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Peach tree in the cold weather

VietNamNet Bridge – The peach tree leasing market, which kicked off one month ago, has become hotter these days, as Tet comes in just two weeks. The rental is believed to be higher by 20 percent than the previous year.

Tran Van Lam, the owner of a peach tree garden in the peach village of Nhat Tan said on Tien phong that in 2011, a century-old peach tree could be rent for 5-7 million dong, while a stylized tree for 1-2 million dong.

He said that it always requires great exertion to take care for stylized peach trees, while it does not require much exertion to take care for old trees. Gardeners just began paying bigger attention to take care for old trees just two months before Tet. As such, renting old trees is more profitable for gardeners.

Do Van Hung, a gardener in Nhat Tan village, said that people nowadays tend to rent peach trees instead of buying them. Customers bring peach trees to display on Tet days and then give them back to gardeners. This allows them to save money, while professional gardeners have more professional care for the trees.

When asked about the prices, Hung said that an old peach tree is rent at the price equal to 80 percent of the sale price. Meanwhile, loyal clients can enjoy discounts, about 50 percent of the sale price.

People, after choosing the peach trees they want, negotiate about the rents with the gardeners, and then pay a deposit which is equal to 30-50 percent of the rent. After that, the gardeners will take the responsibility of taking care for the peach trees to ensure that the peach flowers blossom exactly on Tet days. Just one or two days before Tet, the clients would return and bring the peach trees to their home and only give back to the gardeners after the Tet holiday.

Gardeners at Nhat Tan Village feel optimistic about the peach crop this year. They say that it is cold and not too hot, flowers would blossom exactly on Tet days.

According to Hung, most of the clients, who ask for renting peach trees are agencies and businesses, which want to display peach trees on Tet days, while there are very few individuals from families.

However, Hung said that small peach trees would be sold well in some more days, priced from 400,000 dong to 700,000 dong.

Hung said that gardeners do not have to worry about the consumption this year, because the demand proves to be higher than the last year. Especially, a lot of people have ordered to buy peach trees to use as gifts to the bosses. “People nowadays tend to give original products as gifts instead of sweets or tea,” he noted.

The peach tree gardens in An Duong district of Hai Phong City have also heated up as Tet is nearer. This is the place which provides peach tree rent services. Customers not only come from Hai Phong, but also from neighboring provinces.

Most of the peach trees here are aged 5-7 years. Le Dinh Tuan, 55, the owner of the peach tree garden in Dang Cuong commune, said on Dat Viet that more than 30 peach trees have been booked by loyal clients

Tuan said that in the last several years, his business has become prosperous, because people tend to rent peach trees instead of buying them. If renting trees, they would save five percent of costs, while they can be sure that peach flowers would blossom in time.

“A peach tree which is five years old and has the height of two meters would be sold at 4-5 million dong. Meanwhile, if you rent it, you would have to pay 2 million dong only,” Tuan said.

Hung Viet

Russian painters show in Ho Chi Minh city

 Twelve Russian painters belonging to Sunny Square, an international association of artists, are organising an exhibition of their works at the HCM City Fine Arts Museum.

A painting by Radyuk Sergey.

Sergey Radyuk, founder and president of Sunny Square, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, said it was their second time in the city after a first exhibition 15 years ago.
Sunny Square – Twenty Years Later features 97 paintings in an eclectic range of materials and styles and topics.
Radyuk, who himself paints in diverse styles ranging from realistic to abstract, said this time he had brought oil-on-canvas works like Dawn in Mui Ne and Night in Moscow, and triptych works titled Taste of Da Lat White Wine and Taste of Da Lat Red Wine.
The other artists on show include Oleg Trofimov, Tatiana Katran, Sergey Kasabov, and Anastasia Timoshenko.
The works will be on display until January 28 at the museum at 97A Pho Duc Chinh Street in District 1. 


Traditional Vietnamese cakes at traditional cake festival

All the stoves were burning as Muoi Xiem, or Nguyen Thi Xiem, made delicious and hot banh xeo (Vietnamese crepe) for visitors at the first traditional cake festival in Can Tho City on January 16.

Banh xeo is thin fried pancakes stuffed with pork, shrimp and bean sprouts, and served with vegetables and sour, diluted fish sauce. It is one of hundreds of traditional Vietnamese cakes which were presented at the festival.

"I was dazzled by such a big feast of traditional cakes," said Nguyen Van Thanh in Ninh Kieu District.

"Everything looked colourful and delicious," he added.

The festival featured more than 100 kinds of traditional cakes from the southern region, like banh tet (cylindric glutinous rice cake), banh beo (floating fern shaped cake), and banh bo (steamed rice cake) that were made by 20 famous chefs and bakers from southern provinces and cities.

The 70-year-old Xiem, whose family is renowned for making banh xeo in Can Tho for 58 years, introduced more than 10 kinds of cake including banh xeo with seafood and banh xeo with mushrooms.

Chin Cam, or Huynh Thi Ngoc Dung, demonstrated and taught visitors how to make her special banh tet. Cam's cake includes violet or traditional sticky rice with different fillings like salted duck egg, dried shrimp and Chinese sausage, instead of the usual mung bean and pork as usual.

Cam said she made the mixed banh tet to meet the demand for of her customers who wanted to try new flavours.

The festival was organised by the Can Tho City Trade and Investment Centre, the city Business Research and Support Association, the General Commercial Joint Stock Company and the Sai Gon Tiep Thi Newspaper

The organisers said the festival was a chance for culinary experts, artisans, chefs and gourmets to exchange experiences in making traditional cakes.

It also aimed to introduce traditional Vietnamese cakes to people all over the world and promote business in Vietnamese specialities, they said.

Thanh said he expected the festival would be launched annually to let people enjoy the country's traditional cakes during the Tet (Lunar New Year) holidays.

Traditional cakes, new flavours

During Tet (Lunar New Year), Vietnamese families usually gather together to make and enjoy banh chung (square glutinous rice cake) or banh tet (cylindric glutinous rice cake) to celebrate the up-coming spring.

The traditional cake, dating back to the reign of the sixth Hung King, is made with glutinous rice, mung bean and pork.

In modern city, the cake is getting a makeover or two as people look for a change. That change has happened via new kinds of rice and fillings.

Instead of the traditional white sticky rice, cake makers now use green rice flakes, violet sticky rice and rice cooked with baby jackfruit.

The Muoi Xiem Restaurant is offering banh tet with violet sticky rice and salted duck eggs or banana at a pricey VND600,000 (US$28) per pair.

The owner of the Tien Thinh shop in District 3 where provides specialities from the North, said this year, customers preferred green rice flake cakes than the traditional ones because of their exotic and fresh flavours. Here, the cakes cost between VND100,000-140,000 ($4.7-6.6).

However, many people do not like the new flavours.

Pham Ngoc Phuong of District 9, said she and her family usually got together to eat traditional banh tet with Vietnamese turnip pickle and pork with egg in coconut juice on Lunar New Year's Eve.

Although the new ingredients brought out new flavours, they would change the cake's meanings for the Tet festival, she said.

Emerging of female artists new generation

In recent years the Vietnamese music industry has been lit up by a new generation of emerging female artists who can write their own songs and perform them with their hearts and their talent.

Le Cat Trong Ly

In 2008, this young girl from the central province of Da Nang amazed the local music community with her incredible victories, including Best Song of The Year and Potential Songwriter at the “Bai Hat Viet” (Vietnam’s Songs) songwriting contest with her soulful and poetic song titled “Chenh Venh”.

Since then, the student from the Da Nang University of Foreign Languages has continued to enchant many fans with her distinctive singing voice, the ability to play musical instruments, and a distinct songwriting style.

The 25-year-old singer’s music is inspired by local music veterans like Le Uyen Phuong, Trinh Cong Son, Khanh Ly, Tran Tien, Hong Ngoc, Phuong Thao and Ngoc Le.

“I can bring everything around me, from my daily confusions to an image coming to my head by chance, into my music,” Ly shared.

After moving with her sister to Ho Chi Minh City, Ly started her singing career as an underground singer at the city’s cafés and bars, and then shined like a phenomenon at the biggest contest for Vietnamese songwriters four years ago.

Last April, Ly released her first album under her name, which included seven songs out of the 30 she has written.

Five months later, she had a tour across Vietnam titled “Le cat Trong Ly – Vui” (Le Cat Trong Ly – Happy), and received positive response from local experts and audiences.

Thai Trinh

Young, talented Thai Trinh has slowly solidified her position in the local music industry after becoming a YouTube sensation in 2010.

Two year ago Trinh, born in 1993, caused a stir among the Internet users community with her cover of the song “The Show,” sung by famous Australian singer Lenka.

With pure beauty, a gentle singing voice, and skillful guitar playing, Thai Trinh performed the song and made it a sensation.

The 19-year-old girl has chosen a long but certain road by composing and singing her own songs

Her latest song, titled “Dung Yen” (Stay Till), brought her the Best Song of The Month and Best Singer awards at the “Bai Hat Viet” contest last December.

“Phiêu dạt bước chân, gió mênh mang với đôi bàn chân…hay là đứng yên, biết quanh em trần gian dừng lại, (Let the wind take your feet around or stay till and feel the world stop spinning with you), she wrote in the song.

“It’s hard for new songs to conquer listeners,” she shared. “But I believe in myself,” she added.

Mai Khoi

With an acoustic guitar as her frequent companion, Mai Khoi is known as a singer and songwriter of love ballads.

Since releasing her first written song in 1995, “Cam Ranh Que Toi” (Cam Ranh My Hometown), about her hometown, the young, beautiful and talented Mai Khoi has released more than 6 albums comprising 50 self – composed tracks.

Two years ago, Khoi’s patriotic song "Vietnam" won Vietnam’s Best Song 2010. The young singer said she hoped to make the song, which is in Vietnamese and English, an introduction about Vietnam to the world.

Khoi also said she wanted the song to portray a bright and fresh spirit of her country through the eyes of a young Vietnamese like her.

“The award is an inspiration for me to continue writing songs with meaningful messages to society,” Khoi shared.

“Composing and singing what I wrote makes my music life exciting,” the 29-year-old singer added.


This 19-year-old from Hanoi is one of the representatives of a new generation of female rappers in Vietnam.

When she started her rapping career at the age of 14, the girl was known for her cute and pure songs about love. But things changed when Kim talked to a prostitute to make a documentary in 2009.

“After meeting her, I realized that I was wrong, since I used to criticize prostitutes,” Kim said.

Since then, Kim has shocked people by singing out loud what she thinks. Her songs turned more social by talking about much-discussed issues like the distance between social classes, domestic violence, sex education and HIV patients.

“Good girls, they don’t talk about sex. They’re afraid to talk with mom and dad. It’s a long way to go if they want to talk with their teachers about sex. Friends also have no idea. Sex – someone call it love. Sex – someone take it pain,” Kim wrote in her song.

The young woman is also a role model for a young, positive generation who wants to be themselves and keep moving forward no matter what happens.

“I’ll still go ahead. I’ll still have my dreams. A long life is waiting for me. Dawns will come with hopes. Faith makes me strong enough to live. A new day, a happy day, a not-lonely day is coming,” is one of the messages she gives the youth.

Source: tuoi tre news

Vietnam history through Chinese calendar

Amongst the 12 animals represented on the Chinese calendar, namely the rat, ox, tiger, cat, dragon, snake, horse, goat, monkey, rooster, dog and pig, it is only the dragon that is not real but an imaginary and mythical creature, which nonetheless for the Vietnamese signifies material and spiritual wealth.

A 19th century pottery decorated with a dragon relief work
According to folk lore, the dragon, unicorn, tortoise and phoenix are the oft-mentioned four mythical creatures in tales and legends, with only the tortoise actually existing in the real world today.

Zoologists believe that the tortoise being of small built could have survived for this reason while the other creatures of monster size may have gone extinct for lack of food as their habitat shrunk.

They believe that dragons, unicorns and phoenix really existed millions of years ago as fossils of similar looking creatures have been found, such as the Chinese water dragon, in Indonesia.

Rural people still have superstitious believes such as heavy rains and strong winds are brought about when a dragon flies over their land, or earthquakes and tsunami occur when the dragon awakens from a thousand year sleep!

Legend has it that when Trang Quynh went to China as the King’s envoy, he attended a painting competition. He dipped his figures in an ink slab and scrawled them across the paper, five ‘S’ shaped letters formed. He described them as five dragons and offered the drawing to the Chinese King, who looking at it said they resembled earthworms.

Trang Quynh responded that if the King knew anyone who had actually seen a dragon and could describe its appearance then he would repaint the image once again for the King.

A dragon has been given a different form and appearance in different phases of history. During the Le Dynasty, the dragon had a snake’s body, a unicorn’s head and held an oriental pearl in its mouth. Later during the Ly and Tran Dynasties, its body became shorter and was covered with scales, a beard was shown around its mouth and its nose was as big as an oriental pearl.

Dragon images were formerly used to adorn imperial palaces or on paintings and on embroideries of royal apparel of Kings. Later they were more frequently used on roofs of pagodas and temples and along staircase balustrades in homes of the nobility. Dragons have always been used as relief on embossed works.

There is a belief that royal dragons of the Kings have five toe nails while dragons of the common people have three toe nails. Artists and sculptors find the dragon useful in relief works while jewellery craftsmen use them prolifically in gemstone, gold and diamond ornaments.

Vietnamese believe they are descendants of dragons and fairies, as told in the legend of Lac Long Quan-Au Co. Most countries in the world have created their own animal symbols, like the kangaroo in Australia and the lion in Singapore. Each nation chooses to adopt the good and positive characteristics of their chosen national animal.

Vietnam has two significant symbols, one being the dragon which stands for material wealth and the other the fairy which stands for intellect and the positive spirit of man.

Interestingly the geographical map of Vietnam resembles a dragon, with its mouth open and gnawing towards the mainland instead of sucking water from the East Sea. This is supposedly the reason why geomancers believe that Vietnam should focus on agriculture.

Vietnamese believe that dragons and fairies are their progenitors. There is a supposition that a dragon is an avatar of a snake or carp which had led a pious and religious life for centuries. As a result, people in northern Vietnam usually offer carp to the Kitchen God each year to see the godly family leave for heaven.

No one has ever actually sighted a dragon, but all believe that a dragon symbolises material and spiritual wealth.

2012 is ‘Year of the Dragon’ and Vietnamese people believe it will be a good year in all aspects of life may it be economy, politics or even national defense.

Source: SGGP

Vietnamese customs on the first days of the New Year

VietNamNet BridgeThe first visitor of the New Year is very important to Vietnamese because they he or she is believed to decide the luck of the host for the entire year. Traditionally, the visitor is a member of the family or a good friend.

Hang Dao Street in Hanoi on the Eve of the New Year. (Photo: VNA)


According to historian Le Van Lan, as the nation's economy depends so much on farming, the earth was very important. The Xong dat, (first visit to a land) custom has its roots in this belief.
It is thought that if the land is good, the house is built on it is good and the family who lives on it will have good luck. The custom is also an occasion for people "to show love to the Mother Land," Lan said.
The Xong dat custom originally aimed to show one's love for the earth. It is a sacred connection and can't be turned into a service, said historian Lan. "Traditionally, the person who is the first visitor of the house must have a pure soul and be genuine. It should be someone from your family," he added.
Giving money on the occasion of New Year, with desires that better things will happen in future, has become an indispensable custom of the Vietnamese during the Lunar New Year (Tet) festival.
On New Year festival, the elderly normally congratulate kids on becoming a year older by presenting them with very nice and small red paper envelopes which symbolise luck and good fortune.
According to the custom, the money given on the advancement in age is brand new and of low face value, but bears wishes for growth and successful study.
Visiting pagodas at the beginning of Lunar New Year has become an age-old tradition of Vietnamese people.
While streets in Hanoi are less crowded on the first day of New Year, a stream of people goes on a pilgrimage at Tay Ho, Tran Quoc pagodas or Ngoc Son and Quan Thanh temples.
Among the religious destinations, Tay Ho pagoda attracts the largest number of visitors from both in and outside Hanoi with several thousand each day during Tet holidays.
Fruit and offering shops in the entrance leading to the pagoda are overcrowded with visitors on the occasion.
The first half of the first lunar month is the best time for a pilgrimage. Joining the flow of devotees in spring's wonderful atmosphere you may feel the harmony of the sky and the earth.

VietNamNet/Vietnam Plus

Japanese jazz performance, the first concert in Viet Nam

VietNamNet Bridge – Unit Asia, a jazz group from Japan will have their first concert in Viet Nam on February 3 and 5 in Ha Noi and HCM City, respectivel


Limited time only: Unit Asia, a jazz group from Japan, will perform for the first time in Viet Nam. (Photo: VNS)
The group has been performing both in and outside Japan to create new type of music by exchanging ideas with local musicians in each country. Unit Asia consists of five outstanding musicians with rich individuality. They are prominent Japanese musicians experienced in jazz, fusion and pop: Isao Miyoshi (guitar), Hiroyuki Noritake (drums) and Shigeki Ippon (bass). A well-known Thai saxophone player, Koh Saxman, and a promising pianist from Malaysia, Tay Cher Siang, complete the group.
With their goal to gather prominent musicians to create a new type of jazz music in Asia, Unit Asia was formed after a Southeast Asia tour through Singapore, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Thailand. It was first organised by the Japan Foundation and lasted for one month in 2008.
Since then, their music has evolved and the mutual understanding and friendships between the musicians have deepened. They display a rich creativity and receive the highest praise from music critics and the media, not to mention the audiences at each performance.
"Time flies and it's now more than three years since Unit Asia performed its first Southeast Asian Tour in 2008," said Isao Miyoshi, guitarist of the group.
"Unit Asia was originally a ‘limited time only' ensemble that was formed for this month-long tour. But because the sound evolved with each successive performance, and a close bond developed between the members despite their cultural and linguistic differences, we decided to continue making music together after the tour," he said.
"We are excited at the prospect of performing for the very first time in Viet Nam. Our plan is to present a new Unit Asia to audiences who've been to our previous concerts. We want to show how we've advanced further ahead along the evolutionary scale, and give a refreshing new excitement to those who'll be hearing us for the very first time."
Tung Duong, one of the most talented Vietnamese vocalists, will contribute his strong and emotional voice to the group during their stay.
The Japan Foundation in Viet Nam, in co-operation with the Consulate General of Japan in HCM City, share the delight of hosting the concert.
The concert will be organised on February 3 at Tuoi Tre (Youth) Theatre, 11 Ngo Thi Nham Street, Ha Noi, and February 5 at the Ben Thanh Theatre, 6 Mac Dinh Chi Street, HCM City.
Free tickets can be collected starting on Monday. Information is available at
VietNamNet/Viet Nam News