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Hùng Kings Festival 2021 to exclude festivities



Visitors to the Hùng Temple Relic are asked to wear masks and keep their distance from others. — VNA/ Photo Trung Kiên

HÀ NỘI — The Hùng Kings Festival, which pays tribute to the founders and first kings of the nation, will be held similarly to last year, with ceremonial activities but no festivities.

The plans for the national major festival were decided at a meeting of the People’s Committee of the northern province of Phú Thọ where it is held annually.

The ceremonies will be conducted with the death anniversary of the great father of the nation Lạc Long Quân and the incense offering to commemorate great mother of the nation Âu Cơ on April 17 and incense offering ceremony to commemorate the Hùng Kings and the flower offering ceremony on April 21.

Speaking at the meeting, vice chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee Hồ Đại Dũng said the event would take place in a respectful atmosphere, while strictly abiding by measures to prevent COVID-19 from spreading under the guidance of the Ministry of Health.

This is the second year the Hùng Kings Festival will include only ceremonial activities and no festivities. 

According to Lê Trường Giang, director of the Hùng Kings Temple Relic Management Board, the temple received more than 20,000 visitors on the occasion of Tết (Lunar New Year).

“The measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic have been taken seriously at the historical site. At the same time, the visitors’ awareness has been much improved this year,” he said.

The Hùng Kings Temple Relic Complex covers more than 1,000ha, more than half of which is forest. The complex is scattered with dozens of temples dedicated to the legendary kings.

There are some 300 temples dedicated to the Hùng Kings and other figures from the Hồng Bàng dynasty (2879 to 258 BC) in Phú Thọ, and nearly 1,500 sites dedicated to the kings throughout the country.

UNESCO placed the “Worship of Hùng kings in Phú Thọ” on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on December 6, 2012,

The Hùng Kings Festival is held annually from the 8th to the 11th day of the third lunar month, which falls on April 19 to April 22 this year, as a tribute to the Hùng Kings who are credited with establishing the nation.

The main festival day, which is also a public holiday in Việt Nam, is on the 10th day or April 21. — 



Vietnamese salon workers in US devastated by pandemic, hate attacks



For ethnic Vietnamese working in nail salons in the U.S., Covid-19 and racist violence targeting Asians in the last few months are a double whammy.

Le Nguyen, 46, emigrated to the U.S. more than 10 years ago and spent years working for a nail salon in California’s Orange County before opening her own in 2018.

But not too long afterward she was forced to close it as the Covid-19 pandemic broke out.

To put food the table for her five-member family, she went to customers’ house and did their nails outdoors, “as long as I could make some money.”

Then began the violence and hatred against Asian-Americans.

“My Vietnamese friends and I are shocked and scared. It has hit our livelihoods, feeling of safety and our lives,” Nguyen says.

According to a study by the UCLA Labor Center and the California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative (CHNSC), the nail salon workforce is 81 percent female and 79 percent foreign-born. Of the latter, some three-quarters are from Vietnam.

A nail salon opens in Georgia, U.S., April 25, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Maranie Staab.

A nail salon opens in Georgia, U.S., April 25, 2020. Photo by Reuters/Maranie Staab.

Many of them have seen their incomes disappear since their salons have been shut for months as a precaution against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Vicky Tran, who left Saigon for the U.S. 7 years ago when she was 22, used to work at her friend’s nail salon seven days a week before her livelihood was taken away last year. She used to earn US$2,700 a month.

“I wake up every morning and ask myself what I should do today to survive.”

According to the study UCLA Labor Center and the CHNSC, more than 50 percent of nail salon owners face difficulties in paying their rent and 91 percent of manicurists applied for unemployment benefits during the pandemic.

But even when they are allowed to open their business, Vietnamese-American manicurists have been living in fear of being infected by their customers.

Winnie Kao of the Asian Law Caucus, the U.S.’s first legal aid and civil rights organization serving the low-income Asia-Pacific-American communities, says health and safety are the biggest worries for manicurists.

Most are anxious since their customers do not adopt preventive measures and refuse to wear masks.

“I want to work and earn money to pay my rent and buy food for my family, but I don’t want to bring that virus home, I am scared,” Tran says.

The pandemic also has also led to another problem: racism. Last month’s shooting at the Atlanta spas killed eight people, six of whom were Asian women.

Local authorities claimed it was early to know the motive behind these attacks. But it has sparked widespread fear among owners and employees at Asian-owned businesses, including Vietnamese, who had already been struggling with a wave of racism and hate attacks driven by the pandemic.

Non-profit coalition Stop AAPI Hate, which has been tracking reports of racism, harassment and discrimination against Asians, said it received at least 3,795 firsthand complaints since 2020 from all 50 states, including 503 anti-Asian hate incidents in the first two months of this year.

“As an Asian-American woman who owns nail salons, a target for racism, violence and hate crimes against Asian women, I saw my own face, my daughters, my mother, my grandmothers, my aunties, my sisters, my staff, my friends,” Tran Wills, owner of Base Coat Nail Salons chain, said on Instagram after the deadly shootings in Atlanta.

Many salon owners and manicurists across California, which has the largest ethnic Vietnamese population in the U.S., are feeling vulnerable and worried about their incomes and safety amid the surge in hate crimes.

Vicky Tran says with anger: “I am terrified for my co-workers. Hatred and xenophobia are stalking us.”

People hold placards during a vigil at a makeshift memorial outside the Gold Spa following the deadly shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. March 21, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Shannon Stapleton.

People hold placards during a vigil at a makeshift memorial outside the Gold Spa following the deadly shootings in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S. March 21, 2021. Photo by Reuters/Shannon Stapleton.

To stand up or to quit?

Many Vietnamese who have reopened their beauty salons are now taking all kinds of precautions.

Nguyen has installed metal bars outside her salon window to prevent people from smashing it, closes her business before sunset and goes straight home.

“I want my staff to be safe, and so I always tell them to go home before dark, and make sure they have someone to accompany them in case they have to walk in the dark.”

She now only accepts customers who have made appointments and locks the door after one enters or leaves.

Other people have gone even further, learning how to use tasers and pepper sprays.

Nguyen too has thought about acquiring a firearm safety certificate to be eligible to buy a gun.

“After more than a decade in America, I finally think about owning a gun to protect myself and my business.”

CHNSC has worked to support local and national efforts including providing safety and racial justice training to manicurists at nail salons and pushing for legislation that calls for safe workplaces and linguistically appropriate victim-support services.

But hate attacks and their reduced incomes has caused some manicurists to give up their jobs.

In Oakland, Le Thi Thanh, 34, stopped working at her relative’s nail salon on March 20, four days after the shootings occurred at the three spas and massage parlors in the metropolitan area of Atlanta.

“My husband and sons begged me to stay at home; they did not want to worry about my safety every day I went for work,” she says.

She is thinking about selling Vietnamese food to earn money.

Though, as more and more people are vaccinated, some nail salons are seeing business improve, Vietnamese nail salon workers and owners know that their industry will never be the same since hatred and violence are likely to stay.

“No matter how long I live in the U.S. and how much tax I pay, I will never be seen as an ‘American’ because of my Asian appearance,” Nguyen says with a sigh.


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Tourism workers discuss promoting domestic market



Ninh Bình hosts many spectacular landscapes. The province this year has been chosen as the main destination for the National Tourism Year 2021 in the second consecutive year. Photo

NINH BÌNH Thousands of representatives from tourism management agencies and enterprises gathered in the northern province of Ninh Bình on Thursday and Friday to discuss ways to promote domestic tourism.

At the national domestic tourism forum with the theme ‘Domestic Tourism – Power Force for Recovering Việt Nam’s Tourism in New Normal Situation’, the participants heard various speeches.

Vũ Thế Bình, Vice Permanent Chairman of the Việt Nam Tourism Association, said promoting domestic tourism is the lifebuoy for the whole sector.

“However, domestic tourism has never been considered a main power force of the sector; as a result, it has not been properly cared for,” he said. “Tourism enterprises have not defined clearly the demands, interests and favourite products and services that Vietnamese people like, which is a weak point of the sector.”

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyễn Văn Hùng said domestic tourism plays a key role in tourism at present.

“It is high time for the whole sector to review the way, find new approaches, change the methods as well as thinking among tourism workers to revive the tourism market,” he said.

The Vietnamese tourism sector should focus on the market of nearly 100 million Vietnamese people, who like to go on holidays as the pandemic is under control, he said.

The minister suggested tourism companies introduce more products suitable for domestic customers.

Phùng Quang Thắng, chairman of the Hà Nội Travel Agents Association and director of Hanoitourist, said the trend of relaxing tourism, sport tourism and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) tourism is among the most popular ways of travelling.

Tourists tend to go in small groups, book online and use their own means of transportation, he said.

Nguyễn Quang Trung, head of Vietnam Airlines’ Department of Planning and Development, said customers now pay the most attention to pandemic prevention. They tend to book flights closer to the departure day, he said.

Representatives shared lots of solutions to enhance the efficiency of tourism promotion activities.

Lại Minh Duy, vice chairman of HCM City Tourism Association and general director of TST Tourism Company, said localities and travel agents should focus on exploiting the strength of golf tourism, MICE tourism, driving tours and upgrade their services so customers can book services online instead of buying tours directly as before.

Cao Trí Dũng, chairman of the Đà Nẵng Tourism Association, said localities with sea tourism should work together to offer diverse products.

Many participants proposed connecting localities and products.

Deputy director of Vietravel company Nguyễn Lê Hương suggested localities offer special products connecting regions, with the countryside a strong point to exploit. 

Bình suggested further exploiting local cuisine. 

Minister Hùng said localities and companies should promote co-ordination to offer more fresh products and develop sustainable tourism.

The event hosted various signing ceremonies between Ninh Bình Province’s authorities, the Ninh Bình Tourism Department, Ninh Bình Tourism Association and Xuân Trường Construction Enterprise and various agencies and localities including Vietnam Airlines, the Việt Nam Tourism Association, the HCM City Tourism Association, authorities of Đà Nẵng City and Cần Thơ City and the Việt Nam MICE Tourism Club.

The forum is the opening activity of the annual Vietnam Travel Mart (VITM) 2021, which will take place in Hà Nội on May 5-8. 


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Vietnam voices concerns over escalating violence in Yemen



Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese Mission to the UN, joined speakers in voicing concerns about military escalations and cross-border fighting in Yemen, while attending a videoconference of the UN Security Council on April 15.

Vietnam voices concerns over escalating violence in Yemen hinh anh 1

Vietnamese Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, head of the Vietnamese Mission to the UN (Photo: VNA)

As reported at the meeting, COVID-19 has unleashed itselfagain on Yemeni people, while fighting in Marib, Taizz and Houdaydah is showingdangerous signs of escalating, with the local population and internallydisplaced persons both in the line of fire. Nearly 21 million people in Yemen,including 11.3 million children, are facing the risk of hunger and pandemic.

Participating UN member states called upon the internationalcommunity to tackle hunger and COVID-19 impacts in Yemen and make commitmentsto providing financial assistance to the nation.

They also called on the relevant sides in Yemen not tohamper oil tankers from entering the Houdaydah port, to protect civilians, andto implement the Stockholm Agreement and the Riyadh Agreement on Yemen.

For his part, the Vietnamese ambassador said all concernedparties should immediately cease hostilities and resume the political process,and the conflict parties must stop attacking civilian infrastructure andneighbourhoods and protect the most vulnerable.

The diplomat urged the international community to furthersupport the Middle East country and called on the sides involved to step up theimplementation of the Stockholm and Riyadh Agreements.

In the council’s discussion over the humanitarian situationin the Tigray region of Ethiopia under “any other business”, Quy acknowledgedthe Ethiopian Government’s efforts in facilitating the operation of the UNOffice for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

He stressed ensuring humanitarian aid is yet to meet currenturgent needs, particularly in West and South Tigray.

Concerning over a report on murders, violence, anddestruction of civilian infrastructure, the ambassador urged the Ethiopian Governmentto make greater efforts in protecting civilians and speeding up investigationson crime targeting the group. He said the top priorities now are to end fightingand start dialogues and a political process./.



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