Hue in vietnam, Vietnam explorer: January 2012

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

Vietnamese movies during Tet season

A still from Thien menh anh hung (Destiny hero), which is distinguishing itself from other films set for release this Tet with fictional history script and the huge investment of nearly VND30 billion.

There were the usual scandals, yes. But good movies are being made and watched, and fresh winds are generally blowing through Vietnam’s stunted film industry.
The Vietnamese movie industry was shaken last year by one of its biggest ever scandals after a Department of Cinematography accountant fled the country with over VND36 billion (US$1.7 million).
It led to the resignation of the department’s director, Lai Van Sinh, and his deputy, Le Ngoc Minh, in September, just four months before the 17th Vietnam National Film Festival the duo was organizing.
Despite the scandal the festival went on, though the organization, understandably, came in for severe criticism.
Next to crop up was a plagiarism charge against Vietnamese-American director Victor Vu who had entered his Giao lo dinh menh (Inferno) in the Canh Dieu Vang (Golden Kite) Awards. The film was accused of being plagiarized from the 1991 Hollywood film “Shattered.”
The allegations prompted the awards’ organizers to take the film out of nominations list. But the awards were also a flop due to poor organization and allegations of dubious choice of winners.
There were more scandals and criticisms around the corner, but there were also some propitious signs.

Unseasonable success
 In 2003 director Le Hoang came up with Gai nhay (Bar girls), which is now considered the catalyst for the revival of the local film industry after a long crisis starting in the 1990s. It is also considered to have kicked off the era of social movies in Vietnam. Until then they had all revolved around the wars.
With box-office earnings of VND12 billion (US$570,000) after being released during Tet, the film also ushered in the Lunar New Year as the default money-making season for Vietnamese films. Since then, of the 20 or so films made in Vietnam every year, most have been released during the festive season.
Long Ruoi (Big Boss), which was the second biggest hit last year after the Hollywood animated film “Kungfu Panda 2,” however, established conclusively that movies released at other times too can make profits.
The action comedy by Vietnamese-American director Charlie Nguyen earned VND49 billion ($2.3 million) in four weeks since its release in August, higher than big Tet releases like Co dau dai chien (War of the Brides).

A still from Long Ruoi (Big Boss), which garnered VND49 billion in four weeks last year, becoming the biggest hit of Vietnam’s summer film releases so far

The film’s producers said the reason they decided against a Tet release was the difficulty in finding cinemas then.
But they may not have been brave enough if only another Charlie Nguyen movie, De mai tinh (Fool for love), had not been released in April 2010 and gone on to become a hit.
The romantic comedy was the first true summer hit, selling an estimated 45,000 tickets in the first three days and raking in VND18 billion ($856,000) in the next four months. It had cost around VND6 billion ($285,350) to make.

A breath of fresh air
While Long Ruoi is proving the potential of the local movie market, Thien menh anh hung (Destiny Hero), the first Vietnamese martial arts film in 20 years, promises a breakthrough in filmmaking techniques and concepts in the country.
In fact, since its trailer came out in November the Victor Vu film has attracted the most attention among films set for release this Tet.
Instead of following the usual formula for festive blockbusters - comedy, action, sex, attractive girls who cannot act - Vu has chosen an unusual script. It is a fictional story about a family member of Nguyen Trai, one of Vietnam’s greatest poets and a famous Le Dynasty (1428-1527) mandarin, taking revenge for the killing of Trai and his family after a false allegation he murdered King Le Thai Tong.
Made at a cost of nearly VND30 billion ($1.4 million), it is the most expensive movie to be made by private producers in Vietnam since 2007. Clearly, Vu and his team seem to have at least the deep pockets needed to achieve their desire to “make a breakthrough,” and if the trailer is any indication, they are well on their way to doing it.
If the film does prove to be a commercial success, it could convince producers that quality movies could recover their investment. Their sole focus now seems to be not to make a loss – they often tell their director to eschew expensive scenes and sequences.
In 2011 there were also efforts to improve the movie industry.
For example, while national contests and awards continued to be controversial for their bad organization and questionable award choices, smaller ones like YxineFF 2011, an online short film festival begun in 2010, are establishing themselves as a forum for young, independent filmmakers.
In fact, last year YxineFF received more than 150 entries, including from other countries like Singapore, Thailand, and Malaysia. Many of them attracted large audiences.
The annual international filmmaking contest 48-Hour Film Project, first launched in Vietnam last year, received over 130 entries. It challenges competitors to make a short movie within 48 hours, and is expected to change local movie-makers’ concept of production.
Last year there were also seminars and lectures by Hollywood personalities like Phillip Noyce, the maker of The Quiet American.
All of these are good signs for the Vietnamese movie industry, which is coming out of its cocoon and becoming aware of what the rest of the world is doing.

2,000 visitors come to Ho Chi Minh city by cruise ship

Saigontourist Travel Service Co provided on-shore services to around 2,000 passengers, mainly from Italy, Spain, and the UK, who arrived on board the five-star cruise ship Costa Classica at HCM City 's Navi Oil Port, on Jan. 12.

After a sightseeing tour of the city, the tourists enjoyed a water puppetry show, went shopping at Ben Thanh Market, and visited the Cu Chi Tunnels and the Mekong city of My Tho .

During its six-day tour of Vietnam, Costa Classica will also drop anchor in the central cities of Nha Trang on Jan. 14, Da Nang on the next day, and Ha Long on Jan. 17.

Saigontourist provided these services to over 115,000 cruise tourists last year, a 10 percent year-on-year increase.
(Source: VOV)

ASEAN fair with the appearance of Vietnam’s tourism products

Vietnam’s distinctive and high-quality tourism products are being showcased at an ASEAN international tourism fair in Indonesia.

The event, which opened on January 12, feature different types of tourism such as culture, heritage, sea and island.

Especially, Vietnamese travel agencies introduce visitors to Ha Long Bay, the new Natural Wonder of the World, and other Vietnamese landscapes which have been recognized by UNESCO as world cultural heritage sites in the central region at the fair.

The opening ceremony attracted the participation of 1,600 delegates from 300 travel agencies and hotels, and more than 100 media representatives from Asia and around the world.

The Vietnamese delegation, headed by General Director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism Nguyen Van Tuan, also attended the event.

The event is part of the ASEAN Tourism Forum, themed "ASEAN Tourism for Global Community of Nations", being held in Indonesia from January 8-15.

The forum was initiated by ASEAN member countries with the aim of turning the regional bloc into an attractive destination, developing sustainable tourism, promoting the exchange of international visitors, as well as strengthening cooperation, friendship and cultural exchange.
(Source: VOV)

Strategy on attracting viewers to dog racing events

The man who first brought dog racing into Viet Nam expects to expand it to other localities around the country, with the first new course to open in Ha Tinh Province.

Nguyen Ngoc My opened his dog racetrack 12 years ago in Vung Tau City. The Sports and Entertainment Services, the company that My set up to run the course and a dog-care centre, will supply greyhound dogs for racing in Ha Tinh.

In Ha Tinh, the company is expected to have three days of races a week and 10 races a day.

The 10ha centre in the province's Ba Ria Town will be responsible for taking care and training 600 greyhound dogs.

Since 2000, My has imported 200 greyhound dogs from Australia, which have given birth to 400 dogs. Around 350 of the total of 600 dogs take part in races. His centre is the only one of its kind in Asia.

All greyhounds wear a chip for supervision and the caretakers keep meticulous records about the dogs' families to ensure that they remain purebred.

When the course in Ha Tinh opens this year, the company will organise four prizes of greyhound racing this year on Tet (Lunar New Year), Liberation Day (Arpil 30), National Day (September 2) and New Year's Eve.

The first prize this year, with a total value of VND418 million (US$21,000), will take place on two days this Tet, which falls on January 26 and 28.

To make the prize exciting, the company last week held an auction to sell 32 dogs with the best racing records.

"Private ownership of the greyhounds could make the prize and audience more exciting," said My.

Owners of the dogs will be able to take care of them at home if they agree to strict conditions for raising them. If they are unable to do so, they will pay a fee to the caretaking centre.

Besides centres in Viet Nam, My may open one in Cambodia's Siem Reap Province, which has asked My to develop dog racing there.

My said dog racing had brought more tourists to Vung Tau, which has provided an incentive for other provinces to open similar racetracks.

"It is a good recreation for Vietnamese, where entire generations of the family can enjoy the same activity in an open atmosphere," he said.


The splendid fireworks on Lunar New Year’s Eve

Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City will see 29 and 6 firework displays on Lunar New Year’s Eve (January 22).

In Hanoi, four locations for high-range fireworks include Hoan Kiem Lake (Hoan Kiem District), Thong Nhat Park (Hai Ba Trung District), Nguyen Hoang Ton Flower Park (Tay Ho District) and Van Quan Lake (Ha Dong District).

The remaining 25 inner and outlying districts will enjoy a low-range firework show.

Meanwhile, in HCM City, 15-minute firework displays will be set off at the Thu Thiem tunnel in District 2, Cultural Park in Go Vap District, Culture and History Park in District 9, Dam Sen Park in District 11, Can Gio District Stadium, and the Ben Duoc Martyrs Monument in Cu Chi District.
(Source: VOV)

Date of distributing Tran temple’s seal has been announced


Replicas of Tran temple’s seal will be presented to the public from 7 am on the fifteenth day of the first lunar month (February 6) through the end of the first lunar month, instead of on the night of the 14th day only as in previous years.
The change in date was announced by the Nam Dinh city People’s Committee at a press conference on January 17.
No more than two seals per person will be presented.
The adjustment will help prevent disorder during the Tran temple festival this year, held in Loc Vuong ward, Nam Dinh city on February 5-6 (the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the first lunar month).
Last year, hundreds of thousands of people seeking the seal which represents luck and fame, flocked to the festival causing serious traffic jams and the sale of fake replicas.
The festival will also feature traditional ceremonies including incense offerings, a palanquin process from Co Trach and Thien Truong temples to Tran temple, and various cultural and sporting events, such as lion dances, Cheo (Popular opera) singing, wrestling, and martial arts.
During the festival, city police will designate traffic lanes to reduce congestion and ensure order and security.

Source: Nhan Dan

Dong Cao fowl demand for Tet holiday

VietNamNet Bridge – It’s not easy to buy Dong Cao fowls for hearty parties nowadays. Most of the fowls available on the market are cross-bred fowls. Therefore, it always takes time and big money to hunt for real Dong Cao fowls.

Dong Cao fowl is a precious species of Vietnam, and of course, they are very expensive. The reporter witnessed how the “two big guys” in the real estate sector took pains to fly from the south to Hanoi and then took taxi to Hung Yen province, where they seek to purchase Dong Cao fowls for Tet parties.

At 5 pm, the two big businessmen took a taxi to the home of a friend, who is believed to be very keen on Dong Cao fowl to pick up him for a trip to Hung Yen.

The group of four, including the two businessmen, their friend and a driver, arrived in Dong Tao village at 7 pm. The owner of a big fowl farm in the village, named Han, quickly realized the guests and led them to the farm. It was dark, though it was just 7 pm, because it was winter. The group of four only spent two minutes on drinking cups of hot tea. After that, they hurriedly left to see the valuable fowls.

At the first henhouse, they could see a Dong Cao fowl which has been bred for two years. The fowl, weighted about five kilos, which had very queer legs – big and red, opened wide to about 6 centimeters – glowered at the light.

The owner of the farm said that this is a genuine Dong Cao fowl, and the number of the fowls in the village is too small that they can be counted on the fingertips. He affirmed that this was the fowl which was once pictured and appeared on the “Trang Trai Viet” journal (Vietnam’s farms), and appeared on the journals delivered on flights.

The businessmen seemed to be satisfied about the fowl when hearing the introduction about it. Han led the guests to the next area. The second fowl introduced to the businessmen did not have “good appearance” because of the short tail feathers.

However, it seemed to be very agile. When Han threw corn into the floor, the fowl quickly obtained the corn. Despite the bad appearance, the fowl was still very expensive thanks to the special legs – very big and red. Han said that no other fowl in the farm can has such special couple of legs. Finally, the businessmen agreed to buy the fowl.

“Any more?” a businessman asked Han. “Let me see right now.”

Han smiled, and showed the businessmen to another area. He said that this was the cock he most loved in his farm.

In the third henhouse, there were 10 hens with yellow feather, and one cock, very big and looked very brave and strong.

“This is the breeder cock in our farm. It alone can serve 10 hens,” Han said.

He did not have the opportunity to introduce more about the cock, because one of the two businessmen said immediately: “I want the cock.”

As such, just after 20 minutes, the businessmen decided to spend 10 million dong to buy three Dong Cao fowls. The purchase was so quick, because the buyers did not spent money to negotiate about the prices.

The three valuable fowls were then carried to Hanoi immediately, where they waited to be carried to HCM City. On the days in Hanoi, the three fowls lived in a hotel room with the hotel room rate of 500,000 dong per night on Nguyen Thai Hoc Street.

10 million dong was not all what the businessmen had to pay for the three fowls. They still had to buy special boxes and special tickets for the fowls, so that they could fly to the south, estimated about 2 million dong.

As such, the price of a fowl is about 7-10 million dong.

Thai Hung

The lacquer of Michelle Pontie artrt

Artist Michelle Pontie will present about 20 of her lacquer paintings that show abstractions about gentle moves of living beings in the universe based on Yin and Yang philosophy.

The “Melody at the end of autumn” exhibition will be opened this Saturday at Tu Do Gallery in HCMC’s District 1.

Pontie makes contrasts by the black color of paint and the white color of egg shells as background while other colors like gold, silver and red in the center create transitional effects from bright to dark in yin and yang theory.

Lines and cubes in her paintings look tottering as if they were swimming in the endless space. “To me, reaching back to the oriental thought, as closely as possible, is an imperious necessity and the coexistence of opposite grounds on Yin and Yang philosophy,” she said. Her works are based on, boosted by and revealed through a seeking poise between conscious reality and unconscious freedom, body and spirit, matter and energy.

She was born in HCMC’s District 5, but has grown up and been working in France. In 1997, she had a solo exhibition also at Tu Do Gallery and since then she has put on many solo and group exhibitions in Vietnam, France and Canada.

The show runs till January 20 at the gallery, 53 Ho Tung Mau Street.

“Melody at the end of autumn” lacquer paintings exhibition

Artist Michelle Pontie will present about 20 of her lacquer paintings that show abstractions about gentle moves of living beings in the universe based on Yin and Yang philosophy.

The “Melody at the end of autumn” exhibition will be opened this Saturday at Tu Do Gallery in HCMC’s District 1.

Pontie makes contrasts by the black color of paint and the white color of egg shells as background while other colors like gold, silver and red in the center create transitional effects from bright to dark in yin and yang theory.

Lines and cubes in her paintings look tottering as if they were swimming in the endless space. “To me, reaching back to the oriental thought, as closely as possible, is an imperious necessity and the coexistence of opposite grounds on Yin and Yang philosophy,” she said. Her works are based on, boosted by and revealed through a seeking poise between conscious reality and unconscious freedom, body and spirit, matter and energy.

She was born in HCMC’s District 5, but has grown up and been working in France. In 1997, she had a solo exhibition also at Tu Do Gallery and since then she has put on many solo and group exhibitions in Vietnam, France and Canada.

The show runs till January 20 at the gallery, 53 Ho Tung Mau Street.

A calligraphy will be held in Ho Chi Minh city

A calligraphy display by Truong Chanh Trung, a master in calligraphy, will take place at the lobby of the Hotel Equatorial in HCMC’s District 5 from Friday until March 5.

Trung, who is also painter and sculptor, practices in watercolor on rice paper and silk, oil paint and acrylic.

He has won several public art competitions, and displayed his sculptures in parks and public places in Quebec, Canada. He has had some solo exhibitions, including The Sound of The Mourning in Cannes, France; the Souvenirs, Atelier de l’artiste, Quebec City and the Memories of Vietnam in Quebec.

Warm greeting from Korean star to Vietnamese fan

Well-known South Korean actor Song Seung Hun has just sent a greeting through a one-minute-31-second clip to Vietnamese fans before his trip to the country with actress Kim Tae Hee today.

According to the plan, the two artists will arrive in Hanoi this afternoon and will have a press conference at the Daewoo Hotel from 4pm to 6pm to promote their movie, titled “My Princess,” which will be broadcast on TV in Vietnam.

On the next day, they will also have a meeting with local fans at Keangnam Hanoi Landmark Tower before attending a charity auction at The National Conference Center to sell several props they used in the film to raise funds for the Vietnam Children's Fund.

In the clip, Song Seung Hun said he is glad and honored to visit Vietnam.

“This may be the first time I’ve sent a greeting to my Vietnamese fans. I know Vietnam is a country with many beautiful landscapes and incredible food, as well as friendly people,” the 32-year-old actor said.

“I’ve been looking for a chance to visit your country,” he added.

Song also gave a short introduction about the romantic-comedy “My Princess,” which premiered in South Korea in May. It is a love story between an ordinary college student named Lee Seol (Kim Tae Hee) who suddenly discovers she's a princess, and Park Hae Young (Song Seung Hun), who is put in charge of educating Seol on proper etiquette.

Song Seung Hun was born in 1976. He started his career as a model in 1995 and began acting in sitcoms and TV dramas in 1996.

Song is known for his roles in Korean dramas like “East of Eden,” “Autumn in My Heart,” and “Summer Scent.”

Born in 1980, Kim Tae Hee is known as Korea's ideal woman for her well-educated background and natural beauty.

She graduated from Seoul National University with a major in Fashion Design.

After starting her career in entertainment as a model and an actress in television commercials, she rose to fame for her role as Han Yoori in the drama series “Stairway to Heaven.”

Tet holiday for overseas Vietnamese in Hanoi

A “Xuan Que Huong 2012” (Homeland Spring) programme for overseas Vietnamese returning home to welcome the traditional Lunar New Year festival (Tet) will be held at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and Ba Dinh square in Hanoi on January 15.

The get together programme, held by the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs (COVA) under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, will include a wide range of traditional cultural and festival activities, bringing a warm and exciting atmosphere to the celebrations of the new spring and the country’s new development period.

Overseas Vietnamese people can contact the closest Vietnamese representative agencies to register to join the programme.

Those staying in Vietnam can bring their passports or other personal papers to the COVA headquarters at 32 Ba Trieu Street, Hoan Kiem District, Hanoi, to register for the gathering.

Vietnam next top model eagle to prepare for the final round

The best three candidates of Vietnam’s Next Top Model, Tra My, Hoang Thi Thuy and Le Thi Thuy, will give a circus-style flying performance on the final night of the competition on January 8, said the programme’s organizing board.

They were sent to the Ho Chi Minh City Circus to prepare for the show and were introduced by Phi Vu, a veteran performer there.

The three had done a photo shoot in the air before, when they were lifted up by a crane, but they could only change their styles in a fixed position.

Therefore, they felt very excited that this time they were able to make as many movements as they wished while they were flying. They all hoped to contribute to an impressive performance for the audience.

They were extremely happy to hear that they will have the chance to meet international supermodel Tyra Banks, the founder and host of the reality television show ‘America's Next Top Model’, on the final night.

Banks will join the jury board with Vietnamese model Xuan Lan, photographer Pham Hoai Nam, designer Do Manh Cuong and makeup artist Nam Trung.

Thanh Truc, Miss Jewelry 2011refuses to get her crown by cash

VietNamNet Bridge – Thanh Truc, Miss Jewelry 2011, stated to sue anyone who says that she paid tens of thousands of USD to buy the crown without showing any proof.

Miss Jewelry 2011 Thanh Truc.

After the Miss Jewelry 2011 pageant closed on December 31, it was rumored that the pageant’s prizes were traded.

A contestant told a newspaper that one contestant paid VND700 million ($45,000) to buy the highest prize. However, near the final night, the cash had been given back to this girl because another one had paid VND750 million for the prize.

This contestant also said that the first and second runner-up titles were sold at the prices of VND500 ($25,000) and VND200 million ($10,000).

Thanh Truc, the first prize winner, said that she knew about the rumor through newspapers. Though newspapers did not mention her name but as the winner of the pageant, she was responsible to express her opinion.

“I confirm that I won the title by my own effort. Anyone who delivered the rumor is a heartless one,” Truc said.

“My father died when I was small. My mother suffered from a fatal disease and passed away on the day I participated in the qualifier round of this pageant. I did not have money to buy the title because my family is very poor. If I had money I would have not paid for the prize because it is unfair,” she added.

Contestant Tran Thi Hoa who criticizes the organizing board on the media.

“I will sue anyone who says that I bought the crown without showing any evidence,” the girl from the southern province of An Giang stated.

Truc wanted the police to investigate the rumor.

Minh Thuy, an official from the Gold Jewelry Magazine, the organizer of the pageant, said that the rumor is wrong. She said the organizing board struggled to hold the final night because of financial difficulty.

While the organizing board and the top winner denied the rumor, contestant Ngoc Anh from Hanoi told VNExpress that before the finale, she and some other contestants found out that contestant Cao Thai Ha knew the questions and answers of the interview round for the top five contestants in the final night. In the final night, Ha answered her question very smoothly.

Ngoc Anh said she had doubt that the winners of prizes had been arranged in advance.

Earlier, contestants Tran Thi Hoa and Cao Thai Ha told newspapers that they were forced to drink and receive guests of the organizing board at the Kobe Restaurant in District 3, HCM City.

However, some other contestants said that Hoa and Ha overstated the case. They said that this was only an extracurricular activity and contestants could attend on their demand.

Ngoc Anh said that Hoa did not win any prize at the pageant so she was angry and blown up the case.

The Performing Art Agency has asked the Gold Jewelry Magazine to explain about the rumor.

S. Ha

Hoi An need to promote its potential

Visitors to Hoi An will enjoy discounts of up to 30 percent next month
Hoi An’s ancient architecture and craft products attracts many visitors
Tourism businesses in ancient Hoi An in central Vietnam will offer discounts of up to 30 percent to domestic and foreign travelers next month, Hoi An City People’s Committee Deputy Chairman Truong Van Bay announced.
During the first phase of the discount program from March 26 to the beginning of April, visitors will receive free meals when staying for more than two days at local hotels rated four stars and above.
Discounts of up to 20 percent on food and beauty services will be offered to tourists staying at hotels of two to three stars.
Holidaymakers will also enjoy discounts of between 10 to 30 percent at local attractions, shops and restaurants.
UNESCO-listed Hoi An is a popular tourist destination in central Vietnam, known for its charming ancient architecture, craft products and nearby beaches.
Hoi An welcomed about 450,000 visitors last year, 320,000 of whom were from outside the country, an increase of 6 percent on 2007.
Source :

Sapa and special cultural week

The charming northern resort town of Sapa will hold a special cultural week, from April 30 to May 3
The northern mountainous Sapa town charms visitors with its landscape and peoples
The charming northern resort town of Sapa will lure tourists with a cultural week to be held over the public holidays, from April 30 to May 3, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The town hopes to attract tourists, with a wide range of events that highlight the rich and distinctive nature of Sapa’s diverse ethnic cultures.
Visitors will be welcomed to try Muong cuisine and take part in the various traditional festivities celebrated by local ethnic peoples, their cultural lifestyles and sports.
Sapa’s famous lovers’ market will also be open to singles. Traditionally, with few places to meet people, the downtown market opened on Saturday night, attracting villagers from around the town, as a central place for young, single Muong, Dao, Tay and Ray ethnic minorities to strut, be amorous and find their future loves.
In the evening, the lovers’ market would fill with bewitching music from the romantic leaf-horn, and young people dressed in their finest eye-catching clothes.
Lovers’ markets are a traditional event throughout the mountainous region, with many only being held once a year. As such, the big, not-to-missed event is also a lively social occasion for the married, too.
The mountainous Sapa, in Lao Cai Province, is regarded as one of Vietnam’s top destinations, sought out by both locals and foreigners. The area has a large number of ethnic minorities and, with its stunning scenery, offers numerous trekking possibilities.
In 2008, it welcomed more than 285,000 tourists.
Local officials said they expect at least 10,000 tourists during the events, with many hotels reporting large numbers of bookings.

Source :

Ha Long Bay with the annual carnival

The 2009 Ha Long Tourism Festival, the largest of its kind, is expected to welcome 500,000 visitors.
A carnival atmosphere will once again heat up UNESCO-listed Ha Long Bay with the “2009 Ha Long Tourism Festival,” to be held April 25 to May 2 in northern Quang Ninh Province, Vietnam News Agency reported.
The festival will celebrate the land, sea and sky, according to the provincial government.
The opening ceremony, “Ha Long – World Natural Heritage Rendezvous,” will feature a carnival procession and traditional dances by 1,500 local and international performers. They will perform on land and on floating stages around the Bai Chay ferry harbor.
A highlight of the nine-day festival will be the “Meeting of Heritages,” which features six art troupes, two of which are from China.
Visitors to Ha Long City will also enjoy a series of cultural events, including a food fest, performances by domestic and international artistes, sports competitions and business fairs.
A firework display will close the festival at Bai Chay Ferry area on May 2.
Coming during two days of public holidays, the festival, the largest of its kind in the country, is expected to welcome 500,000 visitors.
Ha Long Bay is one of the most popular hot spots for tourists in northern Vietnam. With its exceptional scenic beauty and interesting geology, the bay has twice been recognized as a World Natural Heritage Site by the UN Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
Quang Ninh Province received about two million visitors in the first quarter of this year, an increase of 23 percent over the same period last year.

Source :

cultural events in Danang city

Displays of antique pottery, stonework, food and fireworks await tourists to Danang City 
A series of cultural festivals and events will welcome visitors to central coastal Danang city, the host of this week’s international fireworks competition.
From March 27 to April 5 a collection of ancient Go Sanh pottery made by the Cham ethnic group during the 13th to 15th centuries will be on show.
The 100 pottery items in the display are part of an antique pottery collection owned by Go Sanh Vijaya Champ Binh Dinh Pottery Museum Director Nguyen Vinh Hao.
Visitors to the city will also be welcomed by a variety of stone sculptures along the banks of the Han River, the venue of the fireworks competition.
More than 20 lanterns will make up “The variation of colors” display at the Danang Water Park
The lanterns, created by 23 Chinese artisans, are made of 13,000 square meters of silk, embroidered fabric, 10,000 meter of electrical wire and 4,000 light bulbs.
The highlight of the display is a 25-meter-high group of lanterns in the shape of the Goddess of Mercy.
The display of Chinese lanterns, from March 25 to April 25, will be accompanied by magic shows and martial arts performances.
Visitors to the city will also enjoy a wide variety of food and beverages from Vietnam and around the world at a food festival, as well as performances by Indian band Something Relevant.
Some 20,000 lanterns will float down the Han River prior to the opening ceremony of the fireworks competition on March 27.

Source : vietnewsonline.vna

Stage sea festival in France

A sea festival to showcase Vietnam’s marine and seaside attractions will be held in Paris in late April
A festival to promote Vietnam’s marine and seaside attractions will take place in the French capital Paris on April 28 and 29.
The first-ever 2009 Vietnam Sea Festival has been organized by national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).
Representative of 25 Vietnamese travel businesses and organizations will promote their products at the festival at Pierre Cardin Fashion House, Vietnam Airlines and BIDV announced at a press conference in March in Hanoi.
The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry and hundreds of investors and travel agencies from France and other European countries are expected to attend the event.
A variety of performances, exhibitions and handicraft product displays, a seafood feast, as well as activities illustrating the lifestyle of coastal residents of Vietnam, will be presented to visitors to the festival.
BIDV, one of Vietnam’s four biggest commercial banks, will host a seminar calling for investment in tourism projects in Vietnam, Vietnam News Agency reported.
Vietnam Airlines is working with travel companies in France and Vietnam on a promotional campaign that includes discounts of up to 25 percent for French travelers to Vietnam from April 21 to June 19 and from August 21 to October 20.
In February, Vietnam Airlines participated in the annual Brussels Tourism Fair in Belgium, where experts forecast that Asia – including Vietnam - would remain an attractive destination for European travelers despite the global economic downturn.
Source :

Bana hill, the attractive destination in the North

Ba Na tourist site is expected to attract many tourists over the April 30 Reunification Day and May 1 Labor Day long weekend.

Attractive discounts rates on package tours and the public holidays on April 30 and May 1 which help create four-day weekend at the end of this month have encouraged more people to go on tour on the occasion.
Domestic travel firm Viettravel reported an increase of 10 and 40 percent in the number of tourists booking domestic and outbound tours for the public holiday over the same period last year.
Local tour operators in HCMC reported an increase of 25 percent in bookings for domestic and overseas tours.
Saigontourist said its package tours to Europe and the U.S. are fully booked.
Only tours to Singapore-Malaysia and Thailand were still available, it said.
Tours for short holidays to south central coastal Phan Thiet City and central resort Nha Trang City are no longer available, as all local accommodation is fully booked.
This year’s holidays which fall on Thursday and Friday has resulted in the increasing number of tourists asking for longer days of traveling.
Among the popular domestic destinations are central resort cities of Danang and Nha Trang, Hoi An ancient town, northern mountainous Sapa town and Phu Quoc Island.
The primitive landscape of Ba Na tourist site also saw an increasing number of tourists thanks to the newly-operational cable car at Ba Na Mountain.
Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Hong Kong remain favorite destinations for Vietnamese. Budget package tours to South Korea with discounts of 40 percent have also been booked by a large number of tourists.

According to the industry’s insiders, the average tour prices on this occasion rose by US$30 to 40 for outbound tours while domestic tours saw little changes in prices.
But most tourists are willing to pay more on the occasion to fully enjoy their four-day weekend.
Viettravel also teamed up with national flag carrier Vietnam Airlines to offer budget domestic package tours with prices lowered by VND2 million ($112) this summer.

Source : vietnewsonline.v

Music awards the best of 2011

Singer My Tam
Singers Hong Nhung and My Tam came out the big winners at the 2011 Vietnamese music video awards night on January 15, each claiming two awards.
Twenty-four music videos of as many singers were nominated for the awards in an event that was co-organized by the Vietnam Television and MTV Vietnam in Ho Chi Minh City, and broascast live on the Vietnam MTV channel.
Two music videos, "Waking up at sunrise" by singer My Tam and "Trouble" by rapper Karik won the audience' favorite awards.
My Tam also won "The best female vocalist" prize, while singer Dam Vinh Hung won took the honors for men.
The Little Monster, a new rock band won the prize for best band; and singer Hong Nhung took the best audio and images award with the video "The Circle."
The "digital mobile" prize for best music video loaded on to  telecommunications network was won by music video "Give me one love," by singer Dong Nhi. The "digital online" prize was won by "Love song of the night" by singer Dam Vinh Hung. 

Hanoi image in the past

The on-going exhibition "Typical images of Hanoi from 1873 to 1945" offers insights to the transformation of Hanoi from an Eastern city to one that absorbed many Western influences.
The photo exhibition, which opened January 17 at the Hanoi-Thang Long Heritage Preservation center in Hanoi, introduces 80 photos, sketches, maps and documents, according to a report on the VNA website.
The exhibition is divided into five parts, the first of which presents Hanoi from the beginning of 19th century to 1873.
The second  is a 25-year period (1873 to 1897) when the first European planning styles appeared; the third one a 10-year-period (1897 to 1906) when there were more public office buildings in the city; the fourth a 35-year-period (1906 to 1940) period dominated by colonial architecture; and the fifth, a six-year-period (1940 to 1945).
Among the striking photographs are the residence of the General Governor of Indochina (taken in 1906), the Hanoi City Hall (taken in 1897), the Hanoi Post Office (taken in 1924) and the Paul Bert High School (taken in 1897).
Thanh Nien News

Vietnamese water puppetry in Paris

"Le Maitre des marionnettes" (The Master of water puppetry), a Vietnamese traditional water puppetry play, will debut at the Quai Branly Museum in Paris on February 10.
This program is directed by Dominique Pitoiset, the director of Bordeaux National Theatre, in cooperation with the Vietnamese national water puppetry theatre.
Water puppetry is a distinctive Vietnamese art which has been recognized by UNESCO as an intangible cultural heritage.
Through several stories of legendary dragons and farmer's lives in the countryside, the play will introduce traditional Vietnamese culture to French audiences, according to a press release by Quai Branly Museum.
No strings attached

Pitoiset,visited Vietnam for the first time two years ago. He was impressed by the water puppetry perfomances he saw and spent a lot of time learning about the origins of this unique art form.
The play will be performed until February 25.

Looking to saml saving by Vietnam banks

Many lenders in Vietnam are trying to attract individual clients
Many banks in Vietnam are targeting retail savings as large but short-term deposits from corporate clients prove to be a volatile funding source.
Bankers said while term deposits from individual customers are usually small, they make up a stable source of capital for banks. On the contrary, large companies may deposit a lot of money into banks but only for a short period.
Nguyen Duc Huong, vice chairman of the Lien Viet Post Bank, said most of his clients in the northern region are farmers and salaried workers.
This customer base is growing strongly, allowing the bank to survive liquidity difficulties in 2011 and even this year, he said.
Nguyen Ngoc Bao, chairman of state-owned Agribank, said his bank, which focuses on the agricultural sector, is receiving savings from farmers and even a shoeshine man in Hanoi.
“These small savings always help ensure stable business for banks so that they can operate effectively without any risks,” he said.
Banks are assessed not only by the quality of the loans they offer but also by the source of funding they can attract, said Nguyen Thanh Huong, editor-in-chief of the Banking magazine.
Large corporate clients often choose deposits with terms of less than one month because they only want to earn quick profits, Huong said. Many banks have faced liquidity problems partly because they tried to attract large but short-term funds at all cost, she added.
Last year, the banking system was left in a crisis after major corporate clients withdrew a total of more than VND70 trillion from their deposit accounts around the Tet holiday. The central bank had to increase money supply to improve the liquidity situation.
Now many lenders are trying to attract individual clients, offering better services and perks for even small deposits.
Truong Quang Luong, general director of the Kien Long Bank, said farmers and fishermen now account for 70 percent of the deposits at his bank.
Meanwhile, Tran Bac Ha, chairman of state-owned BIDV, said his bank will focus on the retail banking sector and seek more stable funds from individual clients. 

New owner of Jetstar Pacific

Jetstar Pacific will continue to operate as a low-cost carrier
The government’s stake in budget airline Jetstar Pacific, held via the State Capital Investment Corp., will be transferred to national carrier Vietnam Airlines, local media reported Wednesday, citing a directive.
Jetstar Pacific, which is partly owned by Australia's Qantas, will continue to operate as a low-cost carrier after the transfer, according to news website VnExpress.
“This is not a merger. Jetstar Pacific and Vietnam Airlines will be two different entities, operating independently and competing against each other,” Le Song Lai, general director of Jetstar Pacific, was quoted by VnExpress as saying.
He also said the change in ownership will allow Jetstar Pacific to cut costs and provide better training for pilots.
The transfer is expected to be completed in mid-February.
The Vietnamese government’s investment arm, the State Capital Investment Corp., is currently the majority owner of Jetstar Pacific. The carrier is also 27 percent owned by the Qantas Group, which includes budget airline Jetstar Group.
Jetstar Group said in December that the Qantas Group’s 27 percent share would be unaffected even after a deal with Vietnam Airlines.
Thanh Nien News

New desicion of Cambodia and Thailand

 Preah Vihear temple (Source: Internet)
Cambodia and Thailand have set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) to work towards troop withdrawal from the demilitarised zone at the disputed border area near Preah Vihear temple.
The Xinhua News Agency quoted Cambodian Defense Minister Tea Banh as saying said on Jan. 17 that the Cambodian side is waiting for an invitation from Thailand to convene a meeting in Thailand this year in order to discuss the plan for troop redeployment from the provisional demilitarised zone (PDZ).
JWG, which comprises nearly 20 border affairs and military experts, will work for the complete and simultaneous pullout of the two countries' military personnel from the PDZ under the observation of the Joint Observer Team, including Cambodian, Thai and Indonesian monitors.
The talks on troop pullout from the PDZ was opened after the International Court of Justice on July 18, 2011 ordered Cambodia and Thailand to immediately withdraw their soldiers from the PDZ and allow ASEAN observers to access to the PDZ to monitor ceasefire.
In a press conference on Jan. 16, Indonesian Defence Minister Purnomo Yusgiatoro said that the country plans to send its military observers to Thailand – Cambodia disputed border area on May 2./.