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Vạn Phúc Silk Village promotes production and business despite COVID-19 pandemic



Vạn Phúc Silk Village is so quiet even on the weekend. — Photo Thanh Nga

Thanh Nga

I went to Vạn Phúc Silk Village on Sunday, just in time as it happens because the day after my visit, Hà Nội’s authorities ordered all non-essential shops to close to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the capital.

The old village is more than 1,000 years old and located in Vạn Phúc Ward, Hà Đông District, more than 10km from the centre of Hà Nội.

The pandemic may have changed the way we all live our lives, but the village remains as beautiful as ever. A lack of visitors because of the current situation meant it was certainly quieter than usual for my visit.

If in the past, coming to the silk village, visitors would see busy streets and merchants on both sides of the road selling scarves, Vietnamese traditional long dress, bags, clothes with a variety of designs.

In days gone by, thousands would visit, but not anymore. It may still look as beautiful as before, but the lack of crowds did make this normally vibrant area appear a little sad.

Most stalls were closed, just the odd one opening up in the hope of passing trade.


Many stalls in the village have closed, but some tried to ride the storm and stay open. — Photo Thanh Nga

Visiting Thúy An Silk Shop, owner Nguyễn Thị An was busy embroidering flowers on a red silk shirt.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is complicated, so customers are afraid to go out to shop,” she said. “On weekdays, there are no people, but on weekends, there are only a few customers.

“I use this time to sew buttons for these silk shirts ordered by my customer without charge. If I add the labour of hand embroidery, each shirt will increase to about VNĐ100,000 (US$4.3). It takes me half-day to do it but because of the virus, it is difficult to sell, so I decide to embroider by hand to attract customers without increasing the price of the product. Before the pandemic, the handmade embroidery also costs extra money.”


Nguyễn Thị An, owner of Thúy An Silk Shop embroiders flowers by hand on a red silk shirt, without increasing the price of the product. — Photo Thanh Nga

An has two stalls in Vạn Phúc Village. Both operate moderately in the current climate.

An said her family’s silk craft is handed down from generation to generation. Her family weave themselves but also hires tailors to sew products to sell.

She added: “I just hope the pandemic will end soon so that I can welcome visitors coming in and out and we can be as busy as before.

“During this time of pandemic, I redirect to sell online on my Facebook page. I also make hand-embroidered masks for sale. Because the pandemic is increasing in HCM City, when my business partners in HCM City have customers, they call me directly to ship to their customers, instead of shipping to HCM City as before.”

At Sơn Hạnh Silk, the shop owner was engrossed in a Vietnamese movie on television. There were no buyers so she needed to do something to pass the time of day. 


The stalls in Vạn Phúc Silk Conservation and Development Centre have few customers. — Photo Thanh Nga

A little further down the road at Vạn Xuân Silk Shop, owner Ngô Hồng Trường, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has made things very difficult. There are days when there is not even a single item sold and exports have stopped altogether.”

Like many other business households, Trường’s family has been making silk for many generations with high quality silk products. Previously, he also put looms in front of the shop for visitors to watch him practice his craft, but now there is no need as there is both nothing to make, and no visitors to impress with his skills.

While I was talking with Trường, two customers did come in and the joy in his face was plain to see. However that quickly changed as both left without spending any money.

Phạm Khắc Hà, chairman of the Vạn Phúc Silk Weaving Village Association said because of the  pandemic, the number of visitors to the craft village decreased by about 80 per cent since the beginning of the year.

Very few customers go shopping at the village because of the COVID-19 pandemic. — Photo Thanh Nga

Efforts to restore production and business

According to shop owners, because many customers can’t come to buy goods directly, they have been promoting sales through online networks such as Facebook and Zalo. Some stalls in the village reduced prices in order to attract customers, but still business was poor.


Some shops in the village reduced price in order to attract customers. — Photo Thanh Nga

“Non-essential stores have to close since the beginning of this week, so the difficulty is even more difficult,” said Hà. 

“The village doesn’t have visitors and buyers these days but we still have to try to maintain our traditional profession.”

Hà’s family has been making silk for generations. Currently, he has two shops in the village.

Despite hanging a huge discount sign, the store still has no customers. — Photo Thanh Nga

He added: “Now my shops are also selling online, fortunately, I can still sell about 60 per cent compared to selling offline,

“The closure of production and sales causes many businesses and production facilities to suffer economic losses.

“However, thanks to the support of the Government, taxes were reduced, so it also reduces difficulties. I have also proposed to the leaders of Vạn Phúc Ward to research and support the craft village to further reduce the price of rent. Most of us rent space from households who also have difficulties in the COVID-19 pandemic so they don’t reduce the rental charges for us any more.

“We still find ways to stay strong such as promoting online sales, spending a lot of time researching the market, creating new models.” said Hà.

Seeing that consumer demand for face masks is still high, Nguyễn Thị Oanh and some other business owners have turned to making cloth masks for sale, adding images and colours to make them more attractive.

So far her masks are proving popular, and she plans to make more when social distancing regulations are eased.

Oanh said: “During this difficult period, if employees lose their jobs, they will lose their income, their life will be extremely difficult. We have to find many ways to minimise losses in production and business, so that employees can still have jobs and have confidence to stay with businesses.”

In recent years Vạn Phúc Silk Village, witnessed a revival, and business was good thanks mainly to introducing tourists to the area.

But just like many other traditional crafts, it has suffered because of the pandemic. 

The saying goes that there is nothing quite as smooth as silk. For the traders in Silk Village, they hope business will soon be smooth again, and the whole world can enjoy the amazing creations crafted right here on the edge of Việt Nam’s capital city.



Vietnam affirms stance on condemning use of chemical weapons



Vietnam affirmed its stance on condemning the use of chemical weapons and emphasised the need to respect and fully implement the Chemical Weapons Convention at the United Nations Security Council’s meeting 

on the implementation of Resolution 2118 (2013) on chemical weapons in Syria.

Vietnam affirms stance on condemning use of chemical weapons hinh anh 1

Destroyed buildings in eastern Aleppo city, Syria, where chemical weapons were allegedly used (Source:

Addressing the meeting on August 4, Ambassador Dang Dinh Quy, Permanent Representative of Vietnam to the UN, welcomed the readiness of Syria and the Secretariat of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to hold high-level communications, saying that this is an opportunity to step up dialogue towards the complete settlement of the chemical weapon issue in Syria.

He stressed the important role of constructive cooperation and unity among the international community to create favourable conditions for collaboration efforts of the OPCW and Syria.

Thomas Markram, Deputy to the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, said that the OPCW Secretariat and Syria continued to focus on addressing differences in the country’s initial report, stressing the need to find solutions to several existing issues of the initial report as soon as possible, which is considered an important basis for definitively solving the chemical weapon problem in Syria.

At the meeting, UNSC members expressed concerns over the accusations of the use of chemical weapons in Syria and called for increased cooperation in this issue.

The countries emphasised the importance of promoting collaboration between the OPCW Secretariat and Syria to resolve existing issues, towards the full implementation of obligations under the CWC and the UNSC’s Resolution 2118./.

Source: VNA


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2030 Businesspeople Club delivers necessities to people in quarantined areas



Members of the 2030 Businesspeople Club transport relief to a quarantined area in HCMC – PHOTOS: LE VU

HCMC – Through the “Food for Saigon during Social Distancing” program, the 2030 Businesspeople Club, a member of the Saigon Times Club, handed over 40 tons of vegetables, fruits, rice and other necessities to people living in areas under lockdown or quarantine in HCMC on August 3 and 4.

The event was part of the Saigon Times – Great Circle 2021 series, an initiative of the Saigon Times Group, that is aimed at supporting people affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nguyen Dinh Tu, vice chairman of the 2030 Businesspeople Club, said through the program, the club expects to mobilize 8,000 gift sets for disadvantaged people across 20 districts of the city.

Up to now, the club has delivered 4,000 gift sets, each comprising 5 kilograms of vegetables and fruits and 5 kilograms of rice, to needy people in 10 districts. The club has also provided eggs, instant noodles and other necessities to poor households in the city.

Each gift set comprises vegetables, fruits, rice and other necessities

During 30 days of the “Food for Saigon during Social Distancing” program, the 2030 Business Club expects to give some 150 tons of vegetables and fruits as well as essentials to people whose livelihoods are severely affected by Covid-19 in HCMC and the neighboring provinces.

The Saigon Times Group launched the “Saigon Times – Great Circle 2021” program with the theme, “Join hands to fight off the pandemic”, on June 2. The program receives donations from organizations and individuals and then distributes them to the needy in HCMC and other provinces.

Donations for the program can be sent to:

Tap chi Kinh te Sai Gon

Bank account number: 1007 1485 1003318

Vietnam Export Import Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Eximbank) – Hoa Binh Branch – HCMC

Transaction content: Name – UnghoSaigon Times – NVTL – Donghanhchongdich

To participate in the program, please contact:

Huynh Huong (Phone number: 0913118711)

Or Huy Han (Phone number: 0902696617)



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Obituary: Veteran painter Đỗ Quang Em dies



Veteran painter Đỗ Quang Em, a leading artist of the South’s fine arts, died at home on Tuesday in HCM City. He was 79. Photo courtesy of the artist’s family

HCM CITY — Veteran painter Đỗ Quang Em, a leading artist of the South’s fine arts, died at home on Tuesday in HCM City. He was 79.

His funeral took place on Thursday in HCM City. 

Chairman of Việt Nam Fine Arts Association Lương Xuân Đoàn told Tuổi Trẻ newspaper: “Đỗ Quang Em was one of the four cornerstones of the fine arts world that evolved in pre-1975 Sài Gòn.” 

Đỗ Quang Em was born in Ninh Thuận Province in 1942. He studied photography from his father, owner of a small photographic studio when he was a child. 

He was sent to study at the Gia Định College of Fine Arts in Sài Gòn (now the HCM City University of Fine Arts). 

In 1965, he became involved in painting after graduating from college. His work earned recognition from art lovers and critics. 

In 1973-74, he worked as a lecturer at Gia Định College of Fine Arts. 

Đỗ Quang Em was part of a family of three generations of artists and trained himself to be a master of light in his paintings.

An oil painting called Bùa Hộ Mệnh (Amulet) was released in 2000 by late painter Đỗ Quang Em who used hyperrealism, a type of drawing technique, to create his art. Photo courtesy of the artist’s family

Em’s art focused on the use of strong contrasts between light and dark. 

Because of his love for photography, Em chose to paint realistic items but pushed his style further into the realm of hyperrealism. The technique, which takes a lot of time and skill, looks as real as a photograph.

“Em was professional in his use of this technique. The use of light and shadow helped the painter build up texture and detail,” said art critic Nguyên Hưng. 

Hyperrealism was an art movement and style popular in the United States and Europe in the 1970s with Carole Feuerman being the forerunner along with Duane Hanson and John De. 

Founded on the aesthetic principles of photography and photorealism, the artists often worked to create paintings that resembled photographs.

Hyperrealists took ordinary everyday objects and used them as a means to convey more subdued emotions in their paintings. They presented these objects as living and tangible, painted in meticulous detail to the point that they created an illusion of reality far from the original photo.

Hyperrealists often add subtle, pictorial details to create the illusion of a reality which doesn’t exist often conveying the emotional, social, cultural and even political messages of the artiste.

Đỗ Quang Em’s works feature a range of topics and objects, from people to animals and still life. Many of his paintings portray his wife and daughters. 

He also loved to draw cups, glasses, oil lamps and origami figures. 

A paiting called Chân Dung Vợ Hoạ Sĩ (Portrait of Artist’s Wife), released in 1975 by late painter Đỗ Quang Em. Photo courtesy of the artist’s family

He organised several solo and group exhibitions in HCM City, Singapore and Hong Kong. 

His works have been displayed and collected by Vietnamnese and foreign galleries and collectors, including the HCM City Musuem of Fine Arts. 

Chân dung vợ họa sỹ (Portrait of Artist’ Wife), 1975. Đỗ Quang Em

 Two of his famous paintings are Tôi và Vợ Tôi (My Wife and I) and Ấm và Tách Trà (A Teapot and Cups, which were auctioned for US$70,000 and $50,000 in Hong Kong in 1994-95.  

His paintings in the 1990s sold for $60,000-70,000 in the foreign market. —


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