A book of stories and photos on the Truong Sa (Spratly) Islands has been released in Hanoi to spread love and energy from the archipelago to the people.
The publication is a result of many journeys to the Spratlys by poet Lu Mai and photographer Tran Thanh, who saw the love evoked from simple things in life on the islands.
They decided to compile Nơi Đầu Sóng (On the Wave) to pay respect to the people and soldiers on the Spratlys and help people understand more about life there.
“Anyone who goes to the Spratlys sees they are very lucky, as the archipelago is a solemn part of the country, many generations of Vietnamese people sacrificed to protect it as well as national sovereignty,” Mai said.
“All of us felt moved when we stood in front of the landmarks, witnessed the hard life of the people and soldiers on the islands and attended the commemoration of the fallen.”
The idea for the book came when Mai asked an 18-year-old soldier what kind of gifts he wanted to receive and he replied a book about the soldiers.
Co-author of the book Thanh works as a technician and has developed lots of equipment for soldiers on the islands, such as a water filtration device and a machine to compress rubbish.
They launched the book at a photo exhibition 'On the Wave' that kicked off on August 31 in Hanoi.
The exhibition displays 100 photos taken by Thanh, Mai and other photographers and journalists who have visited soldiers on the Spratlys.
The authors also plan to publish diaries written by the soldiers.
Mai still remembers the writings of Tran Van Phuc, a leader on Da Dong Island. He wrote about an 18-year-old soldier who was very homesick and silently cried when alone. Phúc understood his pain but stayed quiet. He brought the soldier to the dog cages and told him to take one puppy to raise.
“The dog became a close friend of the soldier, easing his homesickness. They guarded, played and paraded together,” Mai said.
"Many other stories about the people on the islands, the lighthouse keepers and teachers, and doctors should be featured in other books."
The exhibition will run until September 5 at the Exhibition House, 93 Dinh Tien Hoang Street, Hanoi.