(23-06-2006)

Heave ho: A photograph of a worker at the Phu My Power Plant, displayed at the exhibition in HCM City. — Photo Christine Berger

HCM CITY — Thirteen Vietnamese and French photographers will display their works featuring mainly Vietnamese images at an exhibition which opens today in HCM City.

The First Photo Exhibition Month, to be held by the French consulate’s Culture Co-operation and Activities Department and the Institute for Cultural Exchange with France (IDECAF), hopes to showcase an overall picture of Vietnamese life.

"The [event] is also a bridge between Vietnamese and French photographers and will promote cultural exchanges between the two countries," Francois Cheval, head of the organising committee, said. While the exhibition will be held at three venues in the city centre, the opening ceremony is slated for the Fine Arts Museum on Pho Duc Chinh Street in District 1.

Hoang Kim Dang, Lam Duc Hien, and Antoine d’Agata will display more than 21 portrait photos featuring mainly Vietnamese people from June 23 to July 7.

Kim Dang’s photos are expected to open a window to the past. Titled Nguoi Linh (Vietnamese Soldier), they are a tribute to the brave Vietnamese soldier and an appreciation of the nation’s aspiration for freedom.

Anne Marie Filaire, Nicolas Pascarel, Christian Berger, Bui Huu Phuoc, and Phillippe Bordas will exhibit photos featuring urban life in Viet Nam, especially in major cities like HCM City.

Ange Leccia will present his photos – Storms, Sea, Unreason of Louvre Museum, and the Sun – through a video projector on a big screen from June 23 to July 16.

At the opening ceremony, the organisers will exhibit some photos of France’s Nicephore Niepce Museum on a big screen by using interactive 3D.

At another venue, HCM City’s War Remnants Museum on Vo Van Tan Street, an exhibition of Vietnamese-French photographer Liz Nguyen’s photos will be on display from June 24 to July 16.

There will be 11 photos under the title Surface. Widely travelled, she used her lens all the while to record her adventures. Her focus during her travel in Viet Nam was the great misery during the wars.

The last venue is IDECAF on Thai Van Lung Street which will display works by French photographers like Alain Leloup, Christian Milovanoff and Gael Pollin from June 23 to July 16.

They illuminate Vietnamese life, especially Alain Leloup’s photo records of living with a family in an urban setting like HCM City.

The organisers will also host two seminars on photographic art tomorrow and July 27 at IDECAF in which Xuan Khanh, Trung Nam, Alain Leloup, Ange Leccia, and Gael Pollin will participate. — VNS

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Ho Chi Minh City-based Transviet Tour Company welcomed the famtrip delegation on June 22, including 10 leading travel firms and reporters from the Selling Haul, a British tourist magazine, who came and surveyed Vietnamese tourism.

The survey lasts for six days and takes place in Hanoi, Ha Long Bay, Da Nang central city, the ancient town of Hoi An, Vinh Long province and Ho Chi Minh City.

The delegation is expected to meet representatives from the Vietnam Airlines, leading travel businesses of Vietnam and several five-star hotels to learn about tours and quality of tourism products in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City.

The delegation plans to make a promotion campaign for Vietnamese destination in order to attract tourists from Britain and Europe when they return to their country.

British tourists often require and are ready to pay for luxury services but most of them have poor information about Vietnamese tourism. There is yet to have a non-stop air route between Vietnam and Britain so British tourists must transit at one place, mainly in Paris, Bangkok, Singapore or Hong Kong if they travel to Vietnam, said Nguyen Tien Dat from Transviet’s branch in Hanoi.

The programme to receive the famtrip delegation is organised and sponsored by the Vietnam Airlines and the Transviet, together with support from some big hotels in Hanoi, Da Nang, Hoi An and Ho Chi Minh City.

Nearly 37,000 British tourists have travelled to Vietnam in the first five months of the year, an increase of 8.5% compared to the same period last year, according to the National Administration of Tourism.

 
   

A conference will be held in central Danang city in September with an aim to promote contribution of overseas Vietnamese entrepreneurs to the national development.

The meeting, due September 21-22, will gather overseas Vietnamese doing business in the homeland and abroad, domestic businesses, representatives of ministries and local government officials.

The conference will focus on fostering the potentialities of overseas Vietnamese businessmen in the cause of building and developing the homeland and integrating into the world economy.

The Overseas Vietnamese Committee, which organizes the conference, said this would be a chance for entrepreneurs to share experiences and talk with authorized agencies over their aspirations as well as difficulties they had faced.

On this occasion, the board in charge of agitating for the establishment of the Overseas Vietnamese Business Association will present itself before the public.

Source: Tuoi Tre – Translated by Thu Thuy

Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 06/23/06

FILM PRESENTED: The New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial Foundation will host a presentation of the 22-minute film "Twilight's Last Gleaming," about a Gold Star mother's search for her son, who has been missing in action in Vietnam for 30 years. The film will be introduced and discussed by its director, Paul Schneeberger of Cortlandt Manor, N.Y.WHEN and WHERE: At 11 a.m. Sunday, July 9, at the Vietnam Era Educational Center in Holmdel, which is adjacent to the PNC Bank Arts Center off Exit 116 of the Garden State Parkway.

WHO WILL BE THERE: Members of American Gold Star Mothers Inc., which is holding its annual convention in Mount Laurel from July 7 to July 11, will be special guests at the event.

WHAT IS A GOLD STAR MOTHER? Since the early days of World War I, a Blue Star displayed outside a family's home indicates they have a loved one serving with the U.S. military in a combat zone. If that family member is killed, the Blue Star is replaced with a Gold Star, to honor that person and his or her family for their supreme sacrifice.

In 1928, American Gold Star Mothers Inc. was established not only to provide comfort to mothers who had lost sons or daughters in warfare, but also to aid the men and women who served or were severely wounded during hostilities.

SERVICE: Following the film program, the American Gold Star Mothers Association will hold a special service at the New Jersey Vietnam Veterans' Memorial, featuring as guest speaker, Ambassador Feisal Amin Al-Istrabadi, a representative of Iraq to the United Nations.

IF YOU GO: Lecture attendees are asked to RSVP to (732) 335-0033. A donation of $5 per person is suggested.

 
16:43' 23/06/2006 (GMT+7)

VietNamNet – Japan-Vietnam Goodwill Ambassador Sugi Ryotaro on June 22 handed cameras worth US$15,600 from the Japanese government to the Ministry of Education and Training in support of a film-making contest for local students.

The contest, to be held in Hanoi as an initiative by the Goodwill Ambassador following his visit to Vietnam in October, 2005, aims to promote local secondary students' independent creativeness in the process of making films.

Mr Sugi Ryotaro expressed hope that the contest in Ha Noi will be a success so that a similar event can be held at national scale and even at the Asian level.

"I made my decision that Vietnam is the right place for my initiative," said the ambassador at the ceremony, "because I always believe that the country is my second homeland".

The competition, part of cultural cooperation and exchange between Vietnam and Japan, will help to further foster bilateral ties between the two countries in general and their cultural cooperation in particular, said Japanese Ambassador to Vietnam Hattori Norio.



By Kay Johnson, dpa
Eds: epa photos available

Hanoi (dpa)- The term "fast-food restaurant" took a new twist Thursday when hundreds of eager customers and curiosity seekers jammed into the lunchtime opening of the first KFC restaurant in communist Vietnam's capital.

The line to the counter was so long Thursday that Phan Huyen Trang, 26, had to wait 25 minutes for her meal of 11-secret-spices chicken, cole slaw and mashed potatoes and gravy.

"You have to wait for a longer time to have a KFC meal than to have pho," Trang complained, referring to the Vietnamese national dish of beef soup with rice noodles.

"I just come to see what it's like," she admitted, adding. "It's not as good as I thought. The chicken is too dry. It's not as good as Vietnamese dishes."

The company formerly known as Kentucky Fried Chicken already has 20 outlets in southern Ho Chi Minh City, making it one of the few international fast-food brands to compete with the country's wide range of street vendors and small shops.

But Hanoi, the communist capital heavily bombed by US warplanes during the Vietnam War, has never had a major American chain restaurant until now.

Even ubiquitous Starbucks and McDonalds have failed to enter the market, which is dominated by local chains such as Trung Nguyen and Highlands coffee shops and a burger franchise called "McHanh's."

That may change soon, since Vietnam's long-awaited entry into the World Trade Organization, expected later this year or in early 2007, will pry open up Vietnam's domestic service markets to more foreign competition.

In the meantime, the opening of a well-known US restaurant – strategically located on busy Huynh Thuc Khang Street, close to a popular children's playground, a golf driving range and a large cinema complex – proved a novelty.

"You see, there are many people … we will have to expand," said Nguyen Chi Kien, deputy general director of KFC Vietnam. The company plans to open three more Hanoi outlets by year's end.

Whether American-style fast food will continue to appeal remains to be seen. A typical KFC meal, priced at around 3 dollars, is about triple the price of a bowl of pho or bun cha, another popular street food made of grilled pork, rice noodles and fresh greens.

"I think there are so many people here today because they come for curiosity," said customer Vu Khanh Trinh, 29. He said he had already tried KFC chicken in Bangkok and said he liked it.

"You cannot compare KFC with Vietnamese traditional dishes. Each has its own tastes," he said. "But honestly, I prefer Vietnamese food."

Other customers, though, were impressed.

"The food is very good. It tastes different and delicious," enthused 16-year-old Vu Viet Anh. " I think I can eat KFC every day."

Health advocates might not advise that, though. Last week, KFC was named in a US lawsuit by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which said the hydrogenated cooking oil the company uses contributes to obesity and heart disease.

Vietnamese customers Thursday seemed unconcerned.

"I'm not afraid of getting fat, because I'm too thin now,"said construction worker Vu Cam Trang, 28. "I hope other foreign food chains like McDonald or Starbucks will enter Vietnam soon so that we will have chances to try many different kinds of food."

 
15:48' 22/06/2006 (GMT+7)

The life of one of Vietnam's most outstanding intelligence agents Hoang Minh Dao (1923-1969) will be portrayed in the series Con Duong Sang (Bright Way), scheduled to be shot at the end of this month.

Shaken, not stirred: A series about secret agent Hoang Minh Dao will be shot this month.

Born in the northern province of Quang Ninh, Dao (real name Dao Phuc Loc) had a harsh childhood. He was kicked out of his home by his stepmother and his father, a drunken merchant, who was always away from home and could do nothing to help him and his sisters.

Later, after working as a revolutionary liaison Dao became head of the army intelligence office of the military committee of the resistance force against the French in 1946.

He later held important positions of the resistance force during the first and second Indochina wars, including Commissar of the Special Task Force in Sai Gon (former name of HCM City).

Dao's family could not find his tomb, located by the Vam Co Dong River in the southern province of Dong Nai, until 30 years after his death in 1969. The details of his life remain fairly sketchy, even though the country has been united for 31 years.

"Dao's life is worth praising," said war veteran Pham Dan, Dao's comrade.

The film director Pham Viet Thanh, who started to study the secret agent's life four years ago, said the more he learned about Dao the more he wanted to make a film of his life.

The ten-episode series is based on the memories of Dao's children and comrades. These sources are an advantage but also a challenge for the filmmaker.

"Some of Dao's comrades, now retired senior army officers and officials, are advisors to the film. That means I have to try my best to make the film as true to life as possible to meet the living witnesses' expectations," Thanh said.

He went further to say that the series Bright Way was a full portrait of the secret man since his childhood.

"I will not make Dao out to be a hero at birth. He had a life like many others that included happiness, sorrow, loss, and loneliness."

Young actor Xuan Bac was chosen to play Dao because apart from sharing a similar appearance the director believes Bac is a talented actor who can express the sophisticated emotions of the secret service man.

Bright Way will be completed in six months and will be televised on Hanoi Television as well as local television stations throughout the country. The film is a joint production of the Hanoi Audio Visual Company and Quang Ninh Television.

(Source: Viet Nam News)