Ex-Miss Vietnam wins 1st Elite Model Look


Dang Thi Le Hang, 21, the 2012 Miss Vietnam, has won the first Elite Model Look.

In the final last Saturday the freelance model walked away with a cash award and prizes worth a total of VND600 million (US$27,270), and will represent Viet Nam at the international Elite Model Look contest to be held in Paris in November.

Pham Thi Kim Thi finished second and Nguyen Thi Ngoc Anh was third.

The jury comprised Nguyen Thi Thuy Nga, the general director of Elite Vietnam, global fashion professional Henri Hubert, and model Ha Anh.

The contest featured a regional and a national round before the finals. The 20 contestants who made it to the final underwent a 10-day training course.

Elite Model Look (known as Look of the Year from 1983 to 1995) is held in around 70 countries to discover and launch female models in the international fashion marketplace.

Each year it attracts some 350,000 participants, with selections being held in more than 800 cities.

Nearly VND60 billion to preserve Hoi An City

The People’s Committee of Quang Nam Province has approved a project on preserving relics and architectures of Hoi An ancient city, worth nearly VND60 billion.

Under projects, 12 mostly damaged relics will be restored, including ancient houses no. 7, 67, 150, 75 and 168 on Tran Phu street; no. 113 on Nguyen Thai Hoc street; no.44/12 and 51/2 on Phan Chau Trinh street; no. 39 on Tieu La street; 26 and 30 on Bach Dang street and 14 Nguyen Thi Minh Khai street.

Hoi An ancient town of central province of Quang Nam was a major trading center of Southeast Asia in the 16th century. It was recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1999 and is one of the most popular tourist destinations for local and international visitors.

Reality show on Vietnamese culture and cuisine to be aired in AFC

The English version of the reality show ‘Martin Yan-Taste of Vietnam’ will be aired on the Asian Food Channel (AFC) starting October 16.

In the 26-episode reality show, the world famous Chinese - American chef Martin Yan will take audiences on a journey throughout the country and introduce the Vietnamese nature, culture, cuisine and people through his trip. He will also demonstrate his cook secrets and techniques.

Earlier, the Vietnamese version was broadcast at US television channels, KQED, PBS and APT in September; and on HTV7 channel in Vietnam in 2013.

Rex Hotel’s bartender wins Barista Cup Saigontourist 2014

Luong Huynh Minh Ngoc of Rex Hotel won two first prizes in categories of Bartender – Barista costumes and classic cocktail bartending at Bartender Contest- Barista Cup Saigontourist 2014 which ended in Ho Chi Minh City on September 7.

Ngoc will be awarded a trip to France to join the international bartender contest.

Le Xuan Trong of Notorious Barflair won the first prize in the category of flairtending; the first prize of the category of Espresso and Latté art performances belonged to Ho Duong Quang Minh of Trung Nguyen Group Corp.,

The contest this year attracted 107 bartenders from hotels, restaurants and bars nationwide.

The annual contest, launched since 1999 by Saigontourist Holding Company, aims to give a chance for bartenders to improve and exchange their skills and talents.

Vietnamese producer fined for illegally screening self-labeled 18+ movie

Inspectors of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism on September 4 decided to impose a penalty on the producer of the Vietnamese movie “Can Ho 69” (Apt. 69) for “screening a movie which has not been approved to be publicized at public places.”

“Can Ho 69” received a VND10 million (US$471) fine, according to Decree 158 on administrative sanctions in the field of culture, sport, tourism and advertising.

According to the regulations on cinema, a movie must be reviewed for approval by the National Cinema Department under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism before being screened publicly.

Vu Xuan Thanh, chief inspector of the Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism, told Tuoi Tre on September 5 that Nguyen Thanh Nam, the film’s producer, admitted his violation at a working session with the ministry’s inspectors on September 4.

“Can Ho 69” was first posted in the form of a sitcom series on Youtube in June and received mixed opinions on its content, which is labeled 18+ by its producer.

Moreover, earlier, at a press conference on the movie in June, Do Duy Anh, Deputy Director of the National Cinema Department, said individuals and organizations who want to produce films must have a certificate of film producing eligibility granted by the National Cinema Department.

The maker of “Can Ho 69” is not eligible for movie production, Anh added.

Ha Nam holds first Chau Van festival

Nearly 200 groups performed 20 typical songs and dances of Chau Van, at the first festival of its kind has been held in northern province of Ha Nam since Sunday.

Chau Van is a spiritual performance art accompanying the hau dong (mediumship) ritual of the Mother Goddesses' religion.

Most of the performing groups came from all over the province and four of them came from the neighbouring northern provinces of Lang Son, Ninh Binh, Nam Dinh and Hai Phong.

The Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism has assigned the Viet Nam Institute of Culture and Arts Studies to spearhead the compilation of a dossier on Chau Van songs and dances and cooperate with concerned agencies in making the dossier, to seek UNESCO recognition of the art as an invaluable cultural heritage.

Children from orphanage win short film competition

Orphans from Ha Noi's Birla Children's Village beat 30 other children's teams to win a short film competition for children, My Dreams.

The short film made by children from the Birla Children's Village, entitled Lo Thuoc (A Bottle of Medicine), won the first prize, while the second and third prize went to Nu Cuoi Cua Ba – Mot Uoc Mo (Grandma's Smile – A Dream) by a group from Thang Long junior high school in Ha Noi, and Khat Vong (Aspiration) made by Ha Noi's Phan Chu Trinh junior high school students, respectively.

The three films will be sent as the Vietnamese entries to the 2014 Asia International Children Film Festival, to be held in Minamiawaji, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan, on November 29.

According to Vu Duy Anh, an official from the Ministry of Education and Training, the contest was an opportunity for Vietnamese students to express their views on life's lessons and issues relevant to them creatively.

Land Reform exhibition opens

An exhibition on one of the most important periods in northern Viet Nam's history, the Land Reform campaign, opened yesterday in downtown Ha Noi to commemorate Viet Nam's National Day and the anniversary of Viet Nam's August Revolution.

The historic campaign, from 1946 to 1957, redefined northern Viet Nam by redistributing agricultural land amongst the general population with the revolutionary motto of, "return land to the peasants".

The exhibition, featuring 150 photos, artifacts and artworks, brings to life the pivotal nature of the period.

The exhibition is structured around two main themes. The first, "Rural areas in Viet Nam before the Land Reform campaign", portrays the difference between the life of landlords and peasants in Viet Nam before 1945. The second, "The Land Reform campaign 1946-1957", features Viet Nam Government and Party documents that highlight the reform's errors, corrections, progress and its eventual achievements.

Before Viet Nam's August Revolution in 1945, the Vietnamese peasantry, which amounted to 95 per cent of northern Viet Nam's population, owned a meager 30 per cent of the region's agricultural land.

By the end of the campaign 810,000ha of agricultural land were redistributed to approximately 2.2 million Vietnamese peasants (72.8 per cent of the northern rural population), according to the Viet Nam National Museum of History (VNMH).

A range of original documents are used to narrate a decade of momentous political change. President Ho Chi Minh's speech at the 5th National Conference on Land Reform, the 1957 National Decree on Land Reform and a Certificate of Land Ownership issued to peasants in Ninh Binh Province are to name just a few.

The words these documents bear are not just proof that history happened, they, like poetry, still have the power to move.

"Only with land reform that returns the land to our peasants and frees the workforce from the landlords' chains and shackles, can we end the sickening poverty and backwardness of our peasants," President Ho Chi Minh wrote in a report to the National Assembly's Third Meeting, December 1953.

Meanwhile, other exhibits viscerally recreate peasant life. A life-size peasant's house along with the artifacts that would fill it up–clothes, personal effects and work tools–bring a dynamism to the museum visitor's experience.

The exhibition, organised by the VNMH, relied on exhibit contributions from the Ho Chi Minh Museum; the Government Office; the National Archives Centres I, II, III; and from provincial museums of: Hung Yen, Thai Nguyen, Nam Dinh and Thai Binh.

Nguyen Van Cuong, the VNMH's director, hopes the exhibit will "help educate Vietnamese, especially youngsters, on the history of the Land Reform campaign and the nation's revolution for independence".

The exhibition will run at the VNMH, 25 Tong Dan Street, till the end of the year.

Canadian painter creates portrait of President Ho Chi Minh

Noted Canadian painter Jean-Mauriece Gelinas handed his painting of President Ho Chi Minh to Vietnamese ambassador to Canada To Anh Dung on the occasion of Viet Nam's National Day.

Ambassador Dung said the painting was a priceless and meaningful gift, adding that the embassy would display it at a solemn place and consider it a concrete expression of the friendship between the two peoples.

Gelinas travelled throughout Viet Nam during a month in 2010 and was impressed with the history and culture of the country. He especially admired President Ho.

When he learned about the President's friendship with Spanish painter Pablo Picasso, he decided to draw the President's portrait in the background of Picasso's Joy of Living painting.

The Montreal-based artist, who spent two months on the painting, said the most difficult part was not only trying to paint the President as he appeared in real life, but also expressing his beautiful and open soul.

Vietnamese students to compete in Japan film fest

Three short films produced by Vietnamese students have been selected to compete in the Asian International Children’s Film Festival set for November 29 in Minami-Awaji, Japan.

The finalists, announced on September 6, are Lo Thuoc (drug bottle) by Birla Orphanage, Nu Cuoi cua Ba-Mot Uoc Mo (Grandmother’s smile-One dream), by Thang Long secondary school, Hanoi, and Khat Vong (aspiration) by Phan Chu Trinh Secondary School, Hanoi.

They are the award-winning films of the 8th film-making competition, offering high school students a chance to showcase their talent in the cinema industry.

The competition, initiated by the Japan-Vietnam and Vietnam-Japan ambassadors, helps students cherish their dreams, develop life skills, and especially create a friendly learning environment for them.

Vietnamese students will join their Asian counterparts on a visit to Japan this November to vie for the best amateur film – a chance to develop closer ties.

Contest focuses on splendor of Ha Long Bay

A photo contest offering professional photographers, hobbyists and enthusiasts the opportunity to showcase their most impressive photos of Ha Long Bay was launched on September 8.

The contest in honour of the 20th anniversary of Ha Long Bay’s recognition as a UNESCO World Heritage site has been organized by the Vietnam Association of Photographic Artists and Quang Ninh provincial Association of Literature and Arts.

The organizing board will award one first prize, two second prizes, three third prizes and five consolation prizes with cash prizes ranging from VND20 million to VND2 million each.

The deadline for submitting entries is October 1. The awards ceremony is set to take place on October 14 at Quang Ninh Museum.

H’re ethnic people preserve traditional culture

H’re ethnic people in central Quang Ngai province’s Ba To district are striving to preserve their rich and diversified culture, which is on the verge of oblivion.

Pham Van Su is one of the very few H’re ethnic people in Ba To district who know how to make and use their traditional musical instruments.

In his 80, the man has forgotten himself in passing down the skills to his descendants with a hope of preserving and upholding H’re people’s cultural values.

“The H’re ethnic group boasts many folk songs along with musical instruments like Vo Roat and Tuc Chinh. I want to pass them on to my descendants,” said Su.

However, Su added, it is a hard work as nowadays, the young are not really interested in this traditional genre of music.

As time goes by, traditional festivals, rituals and musical instruments of the H’re group have fallen into oblivion. Less and less people master the instruments and folk songs. Meanwhile, young people turn their back on traditional culture.

Dinh Van Uoc from Ba To town said young people play modern genres of music jubilantly on stages but few of them know how to play traditional musical instruments.

In an effort to preserve the culture of H’re people, local authorities have organised many traditional musical performance contests and festivals.

Dinh Thi Y Ban Quy, head of the Culture and Sports Department of Ba To district, said firstly, the department reviewed all current arts forms and then, it devised plans to boost the use of them to help protect cultural identities of H’re ethnic people.

Many local people said it is crucial to preserve and uphold the traditional culture of H’re people in the central province of Quang Ngai and this is part of efforts to promote the Vietnamese culture.

However, they added, the work requires the participation of the entire people, especially H’re people.

Mekong Delta province protects ethnic minority culture

The Mekong Delta province of Kien Giang is undertaking maximum efforts to preserve and develop the unique cultures of its ethnic minorities, who make up 14.5 percent of the local population.

The Ok-Om-Bok festival, which is held annually in Go Quao district, has been upgraded into a culture-tourism-sports festival featuring a variety of activities, such as art performances, trade fairs and photo exhibitions, showcasing the social-economic achievements, culture and cuisine of the Khmer group.

Campaigns to eradicate illiteracy and offer bilingual education were launched in such districts with large communities of ethnic minorities, as Chau Thanh, Go Quao and Giong Rieng, said Danh Nho, Head of the Ethnic Affairs Board under the Provincial People’s Council.

More than 30 schools across the locality teach in ethnic minority languages in addition to Vietnamese while hundreds of classes teaching Khmer are run at pagodas over the summer holidays.

The local budget was earmarked for assisting the upgrade of Khmer and Hoa (ethnic Chinese) pagodas. In particular, more than 25 billion VND (1.1 million USD) was spent on the construction of crematoriums, the purchase of five-tonne musical instruments, and the building of iconic, long, narrow boats for “Ngo” boat race, a distinctive traditional festival of the Khmer people.

In addition to increasing air time for broadcasts in Khmer, the province now publishes magazines and newspapers in the language of its ethnic minority readers.

The locality is also dedicating resources to the protection of tangible and intangible cultural heritages in line with social-economic and tourism development, with a particular focus on preserving languages, costumes, religions and festivals.

Films on Scotland to be screened in Vietnam

Various genres of movies capturing the life and people of Scotland will hit the screen in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as part of the UK Film Week 2014, which is slated for September 22-28.

The glorious Sunshine on Leith musical will open the week, themed “ Scotland – Year of Homecoming 2014”, according to the British Council in Vietnam .

Other movies to be shown include “Ae Fond Kiss,” “For those in Peril,” “Not Another Happy Ending,” and “Shell”.

This year’s event will also mark the first time the British Council partners with Yxineff, a local non-profit organisation supporting young filmmakers, to introduce seven short Vietnamese entries and six award-winning Scottish short films.

Free tickets will be distributed at the British Council in the two cities from September 15.

Theatre revives Bach Dang River battle

The Tuong Theatre (classical drama) has embarked on restoring a historical play titled Tieng Goi Non Song (Motherland's Call). It was written by Kinh Dan in 1962.

The play presents an account of an historical battle between southern Han troops from China and ingenious Vietnamese troops led by legendary General Ngo Quyen.

The battle, which took place on the Bach Dang River in 938, ended more than 1,000 years of Chinese domination of Vietnam, which began in 111BC.

The victory was based on the ingenious tactic of using sharpened tree trunks imbedded in the river to impale the invaders as the tide in the estuary receded. The win opened a new and almost continuous period of independence for the nation.

Ngo Quyen (897-944) was a Vietnamese general during the Southern Han Dynasty occupation of Giao Chau city in the Hong (Red River) Valley in northern Vietnam.

Pham Ngoc Tuan, director of the theatre, said the play was being revived because it not only won a golden medal at the National Stage Competition in 1962, but was connected to a major event in the nation's long history.

"It contributes to consolidating national patriotism and pride in each individual," he said.

The play is directed by Dang Ba Tai and stage designed by painter Nguyen Hoang Phong. Actor Xuan Quy, who has received a Meritorious Award, will act the main character, Ngo Quyen.

When first presented in 1962, the play was directed by Nguyen Dinh Phong with the participation of famous actors Quang Ton and Bach Tra and meritorious artist Van Thanh.

"It will be a great challenge for the artists to renew themselves. They will follow the original script, but add current news on national sovereignty in the East Sea," said Tuan.

The play is expected to be performed in September.

Tuong originated in the 12th century in Vietnam, but its growth occurred mainly in the 17th century in the central region. The art consists of dance, song, and music performed by artists skilled in masquerade.

Along with cheo (traditional opera) in the north and cai luong (reformed theatre) in the south, tuong is an integral part of Vietnamese culture.

The art was developed from a folk art into a royal art, and has themes eulogising loyalty to the monarch and patriotic duty.