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Lao student studies Vietnamese to achieve artistic dream

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Ting during an Erhu class with his teacher at the Military University of Culture and Arts. — Photo courtesy of Ting Yangkeo

Bảo Ngọc

Before deciding to study in Việt Nam, Ting Yangkeo was already passionate about one thing: art.

The Laos native, who goes simply by Ting, was born into a family of seven with creative roots. Traditional art was not only the family legacy but also a way for him to express himself.

“The fact that I was born into a family that values the arts makes me feel enormously fortunate and proud,” he said.

“It was so wonderful to grow up with a passion for art in your genes. I remembered spending a ton of time as a child listening to music and watching cultural programmes on television.”

At the age of 11, with the encouragement of his family, Ting spent seven years studying traditional instruments at the Lao National School of Music. During that time, he also learned to play the xylophone and a flute-like instrument called “the khene”.

He then joined the cultural and artistic troupe of the Lao People’s Army, right after graduating from music school. There, Ting has worked as a performer in a wide variety of shows at home and abroad.

Ting while working with the cultural and artistic troupe of the Lao People’s Army. Photo courtesy of Ting Yangkeo

The talented young man decided to study in Việt Nam at the age of 25, describing the experience as “challenging and thrilling.”

“I had a hard time adapting to the new environments because I had no prior knowledge of the Vietnamese language or culture,”

“Sometimes I don’t even understand what people are saying to me,” he admitted.

Ting was then required to complete a one-year Vietnamese language course at Division 871 of the Vietnamese People’s Army’s General Department of Politics. This is the essential procedure for him to enrol at a university in Việt Nam.

He shared: “For me, the most challenging part of Vietnamese is the pronunciation, which is complicated by the language’s numerous tones. In terms of sentences, if you translate a Vietnamese word into Lao, it might represent a variety of things.”

“I spent a lot of time thinking throughout that period. As soon as possible, I want to be fluent in this language, and fortunately, the teachers use an approachable teaching style that makes it easier for me to retain what they are teaching,” he added.

Ting (far right) at the closing ceremony of the Vietnamese language training course for students from Laos and Cambodia in the 2017-2018 academic year. Photo courtesy of Ting Yangkeo

Truth be told, Ting also revealed that he made use of after-school time spent in public places to practise his Vietnamese communication skills and gain a better understanding of his new home country’s culture.

“Taking advantage of bustling public spaces like markets or parks to learn more about the Vietnamese language and lifestyle is an excellent idea. I also study on my own in the evenings, doing assignments, writing a lot, reading a lot, and going over prior lessons to master the language faster,” he said.

After a year, Ting was allowed to enrol in the Military University of Culture and Arts. Here, the 30-year-old student has found love with đàn nhị (erhu), a Vietnamese bowed two-stringed bowed musical instrument and bamboo flute.

Ting found his passion for Vietnamese ethnic musical instruments at the Military University of Culture and Arts. Photo courtesy of Ting Yangkeo

“Learning about art involves more than just skill. It requires a lot of hard work and practise, as well as love and enthusiasm.”

“Fortunately, my Vietnamese teachers and friends are always there to lend a helping hand when I need it. I feel that with my own efforts, I will grow more confident and successful in the future,” he said.

In addition to the schoolwork, Ting also actively engages in numerous sports events, voluntary blood donation movements, cultural and artistic activities of the university, and most recently the “National folk instrument solo and concert 2020” competition.

Ting performing with the Khene, the national instrument of Laos. Photo courtesy of Ting Yangkeo

Ting said that all of these activities help him find and cultivate other skills that contribute to his personal development.

He has received various certificates of honour from the university as a result of his tireless dedication to learning and public service, including the Certificate of Merit for students who made significant contributions to the Arts in 2019, Certificates of Merit for students who excellently completed their tasks in 2020-2021 and for those who participated in voluntary blood donation in 2021.

Regarding his future ambitions, the 30-year-old shares his hope that his story will inspire many other young people and encourage them to pursue their passions with confidence.

“I hope that I can return to Laos soon, and when I do, I will carry with me the skills and knowledge I have gained over the previous five years in Việt Nam to apply in my home country.

“I also hope that my story may motivate others to pursue their passion and live confidently.” he shared.

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/life-style/1192589/lao-student-studies-vietnamese-to-achieve-artistic-dream.html

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Dong Nai beauty crowned Miss World Vietnam 2022

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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
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
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
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
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
Contestants of Miss World Vietnam 2022 during the Vietnamese traditional ‘ao dai’ performance. Photo: Hoai Phuong / Tuoi Tre

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/ttnewsstyle/20220813/dong-nai-beauty-crowned-miss-world-vietnam-2022/68570.html

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South Korean singer releases music video promoting Vietnam’s tourism

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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.

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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/ttnewsstyle/20220813/south-korean-singer-releases-music-video-promoting-vietnams-tourism/68556.html

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Vietnam’s LGBTI+ campaign to support same-sex marriage reboots after nearly a decade

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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 event in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

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 event of Toi Dong Y 2022 in Ho Chi Minh City on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

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 event in Ho Chi Minh City, on August 10, 2022. Photo: Vu Thuy / Tuoi Tre News

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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Source: https://tuoitrenews.vn/news/ttnewsstyle/20220811/vietnams-lgbti-campaign-to-support-samesex-marriage-reboots-nearly-a-decade/68544.html

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