Korean band Sistar back to Vietnam

Korean band Sistar will join a number of other famous Asian artists at the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) TV Song Festival in Hanoi on October 26.

This is Sistar’s second visit to Vietnam after performing in Munwha Broadcasting Corporation’s (MBC) K-pop Festival last November.

ABU audiences are particularly anticipating hearing Sistar’s hit “Give it to Me” live.

As part of the two-hour show, Vietnamese singer Van Mai Huong will perform “It’s You” and rock band Ngu Cung will play “Highland Stone”.

Australia’s Justice Crew and Hong Kong’s Mag Lam are also scheduled to perform in the programme.

The ABU Festival is initiated to welcome the 50th Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union General Assembly to be held in Hanoi over October 23–29.

French electro artists stage Hanoi, HCM City concerts

French and Vietnamese artists will perform “Siestes Electroniques”, an innovative suite of electronic music compositions, to audiences in Ho Chi Minh City on October 12 and in Hanoi on October 19.

The concert, the result of collaboration between the French Embassy in Vietnam and Vietnamese electronic artists, is part of activities celebrating 2013’s Vietnam-France Year.

Famous composers and performers including Vincent Moon, Laurent Jeanneau, Jean-Nipon, Vu Nhat Tan, and Nguyen Hong Giang will present their musical reflections on cultural diversity and its associations.

Siestes Electroniques aims to showcase electronic music’s variety, complexity, and sophistication.

Entry to these performances is free.

Mass performance of xoe folk dance to set Vietnamese record

A mass performance of xoe folk dance with the participation of 2,033 people to set a Vietnamese record is scheduled to take place in Nghia Lo town, the northwestern mountainous province of Yen Bai, on September 29.

Participants will perform six core xoe dances of Thai ethnic people, namely “xe vong”, “om lom top mu”, “nhom khan”, “pha xi”, “don hon” and “kham khan moi lau” with the music played by 20 traditional instrumentalists.

Chairwoman of the Nghia Lo People’s Committee Hoang Hong Hanh, who is also the head of performance’s steering board, said that locals are excited to join in the activity. They want to take this opportunity to introduce their cultural beauty to both domestic and foreign people.

The event will also mark the approval of a project to develop Nghia Lo town into a destination of culture and tourism in the 2013 – 2020 period.

Xoe dance is an important collective dance of Thai people, especially in the northwestern region. The xoe folk dance comprises about 30 different dances.

Vietnam-Japan cultural festival opens in HCM City

A large number of Vietnamese and Japanese students, businesses and people participated in the Vietnam-Japan Cultural Day in Ho Chi Minh City on September 15.

The event, jointly held by the HCM City Union of Friendship Organisations and the municipal Department for Culture, Sports and Tourism, was part of celebrations for the 40th anniversary of the two countries’ diplomatic ties.

During the festival, various cultural and sports activities took place, including a cuisine exhibition, a poem exchange programme, a tea making art, a fencing performance, Yosakoi dancing, and ornamental fish show.

A lacquer painting exhibition was also held to showcase 50 artworks created by Tran Quan Ngoc, Chairman of Esperanto International Language Association, with a focus on the beauty of Japanese people and their land.

A  charity programme was also launched at the event to raise funds for the poor and disadvantaged children in mountainous and remote areas.

The Vietnam-Japan Hiroshima Association donated 300,000 Japanese yen in support of poor patients in HCM City and the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.

Busy market for full moon festival

Hanoi’s Giang Vo Exhibition Centre staged a special Mid-Autumn Festival market on September 14, offering local children the chance to enjoy a cozy atmosphere while admiring the diverse range of modern and traditional toys available to purchase.

The market, which lasts until September 22, is a joint endeavour of the Vietnam International Business Centre and the Vietnam Craft Villages’ Association.

Parts of the exhibition centre are devoted to recreating the festive environs of traditional rural markets through bamboo tents and images of banyan trees, wells, and temple grounds.

Patrons, primarily children and their parents, can join in folk games, admire music and dance performances, observe parades, and compete in cooking contests.

Famous artisans are also showing interested children how to make traditional toys and moon cakes.

Vietnamese Cultural Space opens in Italy

A Vietnamese Cultural Space exhibition opened in the northern Italian city of Turin on September 13 as part of it’s the “Vietnam Days” programme in Turin.

The space showcases images of Hanoi and Hoi An, historical photographs, book stalls, and a collection of the famous Vietnamese long dress Ao Dai.

The same day, a seminar introducing Vietnamese investment opportunities was held, attracting the interest of 70 local businesses. Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Hoang Long briefed attendees on the country’s landscape and people and answered their queries regarding business policies.

Long urged Turin’s mechanical, financial, and agricultural businesses to invest in Vietnam and asked local authorities to coordinate with the Vietnamese Embassy in Italy on opening a representative office in Turin.

Turin Small and Medium-Sized Business Association Vice Chairman Mario Cavarero committed his support to opening the office and creating favourable conditions for local businesses to explore opportunities in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese and Italian Governments are working together on 2013’s “Vietnam Year in Italy” and “Italy Year in Vietnam”, commemorating 40 years since their establishment of diplomatic ties.

Italy has hosted 100 political, diplomatic, economic, cultural, educational, sports, and tourism related activities in Rome, Florence, Boglona, Venice, and Turin, with more planned for Milan and Genova before the year concludes in Rome.

Ambassador Long also held a September 13 working session with the Turin-based FATA Group, one of Europe’s leading steel, aluminum, oil, gas, and electricity factory design and construction firms.  

FATA desires closer cooperation with Vietnam, an emerging market it sees as compatible with its strengths.

At a meeting with leaders of Valle d'Agosta Autonomous Region, Ambassador Long discussed the possibility of supporting Vietnamese students in studying in the area, especially for those who can speak French.

The regional leaders pledged to assist Vietnam’s green and eco-tourism industries.

Three short films from Vietnam in Asian Int’l Children Film Festival

Three short films that won top prizes at the seventh Film-Making Competition for Vietnamese students with the theme on school violence, will participate in the Asian International Children’s Film Festival on November 30 in Minamiawaji City in Japan.

The short films include ‘Nam Tram Ngan Dong’ (Five Hundred Thousand Dong) by Phan Chu Trinh Junior High School in Hanoi; ‘Giac Mo’ (Dream) by Hue High School; and ‘Nhung Ngay Toi Truong’ (Days at School) by Birla Orphanage.

The competition opened on September 14 in Hanoi in association with the Japanese Embassy in Vietnam, the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and the Ministry of Education and Training. This year’s competition attracted 35 films from schools across the country.

HCM City to kick off Mid-Autumn Festival for children

On occasion of the Mid-Autumn Festival on September 18-19, the City will kick off many meaningful activities for children in general and disadvantaged, handicapped children in particular, including donation of gifts, lanterns, moon cakes, and music performances.

During the two days, children exchange programs will be held and 700 poor and handicapped children living in orphanages, open houses in Hoc Mon District as well as other provinces will receive gifts.

Many different activities will be held at many locations such as Dam Sen Cultural Park with free tickets for children. Besides, Gia Dinh Park Circus will hold performances with participation of Ho Chi Minh City Circus on nights of September 18-22.

‘Mid-Autumn Festival and Suburban Kids’ is an annual charity program that was launched by singer Ho Ngoc Ha, funded by Kinh Do Bakery. Through this event, 100 scholarships, 1,000 moon cakes, lanterns, books will be sent to poor children.

Viet Nam Days begin in Turin

The Vietnamese Cultural Space exhibition opened in Turin, Italy on Friday as part of the "Viet Nam Days in Turin" artistic programme.

Alongside images of Ha Noi and the World Heritage city of Hoi An, the exhibition also showcased historical photographs of Viet Nam-Italy relations.

A catwalk show presenting a collection of Vietnamese traditional dress was also organised.

On the same day, representatives of more than 70 Italian local businesses joined a seminar on investment opportunities in Viet Nam.

The "Viet Nam Days in Turin" is a part of the "Viet Nam Year in Italy" which is marking the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relation between the two countries.

VN, France ties honoured

Hundreds of photos reflecting diplomatic ties between Viet Nam and France were on display at the Festival of L'Humanite in Paris last week.

The three-day event, which wrapped up yesterday, was for French communists and international left-wing organisations.

A booth displaying the daily newspaper of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Nhan Dan (People), also was set up at the festival.

In addition, Vietnamese culinary specialities and traditional handicrafts were presented to visitors.

Speaking at the event, Vietnamese Ambassador to France Duong Chi Dung hoped that Vietnamese and French communist parties would promote their contributions to bilateral co-operation development.

Hue Cultural Week goes Japanese

A wide range of activities were held during Viet Nam-Japan Cultural Week in central Hue City, highlighting the friendship between the two countries.

A photo exhibition featuring Japan and its people as well as the Viet Nam-Japan friendship took place at the Hue Medical and Pharmacy University (HMPU).

A gastrointestinal endoscopy centre, funded by Japan's Nagoya University, also has been opened officially at the HMPU.

The centre will not only benefit thousands of patients in the central region, but will also provide a good opportunity for the university to expand international co-operation and promote exchanges in the fields of training, research and technical transfer with Japanese partners.

During the week, the Hue Teenage Activity Centre hosted several activities to introduce Japanese culture.

According to Do Thi My Chau, deputy director of the Thua Thien-Hue provincial Foreign Office, in recent years the area has worked together with Japanese localities to organise many socio-economic and cultural activities.

Japan has provided much support for Hue City in restoring the ancient capital, training doctors and physicians, and developing clean water projects.

In addition, Japan's ancient cities and Hue have also organised many cultural exchanges, contributing to the friendship between the two countries in general and Hue City with Japan in particular.

The Viet Nam-Japan Cultural Week was held from September 9-14.

Ministry records record breakers

The Viet Nam Book of Records (Vietbooks) has announced that the Ministry of Home Affairs has established a Viet Nam Record-holders Association.

The decision signed on August 23 cited that the association would specialise in activities related to records to promote the country's people, culture, and tourism.

It will include the names of Vietnamese individuals and organisations with Vietnamese and world records. It will also create opportunities for local and international record-holders to exchange experiences.

The association's first congress will be held in October in HCM City, and the committee's members will be announced.

According to Vietbooks, there are more than 1,300 record-holders across the country, including 500 organisations.

Video art ponders modern life

Artists from around the country have gathered in Hue for a video art show that offers different philosophical perspectives on modern life.

The videos, ranging from two to seven minutes long, all explore how in a fast-paced way of life, people lose their ability to think deeply and question the world around them. The work argues that instead of devoting thought to human values, people's main focus in developed Viet Nam now seems to be on eating and dressing.

Artist Hoang Anh in Hue made a 3-minute video centering on a slaughtered chicken. The film then appears to take the audience on the back of the chicken, travelling quickly through the busy, traffic-filled streets.

The film is intended to provoke thoughts about how the popularisation of fast food and Western lifestyles has eroded the green and clean Vietnamese way of life. While people once planted vegetables in their garden for daily meals, or killed a chicken by themselves to cook, they now flock to KFC.

In a video featuring the different food and eating styles in the north and south of the country, Ha Noi based artist Tran Dan emphasises that many modern people eat to be full, rather than to enjoy the taste. He believes this has led to a fading of culinary culture.

Eleven artists from HCM City, Nha Trang, Hue, and Ha Noi have gathered at the show since September 6 to prepare their work. Films are being projected both onto wall space and sculptures. The exhibition began on Thursday night and will remain open and free to the public at the New Art Space Foundation in Hue until next Tuesday.

Experts have said the exhibition is injecting new life into the sluggish development of video art in Viet Nam.

VN film fest opens in Argentina to celebrate diplomatic ties

Seven popular feature films by Vietnamese directors are being screened in Buenos Aires.

The films include Canh Dong Hoang (Deserted Field) by director Hong Sen, and Dung Dot (Don't Burn) and Thuong Nho Dong Que (Nostalgia for the Countryside) by Dang Nhat Minh.

The Viet Nam film festival is part of a series of cultural events to celebrate the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries, which include a traditional music concert, a photo exhibition and a talk about Viet Nam in the city.

An Argentinean cultural week will take place in Ha Noi in November.

Students submit entries for national cinema contest

Secondary school students from Ha Noi, HCM City, Da Nang and Khanh Hoa have entered 35 films into a contest at the National Cinema Centre that is taking place today in the capital.

A maximum of three students have been allowed to work on each entry, which are no longer than three minutes long and cover the issue of school violence.

The films will be screened between 1pm and 5pm at the centre, 87 Lang Ha Street.

The jury include People's Artist and director Dang Nhat Minh, People's Artist and actress Le Khanh and director Dang Viet Thanh.

The contest is the seventh to be organised by the Japanese Embassy in Viet Nam, the Ministry of Education and Training and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The three winning teams will be invited to Japan to take part in an international film festival for Asian children at the end of November in Minamiawaji Province, Japan.

Children at local hospitals receive Mid-Autumn Festival gifts

Thousands of paediatric patients in HCM City and Ha Noi will receive moon cakes, lanterns and other gifts as part of a Mid-Autumn Festival celebration called Trai Tim Hong (Pink Heart).

During the celebration held today at the city's Paediatrics Hospital 2 and tomorrow at the Ha Noi-based Central Paediatrics Hospital, the kids take part in mooncake baking, reading and traditional games, and enjoy free haircuts as well.

There are flea markets selling low-priced clothes, stationery and books. All proceeds from the sales will be given to needy patients.

The highlight of the celebration is circus, magical, music, dance and comedy performances featuring artists from both cities, including singers Thai Thuy Linh, Hien Thuc and Minh Quan, comedic actor Minh Beo, and child and teen singers and dancers.

Ancient towers restoration completed

Restoration work has been completed on the two ancient towers of Chot Mat and Binh Thanh in southern Tay Ninh province.

The 1 billion VND (47,000 USD) project includes land erosion protection, exterior and interior repainting and electricity installment. The fence and gate were repaired and a new road built to better serve visitors to Binh Thanh tower.

In 1993, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism invested over 2 billion VND (94,000 USD) to restore the Khmer structures and recognised them as architectural and artistic relic sites.

Archaeologists say that Chot Mat and Binh Thanh towers are two of the three remaining ancient towers in the southern region, which now serve as research and tourism sites in the locality.

First UNESCO heritage festival to focus on 24 heritages

The ten ASEAN member nations will join India, China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea to present examples of their distinctive cultural heritage at the first Vietnam – ASEAN UNESCO Heritage Festival in Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong, from December 27 – 31.

Each country will bring evidence of one tangible and one intangible piece of cultural heritage to the event. The chosen culture does not have to be currently recognised by UNESCO.

Vietnamese provinces and cities which house UNESCO-recognised heritages will also take part in the festival.

This festival is part of Culture and Tourism Week 2013. During the week, the province is also set to hold a ceremony launching the Central Highlands – Da Lat National Tourism Year 2014, celebrate the fifth Da Lat Flower Festival and mark the 120th founding anniversary of Da Lat.

Hoang Sa flotilla ceremony to take place in Hanoi

The ceremony honouring the Hoang Sa (Paracel) flotilla, traditionally held each year by the Ly Son islanders of Quang Ngai province in the third lunar month, is set to be re-enacted in Hanoi this November.

The event is part of the activities planned for the ‘Uniting Vietnamese ethnic groups – Vietnamese Cultural Heritage’ Week to be held in the Vietnam Culture and Tourism Village in Son Tay town from November 18-23.

The traditional ceremony, known as ‘Le khao le the linh Hoang Sa’ (Hoang Sa Soldier Feast and Commemoration Festival), has been observed by families on Ly Son island for hundreds of years. It pays tribute to local men who left their homeland to protect Vietnam’s Hoang Sa (Paracel) and Truong Sa (Spratly) archipelagoes during the reign of the Nguyen Lords and during the Tay Son and Nguyen dynasties.

A wide range of rituals are staged during the ceremony, including food offerings, a funeral oration, a requiem for the dead and the launching of replicas of the boats that carried soldiers and sailors to sea.

The ceremony was declared a National Intangible Cultural Heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism in April of this year.

Mat weaving trade given intangible cultural heritage status

The Dinh Yen craft village’s sedge mat weaving trade in the southern province of Dong Thap was named a national intangible cultural heritage by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Located between Dinh An and Dinh Yen communes, Lap Vo district, the village is famous for its long-standing mat weaving craft, practised by local residents for more than 100 years.

In the past, mat makers and traders gathered in front of An Phuoc Pagoda at dusk for a night market. This unique trading time, between the time of mid-night and daybreak, caused people to refer to the Dinh Yen mat trade as a ‘ghost’ market in the old days, adding to its special cultural tradition and becoming an indispensable part of local identity.

The night market no longer exists, however, having been replaced by modern and more convenient means for trade.

The Dinh Yen village has received investment and assistance from local authorities to raise the quality and competitiveness of its products, making the craft not only a ‘brand’ for the village but also a source of greater income for local residents.