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Poet desires to conquer new creative peaks



After recovering from illness, journalist-poet Hồng Thanh Quang plans to hold a special night of poetry and music ‘Vẫn nguyên là nỗi khát’ (Still Desire) on September 4 at the Hà Nội Opera House. Through poetry and music, he wants to spread inspiration in life itself. He talks with Ngô Minh.

Poet Hồng Thanh Quang said poetry is his reason to live. Photo courtesy of the poet

 Inner Sanctum: It’s a special performance marking 60 years of your life with its many ups and downs. How will you tell your life stories to audiences?

The performance comes from my friend’s suggestion. I got a serious illness in 2019 and travelled to Singapore for treatment. When I recovered in 2021, it was those friends who suggested that I should make a new programme to celebrate my victory at the life and death boundary.

However, due to the pandemic and my health, I waited until this year, when I reach 60 years old, exactly five zodiac circles of the Year of the Tiger. At such a time, it is obvious that I have a lot of emotions and feelings that I want to express and share.

The concert includes some familiar songs based on my poetry by famous composers Phú Quang, An Thuyên, Lê Mây and Đức Trịnh. The programme has the participation of many of my favourite artists, who are my close friends, such as People’s Artists Phạm Ngọc Khôi, Thúy Mùi, Quốc Anh, Thúy Ngần, and saxophonist Quyền Văn Minh.

The audiences will enjoy poetry in many art forms such as poem reciting, hát xẩm (blind busker’s music), Huế singing, instrumental music and pop. I will also directly present some of my works.

Inner Sanctum: Why do you name the performance ‘Still Desire’? At the age of 60, do you still desire something?

This programme expresses my desire to conquer. Even though I have reached the top of the mountain, I still want to conquer another mountain. I am less than satisfied with what I have achieved. Especially people who are art creators, they always want what they haven’t had. They desire to create new things. When I go through many peaks, happiness and sorrow, the thirst is still here.

Inner Sanctum: You pursue creativity and a desire to create. So is this the message that you want to send people through art?

No poet can say that his private life is peaceful because if he did, he wouldn’t be able to write poetry. Creators never stop suffering. If you don’t worry about your own problems, you’re “in pain” because of other people’s problems, of humanity.

If there is a message to send, it’s about completeness. Looking at this cup of coffee, you say that “there is less”, I think it is a lot. You can sip for a while longer. The “more or less” is very relative. You have enough when you think it is enough.

I feel happy because I can do what I love and still have dear readers. At this age, I learned to behave more properly with myself and the world around me.

Writing poetry and news stories is my way of living. Those are my thoughts and feelings that I want to share with everyone. Write it down, and I’ve shared it. As for whether the poem was successful or liked, that is the second story. And at my age, it doesn’t matter anymore.

From left: Director Nguyễn Quang Long, poet Hồng Thanh Quang and musician Tuấn Nghĩa, organisers of the art performance. VNS Photo Ngô Minh

Inner Sanctum: At this time, when crossing the lines of birth and death, what is your greatest desire?

Now I only have the desire to live. In the past, I lived aggressively, and I was engrossed in going without caring about the people around me because the journey was an important thing for me. Writing is important, poetry is important, the charm of poetry is important… and I ignored other things, including my closest people.

Now the thirst in me is to live so that I can make up for the lack of things in the past, but of course, life can’t be fixed. I myself do not know how long I will live, but for just one day alive I always try to make up for the disadvantages of my past. But I’m lucky to always be forgiven by my family and friends.

Inner Sanctum: How is your health now?

I have recovered from cancer. My health is not very good right now, but it is still enough to write a few thousand words a week. I write what I enjoy.

Poetry has saved me and sheltered me. Sometimes, I think I rely on poetry to give life to the words I write.

Inner Sanctum: You are a poet but have worked as chief editor at a newspaper. Looking back on your career, do you find yourself in conflict?

I still think that a job, profession or title are just external things. The main thing is that no matter where, in any position, I remain loyal and consistent with my chosen style.

A journalist with a poetic soul can look at political, economic and social issues in a humane way and create an attractive and understandable interpretation of all these topics.

Journalistic thinking is like a “safety latch” for the soul of poetry. In the romantic “slips” in my life, I still have that “insurance rope”.

Therefore, poetry and journalism at the same time create a certain rationality in all my actions. Both are intrinsic needs that are indispensable in my life. VNS



National squad must ‘continue to improve’ despite recent success



Coach Park believes the national side still needs to improve before the AFF Cup 2022. VNA/VNS Photo Hoàng Linh 

HCM CITY — Despite victories against Singapore and India in the friendly international tournament, head coach Park Hang Seo believes there is still much room for improvement in the national side, especially if they are to make a mark at the AFF Cup 2022 in December.

On Tuesday, Việt Nam beat India 3-0 in the final game of the international friendly tournament at Thống Nhất Stadium, HCM City, finishing the tournament as champions.

The win means that Việt Nam beat every opponent in the tournament without conceding a goal. 

Unlike the previous match against Singapore, coach Park fielded his strongest squad against India. 

The South Korean coach made ten changes to the starting lineup, with Quang Hải, Công Phượnng, and Văn Đức, Văn Hậu all starting. 

“I wanted to take advantage of this friendly tournament to give new players an opportunity to play while improving the whole team’s tactics,” coach Park said after the game. 

“But, against India today, I wanted to evaluate the quality of the core players in the squad. That’s why I made those changes. 

“The players played well in both matches but I still need more time to adjust, and check for more options. There is still a long way to go until the AFF Cup, so the team must continue to improve until then.”

In the match against India, the home team took control from the kickoff, pressing the Indian side back.

In the 10th minute, from a Công Phượng corner kick, India’s goalkeeper Sandhu punched the ball straight towards Văn Đức in the penalty area.

The striker took the ball on the volley to open the scoring for the hosts. Settled, Việt Nam played more controlled and patient play.

In the last minutes of the first half, the visitors had opportunities to equalise, but goalkeeper Văn Lâm and the defenders kept them at bay.

In the second half, Văn Toàn replaced Công Phượng, and it took just four minutes for Toàn to have an impact.  

Toàn’s speed helped him take advantage of Anwar Ali’s mistake in his own half. Stealing the ball, he went one-on-one with Sandhu and neatly slipped the ball past him and into the gaping goal, his first goal for the national side since a game against Afghanistan in the Asian Cup qualifying round in March 2017. 

In the 72nd minute, Bùi Hoàng Việt Anh crossed the ball from the right wing. Văn Quyết took two touches, one to control the other and the other to fire it into the back of the net. 

The hosts finished the tournament with seven goals scored, and three conceded. VNS 


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Speed skaters win golds in first int’l event



Speed Skating

The Vietnamese team poses for photos after the end of the Indonesian National Speed Skating Championship which closed on September 22. Việt Nam won five golds, four silvers and two bronzes. — Photo of VSF

HÀ NỘI — Việt Nam won five gold medals after being invited to compete at the Indonesian National Speed Skating Championship, which closed on September 22.

Giang Bảo Anh was the most successful athlete, winning a hattrick of titles in the women’s F Group’s 222m, 333m and 500m categories.

Nguyễn Phi Long secured a gold in the men’s junior Group C 500m class and two silvers in the 1000m and 1500m tracks.

Lê Hữu Dũng pocketed his title in the men’s senior 1500m and two bronzes in the 500m and 1000m. 

Another medalist of Việt Nam was Nguyễn Võ Hữu Vinh with two silvers in the men’s senior 1000m and 1500m.

Giang Bảo Trang, who was expected to be in top three in three classes in the women’s junior Group E, unexpectedly suffered a leg injury during her training prior to the competition. She was sidelined.

In addition to their medals, athletes also collected points for the next Winter Olympics. With a gold, they bagged 34 points, and 21 and 13 for silver and bronze, respectively.

The Indonesian championship was the first ever international tournament that a Vietnamese delegation took part in.

According to Trịnh Thị Trang, general secretary of the Việt Nam Skating Federation (VSF), Indonesia invited athletes from other countries to its championship to improve the quality of the tournament and also to give all competitors chances to sharpen their skills.

Việt Nam sent five athletes to Indonesia. It was their first event abroad and their result was much better than expected, she said. — VNS


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Liêm through to Julius Baer Generation Cup’s semi-final




GM Lê Quang Liêm sails into the semis of the Julius Baer Generation Cup on September 22. — Photo đ

HÀ NỘI — Vietnamese Grandmaster (GM) Lê Quang Liêm advanced to the semi-finals of the online Julius Baer Generation Cup on September 22.

Liêm knocked 19-year-old phenomenon Hans Niemann of the US out after four rapid chess matches in the quarter-final round.

A former world blitz chess champion, Liêm grabbed two wins, one draw and one loss against Niemann, who recently won twice over world No. 1 Magnus Carlsen.

It is his third time beating the American GM Niemann. Liêm overcame him in the group round match several days ago and at the FTX Crypto Cup last month.

Lê Quang Liêm of Việt Nam (left) seen during the online Julius Baer Generation Cup’s quarter-final match against Hans Niemann of the US on September 22. — Photo

With this result, Liêm proved he belonged in the top four in competitions, including the Charity Cup (No. 4), Oslo Esports Cup (No. 2), Prague Masters (No. 2), Biel Chess International (champion) and FTX Crypto Cup (No. 4), that he has taken part in since March. 

In the semi-final, 31-year-old Liêm will face Indian GM Arjun Erigaisi. The national champion beat Christopher Yoo of the US in the tie-break after their matches ended 2-2.

Erigaisi, 19, defeated Liêm in the group round earlier this week.

In the other semis, GM Carlsen of Norway will play GM Vincent Keymer from Germany. — VNS


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