Quang Tri to take action to promote “bai choi”
A performance of “bai choi” singing
The People’s Committee of central Quang Tri province has adopted a plan to preserve and promote the intangible cultural heritage of “bai choi” activities from 2018-2023.
Accordingly, Quang Tri will spend about 1.8 billion VND (77,500 USD) on a set of measures to preserve and promote the traditional art form, including organising classes for young people on the practice of “bai choi”; supporting artisans, clubs, and communities performing “bai choi”; and promoting “bai choi” as a traditional art for cultural and tourism development.
Since 1990, “bai choi” festivals have been recreated across villages in Quang Tri, for example in Tung Luat and Co My villages in Vinh Giang, Vinh Linh, as well as in Ngo Xa Tay village in Trieu Trung, Trieu Phong. The practice has mostly been passed down orally through the generations. However, most “bai choi” artisans are now quite old, putting the art at risk of sliding into oblivion.
In December last year, the art of “bai choi” was awarded UNESCO status in the 12th session of the Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage held in Jeju Island in the Republic of Korea.
The art originated almost 400 years ago, when Dao Duy Tu, an outstanding mandarin under the reign of the Nguyen Lords (1558-1777) who later formed the Nguyen Dynasty (1802-1945) in Hue, created the game to entertain the community during their post-harvest time.
“Bai choi”, which literally means a deck of cards (bai) and bamboo huts (choi), is half a game and half theatre performance. Nine bamboo huts on stilts are erected on a spacious land plot, in two rows, each made up of four huts for the players. The bigger hut is in the middle, with a wooden stand for the controller of the game.
One to three players share a hut while the audience surrounds the rectangular playing plot. At the beginning of each game, each hut receives three cards. The controller sings folk songs that include the names of 27 cards, giving clues to the players as to what their cards might be. The aim is for the players to guess their cards.
The players must find the name of the card being mentioned in the verses in the song, and then find out the coinciding cards in their hands. The winner is the first hut to have three cards that coincide with the names given by the controller.
The controller’s singing, dancing, and other gestures are accompanied by music played on traditional instruments and cheers from the audience. ”Bai choi” stories include lessons on morality and compassion, as well as love for the village and the nation.
The art reflects the spirit of human solidarity. All the villagers, both audience members and players, are drawn into the joyful ambiance for the purpose of sharing happiness and solidarity.
“Bai choi” is Vietnam’s tenth cultural practice to receive the title from UNESCO. The art was awarded intangible heritage status thanks to a creative recreation within a village community.
Nghe An province addresses flood consequences
Authorities in Nghe An province’s Ky Son district have instructed local forces to actively work with residents to address the consequences of recent floods on Nậm Mộ river.
Hundreds of local officials, border soldiers and police force joined hands with residents in Ky Son district to clean mud on streets, office buildings and residential houses.
They also helped clean local schools quickly because the new school year is around.
All people have been actively address the post-flood situation to ensure residents can resume their daily activities.
Painting exhibition in Hanoi marks National Day
A painting exhibition kicked off on August 20 at the Exhibition House, 16 Ngo Quyen Street, Hanoi, as part of activities to mark the 73rd anniversary of the August Revolution (August 19) and National Day (September 2).
Tran Khanh Chuong, President of the Vietnam Fine Arts Association, said his association received 2,500 works by 1,828 painters for the exhibition – of which 1,345 were selected for display at the eight regional exhibitions.
The Hanoi exhibition showcased 120 paintings in different materials – such as oil, lacquer, silk, and acrylic – by 124 artists, he added.
The event will last until August 30, 2018.
Seminar discusses use of robotic technology in Vietnam
Enhancing connectivity between foreign scientists and domestic universities and institutes is a basic solution to further boosting the application of robotic and mechatronic technology in different fields in Vietnam, experts have suggested.
They raised the suggestion during a seminar on “robotic and mechatronic technology in the fourth industrial revolution: demand and solutions for Vietnamese firms”, which was co-hosted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Planning and Investment in Hanoi on August 21.
The MoIT reported that the number of Vietnamese enterprises using new technologies, especially core ones in industry 4.0 in manufacturing, remains modest.
As over 97 percent of domestic businesses are micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), they have met difficulties regarding capital, technological expertise, human resources and innovation capacity while their linkage with sci-tech organisations remains limited.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung suggested that foreign scientists, domestic universities and research institutes should work closely together to conduct scientific studies, open training courses, and hold scientific seminars.
He also expected them to offer advices to Vietnamese enterprises in the process of renovating manufacturing technologies and developing new products.
Ho Anh Van, Dean of the Materials Science Faculty under the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (JAIST), said apart from industrial production, robots could be used in agriculture, fruit picking, health care, care for the elderly and surgery
He added that JAIST is partnering with Vietnamese researchers to pilot manufacturing robots and hoped that they could be used more widely in the country in the near future.
The event attracted hundreds of Vietnamese technological experts and scientists from countries worldwide.
VN needs to optimise artificial intelligence for development: official
Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bui The Duy
Vietnam has seen remarkable development in artificial intelligence (AI) and the country needs to take full advantage of AI for its development, said Deputy Minister of Science and Technology Bui The Duy.
“AI must look toward application in developing products,” Duy said at a seminar on Vietnam’s AI development (AI4VN 2018) held in Hanoi on August 21.
The event, hosted by the Ministry of Science and Technology, was part of the Programme of Connecting Vietnam Innovation Network 2018 held from August 18-24 with the participation of overseas Vietnamese science and technology experts.
The AI4VN 2018 aimed to share the strategic vision and viewpoint of the country’s leaders on opportunities to access and apply achievements of the fourth Industrial Revolution (Industry 4.0) in key sectors.
It looks to collect expert’s experience in AI research and training, along with technology transfer and application for the country’s development. It also offers chances for overseas Vietnamese experts and scientists to connect with their peers who live in the country.
At the event, participants discussed specialised methods and technology in AI sector in accordance with policies and resources, which serve as a foundation for AI research and development in Vietnam in the coming time.
The deputy minister revealed that the AI4Life 2018 is scheduled to take place later this year, hoping to foster AI development and application in business.
Accordingly, it will deliver technologies and research outcomes developed by Vietnamese universities, research institutions and businesses operating in the sector.
Australia aids gender equality project via agriculture, tourism in Lao Cai
At the launching event
The Lao Cai People’s Committee and the Australian Embassy in Vietnam held a workshop in the northern mountainous province on August 21 to launch the Gender Responsive Equitable Agriculture and Tourism (GREAT) project.
The project, worth nearly 300 billion VND (12.9 million USD), includes the Australian government’s non-refundable official development assistance (ODA) capital and the corresponding capital from the local budget.
It aims to promote gender equality and increase the social-economic status of women in Lao Cai through improving the efficiency of agriculture and tourism development.
The project will be carried out from 2018 to 2021 in Bat Xat, Muong Khuong, Bac Ha, Sa Pa, and Van Ban districts.
Justin Baguley, Counsellor of Economic and Development Cooperation at the Australian Embassy in Vietnam, said the Australian government has implemented a number of activities to support the development of Lao Cai.
Through this project, Australia hopes to further enhance cooperative relations with Vietnam, and particularly Lao Cai, as well as empower women in disadvantaged areas, he added.
The project aims to increase the incomes of at least 20,000 women and generate new, paid jobs for 2,000 others by 2021.
At least 15 percent of enterprises or cooperatives will be led and co-managed by women.
The project will also support the development of policy dialogues and attract 6 million USD from the private sector to conduct business activities.
Ca Mau Cape tourism site plan approved
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has approved a master plan for the development of a national tourism site at Ca Mau Cape.
Ca Mau Cape tourism site expected to attract 2 million visitors by 2030
Under the plan, the tourism site is expected to draw around two million visitors by 2030, generating revenues of VND5 trillion (USD227.27 million) and creating jobs for 3,000 people.
Ca Mau Cape tourism site located in Ngoc Hien and Nam Can districts would cover 2,100 hectares. It would be developed into one of Vietnam’s largest eco-tourism centres and could become a popular destination on Mekong Delta tours.
The site would help connect Ca Mau and other tourism sites in the Mekong Delta such as Phu Quoc Island in Kien Giang Province.
By 2025, Ca Mau Cape tourism is expected to meet national tourism criteria and be recognised as a National Tourism Site, according to the prime minister-approved master plan for the development of Ca Mau Cape National Tourism Site towards 2030.
The site would offer travellers options for sightseeing and exploring. It will begin by focusing on attracting high-end tourists and focus on resort tourism, eco-tourism and entertainment. By 2030, high-end tourism will be the site’s priority.
For the domestic market, the Ca Mau Cape tourism site continues to focus on its main market of visitors from HCM City, the southeast region, the Mekong Delta provinces, Hanoi and the northern provinces.
For the international market, priority will be given to target markets such as tourists from the US, Australia and northeast Asia, including South Korea, China and Japan.
The prime minister has instructed Ca Mau Province to work with the Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism to call for investment into the project.
Khanh Hoa to crack down on taxi services
Tourists in Nha Trang
Vice Chairman of Khanh Hoa Province People’s Committee Tran Son Hai has asked the police, Department of Transportation and Nha Trang’s authorities to tighten management over transportation services, especially taxi firms, after overcharging incidents.
Hai demanded local authorities to strictly punish violations and withdraw business licenses if necessary.
Nguyen Van Thanh, vice head of Nha Trang-Khanh Hoa Province Tourism Association said, “Let’s not mention a business’s reputation yet, on the moral ground alone, overcharging is unacceptable. What will the tourists think?”
In July, Nha Trang-Khanh Hoa Province Tourism Association filed a report about a local taxi driver who charged three South Korean tourists VND200,000 (USD8.70) compared to a usual price of around VND25,000 for a trip from Havana Nha Trang Hotel to Rosaka Nha Trang Hotel. The driver also insulted the tourists and threatened the hotel guard.
The driver was later identified as Nguyen Than. He works for Dinh Thinh Thanh Tuyen who hasn’t been granted the business licence to running taxi service and was fined VND8.5m (USD340).
In September 2017, a Chinese tourist went to the police to report about being charged VND6m (USD240) for a less than 6-km trip even though it was only VND62,000 on the taxi meter. The driver at first forced the tourist to pay VND7.1m. Being scared by the driver’s threats, the tourist paid VND3m and was forced to pay another VND3m to be let out of the taxi.
The police quickly found the driver and made him return the money.
Khanh Hoa Department of Tourism said overcharging incidents had badly affected Nha Trang’s tourism. The Department of Transportation was asked to manage the taxi service and build a management plan and find unlicensed businesses.
Vietnamese puppetry shines in Russia
A performance by the Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre in Russia
Artists from the Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre treated Vietnamese expatriates in Russia to a show at the Hanoi-Moscow Complex (Incentra) on August 21.
The show drew a crowded audience and rounds of applause.
Earlier, the Vietnamese troupe took part in the Petrushka World Puppet Carnival in Yekaterinburg from August 12 – 20. The event attracted the participation of 30 countries, with 40 performances staged. Vietnam won top prize and was recognised as the best puppet-design team.
While in Yekaterinburg, the troupe also hosted a show for the Vietnamese community.
General Manager of the theatre Ngo Thanh Thuy said that the team is deeply moved when performing for Vietnamese in Russia.
According to Thuy, many expatriates said since they moved to Russia, this was the second time they had saw a show by a national art troupe of Vietnam in the host country. They said the performance reflects the cultural life of Vietnamese farmers which is so close and familiar to them, she added.
Thuy stressed that her team is proud of growing Vietnamese traditional puppetry art and finishing the Yekaterinburg carnival as one of the top troupes.
The Vietnam National Puppetry Theatre has a 60-year-long history of development, housing a significant number of leading puppetry researchers, directors, visual artists, fine art decorators and puppet performers.
Australia announces application for 2018-2019 DAP
A DAP-funded project for the oncology hospital in HCM City (Photo courtesy of the Australian Consulate General in HCM City)
The Australian Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City announced on August 20 that it has opened applications for the grants round for the 2018-2019 Direct Aid Programme (DAP), which is dedicated to projects in provinces and cities from Da Nang southwards.
Community groups, non-government organisations, government organisations and other non-profit groups are encouraged to apply for grants of up to 20,000 AUD (15,000 USD) for small-scale development projects.
This year the DAP will be focusing on healthcare, women’s economic empowerment, gender equality, environmental protection, and education and training. However, other areas will also be considered. The deadline for applications is September 28.
DAP funding is competitive. In 2017-2018 the Australian Consulate-General funded 17 projects out of the 153 applications received, worth 240,000 AUD.
Information on DAP in the northern provinces is available at the Australian Embassy on its Hanoi website.
Measures sought for Hanoi’s urban development
The pedestrians’ space around Hoan Kiem Lake and Hanoi Old Quarter, which is popular destinations for Hanoians and tourists
Hanoi has been focused on building its electronic government and smart city system, Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Nguyen Duc Chung has said.
The official made the statement during a working session in Hanoi on August 20 with over 100 overseas Vietnamese science and technology experts who attend an innovative network connection programme from August 18-24.
Chung noted that Hanoi is among the 17 largest capital cities in the world, with a population of about 10 million. Over 10 years of administrative boundary expansion, the city enjoys an annual growth speed of 7.41 percent.
To date, Hanoi has established a wide area network (WAN) in all 584 localities of 30 districts, he added.
However, the city currently faces major challenges in terms of urban development, namely rapid population growth and environmental issues as 97 percent of waste is dumped in landfill sites. Additionally, the rate of labourers without training remains high, especially in management and information technology.
The official voiced his hope that the participants will connect domestic and foreign experts and scientists to seek solutions to these challenges, contributing to the development of Hanoi and the nation at large.
At the session, participants discussed ideas to address various issues related to urban areas and socio-economic development in Hanoi.
They shared their experiences in building smart cities, as well as advanced technologies in transport, healthcare, education, and environmental protection, among others.
They also showed willingness to cooperate with the city in attracting high quality human resources and applying modern technology.
Chung asked the experts and scientists to connect with local authorities via the startup portal startupcity.vn. The sound collaboration between the city and the innovative network connection programme will create favourable conditions for them to contribute further to the nation, he said.
Ca Mau speeds up construction of breakwater on erosion threat
Erosion is becoming more serious at coastal areas around Rach Goc seaport in Ca Mau province’s Ngoc Hien district.
The southernmost province of Ca Mau is speeding up construction of more than 4.2km of breakwater to prevent erosion and protect residential areas along its eastern coast, said the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
It is expected to cost over 110 billion VND (4.8 million USD), which is sourced from the Government’s reserve funds for localities in the Mekong Delta set up under the Prime Minister’s Decision No 795.
A 2km section will be built near Rach Goc port and the rest at Vam Xoay port in Ngoc Hien district.
Ly Hoang Tien, Chairman of the People’s Committee of Ngoc Hien district, said the district has signed up capable contractors to speed up construction of the Rach Goc section.
The task is urgent to prevent erosion and ensure the safety of lives and properties in residential zones near the port, he said.
The Ba Ria-Vung Tau Urban Sewerage and Development Ltd Company (BUSADCO) is the contractor. The company has promised to complete the construction on schedule.
A BUSADCO spokesperson said the company is using pre-fabricated barriers to protect riverbanks and sea dykes.
Pre-fabrication helps overcome many challenges posed by weather, climate and hydrology, and makes it easy to operate and maintain breakwater, he said.
Besides, the construction takes only one third the usual time and costs at least 20 percent less than traditional methods, he said.
The province has petitioned the Government for another 316 billion VND (13.9 million USD) to build more than 11.3km of embankments along its eastern coast where erosion is becoming severe due to the effects of climate change.
Deputy PM asked for sustainable development in ethnic minority areas
At the forum
Promoting rapid and sustainable development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas, and narrowing the development gap between them and other areas is the Party and State’s consistent policy in the national socio-economic development, Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh has said.
The Deputy PM asserted this at a forum on ethnic minority development held in the central province of Quang Nam on August 20, which was jointly organised by the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, the provincial People’s Committee, the UN’s office in Vietnam and the World Bank in Vietnam, and development partners.
Themed “Ngoc Linh ginseng – value chain approach for social and economic development in the ethnic minority areas”, the event saw the participation of nearly 400 delegates from ministries, sectors, localities, enterprises, along with experts, scientists and representatives from international and development organisations.
During his speech, Deputy PM Binh highlighted the significance of the event, saying that it helped collect experience in growing Ngoc Linh ginseng from growers.
He agreed with the assessment of socio-economic development in Vietnam’s ethnic minority areas by representatives from the World Bank.
The Vietnamese Government is paying special heed to directing the implementation of programmes to support ethnic minority communities, he stressed.
Ministries and sectors, especially the Committee for Ethnic Minority Affairs, need to roll out more breakthrough measures, focusing on mobilising greater sources for socio-economic development in ethnic inhabited areas, he said.
More attention should be paid to production development in ethnic minority and mountainous areas in the direction of approaching value chains, promoting innovation and startup activities, and creating jobs.
Local-level leaders were advised to actively seek opportunities and learn from lessons and experience in socio-economic development from other localities to find their own directions in a creative way, towards promoting rapid and sustainable development in their localities.
The Deputy PM encouraged Quang Nam and other localities to jointly call for the involvement of enterprises in expanding cultivation of Ngoc Linh ginseng, which was recognised as a national product.
According to the World Bank’s report on Poverty Reduction and Prosperity in Vietnam, the rate of poor households among ethnic minority communities in Vietnam fell to 44 percent in 2016 from 57 percent in 2014.
In order to narrow the development gap, it is necessary to have new policies, programmes and approaches, including value chain-oriented production, focusing on products of ethnic minorities, especially non-timber forest products (NTFPs).
Ngoc Linh ginseng is one of the typical NTFPs with high economic value. On September 2015, the Government approved a project on conserving and developing Ngoc Linh ginseng – the Vietnamese ginseng by 2030 with a total investment of over 9 trillion VND (387.1 million USD). Ngoc Linh ginseng was officially recognised as a national product in June 2017.
At the forum, domestic and foreign experts discussed how to further promote poverty reduction and sustainable forestry development; and proposed strategies and measures for developing Ngoc Linh ginseng products in Vietnam’s ethnic minority areas.
The Vietnamese ginseng was one of eight precious and endangered flora genes covered in Quang Nam province’s conservation programme for 2014-2020, including Ba Kich (poor ginseng or codonopsis), pepper, cinnamon, large rattan and white corn.
Nam Tra My district of Quang Nam alone has developed 27 farms of Ngoc Linh ginseng on a total area of 932ha, growing 800,000 natural ginseng plants and herbs. These farms plan to produce 1,000 tonnes of ginseng by 2025.
Ca Mau implements master plan to develop transport
The Mekong Delta province of Ca Mau, which is located along the southern coastal corridor linking Vietnam with Cambodia and Thailand, is implementing a master plan to develop transport through 2020 with a vision to 2030.
The locality is applying for the Government’s approval of investment policies to implement some key transport projects.
The projects include the building of a National Highway 1A bypass from Ca Mau city and sections from Ca Mau gas-electricity-fertiliser complex to the highway.
Once completed, the projects will help ease the traffic pressure in the inner city and facilitate the southern coastal corridor to tap local tourism potential.
Additionally, the project of upgrading and expanding the highway from Ca Mau city to Nam Can town is expected to reduce traffic congestions and accidents.
The province has proposed the Government supplement capital to upgrade parts of Highway 63 through Ca Mau. A total investment of 520 billion VND (22.3 million USD) is needed.
According to the local Steering Committee for Traffic Safety, the province put into use eight transport projects in the early months of this year.
It carried out regular maintenance for 12 roads, three waterways and other transport facilities.
The province is selecting contractors to implement 11 transport projects and strengthening inspections of those under construction.
Eighty-one out of the 82 communes have roads usable by cars while 105.73km of rural roads have been concretized.
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