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Overseas Vietnamese touched by visit to Trường Sa Archipelago



More than 40 overseas Vietnamese from 17 different countries around the world joined the trip to Trường Sa island district in the south-central province of Khánh Hòa between May 17-25. VNA/ Photos Diệp Trương

HÀ NỘI — Bùi Thị Thơm, an overseas Vietnamese in Germany, had been waiting for more than two years to start her voyage to the Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelago and DK1 platform in the East Sea (known internationally as the South China Sea).

Thơm was among more than 40 overseas Vietnamese from 17 countries worldwide to visit people and soldiers in Trường Sa island district in south-central Khánh Hoà Province. The visit is the 10th of its kind held by the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Naval High Command.

The nine-day visit, which was delayed for two years due to COVID-19, was a valuable experience for her.

“I saw with my own eyes the lives of our soldiers and compatriots on the island and the intense vitality of the sea and islands. I felt love and took pride in the sovereignty of the islands of my country. All the people and soldiers there love the country and are determined to guard the sea and islands all day and night,” she said.

“I also met and interacted with people from overseas of many different countries. We all have the same root, and Trường Sa is a house for us to gather.” 

On this trip, Thơm prepared a special gift for the officers, soldiers and people of Trường Sa Islands – a song named ‘Hà Nội with a red heart’ that she had practised before the trip.

“The song’s melody forms the words of the Vietnamese community in Germany, saying that although we are away from Việt Nam, we will always head back to the homeland. The islands and the country are always in our hearts,” Thơm said.

Sharing his pride in representing more than 450,000 Vietnamese expats in Japan to join the trip, Đinh Hùng Cường said Song Tử Tây Primary School was his first destination as soon as he arrived at Song Tử Tây (Southwest Cay) island of the Trường Sa island district.

In his eyes, the students were polite, innocent and hard-working. He believes that those who grow up on the island will develop a special love for the island and protect it better than anyone else.

“We all felt the enthusiasm in every soldier who was on duty guarding the islands. They inspired the love of the islands and the homeland of all expatriates from Africa, Europe, the US or nearby countries such as Laos, Cambodia, and Thailand,” he said.

Overseas Vietnamese present gifts to children on the island.

Cao Danh, an overseas Vietnamese in Laos, expressed his respect for naval soldiers defending the islands, especially those who made sacrifices on their mission.

“Defending the sovereignty of the sea and islands is the mission of peacetime naval soldiers. That mission is glorious but equally arduous. The most beautiful image in my heart is the soldiers firmly protecting our sea and sky, fulfilling their mission,” he said.

Warm love from soldiers

Trần Anh Tuấn, a member of the Central Committee of Viet Nam Fatherland Front and Chairman of the Vietnamese Association in Poland, recalled his feelings on his first visit to the islands.

He and more than 30,000 Vietnamese in Poland have always been interested in the development of the country, especially the lives of people in Hoàng Sa (Paracel) and Trường Sa (Spratly) archipelagos.

Over more than 30 years away from his homeland, Tuấn has been to many countries worldwide. He read about the Trường Sa islands through books or the Internet and thought he knew a lot until he experienced the unique trip.

“I was very surprised and touched to be encouraged by the soldiers themselves. They said we could rest assured as they were always ready to obey all orders as the country needed,” he said.

“They were very young but very tough, strong, brave and determined.”

Nguyễn Văn Trinh, an overseas Vietnamese, draws a soldier’s portrait on the island.

Nguyễn Thị Hương emotionally wiped away tears when commemorating those who passed away on Gạc Ma island.

“I cried with respect for the historical value of the nation and the great sacrifices made by generations of soldiers and people defending the island. I cried because of the joy of the territorial integrity of the motherland,” Hương said.

She said they were the most beautiful and meaningful days of her life. Every morning, she went down to the kitchen on Boat 571 to join the young soldiers in preparing breakfast for all the crew members.

“They were very young, even younger than my children, but had high self-worth and good cooking skills. Their warm affection, attentive care, and enthusiasm touched us. This was an unforgettable experience,” she said.

Eliminating bias

Etcetera Nguyễn, an overseas Vietnamese who works as a journalist and painter in the US, said his first trip to Trường Sa in 2012 eliminated all his doubts and prejudice about Việt Nam.

Etcetera Nguyễn, also known as Nguyễn Quang Trường, moved to California in 1991. He lived in a community of about 1 million overseas Vietnamese in Westminster, Santa Ana, Fountain Valley, and Garden Grove.

Many came to the US after 1975 and had different political views about Việt Nam, and the news was largely negative and one-sided. Some people even refused all information about the country.

In 2004, Etcetera published Việt Weekly, a weekly publication about the country’s situation, hoping to bring balanced, accurate and updated news to his community.

Etcetera and his colleagues received protests from extremists who threatened advertisers and readers to cut off the voice of the newsroom in the early years.

In 2012, at a cultural event on the Vietnamese language, Etcetera emphasised the great concern of the overseas Vietnamese community about the sovereignty over the sea and islands and the difference in political views on the sovereignty of islands inside and outside the country.

He proposed a trip for expatriates to the islands to have the opportunity to return and witness them with their own eyes.

He was invited to the first trip to Trường Sa Archipelago a few months later.

After the visit and deep talks with soldiers on the island, the island no longer seemed distant, desolated and deserted.

“I very much respect the young, tanned soldiers and their stories. They are people with dreams, love and ideals, but they put it all aside to defend the sacred islands and islands,” he said.

“This image brings me strong confidence in young generations responsible for their homeland and the country. The trip has completely changed my perception.”

Etcetera Nguyễn, also known as Nguyễn Quang Trường, presents a portrait to a soldier on the Trường Sa (Spratly) islands.

Upon returning home to the US, Etcetera held an exhibition at his newsroom with more than 200 photos selected from the islands he visited.

“One of the most valuable things from the trip is the pride and the indisputable truth about Việt Nam’s sovereignty over the sea and islands and the warm welcome of the Government and people to overseas Vietnamese around the world,” he said.

Senior Lieutenant Colonel Lương Xuân Giáp, Political Commissar of the Navy’s Brigade 146, said during the past 10 years, the trips helped overseas Vietnamese understand more about the life of soldiers and people on the island, creating trust among Vietnamese expatriates abroad and spreading the love of the islands to the overseas Vietnamese community.

“I am always excited by welcoming overseas Vietnamese on these trips and overwhelmed by their great love for the islands. Fists of hands, happy smiles, touching stories and meaningful gifts all show their sincere love for Trường Sa and help us continue our mission on the island,” he said. —



Vietnam develops open educational resources for higher education



Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha has signed Decision No. 1117/QD-TTg approving a programme to develop open educational resources for higher education.

Vietnam develops open educational resources for higher education hinh anh 1Illustrative photo (Photo:

Hanoi – Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha
has signed Decision No. 1117/QD-TTg approving a programme to develop open
educational resources for higher education.

Under the programme, in the 2023-2026 period, a portal of open
educational resources will be built and put into operation, providing learning, teaching,
and research materials for learners, officials, lecturers of higher education
institutions, and those who need to update higher education knowledge.

By 2026, over 40% of higher education institutions in the
country will participate in building and developing open educational resources. Over
20% of higher education majors have textbooks, teaching, and learning materials
posted on the portal. Over 300 textbooks, teaching, and learning materials in
higher education will be posted to the portal.

Regarding exploitation and use of the resources, the programme aims to have at least 50% of higher education institutions access and use the resources, and over 50%
of officials and lecturers of higher education institutions access and use
the resources for their teaching and research. In addition, over 50% of
learners studying in higher education institutions will access and use the
resources for their learning and research.

The programme also sets the task of completing the system
of legal documents regulating the development, exploitation, and use of open
educational resources.

Educational institutions are called on to develop databases and
connect the databases to the national portal on open educational resources./.


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Stent left inside 80-year-old woman’s ureter for 4 years



The Ninh Thuan Province General Hospital in south-central Vietnam carried out a surgery to remove a stent that had been left for four years in an 80-year-old woman’s ureter last week.

A representative of the hospital said on Tuesday that the patient, named Tr. T. D., is being monitored carefully. Her health condition is stable.

The elderly woman was taken to the hospital on Wednesday last week in a state of prolonged fever, backache, septic shock, hypotension, and cardiac arrhythmia.

After she underwent a CT scan, doctors discovered a forgotten stent inside her left ureter, while the two heads of the stent were covered with nephroliths. She was suffering from hydronephrosis as well.

One of her family members said that D. experienced a surgery in which a stent was placed in her left ureter in 2019, but she did not come back to hospital for a follow-up examination.

As such, the stent remained in her ureter.

A silicon stent must be removed from a patient’s ureter a maximum of one year after it is placed in the patient’s body, according to the representative of the Ninh Thuan Province General Hospital.

If a stent remains in patients’ ureters for a long time, nephroliths will form and cling to the tube, affecting their health.

Patients who have their ureters placed with a stent are advised to follow doctors’ instructions and undergo scheduled medical re-examinations.

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President extends Mid-Autumn Festival wishes to children



President Vo Van Thuong on September 26 sent a letter extending his best wishes to Vietnamese children inside and outside the country as well as foreign children living in Vietnam on the occasion of the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival 2023.

President extends Mid-Autumn Festival wishes to children hinh anh 1An art performance celebrating Mid-Autumn Festival (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi President Vo Van Thuong on
September 26 sent a letter extending his best wishes to Vietnamese children
inside and outside the country as well as foreign children living in
Vietnam on the occasion of the traditional Mid-Autumn Festival 2023.

The Mid-Autumn Festival, the 15th day of the
eighth lunar month which falls on September 29 this year, is a festival of love
and sharing, and also an opportunity for adults to remind themselves to pay
more attention to children with love, responsibility and practical actions, he wrote.

The State leader called for more efforts to support children in difficult
circumstances, orphans, and those living in remote, border and island areas so
that all children can fully enjoy the festival and have fun
with their family and community.

President extends Mid-Autumn Festival wishes to children hinh anh 2Children in Hanoi enjoy Mid-Autumn Festival atmosphere (Photo: VNA)

Thuong said he is moved and proud to see many children performing good deeds, showing love to their parents and grandparents, and helping and sharing with unfortunate peers. Many children have studied hard, recording high
achievements and becoming the pride of their family and fatherland.

He encouraged children to nurture their dreams and wished them a happy Mid-Autumn Festival 2023./.


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