The Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens in Ho Chi Minh City recently collaborated with a group of Ho Chi Minh City University of Technology (HUTECH) students in transforming elephant dung into paper.
After eight months of research, the first elephant dung papers were produced.
Even though some of them cannot be used, the crew has been continuously developing chemical-free procedures to make paper from elephant excrement in order to raise awareness of wildlife protection.
|Zookeepers at Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens collect elephant dung at the animal’s enclosure. Photo: Ngoc Phuong – Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre|
Elephants consume primarily grass and vegetables, therefore their feces are clumpy and high in fiber. In the past, their excrement was either discarded or used as fertilizer.
According to Dang Kieu Anh, a HUTECH major in animal husbandry, the group recycles excrement into paper every weekend.
“The first step in turning elephant dung into paper is washing the waste to remove impurities, leaving only the fiber for recycling,” Anh said.
|Mai Khac Trung Truc, director of the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, washes the elephant dung. Photo: Ngoc Phuong – Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre|
“Following this, the fiber will be boiled to eliminate bacteria and odor.
“The boiled fiber will then be sun-dried and blended.
“The blended fiber will be mixed with water, paper pulp, and tapioca starch.
“The final products will be obtained by pouring the mixture into a mold and exposing it to the sun for drying.”
|The blended elephant dung is being mixed with paper pulp and tapioca starch. Photo: Ngoc Phuong – Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre|
Mai Khac Trung Truc, director of the Saigon Zoo and Botanical Gardens, stated that some countries have already succeeded in producing paper from elephant dung, which is an excellent idea considering the declining forest area and the decreasing number of elephants in the wild and in captivity.
“With the aim to recycle elephant dung, the product may inspire everyone to work together to protect the environment and elephants,” Truc said.
“Every 100 grams of mixed elephant dung may typically be recycled into seven to eight sheets of paper with the same thickness.
“To make the paper more usable, we are now studying methods to enhance its quality.
“We have no plans to sell the sheets to the public.
“We will supply paper for children’s educational materials.”
|A student pours the mixture of elephant dung into a tray. Photo: Ngoc Phuong – Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre|
|Students filter the mixture through a mold, leaving paper paste residues. Photo: Ngoc Phuong – Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre|
|The finished products of elephant dung paper. Photo: Ngoc Phuong – Phuong Quyen / Tuoi Tre|
Dong Nai beauty crowned Miss World Vietnam 2022
Huynh Nguyen Mai Phuong, a 23-year-old beauty from southern province of Dong Nai, was crowned Miss World Vietnam 2022 during the pageant’s finale held in Quy Nhon City on Friday evening.
Phuong surpassed 36 other candidates from across the country to win the title in the final round of Miss World Vietnam 2022, which took place at the MerryLand Quy Nhon, Quy Nhon City, Binh Dinh Province, south-central Vietnam.
With the height of 1.7 meters and body measurements of 82-63-92 centimeters, the Dong Nai contestant is a billingual anchorwoman at the Vietnam Television who used to be in the top 5 of Miss Vietnam 2020 and the winner of Miss Dong Nai University in 2018.
|A bird’s-eye view of the finale stage of Miss World Vietnam 2022. Photo: Kieng Can / Tuoi Tre|
Phuong scored 8.0 out of 9.0 on the coveted IELTS test.
Aside from winning the grand title of Miss World Vietnam 2022, the beauty also received the Beauty Talent award.
Throughout the finale, Phuong was constantly hailed for her impressive runway skills and was singled out for Top 9 Sport Beauties, Top 5 Fashion Beauties and Top 6 Brave Beauties.
The new beauty queen impressed the audience with her beautiful posture, fluent English, outstanding academic results, and confident answer during the highly-anticipated Q&A session.
|The top five of Benevolent Beauties. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
In the pageant’s finale, Le Nguyen Bao Ngoc, a representative from Can Tho City, was named the first runner-up, while Nguyen Phuong Nhi, from Thanh Hoa Province, was the second runner-up.
Judges of the beauty contest included journalist Tran Huu Viet, who acted as the main judge, Miss Vietnam 1992 Ha Kieu Anh, Miss Vietnam 2018 Tran Tieu Vy, Miss World Vietnam 2019 Luong Thuy Linh, famed singers Le Quyen and Minh Hang.
In particular, Miss World 2021 Karolina Bielawska participated in the finale of Miss World Vietnam 2022 as an honored guest.
She was also the one who asked questions for the behavior test of the top 2.
|Huynh Nguyen Mai Phuong in her swimsuit during the swimsuit performance of Miss World Vietnam 2022. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
Thirty-seven contestants’ first competition was an Vietnamese traditional dress ao dai performance. These collections are influenced by the province of Binh Dinh’s traditional art forms, culture, and landscapes.
|Le Nguyen Bao Ngoc answers the question during the Q&A round. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
|Contestants of Miss World Vietnam 2022 during the Vietnamese traditional ‘ao dai’ performance. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre|
South Korean singer releases music video promoting Vietnam’s tourism
South Korean singer Joseph Kwon on Wednesday released his latest music video – an ode to popular tourist attractions across Vietnam in commemoration of 30 years of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and South Korea.
Ta Quang Dong, deputy minister of Culture, Sports, and Tourism, and Ha Van Sieu, deputy director of the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, were among those present at the music video premiere, which was held in Hanoi.
During the ceremony, Joseph Kwon officially released two songs, Butterfly Flakes and Waiting For You, 5000 Years, both of which he composed and performed.
The music video for Waiting For You, 5000 Years was shot between May 17 and July 12 at landmarks in several Vietnamese provinces including Hanoi; Cuc Phuong National Park and Trang An Landscape Complex in Ninh Binh Province; Ba Be Lake in Bac Kan Province; Ha Long Bay in Quang Ninh Province; Ho Chi Minh City; Mui Ne Ward, Phan Thiet City, Binh Thuan Province; Sa Pa Town, Lao Cai Province; Da Nang City and Hoi An Ancient Town in Quang Nam Province.
“I hope after watching my intricately produced music videos filmed in 19 provinces in Vietnam, many Koreans and friends from around the world will recognize the beauty and charm of Vietnam,” Kwon said during the ceremony.
“Therefore, they will travel to Vietnam to experience the culture and the people’s warmth.”
Kwon has been a fan of Vietnam since childhood and has lived and worked in the country for more than three years.
A conductor at the Korean Cultural Center in Hanoi, Joseph Kwon has composed several songs praising Vietnam, including Go Vietnam Go Go in 2020; You Are in My Heart, which were released in Vietnamese, Korean, and English; and Peace – a song written to honor Vietnamese cuisine.
Kwon’s songs have been featured on Vietnamese national television over 50 times.
Vietnam’s LGBTI+ campaign to support same-sex marriage reboots after nearly a decade
The Institute for Studies of Society, Economy, and Environment (iSEE), in collaboration with Vietnam-based LGBT+ rights group ICS Center, re-launched the LGBTI+ campaign Toi Dong Y (I Do) 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday in the hope of garnering social support for same-sex marriage in Vietnam.
Under the theme Hon nhan khong khuon mau (Marriage without model), the campaign will host activities from August to September with the aim of boosting public support for same-sex marriage in Vietnam.
The first iteration of the campaign was held in 2013 and was considered a resounding success, culminating in the abolishment of Vietnam’s ban on same-sex marriage in 2014 – a landmark event owed, in part, to a 12,000-signature petition submitted by Toi Dong Y to Vietnam’s National Assembly.
Vietnam neither prohibits nor recognizes same-sex marriage now.
In addition to hosting discussions at ten universities across the country about gender equality, publishing the first book about same-sex marriage in Vietnam, and publishing research on the positive economic and societal effects of legalizing same-sex marriage, this year’s campaign aims to gather 250,000 signatures in support of same-sex marriage through the toidongy.vn website.
Though same-sex marriages generally receive a great deal of attention and support from the community, homosexual couples continue to face many barriers given that their matrimony is not awarded the same rights and responsibilities as heterosexual wedlock.
|A representative of ‘Toi Dong Y’ 2022 signs the event banner at the campaign’s opening in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News|
Longstanding cultural norms and assumptions of what constitutes a ‘legitimate family’ do give way to prejudice and discrimination.
Speaking at an event hosted by Toi Dong Y, Nguyen Lang Mong, team leader of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), addressed the pressure placed on parents of homosexual children to ensure their happiness.
“The process of parents recognizing their child as a member of the LGBTI+ community is arduous and stressful,” Mong said.
“There are families that take as long as ten years to embrace their child’s [sexual orientation], and some never accept their child’s sexuality.
“When an LGBTI+ child brings a partner home to meet their parents, the pressure on the parents increases due to concerns about the child’s happiness and the acceptance of their sexual orientation by other relatives.”
|Luong The Huy (left), director of iSEE Institute, and Ngo Le Phuong Linh (right), director of ICS Center, deliver a speech at the opening of ‘Toi Dong Y’ 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News|
Mong also pointed out that fully legalizing same-sex marriage will likely lead to a more tolerant view of LGBTI+ individuals and, therefore, more widespread acceptance by their families.
Minh and Hoang, a same-sex married couple who have been living together for over ten years, shared that being unable to make an important life decision for each other due to legal restrictions is a constant source of anxiety.
“If my spouse needs surgery and the doctor asks a relative to sign a medical power of attorney, then I have no rights,” Minh said.
According to Ngo Le Phuong Linh, a representative of Toi Dong Y, homosexual spouses will continue to face numerous obstacles as long as their rights differ from those awarded to heterosexual spouses.
Linh stated that these obstacles relate to legal procedures, civil status documents, real estate ownership, shared property, and legal representation for lovers and spouses.
|Vietnamese celebrities representing ‘Toi Dong Y’ 2022 deliver a speech at the campaign’s opening in Ho Chi Minh City, on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News|
For many members of the LGBTI+ community, the opportunity to marry their lifelong partner was once an inconceivable fantasy.
The 2014 Marriage and Family Law was a significant milestone when, for the first time, positive signals were sent to the LGBTI+ community in Vietnam.
However, to reach the true goal of equality, the LGBTI+ community needs the backing of the entire society.
“There is no foundation for declaring that the model family must consist of one man, one woman, and children,” said Nguyen Thi Minh, a participant in the ‘Toi Dong Y’ 2022 campaign.
“This model is oppressive.
“Numerous nations, including France and the United States, have already accepted same-sex marriage.”
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