Connect with us

Your Vietnam

Unique features of Ha Nhi people’s costumes



For the Ha Nhi ethnic group, preserving their traditional costumes is an act to preserve their unique culture.

Ha Nhi community is divided into three branches, including black Ha Nhi, Ha Nhi Co Cho and Ha Nhi La Mi. The two latter branches are also called Ha Nhi Hoa. If the costumes of the black Ha Nhi use black and dark-blue as the main colors, the costumes of the Ha Nhi Hoa, use more vibrant and sophisticated colors.

According to researchers, the traditional costumes of the Ha Nhi Hoa people are very sophisticated. A full outfit of the women includes: blouse, hat, belt, and brassiere. The blouse has two layers, the short outside and the long inside. The sleeves are given special attention. Looking at the sleeve, we can distinguish a married woman from a young girl. The blouse is embroidered very sophisticated with red, white mixed with yellow and blue stitches as the popular colors.

Meanwhile, the black Ha Nhi people have simple and elegant costumes, which have only a combination of black, blue and white indigo. However, decorative patterns are also sophisticated.

Men’s costumes are simple and have deeper colors. A full outfit consists of shirt, pants, and head scarf. The colors are mainly black and indigo. There are two types of clothes for work and rituals. The outfit for work includes short shirt and pants while the ritual outfit consists of headscarves, long blouse and pants.

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

Black Ha Nhi women in traditional clothes at Y Ty fair (Bat Xat district – Lao Cai province).

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì
Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì
Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

Black Ha Nhi women’s headscarves are also used to distinguish age and family circumstances. Older, married women often wear scarves and large wigs on their heads.

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

Người Hà Nhì có nhiều loại mũ, dành cho nhiều loại đối tượng khác nhau. Mũ cho bé trai thì có tua rua vải, màu sắc khá sặc sỡ. 

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

A Ha Nhi man.

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

Unlike the black Ha Nhi people in Lao Cai, the costumes of the Ha Nhi Hoa women in Sin Thau (Muong Nhe district – Dien Bien province) are very colorful and sophisticated.

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

The common thing in the costumes of the Ha Nhi is the brassier with elaborate patterns, silver buttons and silver coins.

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

The highlight of the costume of Ha Nhi Hoa ethnic women is the colorful colors created by unique embroidery techniques, expressing their conception of life and worldview.

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

Like the Ha Nhi people in Dien Bien province, the traditional costume of the Ha Nhi Hoa in Ka Lang (Muong Te district – Lai Chau province) is very sophisticated. A full outfit of the women includes: blouse, hat, belt, and brassier.

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

An important part of their outfit is the hat, which is made of fabric, embroidered with many patterns and decorated with silver coins, and cotton balls made from colorful threads.

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì
Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

The elderly Ha Nhi ethnic women in the border commune of Ka Lang (Muong Te – Lai Chau) always wear traditional clothes during daily activities.

Nét riêng, độc đáo trong trang phục của người Hà Nhì

The elderly Ha Nhi ethnic women in the border commune of Ka Lang (Muong Te – Lai Chau) always wear traditional clothes during daily activities.

Le Anh Dung


Your Vietnam

Vietnamese academic presses ahead with introducing home country to new-generation telecoms



A foreign-trained postdoctoral researcher from Nghe An Province in north-central Vietnam has spent years abroad exploring new horizons to benefit his home country’s telecommunications field.

Phan Duy Tung graduated with a bachelor’s degree from a university in his hometown, Nghe An Province, before earning his master’s and PhD degrees in Russia and South Korea, respectively.

The 33-year-old man is doing his postdoctoral research in Finland.

He has published 21 articles and four papers in international scientific journals and conference proceedings on telecommunications.

It took years for Tung to get where he is now.

Tung shared he comes from a farmer family in a poor neighborhood in Thanh Chuong District, where most residents would leave school early and find work to make ends meet.

Until his elder brother’s time, most local kids could not make it to senior high school.

When he was only ten, Tung was sent by his grandparents to a middle school and a high school for the gifted away from home as there were no good schools in their neighborhood.

It was then that the boy began his independent life, when he stayed on his own in a tenanted room.

Self-reliance at such a tender age is a gift. But like everything else in life, it has its cons, according to Tung.

The pluses include having the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual wherewithal to look after himself, which allows him to take on challenges he would otherwise pass by, he shared.

The minuses, however, are many.

When he was on his own and things went wrong, there was no one around to help him figure out a solution.

He also found it difficult to connect to his loved ones when he needed them most during his teenage years.

Tung recalled a stumbling block in his early adulthood years but the adversity, however, turned into a stepping-stone and marked his turning point in career choice.

The young standout took his entrance exam into a prestigious university in Hanoi but against his family’s expectations, he failed despite getting relatively high marks.

He had to make do with his second choice, the telecommunications program at Vinh University in his hometown.

“I was frustrated at letting my loved ones down and began to question my own abilities,” Tung recalled, adding he planned to retake the exam the following year.

To his surprise, the deeper he got into the new major, the more he got hooked.

The young man was through a bit of a bad patch, but things were gradually picking up.

His school grades and mood both improved.

“Every cloud has a silver lining,” Tung shared.

“As long as we give it our best, when a door closes, another will open.”

The young academic added earning scholarships to study in different countries comes with both rewards and challenges.

His capacity and mentality were put to the test when he was working on a master’s degree in Russia.

“I had one year to study the Russian language, but I only understood 20 to 30 percent of what the professors and classmates said in my first year,” he recollected.

Tung said the method of working out the meaning by key words in contexts that he adopted did help.

The professors taught us by giving explanations slowly and using visual aids.

“The sky was clear at the end,” Tung noted.

His time working on a doctoral degree at the Seoul National University of Science and Technology in South Korea was also a trying one.

On top of language barriers, the pressure to fit into the rigorous learning environment which South Korea is known for was intense.

He found himself in shambles in late 2020, when he was racing against time for his doctoral thesis while his wife, in his hometown then, was expecting their first child.

The novel coronavirus pandemic, which hit South Korea quite hard then, kept him from taking his pregnant wife to his place or returning to his hometown because of the long quarantine mandate.

“I was not there for her when I was most needed,” Tung recalled.

“I kept asking myself if I was doing the right thing.

“I really wanted to hold our baby and be by its side.”

It took his small family almost two years to be reunited.

The predicament taught him a lot and added skill to his repertoire.

Tung, his wife, and their baby are currently in Finland, where he is giving 100 percent effort in his post-doctoral research on designing antennae for new-generation telecoms networks including design of transparent antennae and smart antennae for 5G and 6G wireless applications.

The engineer’s ambition is putting together a research group who can contribute to the growth of the new-generation telecoms networks.

Tung looks out into the field, which is still in its infancy in Vietnam, and sees bright promises.

He hoped his profound research and expertise gained abroad in the burgeoning discipline would help develop his country’s sector.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!


Continue Reading

Your Vietnam

For Vietnam’s next-gen farmers, circular agriculture draws up hope for sustainability



As the previous craze of organic products has yet to recede from Vietnam’s agriculture sector, the country’s younger generation of farmers has already picked up on circular farming – the next big thing that promises sustainability by using no more acreage or resources than strictly necessary.

As soon as she wakes up in the morning, Nguyen Phuong Thao, 35, from Hanoi, gets herself in position to unload and package heaps of fresh produce sent from her family farmstead in Phu Tho Province before delivering them to customers.

Judging from the looks, not many would expect Thao to be a master’s degree holder and the owner of a booming farm-to-table business that adopts circular agriculture as their core practice.

After finishing a master’s in environmental studies in the UK, Thao returned to Vietnam with concerns about rural environmental pollution and a desire to promote sustainable agriculture. 

In 2017, Thao and her husband, Nguyen Luong Quyet, a construction engineer, went to Yen Lap District in northern Phu Tho Province to open ‘Nguyen Khoi Xanh,’ an organic farm and animal husbandry operation. 

Two years later, the farm project won recognition from the Vietnamese government and the World Bank during the ‘Women and the future of the Green Economy’ forum.

As Thao sees it, circular farming can be understood as a closed-loop process that makes full use of every by-product.

The ‘waste’ from one operation can be reused as the input for another stage in the system — in other words, nothing goes to waste. 

The model can be seen in practice at her farm, which keeps pigs and chickens as the main livestock. 

Pig urine, which is high in organic matter and prone to cause pollution, will be kept in biogas tanks to generate clean fuel gas for the farm.

Meanwhile, the residue from the process is redirected into a second tank, which uses the filtration capability of water hyacinth plants to clear out toxins from the liquid. Output from this process can now be used as fertilizer.

Manure from the pigs can also be reused as food for Indian blue worms, but they have to undergo composting and mixing with water hyacinth pieces. 

Farmed worms are an important link in the process at Nguyen Khoi Xanh, as they provide stable sources of protein for pigs and chickens, and can also be utilized as plant food when mixed with chicken manure.

Most of the processes are practically cost-free, but they ensure no resource from her farm is wasted, all while maintaining a wide variety of products for her business, according to Thao.

For the time being, the Phu Tho-based facility is supplying pork, chicken, vegetables, and fruits to five organic food stores and one international school in Hanoi, with truckloads of produce being shipped off every day.

Aerial photo shows Nguyen Khoi Xanh, a farm practicing circular method, in Phu Tho Province, Vietnam.

An aerial photo shows Nguyen Khoi Xanh, a farm practicing circular methods, in Phu Tho Province, Vietnam.

Inflection point

With keywords of ‘circular farming,’ ‘circular economy,’ and ‘circular agriculture’ showing up in heavy rotation in recent years, one can infer that Vietnam’s agriculture sector is standing at an inflection point, where sustainable and regenerative practices are considered the future. 

One of the early adopters of this movement is Tran Hoang Tam, 27, from Lap Vo District in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap, who converted his smallholding operation into circular practices in just a year.

Previously, his farm specialized in herbs and medicinal plants, namely blue peas, artichokes, lemongrass, jasmine, and mint, among others.

Striving to make use of the waste from his acreage, Tam erected a blue worm farm and fed them with remains from the trees, then hacked out a pond to raise worm-eating fish. 

“My main source of income remains herb trees, but now I have additional profit from worm and fish farms, both of which are not labor-intensive,” Tam said.

The model, though working well at small operations, can also be scaled up and adopted by large facilities. 

In April, leaders of Hau Giang Province in the Mekong Delta liaised with a large-scale farm, which spans over 2.3 hectares and attracted VND14.7 billion (US$645,600) in annual investment, to try out a project on circular farming. 

It outlines separate sections for water hyacinths, blue worms, fruit plants, hydroponic farms, not to mention apparatuses for fermentation, mushroom farming, freeze dehydration, as well as raising black soldier fly larvae — a food that chickens can feed on. 

The whole structure is expected to rake in VND21.3 billion ($934,000) in revenue over its first year of operation.

“Many are excited at the idea of circular farming,” said Dr. Vo Tong Xuan, a leading agriculturalist who has made great contributions to optimize Vietnam’s farming practices over the past 30 years.

As he pointed out, utilizing farmstead waste as production input will become the future of farming, considering threats of climate change in the next two decades will force producers to cut glasshouse emissions at the source through reusing and recycling. 

“A solid definition of ‘circular’ has yet to be settled, but at the very core, it simply requires farmers to find ways of cutting waste and emissions,” Dr. Xuan stated.

A farm practicing circular methods in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam. Photo supplied.

This supplied photo shows a farm practicing circular methods in Lam Dong Province, Vietnam.

Stakes are high

To go the circular route, farmers must prepare for a long and strenuous process of transformation from what they have been accustomed to.

First off, location. It took Thao, the Hanoi woman, some four years to pin down Phu Tho’s Yen Lap District — a midland area surrounded by mountains, with a relatively cool atmosphere and access to clean water — as a suitable location for her venture.

“The farm must be located away from pollution sources, but not too distant from the consumer market in Hanoi,” Thao explained.

After breaking ground on their farm, Thao and her husband had to spend another three years building, learning, and seeking consultation from experts before her first product showed up on the market in 2019.

Product quality is one of their biggest concerns. While pigs fed with carbohydrate-heavy food turn out too fatty, cuts from swine that received more veggies in their diet were too dry. 

After going through countless trial-and-error loops, the couple finally struck a proper balance to turn out perfect batches of pork, as well as poultry, veggies, and fruit, for the Vietnamese market. 

Being a closed loop, Thao’s system will suffer as a whole if any link in the production chain breaks down. 

For example, an epidemic, whether targeting livestock or plants, could interrupt production on the whole farm.

Keeping this in mind, Thao decided to build separate coops for farm animals to prevent cross-infection, plus enhancing the livestock’s natural immunity through organic intakes. 

“Building a farm based on circular methods is a highly risky gamble, but the higher the risk, the higher the rewards,” Thao said.

According to her, it is almost impossible to make the farm fully self-sufficient, as she still needs to diversify the pigs’ food with corn and cassava from an outside supplier.

On a larger scale, experts also pointed out several challenges, including land shortage, funding requirements, and manpower, that may discourage any circular farming hopefuls. 

Misinformed practices of circular agriculture can also exacerbate environmental pollution, warned Dr. Nguyen Thanh Hung, director of the Institute of Organic Agricultural Economics. 

He pointed to the use of biochar in composting, which can result in sub-quality products with harmful microbes and heavy metal residues when not handled with correct timing. 

On top of that, product quality can also be undermined by a number of protocol errors, including inferior animal feed, flawed coop design, or faulty irrigation systems. 

Hung urged relevant authorities to devise a set of circular farming standards, which prescribes specific requirements for water sources, land, and organic residues in products for future reference.

“Nowadays, each step in agriculture production needs to be based on science, technology, and specifications,” he stated.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!


Continue Reading

Your Vietnam

Vietnamese entrepreneur makes it through the rain in Japan



After spending more than four years building up a company that promotes tourism and trade in Japan, Nguyen Phi Thoan thought it was time for him to harvest the first crop of fruits, but then the COVID-19 pandemic turned everything upside down. 

When the health crisis hit Japan last year, the entrepreneur’s tourism business ran into trouble overnight.

His company, JV Solutions Co., based in Kawasaki Prefecture, got several calls to cancel tours. 

Thoan found himself extremely stressed every morning waking up to the question of where to get around VND200 million (US$8,787) to pay office rent and salaries for seven full-time employees at that time.

All the savings he had accumulated for more than ten years of working as an employee for three Japanese companies before launching his own company had already been used up quickly to support JV Solutions Co. during the pandemic. 

Tourism was one of the most affected industries during the COVID-19 pandemic around the world, so his limited savings could only keep the firm running for ten months. 

On top of stress, anxiety, and concerns, Thoan also got a recurrence of a disc herniation, a condition he had been treated for in Singapore 13 years earlier.

He was forced to stay at home without moving for more than six months. 

“Those days were really challenging,” Thoan told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper in an interview in late September.

“The pandemic made me reflect on everything, and think twice about what I have been doing for the last years.

“Being forced to stay home alone for such a long time because of the condition allowed me to mull over what I should do next.”

Thoan added that right now, JV Solutions Co. trades fresh fruits and vegetables from Vietnam and other countries as another way to survive while waiting for the tourism industry to bounce back from the COVID-19 pandemic.

A group of American tourists pay a visit to Japan in 2018 in a tour held by JV Solutions in this supplied photo.

A group of American tourists pay a visit to Japan in 2018 during a tour held by JV Solutions in this supplied photo.

Days of frustration

Thoan was born in the Mekong Delta province of Long An.

He has loved traveling since he was a teenager.

Few people know that the entrepreneur was once the administrator of the site, a blog meant for travelers who want to explore many destinations in their own way instead of booking through a travel agency.

Despite being trained as a chemical engineer, Thoan has a special passion for tourism.

That is why he decided to launch JV Solutions, a company offering private tours in Japan, when he left a job with a salary of US$4,000 a month at 505 Company in March 2017. 

In Thoan’s observation, the demand for travel to Japan for studying and doing business has increased remarkably during the last few years. 

JV Solutions chooses to offer private tours to groups of seven to 14 people who want to pay visits to Japan for various purposes such as tourism, studying, doing business, and trade promotions.

The company also takes part in holding festivals promoting trade between Japanese and Vietnamese in the city of Kawasaki.

Before COVID-19, JV Solutions’ business operations ran smoothly despite intense competition.

They served an average of hundreds of customers monthly, which ensured them a source of stable revenue.

When the pandemic hit Japan, it put an end to the ambitious plan in which Thoan collaborated with a Thai partner to set up tours for Thai tourists coming to Japan.

On top of the unexpected effects of the pandemic, he suffered a severe disc herniation relapse. 

The man who used to work up to 17 to 18 hours a day felt he did not have enough strength then.

“I already know how to value my health now,” Thoan laughed while recalling the most difficult days he experienced more than one year ago. 

Nguyen Phi Thoan takes a photo along with the first container of bananas that was imported from Vietnam by JV Solutions in November 2020.

Nguyen Phi Thoan takes a photo along with the first bunches of bananas imported from Vietnam by JV Solutions in November 2020.

Reflecting on his strength

Six months of treatment provided Thoan with a unique chance to mull over what he should have done differently, especially in which directions he can move to take his JV Solutions out of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Given the health crisis will not be likely to phase out in the near future, he cannot return to the tourism industry as quickly as he wants.

His hope was further dampened after the plan to make a pilot vaccine tour with the first 60 tourists between Vietnam and Japan was canceled indefinitely because of the complicated developments of the pandemic in Vietnam. 

He thought of what he had been trained in a university in Vietnam as an engineer of food chemistry and post-harvest technology.

He thought of what he did as an employee for three Japanese companies before.

He thought of his hometown, Long An, where there is a famous kind of banana called Fohla and various kinds of tropical fruit.

Thoan decided to embark on importing fruits from Vietnam into Japan. 

Despite his weak physical health then, in October 2020, Thoan pulled a cart to introduce samples of banana to some potential partners in Tokyo. 

“In fact, I don’t remember why I could do things like that back then,” recalled Thoan.

“The disc herniation hurt me badly.

“But it was likely that some business associates sympathized with me when they looked at my condition then, I guessed, so I got some first orders.”

Apart from bananas, Thoan imported more fruits such as dragon fruits, durians, and rambutans, not only from Vietnam but also from other countries like Guatemala.

He acknowledges he is a newbie in the business he has just started during the pandemic.

The businessman ran into so many challenges and technical problems while doing business, from building a network of supply partners to getting to know a sea of administrative forms relating to the import of commodities.

Japanese is a big obstacle as Thoan just used English for working many years before. 

“This is my first foray into the business of importing fruits and vegetables,” Thoan admitted.

“In the early days, I had to pay so much ‘tuition’ for my inexperience.”

Nguyen Phi Thoan (in the upper-left-hand corner) has a meeting with a group of partners from Green Bud company based in Vietnam on the morning of September 26

Nguyen Phi Thoan (upper-left corner) has a meeting with a group of partners from Green Bud Company based in Vietnam, September 26, 2021.

He made it

Thoan is not a stranger to the Japanese market, which is both difficult and appealing to any entrepreneur.

The capability to survive the COVID-19 pandemic with a new direction does not mean that Thoan can remove all obstacles now.  

“In fact, Vietnamese bananas are better than Philippine ones, but the price of our nation’s bananas is rather higher than the latter,” he explained.

“For example, a shipping container of Vietnamese bananas fetches around US$13-14 while a Philippine rival costs just $6-7, so we sell a smaller amount of goods because of the price.”

In the hope of finding ways to deal with this issue, Thoan began to import some other kinds of fruit such as dragon fruits and durians from Vietnam.

He plans to sell more fruits and vegetables from Vietnam next month in case of finding reliable sources of products.

“In Japan, there are a few small companies like JV Solutions that can directly ship fruits from foreign farms, so this is one of my business’s competitive edges,” Thoan said and assured proudly that his firm is the biggest distributor of rambutans from Guatemala in Japan.

“Currently, we can only survive, not making a lot of profit,” said the businessman.

“But I feel happy to be able to keep my company running during the pandemic.

“We made some plans for next stages when I believe the COVID-19 would phase out.”

Adaptable Vietnamese entrepreneurs survive in Japan

In an exchange with Tuoi Tre, Ta Duc Minh, a trade counselor of the Vietnamese Embassy in Japan, said that many Vietnamese entrepreneurs in the East Asian country can survive the COVID-19 pandemic due to their adaptability.

Thousands of Japanese entrepreneurs have gone bankrupt because of the long-lasting epidemic, Minh said.

Despite the challenging situation, many Vietnamese businesses in Japan, including JV Solutions, could overcome the difficult period thanks to their determined changes and quick adaptation, he added.

Like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter to get the latest news about Vietnam!


Continue Reading