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HCM City to host annual flower festival and markets during Tet



The administration of Ho Chi Minh City has initiated plans to host an annual flower festival and markets which will celebrate the Lunar New Year, known locally as Tet.

In line with the scheme, Tao Dan Park in District 1 will host the flower festival between February 6 and February 17, or from the 25th day of the 12th lunar month to the sixth day of the first lunar month.

The festival will see traditional flower markets open on February 4, or the 23rd day of the 12th lunar month.

The events will be taking place at venues such as 23/9 Park and Le Van Tam Park in District 1, Gia Dinh Park in Go Vap district, along with 174 other locations across 21 districts.

The markets are scheduled to remain open until February 11, or the 30th day of the 12th lunar month.

The function will gather together a wide range of flowers and ornamental plants, thereby providing a space for visitors to enjoy as they prepare for their Tet celebrations.

The traditional Vietnamese New Year will fall on February 12 this year. VOV



Fantasy literature struggles to find readers




FANTASY LOVERS: Experts share their joy for Vietnamese fantasy works at a talk-show held by the Kim Đồng Publishing House. Photo 

The world of fantasy literature has seen amazing works such as Peter Pan, Alice in Wonderland, Harry Potter and Twilight, but experts say very few Vietnamese writers are interested in the genre, which is relatively new to them.

Seeing the vast potential for sales that promise many opportunities for fantasy writing talent to develop, some young writers have moved into the field and had initial success, but more efforts are needed to attract more readers.

“This market has been built before thanks to many world-famous fantasy books imported, translated and published in Việt Nam. It is from this background that readers started to pay attention to Vietnamese fantasy works,” the Thanh Niên (Young People) newspaper quoted Khúc Thị Hoa Phượng, director of Women’s Publishing House, as saying.

“However, the number of writers interested in this genre of literature in the country is unable to meet demand. The number of authors of the nineties generation, including those for fantasy, is still too small, and their works sporadic,” she said.

“It is our desire that fantasy writing will not only be expanded, but also attract writers with in-depth works. It means that the writers not only invest in a methodical one or two books, or a series of stories, but stick their whole life to writing them. By doing that, this new types of books will develop in a professional direction.”

COVER VERSIONS: Two of the good fantasy books by young writers have attracted readers. Photo 

Fantasy is a literary genre that opens up endless fiction with stories about the supernatural, magic or things only in the imagination. For the past 10 years, a limited number of young Vietnamese authors have boldly experimented with the style.

Among such writers are Nguyễn Nhật Ánh with the series Chuyện xứ Lang Biang (The Story of Lang Biang) and Phan Hồn Nhiên with Những Đôi Mắt Lạnh (Cold Eyes) and Chuỗi hạt Azoth (Azoth Beads).

Some fantasy books have won prizes for young writers, such as UREM – Người đang mơ (UREM -The Dreamer) and Yagon – Những Kẻ Vô Cảm (Yagon – the Emotionless) by Phạm Bá Diệp, and Người Ngủ Thuê (The Sleeper) by Nhật Phi.

Recently, Nguyễn Đình Tú, a writer specialising in detective novels, has also tried his hand at the fantasy genre with the novel Bãi Săn (Hunting Ground).

FICTION: Outstanding Vietnamese fantasy books of the early 20th century have impressed readers. Photo

Publishers claim young readers have a taste for fantasy, so they have launched several writing contests to stir up interest and encourage authors to try the genre. But lift-off has been limited.

According to Phạm Bá Diệp, part of the reason is that there are not many veteran writers interested in fantasy, while the younger ones do not have much experience, and their writing skills are not strong enough.

Moreover, some publishers do not dare to risk investing in fantasy works, preferring love stories, which are seen as a safe bet, Diệp  said.

Some publishers claim that not even professional writers in the country can meet the standards of a fantasy series that needs to be written in a long-form imaginative way with a logical, tight and clearly built universe.

Vietnamese fantasy literature

Vietnamese literature in the early 20th century saw many outstanding achievements in which fantasy writing flourished with authors and works such as Thế Lữ with Vàng và Máu (Gold and Blood); TchyA with Thần Hổ (God of Tiger) and Lan Khai with Truyện Đường Rừng (The Tale of Forest), which are among the best and earliest written fantasy books in modern Vietnamese literature.

BOOK WORMS: Readers today are looking for fantasy works, but not many writers are interested in this genre of literature in Việt Nam. Illustration photo

The period was a significant era for the country’s modern literature, and fantasy at that time attracted great attention from readers and critics. In newspapers, fantasy stories were in instalments and much-welcomed by the public.

Speaking on a talk show held recently by the Kim Đồng Publishing House to highlight the beauty of Vietnamese fantasy literature, Nguyễn Thị Năm Hoàng, a literary expert, said fantasy was a reflection of reality.

“Literature always has its own explanation, making people more mature. Each fantasy writer of each period of time offers a unique experience. Lan Khai offers a story within a story. TchyA is a source of highly philosophical material, while Thế Lữ brings out the poetic beauty of the mountains and taking journeys. Each brings their own atmosphere, customs and traditions,” Hoàng said.

“Through the works we see magic and mysterious scenes, but they are also very real. Each work is a vivid and rich picture of nature.” 

Meanwhile, writer Di Li said these works could most accurately be described as horror fantasy literature. According to Li, contemporary literature has lost its atmosphere because we no longer have “forests” to store the legends.

“People have destroyed the very places where legends are kept. In fantasy works by Thế Lữ, Lan Khai and TchyA, the writing style is a bit old but still attractive and lures readers. Fantasy literature has always been popular because it opens the imagination for readers to travel through the pages of a book,” he said.

“Readers are still looking forward to welcoming Vietnamese fantasy series that are more elaborately invested and attractive. However, the journey for fantasy books to find a stand and to conquer readers is still arduous and challenging.” VNS 


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Young female singers top MV chart on YouTube in VN



HOT SONG: Rapper-singer Tlinh’s MV ‘Nếu Lúc Đó’ (If Only) ranked No 1 on trending on YouTube in Việt Nam three days after its release, with 2.5 million views. Photo courtesy of Production House Zobra

Two young Vietnamese female singers have gained fame as their new music videos have been on top of the MV chart on YouTube in Việt Nam.

Rapper-singer Tlinh’s MV Nếu Lúc Đó (If Only) ranked No 1 on trending on YouTube in Việt Nam three days after its release, with 2.5 million views.

The MV, released on March 2, has since earned more than 5.1 million views.

The song is composed by Tlinh and the MV’s producer 2pillz in hip hop style with catchy melodies.

Its lyrics written by the singer are inspired by her love story, expressing a woman’s pain and weakness after a broken love.

The 23-year-old told local media that the MV was part of her transformation journey, reflecting maturity in her music and style.

“I use music to express my feelings. I make music to encourage women and myself to keep being sexy, feminine and strong even if you’re hurt. It’s not a weakness, it’s a source of strength,” Tlinh said.

Tlinh invited Lâm Đạo Đạo, director and co-founder of Zorba Production House, to make her MV.

Đạo, who made the MV Strip ‘em Down for Tlinh, brought to audiences a love story of a beautiful woman who is very brave and strong as she is facing challenges in life.

Nguyễn Hân Như in Đồng Nai Province said: “The song’s lyrics, music and MV are addictive.”

Tlinh, whose real name is Nguyễn Thảo Linh, became popular after joining the first season of Rap Việt, a reality TV music show based on a Thai show called The Rapper.

She was named the second runner-up at the most-viewed TV show in Việt Nam in 2020.

She made her name among fans with productions such as Thích Quá Rùi Nè (Love You So Much) and Gái Độc Thân (Single Lady), which has attracted tens of millions views on YouTube.

Promoting traditional art

INSPIRED BY CHÈO: Singer Hoà Minzy releases new MV ‘Thị Mầu’, inspired by Việt Nam’s most famous chèo opera ‘Quan Âm Thị Kính’ (Goddess of Mercy). Photo courtesy of the artist

Singer Hoà Minzy released her new MV Thị Mầu on March 5, which is inspired by the character of a flirtatious woman from Việt Nam’s most classic chèo opera Quan Âm Thị Kính (Goddess of Mercy).

Composed by Nguyễn Hoàng Phong and mixed by Masew, the work features contemporary folk mixing with pop music, with lyrics featuring an introduction of Thị Mầu.

Phong said he wrote the song in 2016, conveying traditional values in hope that young people could come closer to chèo, a form of northern Vietnamese traditional stage art.

The MV ranked No 1 on trending on YouTube Việt Nam five days after its release with 4.8 million views.

The work features a young artist working hard to turn into the character of Thị Mầu.

It also has the participation of Meritorious Artist Thu Huyền, who was known for playing the role of Thị Mầu. The artist plays a chèo instructor in the MV.

“My idea of the MV was born three years ago. It’s not a story about a young artist, but reminds young audiences of our traditional art – chèo,” Hoà said.

“I believe my way is different. I love to mix contemporary music and traditional music with the use of modern visual effects in order to make the music and video easily approachable by young audiences, especially Generation Z,” she said.

Hoà became popular in 2015 with her MV Ăn Gì Đây (What We Should Eat), a production featuring contemporary folk music.

In 2020, she released the history-inspired MV Không Thể Cùng Nhau Suốt Kiếp (We Can’t Be Together Eternally), written by Mr Siro telling the sorrowful story of Empress Nam Phương.

The video wowed viewers thanks to its accurate depiction of the wedding ceremony of Emperor Bảo Đại and the empress, the last royal family of Việt Nam. Nhã nhạc (royal music) and hò Huế (the folk singing of Huế) are used in some parts of the video.

Since 2021, Hoà has participated in many TV reality shows such as Xuân Hạ Thu Đông Rồi Lại Xuân (Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter, and Spring Again) and Biển Của Hy Vọng (Sea of Hope) featuring live music performances at beautiful landscapes in Việt Nam.

The shows received a warm reception from audiences. VNS


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Drama plays mark 50 years of partnership between Việt Nam and France



TALENTED THESPIAN – Young actress Lê Chi Na (left) plays a lead role in ‘Eugénie Grandet’ in the Vietnamese adaptation of Honoré de Balzac’s novel. Photo courtesy of the theatre.

HCM CITY — Young artists of the Hồng Hạc Drama Troupe are working on a series of new plays to mark 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Việt Nam and France.

The highlight is an experimental play on money and love adapted from Honoré de Balzac’s novel Eugénie Grandet.

The Vietnamese play adapted from Eugénie Grandet was written by female director Việt Linh, who is talented and well-known in both theatre and movies.

Linh worked with her younger colleague, theatre director Tây Phong on the play script.

The play is about a wealthy but miserly Felix Grandet whose deeds lead to tragedy for his daughter Eugénie and himself.

“I believe Vietnamese versions of French theatrical plays will offer something new and interesting for audiences, particularly the youth,” said director Phong in an interview with local media. 

“Balzac released Eugénie Grandet in 1839 but it has modern content. The play’s message is about the hypocrisy and shallowness of wealthy people and how money controls their lives.”

Phong has worked with theatre designers to perfect his production with costumes, choreography, music, lighting and visual effects.

He has cast young artists Lê Chi Na, Thanh Tuấn, Lương Mỹ and Hồng Đào to play leading roles.

Phong said he believes in his staff because “new and young faces leave stronger impressions on audiences. I want to bring a fresh breeze into Vietnamese drama.”

FRENCH CLASSIC: Young artists of the private Hồng Hạc Drama Troupe will act in a Vietnamese adaptation of ‘Eugénie Grandet’. The play marks 50 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties between Việt Nam and France. Photo courtesy of the theatre.

Other new plays adapted from works of French writers Catherine Arley and Marc Levy are also running and scheduled to debut in April.

The private Hồng Hạc Drama Troupe was established in 2015. Its owners, Linh and theatre director Phạm Hoàng Nam, and young actors have worked hard to offer experimental shows with new concepts and techniques.

The Vietnamese adaptation of Eugénie Grandet will be staged on Sundays starting March 19 at the Thanh Niên Theatre, 4 Phạm Ngọc Thạch Street, District 1. — VNS


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