang Nam set a goal to convert half of its communes into new-style rural areas by 2020.
The province also looks to have two new-style rural districts and income per capita doubled by 2020.
Over the past five years, the province concreted more than 1,552 kilometres of roads and solidified other 2,798 kiliometres.
By the end of 2015, 122 communes fulfilled the criterion of rural housing, accounting for 59.8 percent.
Income per capita reached 21.1 million VND (917 USD), up nearly 11 million VND (480 USD) compared to 2010.
The rate of disadvantaged households dropped from 24.2 percent in 2010 to below 9 percent in 2015.
The national target programme on building new-style rural areas, initiated by the Government in 2010, sets 19 criteria on socio-economic development, politics, and defence, aiming to modernise rural areas.
The criteria cover the development of infrastructure, the improvement of production capacities, environmental protection, and the promotion of cultural values.
The country aims to have 50 percent of all communes nationwide meeting all the requirements by the end of 2020.
Central Highlands tackles poverty with livestock
Hope may be the best motivation for impoverished residents who are striving to improve their lives in the Central Highlands at a time when Government efforts to support the change are continuing.
A field trip, which was organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s central coordinating committee for the Central Highlands Poverty Reduction Project, revealed the progress of the ongoing programme last December.
The project aims to enhance the opportunities and livelihoods of residents in poor households and communities in the highlands region by improving access to basic services related to farm production and strengthening food security and nutrition. It also helps them upgrade infrastructure and build the capacity of local staff.
The ministry plans to carry out the project from 2014 to 2019, with an investment of 165 million USD from the World Bank’s official development assistance (ODA) and the State budget.
It expects the project to benefit about 540,000 people in 130 communes in 26 districts of six provinces, including Dak Lak, Dak Nong, Gia Lai, Kon Tum, Quang Nam and Quang Ngai.
More than a year after its implementation, the central coordinating committee of the project said in a news release last December that as of October 31, the project directly benefited more than 8,000 residents. However, the project is still on track to reach its target.
Dinh Thi Hue, 28, the mother of one child in Lang Tra hamlet in Quang Ngai’s Son Cao commune, received a 19 million VND (844 USD) cow from the project and was taught by project staff how to breed it in a shed instead of letting it wander. She said she would keep it for hybridisation and hopes for a higher income in the future.
Another villager, Dinh Xuan Phang, said about 45 percent of the approximately 330 households in Lang Tra were identified as poor by authorities, with each household earning 400,000 VND (18 USD) or less per month.
While only some households received cows, Phang said, “Currently, we are not yet able to calculate the effect. But villagers expect that when the cows breed and by selling calves, they will have more money to pay for their children’s studies and their families’ living.”
He added that a cow usually gives birth to a calf once a year, and a three-month-old calf can cost 10 million VND to 15 million VND (444 USD to 667 USD).
In the commune of Quang Ngai, Son Linh, 29-year-old Dinh Phu hopes that cow breeding will yield higher incomes in order to feed his three-year-old child. The father said his family finds it difficult to make ends meet just by growing cassava, earning only 2 million VND to 3 million VND (89 USD to 133 USD) from a crop that yields three to four tonnes per year.
In Krong Na commune of Dak Lak’s Buon Don district, H’Nang Buon Gia said she was supported by the project during a rice crop that began late last August. The assistance related to seeds, fertilisers and cultivation techniques helped increase the harvest capacity on her field from five tonnes per 1,000sq.m to eight tonnes per 1,000sq.m by the end of last year.
She said the increase was quite significant because she had a 2,000sq.m field and rice could be sold at 3,500 VND (16 US cents) per kilogramme. However, the farmers still face many farming difficulties due to a lack of irrigational systems, and they must cope with inadequate rainfall and calcified wells of water.
Gia was one of 10 women from the M’Nong and E De ethnic groups in the commune who received support last year to improve nutrition and food security for their families, all of which are poor or nearly poor and have small children.
These farmers typically grow two to three crops a year, and they received assistance amounting to more than 36 million VND (1,600 USD) for a combined cultivating area of 2ha during the last crop. Despite that, they were still short on food.
“In every crop, each of our households produces about 10 rice bags that are enough for us to eat in two to three months only,” one of the farmers said. “So in addition to our own field work, we often have to work for somebody else to get by. We just take each day as it comes.”
H’Khiep Kpor of Dak Lak’s EaWer commune appeared to be more optimistic. Her household was among 15 that received 450 chickens from the project in late July, and the flock was growing well. But she wished that more villagers would be supported through their hardships, since the majority of households in the commune are living in poverty.
The project’s reach has expanded to include greater efforts from the Government and the community to help the region.
Victoria Kwakwa, the World Bank’s Country Director for Vietnam, said in the news release in December that it is vital to pay more attention to addressing poverty in the region so that it can catch up with other parts of the country.
In 2013, a feasibility study report for the project pointed out that about 74 percent of Central Highlands ethnic minorities lived below the poverty line, while the poverty rate here reached nearly 33 percent, one of the highest in the country based on the Vietnam Household Living Standards Survey from 2010.
The Government said it prioritised efforts to improve minorities’ lives and promote the Central Highlands’ socio-economic development, and would stay committed to these issues going forward. However, the region received only about 4 percent of the total ODA in the country over the past two decades.
As of 2012, the region attracted ODA worth 193 million USD, with about 73 million USD disbursed, according to the report.
During the last December trip, Ministry of Planning and Investment official Tran Ngoc Hung, who directed the central coordinating committee, said limited experience of local authorities in managing ODA remained an obstacle in carrying out the ongoing project.
Improving awareness and knowledge of minorities in remote areas regarding poverty reduction is an ongoing challenge to those pursuing the process, Hung added.
“Persuading the residents to change their customs is the most difficult thing. They are familiar with small-scale production with low outcomes,” said Nguyen Ngoc Vu Linh, 27, a community facilitator responsible for Quang Ngai’s communes.
Linh is one of 130 facilitators who directly mobilise and guide residents to take part in project activities across the Central Highlands. He said it is important to teach the residents how to manage their households and assist their co-villagers for sustained poverty reduction.
After finishing a construction study at Duy Tan University in the central city of Da Nang in 2012, the young facilitator is now back in his native land, frequently travelling 70km a day by motorbike through mountainous terrain to do the job.
“I want to lend a hand to build my homeland and I feel this job is meaningful,” he said. “My colleagues and I meet quite a lot of difficulties in doing this, but none of us ever intend to give up.”
Vietnam’s insurance industry looks to further expansion
Insurance was one of the fastest-growing sectors of Vietnam’s economy in 2015 with premium income rising 21.4 percent to reach 68 trillion VND (3 billion USD), while total assets grew by 21.7 percent to 201 trillion VND (8.9 billion USD), according to the Ministry of Finance.
The non-life segment led sales, accounting for more than 45 percent of the total and up 14 percent on 2014. Premium income in the life segment, meanwhile, rose by 29.5 percent, marking the segment’s fastest rate of growth in a decade.
The sharp rise in product sales has also significantly increased the capital available for reinvestment in the national economy.
According to the Insurance Association of Vietnam (IAV), the industry invested a combined 152.5 trillion VND (6.8 billion USD) in 2015, up 18 percent year-on-year. Insurers invested in long-term government bonds in particular, with 6 trillion VND (267.6 million USD) worth of 20-year bills purchased over the period.
In 2016, the industry looks to post double-digit expansion. Projections from the Insurance Association of Vietnam, released in December, put non-life growth at more than 18 percent in 2016, with the life segment tipped to expand by 25 percent.
Phu Tho active in preserving Hung King worship rituals
The northern mountainous province of Phu Tho aims to mobilise resources for conserving and promoting the Hung Kings’ worship-related culture, documents and facilities, according to Provincial People’s Committee Vice Chairman Ha Ke San.
The province has invested in building and upgrading numerous worship sites, and recovering traditional rituals and festivals related to the Hung Kings.
Over 700 billion VND (31.25 million USD) has been spent on the building and maintenance of the facilities in the Hung Kings Temple Relic Site.
The locality aims to mobilise 4.5 trillion VND (200.9 million USD) by 2030 for the work, with the hope to make the relic site one of the key special national relic sites and promote spiritual tourism.
The maintenance of the Hung King worship sites has been implemented at all levels across the province, particularly in the communes and villages near the Hung Kings Temple Relic Site.
Between 2013 and 2014, over 8 billion VND (357,142 USD) from the local budget was allocated for upgrades to 15 relic sites related to Hung King worship rituals across the province.
More investment has been put in the maintenance of the worship sites of other figures related to the Hung Kings, such as their wives and generals.
The province has developed a national action plan for protecting and upholding the sustainable values of the local Hung King worship rituals.
The efforts include enhancing the awareness of cultural values among the community – particularly among children by including heritage training programmes at schools.
Additionally, studies and collection of Hung Kings-related documents and rituals will be strengthened, while hands-on training courses on the practices are planned.
Spiritual tourism will also be expanded.
According to Ta Thi Kim Dung, Deputy Director of the Hung Kings Temple Relic Site Management Board, a database on Hung King workship rituals has been developed and updated regularly.
Exhibitions of the rituals have been held annually at the Hung Kings Museum in the province, Dung said.
The provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism has also worked with the Institute of Hán-Nôm Studies on collection and translation of hundreds of documents related to the Hung Kings in the relic sites across 10 northern provinces and cities.
Traditional rituals, processions, sport and folk games have been widely organised at Hung Kings worship sites during the Hung Kings Festival across the province.
Hung Kings are the ancient Vietnamese rulers of Van Lang Kingdom in the Hong Bang period (2879-258 BC).
According to Vietnamese legend, the 18 Hung Kings ruled during the first period of Vietnamese history, from 2879-258 BC.
The Hung Kings Festival is held annually from the eighth to the eleventh days of the third lunar month.
The worshipping ritual of the Hung Kings is closely related to the ancestor worshipping traditions in most Vietnamese families, which forms an important part of people’s spiritual lives. It was recognised by UNESCO as part of the World Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2012.
Mo Muong values saved in Hoa Binh
The values of the Mo Muong, a unique cultural heritage of the ethnic Muong who live in the northern province of Hoa Binh, was the main theme of a recent workshop held in the province.
Many cultural specialists, cultural researchers and senior Mo Muong sorcerers attended the workshop, along with members of the steering committee for compiling documents about the heritage.
According to those speaking at the workshop, the Hoa Binh provincial cultural authority will continue to promote scientific research about the Mo Muong culture, as well as cooperate with the Ministry of Culture to study and propose solutions to preserve and promote the heritage.
The province will also prepare directives for the controlling authority to coordinate with the Ministry of Culture to propose that Mo Muong be accepted as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
Addressing the workshop, Nguyen Van Chuong, Vice Chairman of Hoa Binh Province’s People’s Committee, stressed that the discussions and research that provides new information about Mo Muong heritage, as well as solutions to preserving and promoting it, should be jointly conducted by related organisations.
Further, the local authority was urged to develop their own solutions, establish a typical space for Mo Muong heritage and prioritise the construction of a traditional Muong village, which will act as a museum of the heritage, he added.
After the workshop, the organisation board will publish a summary record of the workshop, which will be an important reference among scientific documents on Mo Muong cultural heritage in Hoa Binh.
The attendees also raised concerns about other issues, such as the translation of the Muong language into Vietnamese and historical relics related to the culture.
Mo Muong is a unique ancient culture of the Muong ethnic minority in Hoa Binh, which contains much educational value for local communities.
According to folk cultural specialists, Mo Muong is classified into three categories: Mo Nghi Le (Mo Ceremony), Mo Ke Chuyen (Mo Telling Stories) and Mo Nhom, in which Thay Mo, or sorcerers, play an important role in forming the essence of the unique culture.
In special family events, such as building a new house or holding a funeral, the Muong people invite sorcerers to conduct the ceremony and read Mo, or prayers, to the family.
Such prayers are highly educational to the Muong community, as their content advises people to avoid behaving incorrectly and promotes solidarity within the family, clans, community and the entire nation.
Besides prayers, sorcerers bring with them spiritual instruments that might be thousands of years old, most notably including bronze and stone axes belonging to the Dong Son Culture (20,000-12,000 BC).
However, according to Doan Anh Tuan, permanent member of the Vietnam Federation of UNESCO Associations, Muong scripts have not yet been found. Also, some long Mo or prayers can be read ceaselessly from 12 to 16 nights but have never been written down.
The preservation of the Muong language is, therefore, an urgent mission for Hoa Binh’s authority. The province also needs a policy to preserve its precious intangible cultural heritage.
Hoa Binh Province’s People Committee has received the sponsorship of the Vietnam Federation of UNESCO Associations to preserve and promote Mo Muong heritage since May, 2015.
Ha Nhi people celebrate traditional New Year
The Ha Nhi people in northern mountainous Dien Bien province celebrate their traditional New Year festival (Tet) on the first dragon day in December, which fell on December 11, 2015.
On the first day of Tet, every Ha Nhi family kills a pig, which they have raised since the beginning of the year particularly for Tet, as pork is the must-have offering to ancestors. The liver of the pig will be examined to see whether the new year is a good or bad for the family.
The head of the family will offer a food tray to the ancestors, which includes boiled pork, a bowl of rice, a piece of ginger and three cups of wine.
Known for their hospitality, Ha Nhi people always invite lots of relatives and friends to their home to enjoy Tet. After sumptuous meals, every one will flock to the communal space to join dances and singing late into the night.
The next day, the sound of rice pounding can be heard as early as five o’clock in the morning as people pound steam sticky rice to make Banh day (round rice cake), which is essential to the Ha Nhi’s Tet. The first rice cake will be offered to the ancestors before every one else has their share. After making the cakes, people visit each other’s house to extend New Year greetings and wishes, while children keep themselves busy with various traditional games.
The Ha Nhi is one of a few ethnic groups in Vietnam who celebrate both the Kinh’s traditional Lunar New Year Festival and their own festivals, which are scattered throughout the year.
According to the General Department of Statistics, the Ha Nhi ethnic group in Vietnam has a population of more than 21,700, living mostly in the northern mountainous provinces of Dien Bien, Lai Chau and Lao Cai.
- Court remands woman for calling best friend an ‘illegitimate child’ on social media
- Body is found in river during search for missing 15-year-old boy who vanished on New Year's Eve in County Down
- Saigon social support center director demoted after molestation scandal
- Lady Kitty Spencer says people should 'work on their self esteem' and NOT blame social media for their insecurities as she reveals how her Instagram following grew to 500,000 after Harry and Meghan's wedding
- Social media-loving schoolgirl, 15, killed herself after spending hours in her bedroom posting photos and statuses from her phone in a quest to get 'likes'
- The best diets to follow in 2020, according to U.S. News & World Report
- The week in odd news: Opossum in liquor store; Sphinx found
- Girl, 15, 'was repeatedly raped and sexually exploited by Asian grooming gang but no action was taken when she reported abuse', court hears
- One woman reports a rape every 15 minutes in India
- Political views are fine, but watch your language on social media
- How to Mute People on Social Media: Facebook, WhatsApp, Reddit, and More
- Android Factory Resets Fail, Amazon Handmade Attacks Etsy, & More… [Tech News Digest]
- Nadella Gates, Android Winning, Facebook Paper, Bieber Begone [Tech News Digest]
- Twitter Is Dying! 7 Alternative Social Networks to Join Now
- Over 4,000 houses built with social policy credit
- Poor borrowers use capital effectively: social policy bank
- ‘Hate speech has now moved to social media’
- After denials, police admit they did open fire on December 15
- The Best April Fools of 2015, Facebook Riffs with Friends, & More… [Tech News Digest]
- Boris Johnson's 100-day plan: Tory leader promises £100 tax cut an end to automatic release of violent prisoners plus a budget with '15 hours of free child care a week' for families
Social News 15/2 have 5855 words, post on at March 1, 2016. This is cached page on Talk Vietnam. If you want remove this page, please contact us.