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“The World is Flat” author visits Vietnam

American journalist Thomas L.Friedman, author of an international bestselling book “The world is Flat” analyzing globalisation in the 21st century, will pay his second visit to Vietnam from May 6-11.

“The World is Flat” author visits Vietnam


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American journalist Thomas L.Friedman, author of an international bestselling book “The world is Flat” analyzing globalisation in the 21st century, will pay his second visit to Vietnam from May 6-11.

During his stay, he will hold dialogues with Vietnamese policymakers, scholars, and entrepreneurs to exchange opinions on the development of green technology, green energy and biotechnology.

High on the agenda will be the world economic situation and how businesses can remain competitive in a global market, lessons of success and failure of countries across the world in the past 20 years, and opportunity and challenge for Vietnam in the new era.

Born in 1953, Thomas Loren Friedman is a famous American commentator of The New York Times. He has written extensively on foreign affairs including global trade, the Middle East, globalization, and environmental issues.

Thomas has won the Pulitzer Prize three times.

His famous books include The Lexus and the Olive Tree, The World is Flat, Longitudes and Attitudes, and Hot, Flat, and Crowded.

Stellar show to celebrate Dien Bien Phu victory

A spectacular performance involving more than 1,000 artists will kick start a series of events celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu Victory (May 7 1954) tonight.

Known as the highlight of the celebration, the art performance Dien Bien Phu – The Everlasting Epic promises a unique and impressive portrayal of the global event. Commencing at 8pm, the two-hour show will take place at the May 7 Square in Dien Bien Phu City.

The performance comprises two sections. The first chapter Dien Bien Phu – The Everlasting Epic reenacts the resistance war against the French colonists, with the victory as the climax. The second, Dien Bien Memory – A Bright Future and Dien Bien – The Love of Land and People, depicts the steady development of the area. The section also features reporting and interviews with generals and artists who joined the campaign in addition to Dien Bien Phu themed songs from the past 60 years.

According to the general director, People's Artist Le Ngoc Cuong, audiences will be fully immersed in the performance, with the entire space surrounding the stage to be used for the reenactment of the campaign.

"Of note, the stage is open, encouraging the audience to act as witnesses, to reminisce and relive the most important time of this historical event," said Cuong, who directed the 40th and 50th anniversary celebrations of the victory.

"It's not a stage as commonly seen. A raised stage has been set up in the middle of Dien Bien Square like a huge hill, covering an area of more than 2,000sq.m.

"Depending on the developments of the programme, the stage will turn out to be Hill A1 – where the fiercest battle of the campaign took place - or the bunker of General De Castries, or mountain slopes where soldiers and civil labourers carried weapons.

"This is a story about war told through the language of art, creating an imposing and epic atmosphere to illustrate the nation's great resistance war.

"Also, the programme re-establishes the images of General Vo Nguyen Giap, the Commander-in-Chief of the campaign, the tugging of cannons into the Dien Bien hollow, and images of heroes whose names will forever be connected to the land, such as Be Van Dan [who used his body as a gun rack], Phan Dinh Giot [who used his body to cover a loop-hole] and To Vinh Dien, [who used his body to choke a cannon]," Cuong said.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, head of the organising board of the anniversary celebrations of the victory, was present yesterday in Dien Bien Phu City to preview the celebrations kicking off tomorrow.

Dam and organising board members attended a preview of a ceremony to pay respect to heroic martyrs at Martyrs' Cemetery on A1 Hill, the resting place of the 644 soldiers who died during the campaign.

A strong contingent of army, police and civil defence force officers and artists will make up nearly 2,500 people who will participate in the procession. Hundreds of other people are also set to take part.

Speaking later during a meeting on preparations for the official ceremony tomorrow, the Deputy PM said he applauded the efforts of the army and civil forces and artists for their efforts on the event.

"Procession attendants of the intellectuals are too young, which can't represent the specific characteristics of this important contingent of the society. So it's necessary to supplement the procession with representatives of the war veterans of the Dien Bien Phu campaign," the Deputy PM said.

Paintings illustrate life in full colour


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Thirty artists from the Netherlands and 10 from Viet Nam are showcasing 70 works at the exhibition Meeting Point – Dutch Coloured Art, at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum.

Roby Bellemans, curator and organiser of the exhibition, said it aimed to show contemporary trends.

Ma Thanh Cao, the museum's director, said the exhibits reflected various topics, from climate change and environmental protection to Dutch and Vietnamese landscapes and people.

The exhibition features paintings, installation works, graffiti, digital art, video and sculptures in an eclectic range of materials and styles and topics.

Simon Borst from Amsterdam focuses on plein-air paintings using oil paint on canvas or paper.

His works, including Home Abstraction and Meadow Fence, depict subjects from nature, landscapes and city sites.

His paintings have been displayed in the Netherlands, Turkey, Austria and Greece.

The museum's deputy director, Hua Thanh Binh, presents abstract paintings depicting the deep sea. He uses images of nude women and dark colours for his works.

Binh, who graduated from the Gia Dinh Fine Arts College (now the HCM City Fine Arts University) in 1974. He has held several solo and group exhibitions in Viet Nam and several other countries.

Bellemans said he wanted to display all the artworks without titles. They are simply numbered from 1 to 70.

The works will be on display until May 15 at the museum at 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street in District 1.

VNA show revisits epic battle

Visitors to the photo exhibition Dien Bien Phu — 60 Nam Ban Hung Ca (Dien Bien Phu — The 60-Year-Old Epic) can relive the historic battle through more than 100 intense images.

Taken by photojournalists from the Vietnam News Agency (VNA), the photos represent the fierce war between Vietnamese soldiers and French invaders. In one image, a group of soldiers tries to pull a cannon over a high slope, while in another, Vietnamese health workers take care of a wounded French soldier. Others depict President Ho, General Vo Nguyen Giap and other army leaders discussing strategy and civilian workers transporting weapons and other necessities to the frontline with rudimentary bicycles.

Speaking at the exhibition's launching ceremony yesterday, VNA's General Director Nguyen Duc Loi said: "Among thousands of press photos of the Dien Bien Phu campaign, several are anonymous as the photographers laid down their lives before revealing their names. Those martyr journalists, in their way, contributed to bringing the name ‘Dien Bien Phu' across border far beyond Viet Nam and into the world's history."

Attending the ceremony, Chairman of the Viet Nam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan said the display offered him the chance to see many photos for the first time.

"For all of us, this is a great chance to review our history as well as to show our gratefulness to the generations who fell to protect our country. These valuable photos are witnesses that will live forever," Nhan said.

Veteran photographer Pham Van Hoat said the black-and-white file photos made him recall the tough time when he was a photojournalist during the American War.

"I was just a child when the historical Dien Bien Phu campaign took place in 1954. However, these photos make me think about when I, together with many other war reporters, rushed into battlefields in the South to capture images of the war," the grey-haired man said. "Like the photographers who took these photos, we devoted our hearts and minds to our dangerous job; some of us even paid with our lives. However, if our photos can tell the truth about the war, we think it's worth the sacrifice."

For 10th-grade student Duong Bich Huyen, the exhibition helped her gain insight into the Dien Bien Phu campaign and its victory.

"History is my favourite subject at school. The day before visiting this photo display, I visited the Viet Nam Military History Museum, where I learned a lot about our nation's wars for independence. This exhibition has added to my knowledge of Vietnamese history," the 16-year-old girl said.

Alongside the black-and-while file photos, the exhibition displays 60 colour photos taken in recent years by VNA photographers, which depict the region's recent socio-cultural and economic achievements.

Organised by the VNA, the Dien Bien Phu — The 60-Year-Old Epic exhibition celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu victory and commemorates the heroes, martyrs and soldiers who participated in the campaign.

The exhibition will be open in the lobby of the VNA headquarters, 5 Ly Thuong Kiet Street, until May 12.

Family donates academic's research

The family of the late Professor Hoang Chau Ky (1921-2008) has donated more than 200 of his research books to Nguyen Hien Dinh Tuong (Traditional Drama Theatre) in central city of Da Nang. The collection includes many valuable manuscripts on the drama tradition that have not previously been published.

Professor Ky, who was born in central Quang Nam Province, was a leading researcher of the ancient art, and one of its leading playwrights. He wrote more than 20 tuong plays and another 10 research works. He is also co-author of a dictionary on the subject with researcher Nguyen Loc.

Art book depicts Dien Bien Phu battle

Colonel Pham Thanh Tam's moving book of 300 paintings, drawings, and photographs is drawn from his extraordinary experience of having witnessed and participated in the legendary battle of Dien Bien Phu which led to the resounding defeat of the French.

Drawing Under Fire is about the epic event that shook the world, changed the course of history, and forged the birth of modern Vietnamese nation.

It depicts Tam's eyewitness, first-hand experience of 56 days of heroism, camaraderie, and sacrifice.

He describes in poetic passages the poignancy of the event, and how all the sacrifice, tragedy, and horrors of war occurred in a setting of great natural beauty.

"The theme of Dien Bien Phu's combatants still overwhelms my mind," the 82-year-old says.

"Especially, sometimes I feel as if I was in debt to history when I was a witness to very important events but not talented enough to show them in art works. This prods me to hold the paintbrush telling about the nation's heroic war time."

Much of the art in the book has rarely, if ever, been seen and never presented together, making it a unique visual historical document.

The images provide insights into the extraordinary times and, for today's and future generations, a glimpse of the courage of so many brave young soldiers.

Ho Chi Minh Trail section restored

Authorities in the central province of Quang Nam have invested VND4.5 billion (US$214,000) to restore nearly 1km of the Ho Chi Minh Trail, the main route for providing support from the north to the south during the American War.

The trail section runs through Ta Bhing Commune, Nam Giang District, parallel to the modern Ho Chi Minh Highway. It will be restored to a 5.5m-wide road with a full drainage system. Various facilities for soldiers along the road will be rebuilt as they were in the past, including resting houses and special cookers that do not produce smoke, so soldiers could use them inside tunnels to avoid being discovered by the enemy.

Vehicles and weapons used during the war and photos of the legendary trail will also be exhibited. The restoration will be completed and open to the public by President Ho Chi Minh's birthday, May 19.

The Ho Chi Minh Trail (known in Vietnam as the Truong Son Trail) was a logistical system that ran from the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam (North Viet Nam) to the Republic of Viet Nam (South Viet Nam) through the neighboring kingdoms of Laos and Cambodia between 1959-75.

Artists' tales inspire inmates

Prisoners at Xuyen Moc Prison in Dong Nai's Cam My District had an unforgettable Sunday with musician The Hien, pop singer Phuong Thanh, MC Thanh Bach, magician Huy Nguyen and other artists during a charitable event held by the First News Book Company.

More than 2,000 books and CDs, many of them about the authors' determination to overcome challenges and succeed, were donated to the prisoners with the expectation of inspiring people who are in jail.

During the exchange programme, Major General Ho Thanh Dinh, chief of the Ministry of Public Security's eighth General Department, said that donating books and talking with prisoners was a meaningful activity.

Dinh said the donated books would help police officials in the prison educate and motivate the prisoners.

"These interesting books will inspire us to overcome difficulties in life. I hope more activities like this will be organised in other prisons," he said.

According to Nguyen Van Phuoc, director at First News Book Company, his company had given books to prisoners five to six times.

"We not only bring our books here, we bring you our hearts," Phuoc said, adding that people accused or found guilty of crime still had a future.

Businessmen Ho Van Trung, authour of Gian Truan Chi La Thu Thach (Hardness is Merely a Challenge), one of the titles given to the prisoners, told them he had been in jail three times in his life.

"You should never be pessimistic and give up," was his text message to the prisoners who attended the exchange.

A 28-year-old prisoner, who wished to remain unnamed, told Viet Nam News that he expected the book to help him learn better and return to his family.

"I hope there will be more and more programmes like this. After the exchange programme, I am motivated," he said.

Truong Thi Hong Tam, a former drug user, sex worker and HIV carrier, who has been in jail several times, also came and spoke with the prisoners about her books.

She donated 100 books Hoi ky Tam Sida – Vuot Len Cai Chet (Tam Sida – Overcoming Death).

The programme titled Phat Trien Hat Giong Tam Hon (Developing the Seed for the Soul) has been carried out in the southern region for years.

Last year, the First News Book Company handed over 1,500 copies of Limitless by Nick Vujicic to the Z30D prison library.

VNN/VNA/VNS/VOV

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