“Tet” Lunar New Year of Vietnamese

Vietnamese celebrates Tet, “Tet” means transition of weather season from cold winter to warm and colorful spring time. Tet is a time of reunion, a new day and the day of thanksgiving and hope.

“Tet” Reunion  is always on reunification of families. Whether they trade, work or study far away from home, they usually try to save money and time to return home. Everyone are eager to meet and hang out with family.

Tet was also reunite with those who were lost in term of spiritual concept. Vietnamese people have strong emotional and spiritual to relatives and friends who passed away. On New year Eve, every family invite their ancestors going back home to enjoy food and reunification with their children.

One week before Tet, people are busy with cleaning, whitewashing, painting to redecorate their houses. A side from that, Vietnamese also renewed on the emotion and the human spirit, to relationships with loved ones. On the altar, foot candles and incense burners are polished. Adults and children will wear new clothes. All debts are paid before the new year. For each person always put the sadness, the argument aside. In three days of Tet, people laugh together, and speak calmly and politely to expect  the coming years the relationship was good.

Before Tet is also wedding season. Couples prefer to marry on this occasion of the year as wish of their parents. A New year comes to bring  a new hope of life for new couple. Parents of tow families will have a chance to visit and strengthen relationship.

Tet is also Vietnamese “thanksgiving Day” – the Vietnamese New Year is an opportunity to thank everyone. The children thank their parents and parents thank the grandparents, ancestors, Student thanks to their teachers. Chief thanks to staff for their good work.

Custom of Vietnamese “Tet”

Preparation before Tet:

In the week before the TET, many families visit the grave of their ancestors, build up more land, clean grass, put incenses, we consider grave is also a home of our ancestors and it’s very good to make it tidy and new before the new year.

Farewell to God of kitchen:

23 of December in lunar calendar, rice, cake are offered to send God of Kitchen to heaven. God of kitchen have lived with each family, he observed all activities throughout the year. He will report to God of heaven for good and bad behaviors of family members.

“Banh Chung” Sticky rice cake – Cake of New Year.
From 25 of December onward, many families have begun to cook for TET cake. Sticky rice cake in square  about 17cm on each side and 6 cm thick in the North of Vietnam and in shape of tube about 20cm long and 5 cm in diameter in the South of Vietnam. Cake wrapped with banana leaves, inside is a layer of glutinous rice and middle has green been or of marinated pork. Sticky rice is served onion pickle. Vietnamese children know well about the legend of sticky rice cake which represents for earth and heaven.

Tet also presents in each family with  five types of fruit on the altar. Fruits represents for best wishes of prosperity and good luck for the coming year.

New Year Eve of Tet

New Year Eve – is the most sacred moment. When night falls, important moment all eyes looked towards the direction of the clock to wait for Eve time. Church bells echos, the temple drum beats, everywhere in the village could hear, The exciting new year arrived.

Vietnamese call New Year Eve is Giao Thua. “Giao” means “to give”, “Thua” means ” to receive”. This moment the old year in both term of time, soul, and spirit are transited and given new life through the years. Ancestor spirits come back and present during this moment.

As practiced, the head of family burns incense, his hands clasped in front of chest prays and he invited  soul of the ancestors coming back for 3 days of Tet to stay and enjoy with all family.

First day of new year:

The first day of the year, normally reserved for small family and close relatives. Adult and children are dressed nicely and gather together. Children begin folding arms and greet parents and grand parents for good age, good health Then parents and grandparents and adults give children lucky money which is kept in side small, red envelope. money is usually small note choose a brand new paper money, it is known as the little gift brings good luck wishes for children as well as  encouraged to try to study and live in harmony with those around them.

The first visitor came into the land or house known as the burst person (xông đất), is believed to bring the bad or good fortune for whole family that year. So many families very carefully, they arranged to arrange lucky and healthy people who are also good, mature, nice and cheer and friendly.

Second day of new year:

The second day of New Year, Vietnamese often spend New Year’s greetings to visit teachers and family friends. They usually don’t stop there long instead just a short visit. They chat about previous year achievements and review old memories. Children with lucky money in their pocket could spend at gambling or lottery to look for good fortune.

Third day of new year:

The third day in the new year. Vietnamese often visited and social relationship is  also extended beyond the family such as old friends, neighbor and colleges. In the evening meals are on offer farewell to ancestors back to heaven and also welcome Kitchen God back home after 3 days trip to heaven. There are many families believe in superstition, they are burning fake money and silver paper clothes send to pass away relatives in the other world.

In summary, Vietnamese says “back home for New Year”, which is not a concept of normally going back home as literal meaning, which is a pilgrimage to place of origin, where they were born and grew up with their childhood. According to Vietnam’s concept, early spring day of New Year is a time of reunion for all members who are alive. A side from that it is  also a solely time of the year when deceased relatives, parents could go home to live, have fun, enjoy food with their children. By this time,  kin relationships also extended and refresh, strengthen during this time of year, It builds up from each family to villages and tie up to the whole moral society of the country. Tet is a good time to educate younger generations about kin hood, love and share, it helps to get children back to good nature of human being of living without anger, argument, will to listen and open to sympathy for misfortune of others.

Thanks for your reading!

Hong Duc

Posted in Vietnam Custom | Leave a comment

Visit Spiral Foundation in Hue – NEW for VR, VIN, VHO in 2012

Next year, on VR, VIN, VHO will visit new place called Spiral Foundation. Please find useful information before your trip!

Spiral Foundation stands for Spinning Potential Into Resource And Love

What is Spiral foundation?

The SPIRAL Foundation, a non-profit humanitarian organization doing work in Nepal and Vietnam, is dedicated to helping your school, club, church, temple, foundation or other non-profit organization raise much needed funds, while maintaining an image and reputation that reflects your commitment to world health, environmental sustainability, education, and social awareness among your members.

Where is Spiral foundation?

Located in Hue, Vietnam, Healing the Wounded Heart Shop is a project of the nonprofit SPIRAL Foundation in cooperation with the Office of Genetic Counseling and Disabled Children, Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy. This unique shop sells handicrafts made by disabled artisans using recycled materials. All net proceeds go towards fair salaries for the disabled employees, and funding heart surgeries for poor children in the Hue area through OGCDC. Come shop for beautiful souvenirs and support a humanitarian cause!

Shop: located at 23 Vo Thi Sau Street, Hue Vietnam
Workshop: located at 69 Ba Trieu Street, Hue Vietnam

A US non-profit organisation that has a shop selling eco-friendly products made by disabled artisans in Hue has opened a tea room there.

Healing the Wounded Heart, SPIRAL Foundation’s fair-trade shop located on Vo Thi Sau Street, sells products made using recycled materials and traditional Vietnamese textiles.

The shop has now expanded to include the tea room and a patio where tourists can relax and enjoy a cup of tea.

“It is a truly special place: it is not only a relaxing escape from busy Hue, it also supports a wonderful cause,” the founder of SPIRAL Foundation, Marichia Simcik Arese, said.

“Our staff are disabled and so HWH provides them vocational training and employment.”

HWH donates half of its income to fund heart surgeries. In this manner, they are no longer “disabled” but are empowered to give to those who are even more in need, she explained.

HWH’s Tea Room serves Hue teas, including some unique ones like flower tea, which has edible fruits and flowers, Hue me xung (sesame sweets), and some other local snacks.

The staffs have been trained in traditional Vietnamese tea ceremonies to make the tea room authentic, Arese said.

“The majority of the staff are hearing impaired but are incredibly talented at communicating with visitors,” she said.

“They’re proud of their work and enthusiastic about explaining HWH’s cause and accomplishments.

HWH was set up in co-operation with the Hue College of Medicine and Pharmacy’s Office of Genetic Counseling and Disabled Children and the two have provided work for disabled and disadvantaged workers since 2003.

It opened the shop in 2009.

Products made by the artists are also sold at SPIRAL Foundation fundraisers and retail outlets in the US and in some local hotels.

HWH currently employs 16 disabled artisans in Hue, providing them not only work but also medical insurance, housing, a daily meal, and a recreational allowance.

The majority of them are hearing-impaired and receive training in tailoring, basket weaving, and other crafts. — Source: VNS

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Rice production in Vietnam

Rice production in Vietnam  is important to the food supply in the country and national economy. Vietnam is one of world’s richest agricultural regions and is the second-largest (after Thailand) rice exporter worldwide and the world’s seventh-largest consumer of rice. Vietnamese eats rice since was born till die. when they die, bow of rice place on their altar. Rice has dominated not only in every physical day life but also in spiritual life. Parent teach children from one to other generations that “a single of gold rice grain comes out from nine drops of sweat”

Vietnamese legend for rice

According to the folk legend, in ancient times, rice was not produced but was a gift from God of heaven. Rice would appear from the heaven in the form of a large ball in every house. On one occasion, a lady was sweeping the floor of her house as ordered by her husband to welcome the rice ball. The large rice ball landed in the house when the lady was still sweeping and it hit the broom and then broke into many pieces. Since then people of Vietnam had to work hard with their hands to grow rice.

Rice production in Vietnam and history:

Rice cultivation in Vietnam has a long history compared to rice cultivation in Asian countries. According archeological materials in China, India, Vietnam … Rice was present from 3000 – 2000 BC. Our ancestors were domesticated wild rice into rice cultivation and development of rice cultivation to achieve progress today.

Before 1975, rice area in two northern delta and southern region is 1.8 million and 2.7 million hectares and produced from 2.4 to 3 million tons a year. During this time there weremainly old grain, one corp per year, easy to fall, low productivity.

From 1979 to 1985, rice production increased from 11.8 to 15.9 million tons year , however, people of Vietnam were still in shortage of food because of border war, paying debt and ineffective management under cooperative farm of state economy.

 Since the renovation (1986) to now, Vietnam has made remarkable progress in rice production, bringing our country from a country where regularly under food shortage was not only enough food to ensure the domestic needs but also exported to other countries from 3-4 million tonnes / year, ranking second in the world for the export of rice.

Rice Growing Areas:

The whole country, total paddy land area is 3.2 million hectares and land for water rice cultivation is 3 million hectares. However, paddy cultivation area is decreased from year to year compared to other cultivating plants such as coffee, tea or aquaculture. Rice cultivating lands converted to golf play ground is another main problem in Mekong delta.

Red River Delta – a wet rice civilization was formed thousands of years, including 11 provinces with an area of about 15,000 km2 are natural deposition of sediment by two major rivers are the Red River and Thai Binh. Red river delta has 1.4 million hectare of rice land. Red river delta is less productive than Mekong delta because of intensive farming

 Mekong Delta is about 36,000 km2, is a fertile land, favorable climate. This is the biggest rice bowl of Vietnam with the total paddy land is 1.8 million hectare. Mekong is the most important activity of rice production, especially high-quality rice for export. Although only 12% cultivating land of the country, the Mekong Delta is home to 22% of the population of the country, providing 40% of the total national food production, and more than half of the total rice production and rice exports made here.

Rice Growing Process

Vietnamese old saying: Having a good crop, Vietnamese should prepare well four elements: water-fertilizer-hard work-good seed, we can describe process of growing rice as below:

1. Preparing the planting ground

  • Tilling for soil exposure at least 10-15 days before sowing for sanitation field thoroughly  is essential for good growth. The tilling and drying soil for  purposes of uprooting grass and , reducing of organic poisoning.
  • Strengthen the system of canals, irrigation fields, widened the channel so that when necessary, against drought or flooding, water will be pumped promptly.

2. Planting season:

  • Winter-Spring crop from 15 October – 15 December
  • Summer-Autumn crop from 15 April – 15  June
  • Additional crop (if possible)  sowing from 15/July-15 September

3. The amount of seed needed for sowing:

  • Sowing of the seed should 80-100kg seed per hectare, remember spare sowing is better than dense sowing, it reduces plant fall and easy to kill grass and fertilize later.

3. Rice seed before sowing:

Soaking rice seed into water 24-36 hours and then wash rice seed in liquid containing 15% salt (15 kg of salt mixed in 100 liters of water), stirring vigorously to dissolve the salt. Handling this step fast in 10-15 minutes (dismiss empty grain and grass seeds out from rice seeds) then brought rice seeds treated with water several times and keep grain in moister.

4. Rice development age:

Age

Seedling

Growth

Mature

Fruitful

Period 10 days 20 – 30 days 28 – 30 days 28- 30 day

5. Water Management

  • After sowing (row seeding) keep the ground drained and leave water only enough moisture
  • Get enough water to fertilize at very early stage (70-10 days after sowing)
  • From 10 to 18 days to retain water in rice fields from 1 to 3 cm.
  • From 18-22 days, hold high the water level must not exceed 5 cm.
  • When more than 2 / 3 rice fields turn yellow  (about 40-45 days after sowing), then put water into rice fields.
  • Keep water in the rice paddies at 5cm from mature to fruitful period.
  • Drain before harvest from 5-7 days (for high field) and from 10-15 days (for low fields) to promote ripening and dry fields and harvest easier.

6. Harvest time:
Harvesting on 28-32 days after flowering or when 85-90% of the rice seed was ripe. If cut early or delayed increase the loss rate of rice. Harvesting by hand or by machine.

7. Preserving after harvest

Dry grain under sun for few days, preserve rice in a dry and airy place. If the preservation period of less than 3 months, grain moisture should reach 14% -15%. If the storage more than 3 months, the humidity should be below 14%.

Problem of rice production in Vietnam today:

There are three main problems which decide Vietnam rice in the world market: Quality-Preservation-Market Research

Viet Nam needs to focus on improving post-harvest practices in order to gain greater benefits for farmers and make Vietnamese rice more competitive in the world market as said by experts.

Previously, Thailand accounted for 80 per cent of the rice imported by Hong Kong, but since 2010, this has dropped to 60 per cent. The market share of Vietnamese rice, meanwhile, has increased to 18 per cent from three per cent. One of the reasons for the growth is the improvement made in rice quality in Vietnam.

Storage and drying are the two weakest activities in Mekong Delta. There was a need to train various parties in the rice supply chain and other supporting agencies in post-harvest technologies to reduce post-harvest loss and improve rice quality.

Rice quality also decides the income of both farmers and traders, we noted that Vietnamese rice is always cheaper than Thai rice for the same variety. The price of Viet Nam’s rice is US$30 to $100 per tonne cheaper. According to International Rice Research Institute’s Irrigated Rice Research Consortium, which is implementing a model applying Good Agricultural Practices. Vietnam has great potential if implementing a new model of good agriculture practice which recently applied in An Giang Province.

In order to produce premium quality rice, we need to establish better linkages between farmers, service providers, traders and others to facilitate adoption of best practices for production and post-harvest management of rice. Production efficiency lays the basis for improvement in rice quality. In the past, a farmer would produce high quality rice, and the neighbouring farmer would produce ordinary rice, and the buyer would buy both and mix it. It seriously harm Vietnam rice brand.

In summary, Vietnam is proud of a rice country but Vietnamese farmers have lowest income compared to other rice exporting country! The main reason is bad marketing domestic and international net work. Farmers are working hard and have to sell their produces with low prices. The government doesn’t support farmer adequately in forecasting and planning for the  rice market. A side from that, government also lacks of educational program and modern infrastructure of transportation, preservation rice produces before exporting.

Thank you for your reading!

Hong Duc

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Thu Thiem tunnel opens for traffic!

Ho Chi Minh City holds a ceremony to celebrate the opening of the Thu Thiem Tunnel and the 22 km East-West highway at 2 pm this afternoon (Nov 20), attended by thousands of citizens and high ranking dignitaries.

Thu Thiem Tunnel and the entire East-West highway will be officially open to traffic from November 21 linking the national highway route number 1 from Binh Chanh District to the Cat Lai intersection in District 2.

Thu Thiem Tunnel is the most important section of the East-West highway project in HCMC. Built at a total cost of US$189 million provided by Japanese ODA, it has been constructed by a consortium of four Japanese contractors: Obayashi Corporation, Taisei Corporation, Kumagai-Kajima consortium and Toa Corporation.

The highway will connect the existing urban center of Ho Chi Minh City with Thu Thiem New Urban Area in District 2 and substantially reduce travel time from East to West of the City to a mere 20 minutes.

Thu Thiem Tunnel is the largest and most modern tunnel in Southeast Asia, with a length of 1.49 km, width of 33 m, height of 9 m, with six traffic lanes, each of the three lanes for cars and motorcycles. There is also a two lane exit at both ends of the tunnel.

Motorbikes will be permitted in the Tunnel from 6:00-21:00 hours daily. The tunnel is expected to receive 30,000 automobiles and 50,000 motorbikes per day.

The maximum and minimum speed for cars is 60 and 30 kilometers per hour and cars travelling on the same lane will be required to maintain a safe distance of 30 meters from each other. The maximum speed for motorbikes is 40 kph.

Motorcyclists should use helmets that cover their ears, to reduce the noise level of ventilation fans and vehicles inside the tunnel. Children should not be taken inside the tunnel as the high noise level could be disturbing for them.

HCMC People’s Committee has issued regulations to ensure security, fire fighting and prevention and emergency rescue operations in the tunnel. However, in case of major accidents that require closure of the entire tunnel, the HCMC People’s Committee will direct the rescue operations.

The center installed an additional 6 reactor power fans and 2 exhaust fans at both ends of the tunnel to circulate the air and filter dust.

There are emergency exit doors in the tunnel after every 50 meters, which lead out to a 2m wide underground trench linked to both ends of the tunnel. Enough lighting and air will always be available in the tunnel round the clock.

Source: SGGP

Thank for your reading!

Hong Duc

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cao Dai Religion

Introduction:

Cao Đài  is a unique religion of Vietnamese, officially established in the city of Tây Ninh, southern Vietnam, in 1926. Đạo Cao Đài is the religion’s shortened name, the full name is Đại Đạo Tam Kỳ Phổ Độ (Great Religion of The Third Period of Revelation and Salvation). Concerning the term Cao Đài, literally, Cao means “high” and Đài means “ a platform raised above the surrounding level to give prominence to the person on it.” Figuratively, it means that highest spiritual place where God reigns.  According to Caodai disciple , the full title was purposefully chosen by God because within it are representations of the Three Teachings: Saint, Sage and Buddha.

Formation of Cao Dai:

In 1920s , Vietnam country endured in very unstable and unsecured political circumstance. French strongly suppressed any patriotic group or movement against their authority and gained for independent. However local anti-French movements were gradually formed and developed throughout the country. Some elite Vietnamese who worked for French administration found Cao Dai religion and the founder was Ngo Minh Chieu (also known as Ngo Van Chieu; born 1878), a civil servant who once served as district chief of Phú Quốc Island. Ngo Minh Chieu was well adapted ed in both Eastern and Western religious philosophies. He was also known to be an active participant in seances (cầu cơ), at which it was said his presence greatly improved communication with the spirit world.

In 1919, during a seance, He began to receive a series of revelations from God, Saint and Sage. In 1926. in South Vietnam’s Tây Ninh Province, Cao Daism was officially proclaimed a religion and the temple known as the “Holy See” was built.

Cao Dai Phylosophy:

Followers of Cao Dai believe history is divided into three significant periods of divine revelation.

The first period began when God’s truth was revealed to humanity through power of nature such as Ocean, Mountain, River

The second period of revelation came through Buddha, Lao Tze, Confucius, Jesus and Mohammed. The Cao Dai believe God’s messages were delivered in specific period in time and the area the messengers lived in. Because God’s messages were corrupted because of human division, partition,war, dictatorship, greedy, zealousness, mindless. These characters of course have made the world and people under endless suffering for war, natural disaster, sickness, poverty and sin. Each area understood God’s message differently for the sake of their beneficiary

The Third period: Cao Dai sees itself as the product of the “Third Alliance Between God and Man”, the third and also the final revelation will bring all religions together and sit on the same platform (Đài). The Third period will be concluded in the unknown day in which only selected people will be able to enter. The final day called “Long Hoa Hội” literally means Convention of Dragon and Flower. On that day, the truly Peace would come to this world and people will live in endless happiness.

Cao Dai doctrine

The doctrine of Cao Daism is based on the Buddhist belief in self-development through life’s cycle of reincarnation. “The ultimate goal of the disciples of Cao Daism is to escape the cycle of reincarnation”. Much like Buddhism, Cao Dai ethics profess this goal may only be reached be the good person who follows the practice against killing, stealing, sensuality and luxurious living. Cao Dai priests practice vegetarianism, while followers practice vegetarianism only six days a month as a cleansing process.

The Cao Dai consider vegetarianism to be of service to human kind because it does not involve harming fellow beings during the process of their spiritual evolution. Other practices of the Cao Dai include maintenance of the cult of ancestors, reverence of the dead and self-cultivation through meditation.

Cao Dai religious structure:

The Cao Dai sect is structured in a hierarchical order based in large on the Roman Catholic Church. The head of the sect is the Pope , followed by cardinals , archbishops and priests.

The Temple is placed under authority of “Hộ Pháp” means head of legislative affair and concerned with Law and Justice. “Thượng Phẩm” is head of religious affair and concerned with spiritual power. “Thượng Sanh” is head of secular affair and concerned with human nature and problems

Members of the clergy dress in different colors, which is determined by the branch of faith concerned. “The Confucius branch wear red robes; the symbol of authority. The Taoists wear green; the symbol of universal. The Buddhists wear saffron yellow robes; the symbol of benevolence.

Women are welcome in all even at the highest 9 levels of the clergy. However, female officers wear white color only : the symbol of virtue

Structure and symbol of Cao Dai temple.

The Supreme Being “God” is symbolized by a large eye seeing through radiant light and is seen on the front of all Cao Dai Temples.

Cao Dai Holy see was built in Tay Ninh in 1919. the temple is said designed by God through spiritual communication. Two towers are bell and drum tower looks likely Catholic Church and the main part is much like Buddhist temple. Separate entrances for male and female, left for male and right for female. Nine columns in side with multicolored dragons curled around them, support a giant dome above the sphere in representation of thirty six heavens, the three thousand worlds and sixty seven earths.

The great temple is built on nine levels, which represent the nine steps to heaven. At the front entry hall depicts the three signatories of The Third Alliance Between God and Man: Sun Yat Sen, Nguyen Binh Khiem, Victor Hugo.

Saints of Cao Dai:

The Chinese revolutionary leader Sun Yat-sen holds an ink stone Vietnamese poet Nguyen Binh Khiem and French poet Victor Hugo write ‘God and Humanity’ and ‘Love and Justice’ in Chinese and French”. They are represented for mixed culture of Eastern and Western and Vietnam.

The prominent figures of great Teachers on the top are Buddha, Confucius, Jesus Christ, Taoist

Windows are decorated with figures of divined eye, Yin and Yang, elements of universal mainly explain formation of world.

Practice:

Prayers are conducted at 6 am, noon; 6 pm and midnight of each day. Following the Taoist duality of Yin and Yang, there are two principal deities, the Mother Goddess, who is female, and God, who is male. There is an ongoing debate among the Cao Dai as to which deity was the source of creation.

Development of Religion:

Within one year, Cao Daism had over 26,000 followers by 1990 there were an estimated three million Cao Dai followers. As Vietnam history, Cao Dai couldn’t stay out side of political crisis. French only accepted this religion not early than 1932 when saw it strongly grew among Vietnamese peasants. French accepted because they had been beneficial in control the followers. South Vietnamese Government did the same although always aware of it neural role during the war. After the war, some important practice has been forbidden because considered as superstitious such as seances, however, the temple is able to open everyday for follower and visitor. In 1990s, Cao Dai has been officially recognized as one of main religion in Vietnam as Catholic and Buddhism

Summary:

Throughout the history of Vietnam, the Vietnamese people have been able to take the best aspects of other culture and combine them with aspects with their own culture. This ability has enable the Vietnamese people to grow culturally where other countries have failed. The Cao Dai religious sect is a good example of this ability. While other countries arold the world wage wars based on differences of religious belief, the Cao Dai have successfully combined religious philosophies from around the world to create a colorful new religion. A religion built on the strengths and beliefs of both Eastern and Western philosophies. The Cao Dai efforts to bring differences together, to create one strong whole based on pieces of all, is the culmination of the Vietnamese ability to accomplish the unexpected.

Terminology of Cao Dai Religion:

Ba mươi sáu cõi trời: Thirty six heavens

Bát Quái Đài: Octagonal Palace, Eight Trigram

Bộ nhạc: Department of music

Bửu tháp: Precious tower:

Cầu cơ: Evocation of superior spirits, Seance

Chức Sắc: Dignitary

Chức Việc: Sub-dignitary

Chúng sanh: Living being

Cô hồn: Wandering soul

Cửu Huyền Thất Tổ: Nine generations of genealogical line and Seven generations of Ancestors.

Đại hội Long Hoa: Dragon and flower convention, final judgment

Đầu Sư: Cardinal

Giáo sĩ: Priest

Giáo Tông: Pope

Gươm huệ: Sword of wisdom

Hiệp Thiên Đài: Heavenly Union Palace

Khăn đóng: Turban

Khương Thái Công: Spiritual title of Khương Tử Nha

Khương Tử Nha: Jiang Taigong, Khương Tử Nha

Kinh cầu siêu: Prayer for the salvation of the soul

Kinh giải oan: Prayer for the liberation of karma

Lão Tử: Lao-Tse

Phát nguyện: Make a vow

Quan Thánh Đế Quân: Kwan Kung or Guan Yu

Tam giáo tòa: Three religions court

Tín đồ: Disciple

Trả nợ tiền khiên, trả nghiệp: Pay back karma debt

Hope above information is useful for you at work!

Hong Duc

Posted in Vietnam Custom | Leave a comment

Ha Long Bay named new world wonder of nature

At 2:07 am Vietnamese time today, November 12, the global poll organizers announced the provisional list of the world’s new seven wonders of nature, including, in the alphabet order, the Amazon rainforest in South America, Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay, the Iguazu waterfall of Argentina and Brazil, South Korea’s Jeju Island, Indonesia’s Komodo Island, Puerto Princesca Underground River of the Philippines, and the Table Mountain in South Africa.

The list was made based on the provision results of the voting for 400 wonders from more than 200 countries and territories that ended at 11:11 pm November 11, 2011.

Ha Long Bay, which was recognized by UNESCO as a World Natural Heritage site in 1994, is seated on an area of around 1,553 square meters, including 1,969 islets, most of which are limestone.

The core of the bay has an area of 334 square meters with a high density of 775 islets. The limestone in this bay has gone through 500 million years of formation in different conditions and environments.

The bay, with a coastline of 120 km, is home to 14 endemic floral species and about 60 endemic faunal species.

Source: Ha Long New Wonder of Nature

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Walking Tour in Saigon

Starting from your hotel, Saigon walking tour gives you mixture of old and new memories. 45 minutes on foot, we will make the past alive and enjoy the present with early day activities of locals. Despite the fact that modern high-rise buildings have begun to dominate the skyline in recent years there are still many fine examples of French colonial architecture in Ho Chi Minh City such as the Notre Dame Cathedral, the Old Saigon Post Office and the former Hotel de Ville. A stroll down Dong Khoi Street, the Rue Cantina of Graham Greene’s ‘The Quiet American’, will reveal more colonial classics like the Continental, Grand and Majestic hotels as well as dozens of tempting boutiques and galleries.

From rue Catinat to “Dong Khoi” Street|

“Caninat” is the name of escorted carrier, the ship first time opened fire to attack Danang in 1958 and Saigon 1959. Originally, Catina was name of French governor who lived in late 17 century and early 18 century and of course it didn’t relate to anything belongs to this colonial country!

Only 1 km long beginning by cathedral at one end and ending up with Saigon river front at the other end. it ‘s  very short street but it have been  witnessed  every change of city’s fate in the past, present and will be in future. we can say this street is a pulse and can listen to heart beating of the whole city.

French people compared this street with Canebière of Marseille where has most of luxurious shops of French elites. Hotel Majestic was built in 1920, Grand hotel 1921, Caravelle, Hotel Continental was prominent as  the oldest built in 1887s, Opera house in 1900, old post office are all prominent dots of the street. When French left and replaced by American. Catinat also reborn with new name “liberal street” Tu-Do. French structures were still remained but functions were changes. CIA headquarter based here, Intelligent police head quarter and bars for GIs appeared as a sight of war still happening away from here. The street was renamed again after American war “Dong Khoi” – remembrance of revolutionary of South Vietnamese against government in 1960s.

Opera House.

It was built in the late of 19th century by a French architect according to Opera Garnier in Paris. The theatre was built in flamboyant Gothic style. The facade is trimmed with inscriptions and reliefs shaped like the museum Petit Palais in Paris.

There are 559 seats inside the building and it was used as the home of the Lower House assembly of South Vietnam. Until 1975, it was used as a theater for opera, ballet, orchestra concerts

The city theater nowadays is well-known for various types of performances such as international and city orchestra, traditional music, drama and even for ballet performance. Specially, every Saturday morning, out door performance is weekly organized for city people and tourists. At night there is a lot of young people gathering, hanging about, meeting up with friends, chatting the night away…

Hotel Continental

In 1878, Pierre Cazeau, a home-appliance and construction material manufacturer, started building the Hotel Continental with the purpose of providing the French traveler, a French style of luxury accommodation after a long cruise to the new continent. This project took 2 years, and in 1880 the “Hotel Continental” was inaugurated.

By the beginning of World War II, the Hotel Continental hosted the great Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore (who won the 1913 Nobel Prize for literature), the award-winning writer Andre Malraux, whose “Man’s Fate” won the 1933 Prix Goncourt, and then the British writer Graham Greene, long-term guest in room 214, who conceived the work “The Quiet American” about the transitional period between the French Colonist and the American Empire in the Vietnam War. The Continental features prominently in “The Quiet American” in both its film and book forms.  The Continental also is a central locale in the movie “Indochine” which won two Academy Awards and one Golden Globe.

A side from “quiet American” Hotel Continental was frequently referred to by the phrase “Radio Catinat”, since this was the rendezvous point where correspondents, journalists, politicians and businessmen talked about politics, the business news, and current events. It’s not by coincidence that it was said that “If the walls of the Hotel Continental could speak, they could tell you many stories.”

Givral cafe 169 Đồng Khởi

Although it has been gone recently for new tasteless Vincom building but Givral opposites with Catinat once very famous because”The Quiet American” while filming here has restored it as the year 60-70. During the war, international journalists were sitting there to collect information about the Vietnam War. Pham Xuan An, a very famous intelligence often sit here.

Rex hotel

Originally built as a French garage in the early 20th century, the Rex Hotel was expanded into a 6-floor trading centre in 1959,  owned by Mr and Madame Ung Thi, King Bao Dai’s relatives.

It was leased to the American Cultural Center in 1960, at which time the Abraham Lincoln Library was established on the ground floor. During the Vietnam war the American Information Service made its base at the hotel, which soon became the favorite haunt of U.S. officers and the scene of daily press briefings to foreign correspondents, or “five o’clock follies”, as they were called. Now the roof top has been revised as it was in 1970s.

Hochiminh City Hall.

Hochiminh City Hall or Hochiminh city people’s committee head office was built from March 1898 in a French colonial style. The building was designed by the famous French architect P. Gardes’s. It is said that it took 11 years and inaugurated in 1909 after many times changing main contractor and designers. There were too much argument over it’s exterior.On the top of the building is the famous bell tower which is placed on a pyramid like pedestal. The presence of bell towers is adapted from Renaissance architecture and is a feature that is common to most European town halls. During the Vietnam war. Saigon city hall was administrative building of former Saigon-Gia Dinh and witnessed a lot of chaos of political crisis as well as anti-war protests carried out by city people. It is not open to the public because this is a working government building.

Especially in front of the building is a statue of Uncle Ho Park, where the statue of Uncle Ho with children sculptured by artist Diep Minh Chau. The statue reflected important period of Uncle Ho’s life 9-years resistance war against French army from 1945 to 1954. Uncle Ho and his cabinet had to withdraw to Cao Bang, lived in extremely hard conditions but full of hope and persistence for the final victory of Dien Bien Phu. It shows great love of Uncle Ho towards Vietnamese children.

General Post Office

Does it remind you of the European railway stations? was designed and constructed by the famous architect Gustave Eiffel, the fellow who also built the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. Built between 1886 and 1891, Saigon Post Office is a functioning and also the largest post office in Vietnam and worth visiting just for its architecture.

The special thing about the 2 maps below is that although they are as old as the Saigon Post Office building, the details drawn are still sharply retained. Up till now, researchers are still uncertain about the material used to draw these maps. You’ll find on the maps captions in French, ‘Saigon et ses environs 1892′ which means ‘Sai Gon and its environment 1892′.

The map obvious old Saigon was much smaller than now and surrounded with swampy land and ‘Lignes telegraphiques du Sud Vietnam et Cambodge 1936′ which translate to ‘Telegraphic lines of Southern Vietnam and Cambodia 1892 which was French colony called Cochinchina.

A old Man and 60 years working voluntary as love letter writer.

Walking inside, you can see a little old man sitting at the corner of long table, does a professional job and strange romance: Write a love letter for customer. Every week Monday – Wednesday – Friday, 14 years with the red tape on the arms, small plat “Here is instructions and help writing” It becomes more soulful, romantic and mysterious as addition for the beauty of this building.

His name is Duong Van Ngo, 79 years old. He helps everyone who needs his help or translations from Vietnamese to English. Specially, he always keep customer secret and ready help for free.

Ngo has worked at the post office since he was 17. He says he never missed a day of work, not even during the wars. He speaks the languages of the former occupiers fluently to this day. He learned French in school and English from American soldiers.

Ngo has heard thousands of such stories, some beautiful and others tragic. He searched for the children of US soldiers and relatives of Vietnamese citizens who escaped as boat people after the war. He’s witnessed much suffering. He’s not giving any details. His customers pay him for his silence.

Notre Dame Cathedral.

Notre Dame was designed by architect J. Bourad. The church was constructed between 1877 and completed in 1880. The whole church is 93m in length, 35.5 m wide and 57 m high (from ground to the top of the bell tower) After the project design was chosen and also the architect J. Bourad was a direct supervision of this work. All materials cement, steel screws were to bring from France. Especially outside of the building red bricks made in Marseille and its color is unchanged till now.

Thank you for your reading!

Hong Duc

Posted in Presenting at site | Leave a comment