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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



Vietnam wraps up Asian volleyball championship in 4th place



Vietnam ranked fourth at the 2023 Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship after losing 2-3 to Japan in the third-place playoff in Thailand on Wednesday afternoon.

Japan faced a tough challenge from Vietnam throughout the match.

The Vietnamese players gave the back-to-back champions a score chase in the opening set before claiming a surprising 25-21 win.

Japan bounced back to show its dominance and take a commanding 25-14 win in the second set.

In the third set, though Vietnam initially maintained a 4-4 and 6-6 tie, Japan seized control at 10-7 and eventually made a comeback to secure a 25-22 victory.

In the fourth set, Vietnam managed to turn things around in one of the most emotionally charged moments of the match. 

Starting with a 4-8 deficit, the Vietnamese side rallied to score five consecutive points, taking a 9-8 lead and eventually securing the set with a score of 25-20. 

This dramatic 2-2 equalizer forced the match into a decisive fifth set.

Vietnamese players compete during their third-place playoff against Japan at the 2023 Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Thailand, September 6, 2023. Photo: SSM

Vietnamese players compete during their third-place playoff against Japan at the 2023 Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship in Thailand, September 6, 2023. Photo: SSM

Vietnam entered the fifth set with confidence, yet Japan promptly took an 8-5 lead. 

The Vietnamese players, however, showed resilience, making a determined effort to narrow the score to 10-12. 

But during the critical moments, Japan remained composed and clinched victory with a score of 15-11.

As a result of this defeat, Vietnam placed fourth in the overall rankings, their best-ever finish at the Asian Senior Women’s Volleyball Championship.

Vietnam’s previous most notable achievement was a fifth-place finish in both 2015 and 2017.

Host Thailand claimed their third Asian title with a remarkable unbeaten record after winning the five-set thriller against China in the final match on the same day.

The top three teams — Thailand, China, and Japan — earned a spot in the 2025 FIVB Volleyball Women’s World Championship.

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Military-run Viettel offers free live broadcast of 2024 Euro qualifiers in Vietnam



TV360, the over-the-top (OTT) media service provided by military-run Viettel Telecom and the official rights holder of the 2024 UEFA Euro qualifiers, will provide free live coverage on its network in Vietnam.

The company announced the offer on Wednesday, instructing viewers to utilize its TV360 website and app.

All matches are accessible for free by simply logging into TV360 users’ accounts.

The tournament copyright holder said that TV360 can be streamed without interruptions on various devices such as Smart TVs, mobile phones, tablets, laptops, and TV360 receivers.

The 2024 UEFA Euro qualifying tournament is being played from March 2023 to March 2024 to determine the 23 member men’s national teams in the Union of European Football Associations that will join the automatically-qualified hosts Germany in the finals, scheduled to take place from June 14 to July 14, 2024.

A total of 53 UEFA member associations were divided into ten groups, with seven groups of five and three groups of six.

The qualifying group stage is being played in a home-and-away, round-robin format on double matchdays in March, June, September, October, and November this year.

The winners and runners-up from the ten groups will qualify directly for the finals.

Following the qualifying group stage, the remaining three teams will be decided through the playoffs, to be held in March 2024. 

Four rounds of qualifiers took place in March and June, with powerhouses like England, France, and Portugal holding the top positions.

Spain, another heavyweight, currently hold the fourth position out of five teams in Group A after one win and one draw. 

The upcoming qualifying matches later this month present Spain with a chance to enhance their performance.

The fifth and sixth rounds of the Euro qualifying stage are scheduled for Thursday to September 13.

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Vietnam Football Federation to cooperate with LaLiga to train coaches, players



The Vietnam Football Federation (VFF) inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with LaLiga, Spain’s top men’s professional football division, on Wednesday morning to collaborate on training coaches and players in a Spanish style until 2026.

Both football bodies have entered into a deal to share their knowledge in order to enhance the growth of professional and community football in Vietnam. 

Furthermore, they will undertake initiatives related to national teams and various sports training projects.

In the near term, LaLiga Academy Vietnam, established in late 2021, will conduct training sessions for VFF coaches and youth football development units.

Football experts assessed that the cooperation holds significant importance for the advancement of Vietnamese football, particularly in the context of the VFF’s efforts to strengthen relationships with established football entities in Asia and Europe.

During the signing ceremony in Hanoi, Ivan Codina, LaLiga’s Southeast Asia-Australia, Japan & South Korea managing director, stated that Vietnam holds a strategic position in Asia for LaLiga, which takes pride in the opportunity to collaborate and grow together with Vietnamese football. 

Codina pledged that LaLiga Academy Vietnam will provide support and apply Spanish coaching methods to Vietnamese coach training programs. 

In addition, they have plans to facilitate the development of young Vietnamese football talents through initiatives like training them in Spain and other cooperative programs.

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