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Covid-hit family spared 1,000-km cycle home



Covid-hit family spared 1,000-km cycle home

An officer wishes the family of four a safe journey after passing the Chung My Covid-19 checkpoint in Ninh Phuoc District, Ninh Thuan Province. Photo courtesy of Youth Police of Ninh Phuoc District.

An out of work family decided to cycle 1,300 kilometers from southern Dong Nai Province to their hometown in central Nghe An to ride out the Covid-19 pandemic.

On July 19, under a scorching sun, four people on two bicycles wearily head for a Covid-19 checkpoint in Ninh Phuoc District, central Ninh Thuan Province.

When they stopped to make medical declarations, the personnel there learned that the family had come all the way from Dong Nai Province in the south and were heading to their hometown in central Nghe An Province.

The four were Vo Thanh Binh, 28, and his mother, 51, sister, 30, and a young nephew.

Five years ago they moved to Dong Nai’s Trang Bom District to work in a factory. But the Covid-19 outbreak over the last two years made things harder and harder until finally in April this year they could no longer find jobs.

On July 9, Dong Nai Province ordered two weeks of social distancing. Local people are required to stay at home and only go out for certain things such as buying food or medicines or to work at factories or businesses that are allowed to open.

Until the night before leaving the family struggled to decide if they they should stay or not, but finally decided to cycle back to Nghe An.

Binh told VnExpress on July 19: “I carried my mother and my sister carried her child. We cycled at a very slow speed. On average, we traveled 30 kilometers a day.” They had traveled around 300 km in 10 days by then.

Binh said his family ate and slept on the street. Along the way, people who learned about their situation helped: Some gave them food and fruits, others gave money and officials at Covid-19 checkpoints carried out the screening and other protocols as smoothly and quickly as possible so that they can carry on with their trip.

Officers at the Chung My checkpoint in Ninh Phuoc District gave them VND1 million ($43.44) and a lot of food and drinks.

Binh said: “During our journey I started to realize that my family is not in the worst situation. At least my family has bicycles to travel. We saw many other people walking long distances home while carrying heavy backpacks.”

The family had another 1,000 km to travel, which could have taken another 40 days.

Fortunately, officials at the Chung My checkpoint also shared their story online, and soon some people met the family on the street, drove them to Thap Cham railway station in Ninh Thuan Province and bought tickets for them to return to Nghe An Province.

On July 20 they were tested for Covid, and their train is at noon the next day.

“My family is extremely grateful for the help of benefactors,” Binh said.

With Covid raging in Saigon, many workers there too have left in recent days. Many localities are organizing transportation to bring their people back home.

Like Binh and his family, no matter how arduous the trip could be, many seek to return not only since earning a livelihood is difficult but also because a place called home beckons.



2030 Businesspeople Club delivers necessities to people in quarantined areas



Members of the 2030 Businesspeople Club transport relief to a quarantined area in HCMC – PHOTOS: LE VU

HCMC – Through the “Food for Saigon during Social Distancing” program, the 2030 Businesspeople Club, a member of the Saigon Times Club, handed over 40 tons of vegetables, fruits, rice and other necessities to people living in areas under lockdown or quarantine in HCMC on August 3 and 4.

The event was part of the Saigon Times – Great Circle 2021 series, an initiative of the Saigon Times Group, that is aimed at supporting people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nguyen Dinh Tu, vice chairman of the 2030 Businesspeople Club, said through the program, the club expects to mobilize 8,000 gift sets for disadvantaged people across 20 districts of the city.

Up to now, the club has delivered 4,000 gift sets, each comprising 5 kilograms of vegetables and fruits and 5 kilograms of rice, to needy people in 10 districts. The club has also provided eggs, instant noodles and other necessities to poor households in the city.

Each gift set comprises vegetables, fruits, rice and other necessities

During 30 days of the “Food for Saigon during Social Distancing” program, the 2030 Business Club expects to give some 150 tons of vegetables and fruits as well as essentials to people whose livelihoods are severely affected by Covid-19 in HCMC and the neighboring provinces.

The Saigon Times Group launched the “Saigon Times – Great Circle 2021” program with the theme, “Join hands to fight off the pandemic”, on June 2. The program receives donations from organizations and individuals and then distributes them to the needy in HCMC and other provinces.

Donations for the program can be sent to:

Tap chi Kinh te Sai Gon

Bank account number: 1007 1485 1003318

Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) – Hoa Binh Branch – HCMC

Transaction content: Name – UnghoSaigon Times – NVTL – Donghanhchongdich

To participate in the program, please contact:

Huynh Huong (Phone number: 0913118711)

Or Huy Han (Phone number: 0902696617)



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Obituary: Veteran painter Đỗ Quang Em dies



Veteran painter Đỗ Quang Em, a leading artist of the South’s fine arts, died at home on Tuesday in HCM City. He was 79. Photo courtesy of the artist’s family

HCM CITY — Veteran painter Đỗ Quang Em, a leading artist of the South’s fine arts, died at home on Tuesday in HCM City. He was 79.

His funeral took place on Thursday in HCM City. 

Chairman of Việt Nam Fine Arts Association Lương Xuân Đoàn told Tuổi Trẻ newspaper: “Đỗ Quang Em was one of the four cornerstones of the fine arts world that evolved in pre-1975 Sài Gòn.” 

Đỗ Quang Em was born in Ninh Thuận Province in 1942. He studied photography from his father, owner of a small photographic studio when he was a child. 

He was sent to study at the Gia Định College of Fine Arts in Sài Gòn (now the HCM City University of Fine Arts). 

In 1965, he became involved in painting after graduating from college. His work earned recognition from art lovers and critics. 

In 1973-74, he worked as a lecturer at Gia Định College of Fine Arts. 

Đỗ Quang Em was part of a family of three generations of artists and trained himself to be a master of light in his paintings.

An oil painting called Bùa Hộ Mệnh (Amulet) was released in 2000 by late painter Đỗ Quang Em who used hyperrealism, a type of drawing technique, to create his art. Photo courtesy of the artist’s family

Em’s art focused on the use of strong contrasts between light and dark. 

Because of his love for photography, Em chose to paint realistic items but pushed his style further into the realm of hyperrealism. The technique, which takes a lot of time and skill, looks as real as a photograph.

“Em was professional in his use of this technique. The use of light and shadow helped the painter build up texture and detail,” said art critic Nguyên Hưng. 

Hyperrealism was an art movement and style popular in the United States and Europe in the 1970s with Carole Feuerman being the forerunner along with Duane Hanson and John De. 

Founded on the aesthetic principles of photography and photorealism, the artists often worked to create paintings that resembled photographs.

Hyperrealists took ordinary everyday objects and used them as a means to convey more subdued emotions in their paintings. They presented these objects as living and tangible, painted in meticulous detail to the point that they created an illusion of reality far from the original photo.

Hyperrealists often add subtle, pictorial details to create the illusion of a reality which doesn’t exist often conveying the emotional, social, cultural and even political messages of the artiste.

Đỗ Quang Em’s works feature a range of topics and objects, from people to animals and still life. Many of his paintings portray his wife and daughters. 

He also loved to draw cups, glasses, oil lamps and origami figures. 

A paiting called Chân Dung Vợ Hoạ Sĩ (Portrait of Artist’s Wife), released in 1975 by late painter Đỗ Quang Em. Photo courtesy of the artist’s family

He organised several solo and group exhibitions in HCM City, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

His works have been displayed and collected by Vietnamnese and foreign galleries and collectors, including the HCM City Musuem of Fine Arts. 

Chân dung vợ họa sỹ (Portrait of Artist’ Wife), 1975. Đỗ Quang Em

 Two of his famous paintings are Tôi và Vợ Tôi (My Wife and I) and Ấm và Tách Trà (A Teapot and Cups, which were auctioned for US$70,000 and $50,000 in Hong Kong in 1994-95.  

His paintings in the 1990s sold for $60,000-70,000 in the foreign market. —


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U.S. pledges US$4.5 million to help Vietnam fight Covid-19



Representatives of the U.S. side work with the Ministry of Health. The United States has agreed to provide Vietnam with an aid package worth US$4.5 million to fight the pandemic – PHOTO: VNA

HCMC – The United States has agreed to provide Vietnam with an aid package worth US$4.5 million to intensify the latter’s Covid-19 vaccination program and improve the capacity of its healthcare system.

A representative of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) pledged the relief aid at a recent meeting with Minister of Health Nguyen Thanh Long, the Ministry of Health said on August 4.

In early September, 77 deep freezers donated by the United States for vaccine storage are set to arrive in Vietnam. The U.S. Secretary of Defense had announced this donation during his visit to Vietnam in late July.

Due to the current trajectory of the pandemic, which is piling pressure on the country’s healthcare system, the Ministry of Health is setting up several intensive care units in HCMC and some southern provinces.

The ministry also proposed the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID provide Vietnam with ventilators, oxygen tanks and medical equipment for Covid-19 treatment to minimize the death rate.

Minister Long also expected the U.S. government to continue supporting Vietnam in the anti-virus fight and giving the country priority in the access to vaccines, the local media reported.

To fight the pandemic effectively, Vietnam is trying to gain access to more doses of Covid-19 vaccines, said Minister Long, adding that in the fourth quarter of the year, some 47 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine would arrive in Vietnam.


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