Online cultural heritage courses
A national cultural heritage photo contest and exhibition to raise awareness of heritage conservation within the local community.
MUSIC & PERFORMANCES
French musical ‘Les Misérables’ tours
Vietnam to host first national cultural heritage photo contest
28 May – 13 June 2021 Hanoi-Exhibition “The Mekong – Stories of Man”
Until June 11,
L’Espace, 24 Trang Tien Street Hanoi-Group exhibition “Format”
Until June 2, 10am-9pm HCMC-A Dream Of The End At The End Of A Dream
Apr 27-June 26, Tues – Sat, 10 am – 7 pm Binh Dinh Province-Exhibition: ECO-SUS
Opening: Apr 8, 03 pm HCMC- Exhibitions: ‘Within / Between / Beneath / Upon’ & ‘Home: Looking inwards to the outer world’
Until Jun 6, 10 am – 07 pm
The event was co-organized by the Russian Embassy in Vietnam, the Vietnamese Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, and the Eurowindow Holding Corporation.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Russian Ambassador to Vietnam Vnukov Konstantin Vasilievich stressed that Vietnam and Russia are working together to promote a comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. The two sides have also strengthened cooperation in all fields and further expanded activities in culture, education, and people-to-people exchanges.
The ambassador affirmed that Russia has contributed to world artistic heritage in various fields such as literature, music and visual arts. The “Russian melodies” art performance offered an opportunity for Vietnamese to enjoy the Russian folk songs performed by famous singer Natalia Kirillova and the “Stradivalenki” quartet, he added.
Translated by Lam Anh
With more than 37 years experience in the fashion industry and 15 years in Việt Nam, Henri Hubert, creative director of Le Nom Group, a visual communication agency, believes sustainability should be the top priority for the industry. He speaks to Bồ Xuân Hiệp about sustainable fashion trends emerging amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Inner Sanctum: What do you think about the impact of the pandemic on the fashion industry, especially towards sustainability in terms of design, manufacturing, and use of eco-friendly materials?
The pandemic has created a dramatic contraction in demand and production in the fashion industry, one of the sectors hardest hit by the crisis. The resulting economic shutdowns have created unprecedented challenges for the industry, including a decline in consumer spending and disrupted supply chains.
This could help accelerate a shift to greener, more sustainable supply chains, which will not only be critical for companies but will also impact the future of the fashion industry as a whole.
Sustainability has been identified as one of the top priorities for the fashion industry. Improving raw material sourcing with better recycling processes, reducing water consumption, and replacing hazardous chemicals with safer alternatives are some of the measures that can reduce fashion’s environmental footprint and help the industry survive in the new business scenario.
I think fashion houses have been forced to reinvent themselves. Those who were able to do so transformed their production lines. For example, they made masks and gowns for hospital staff and doctors. They also redesigned their collection to be more current, with styles more adapted to the psychological aspect of the moment. The materials were also seen, reviewed and corrected.
Inner Sanctum: Environmental concerns are increasingly important among consumers who are calling for environmentally friendly practices in the fashion industry. What are the sustainability trends in the industry?
The unprecedented crisis that the fashion and luxury industry has been going through since the beginning of the pandemic is forcing it to rethink its operations from top to bottom.
This economic shock must also be an opportunity to take action to reduce the negative social and environmental impact of the sector as the United Nations says in a call for a more responsible recovery.
The question now is ‘How can we build back better?’ The environmental facts are clear. The fashion industry alone is responsible for 8 to 10 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions, which is more than international flights and shipping combined. These emissions are mainly related to the production of raw materials, textile manufacturing and the transportation of finished products.
The water footprint is equally catastrophic. Another recent United Nations report estimates that about 93 billion cubic metres of water — enough to meet the needs of five million people — are used each year by the fashion industry. It takes 7,000 litres of water to make a single pair of jeans, the equivalent of the water drunk by a human for seven years.
The biggest environmental impact of fashion is related to the washing of clothes, not only because of the water and energy used but also because of the water and soil pollution it causes.
According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, 500,000 tonnes of plastic microfibres, the equivalent of 3 million barrels of oil, are dumped into the oceans each year. In addition, textile dyeing is the second largest contributor to water pollution in the world.
These are scary figures. Sustainability will be an important issue for consumers as far as brands are concerned, and current and future consumers. And I’m not talking about greenwashing but ‘real sustainability’.
The best thing is that we understand that our individual actions have societal consequences. Sustainability matters and will matter more and more.
I see a growing concern for employees of fashion companies as well. The same people who are consumers on the one hand are employees on the other. When executives, managers and employees support sustainability, it can have a positive self-reinforcing impact on the corporate culture.
Any fashion company is only as good as the talent it can attract, and the fashion talent of the future will want to work for fashion companies that make sustainability the keyword. So let’s keep hoping.
Inner Sanctum: We are living in a ‘throwaway’ culture and fashion waste has been increasing. What do you think about buying secondhand clothing as an option to reduce environmental impact?
Oh my, I love your question, you fall right in my passion! Buying secondhand clothing is a habit that has become more common, which is good.
In recent years, mentalities have evolved enormously to the point that in 2020 72 per cent in the world had bought or were considering buying secondhand, while a few years ago it was 50 per cent.
I lived in this context in France, where it was already very fashionable to dress vintage. For many reasons, personally, for me, it was the taste of ‘the well-done, the well-finished, the different.’ I loved the details of the clothes of my father. All of this came from a certain education in fashion.
Today in Việt Nam in my entourage I see a certain craze. Purchasing secondhand has many advantages, and it can be of incredible help for the industry, and especially for us wellness lovers.
Let me explain. It allows us to save money. The first good reason to buy secondhand, and not the least, is that it saves money. It helps reduce the environmental impact of a garment. Buying secondhand can extend the life of a garment by several weeks, months or years — the longer the better, of course.
It also helps reduce textile waste. According to studies by an American giant of online resales, one out of two Americans throw the clothes they want to get rid of directly into the trash. The result is that 62 per cent of the 30 billion clothes produced each year end up in landfills.
You can also find unique pieces. When we buy secondhand, we are far from the mass offerings of fast-fashion, and it is so much better. It allows you to find unique pieces, which is even more true if you buy vintage.
The secondhand offering is now so vast that it is possible to find absolutely everything, including good basics: jeans, black cigarette pants, white blouses, black boots, and sometimes items that have never been worn.
Buying secondhand clothes is choosing another model than one of mass production. It is a mode of consumption that opposes fast-fashion.
Inner Sanctum: New fashion styles are available almost every day. What do you think about the concept of fast fashion which has revolutionised the industry over the past decade?
Fast fashion concerns fashion brands that renew their collections very regularly to produce at low cost and sell at low prices.
Fast fashion appeared in the early 1990s with the arrival of brands like Zara in fashion epicentres such as New York or London. But it was in the late 1990s and early 2000s that low-cost fashion reached its peak with the series of brands we know today, which have become veritable empires such as H&M, Topshop, Gap, and, of course, Zara.
The recipe of fast fashion is simple: very regular renewal of collections by seasons or even by months or weeks, low prices, and reduced stocks. The process must be fast: the brands propose new collections as soon as a new trend emerges from the catwalks, celebrities, or the street.
This definition hides an unglamorous reality: sweatshops, sanitary and ecological disasters, human dramas, discrimination, and so on. Yet its consequences seem far away. And as they say, out of sight, out of mind.
But fast fashion is here, implanted in our daily life, even in our underwear. And its consequences are also very present. At a time of awakening consciousness and the development of sustainable and eco-responsible fashion, fast fashion cannot remain opaque and closed in on itself.
In response, they try to make us forget what is hidden behind our labels, with discounts, sales and other advertising to push us to consume more and more, and faster.
But to understand is to be able to make a choice. And as consumers, we can choose to become full-fledged actors in the textile industry. After all, if we choose to consume ethical fashion, fast fashion will be nothing.
The price to pay with fast fashion is high. The real price is not visible when you buy it. However, its damage on the planet and on people is immeasurable. If you don’t pay, someone else will.
There is an environmental downside to fast fashion. The flip side of low prices is the pressure on resources. Fast fashion still favours non-renewable, petro-sourced materials like polyester, elastane, nylon or even acrylic. Crops and transformation processes such as dyeing also require a significant amount of chemicals.
Unfortunately, most people are far from all of this, and think “cheaper, faster, new styles are all good for us”. VNS
The COVID-19 pandemic has made the life of performing artists in Việt Nam even harder. Many have had to take up extra jobs to earn a living like selling food online, shipping goods or selling insurance. They are in urgent need of State support to be able to stay in their profession.
By Minh Thu & Lương Hương
Hastily wiping the sweat dripping from her forehead, Nguyễn Thùy Dương put boxes of fried spring rolls into bags so that her husband, Hoàng Đức Thắng, could deliver them to customers for dinner.
Looking at the couple engrossed in loading their motorbike with boxes of fried spring rolls, you wouldn’t think they are top artists of the Việt Nam Circus Federation and used to shine on world stages with their silk swinging performances.
Before the ongoing fourth wave of COVID-19 infections in Việt Nam that started at the end of April, they spent a lot of time training for their busiest time of the year – summer.
The closure of their workplace, Hà Nội Central Circus, following national measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 immediately hit their monthly income. The young couple has had to take up an extra job to make ends meet.
According to the urgent dispatch of the Hà Nội authority on April 27, all cultural and art programmes had to be postponed to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
A series of performances by theatres were stopped, even though the artists had prepared to entertain audiences during the national holidays of April 30 and May 1.
The Việt Nam Circus Federation had to cancel its Circus Gala that gathers artists from provinces and cities nationwide.
Tống Toàn Thắng, deputy director of the federation, said that he and all other circus artists felt great sadness.
“We overcame a very difficult period in 2020. This year, our artists have been very excited to practise for many new projects such as the performance that combines cải lương (reformed opera) and circus Thượng Thiên Thánh Mẫu , the yearly Circus Gala, the Đi Cùng Năm Tháng show that aims to pay tribute to the heroes and martyrs in July and especially, the special performances to entertain the children this summer holiday.
“But when the pandemic suddenly broke out again, all plans had to stop. We felt like we were trying to get up but then were knocked down again,” he said.
“I felt so sad and wanted to cry when the pandemic broke out again and I believe that circus artists and performing artists, in general, also felt the same way,” Thắng said.
He said the sadness came from the artists’ regret of being unable to demonstrate their creativity and training over the past year as well as income worries, particularly for those with small children.
The federation authority has encouraged them to continue training to stay in shape, as their skills could fade after just a fortnight without training.
The federation has supported artists by providing free lunches for those with rehearsal schedules.
This idea was also implemented by the Hà Nội Drama Theatre during the pandemic in 2020. Nguyễn Trung Hiếu, director of the theatre, said he greatly sympathised with the artists.
“Currently, the theatre includes mainly 30 artists, in addition to young ones and those with contemporary contracts. Our artists’ income largely depends on shows so the cancellation of shows means an immediate drop in their income,” he said.
Dương and Thắng still train hard every day with other members of the federation. In addition, Dương makes food to sell online to earn extra money to raise their two small children, aged 2 and 11.
“If the pandemic hadn’t broken out, our income would be sufficient to cover our daily needs. However, our salary has been lowered at this time of the year, so we have no other choice but to find a part-time job, though we know that it is only a temporary solution and could not improve our family’s situation,” Dương said.
She makes spring rolls and other dishes to sell online while her husband is in charge of delivery.
“Thắng is a hard-working husband who frequently helped me with the housework even before the pandemic. When we receive many orders, he rolls up his sleeves and goes to the kitchen to fry spring rolls for me,” she added.
Being in the same profession means they can understand each other’s struggles well.
Another couple of the circus federation are Dương Quyên and Lê Minh Sinh who are renowned for their double string performance.
Since the closure of their shows, the couple started to sell chickens and fresh vegetables that their parents sent from the countryside. Quyên also runs yoga classes for women online.
“We trained day and night, spending a lot of time preparing for upcoming shows but then we didn’t have the chance to perform. We have been overwhelmed with disappointment and also worries about our income,” Quyên said.
She added that all circus artists have been struggling to make ends meet as they understand the federation is also encountering difficulties without income and is therefore unable to subsidise all artists.
“However, the leadership of the federation has been very concerned about our lives. We have been provided with free lunch on the days we train while young performers with financial difficulties will be allowed to live in the dormitory of the federation.”
Quyên said circus artists have a difficult and short career, but passion for the art inspires them to keep going.
“Taking up a part-time job is just a temporary solution. We always want to present special performances to the audience and make money from our creativity,” she said.
In 2020, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism supported 12 theatres to set up plays and organise performances to attract audiences back to the stage.
This year, the artists hope for similar support from the state management body.
They have also proposed more long-term solutions for performing arts in Việt Nam, such as a support package, tax exemption and reduction for performing businesses and a scheme to develop online theatres.
According to artist Phạm Ngọc Tuấn, director of Việt Nam Tuồng Theatre, the mechanism could not be changed immediately so it is important to find a timely solution.
“The economy this year is much tougher than last year. After the pandemic, people’s lives are also difficult because all industries have been affected. I’m afraid they will not be able to spend money on visiting theatres. We hope the Ministry of Culture and Sports and Tourism helps to remove difficulties in terms of human resources of performing arts,” he said.
Agreeing with Tuấn, artist Nguyễn Xuân Bắc, director of the Việt Nam Drama Theatre, said theatre managers should pay more attention to artists’ lives.
As a solution to deal with closures due to the pandemic, many theatres have concentrated on online performances.
The Việt Nam Drama Theatre, for example, has focused on developing YouTube and TikTok channels to broadcast entertainment programmes and reveal behind-the-scenes stories.
The Việt Nam Chèo Theatre is expected to premiere famous plays on social networking platforms while the Puppet Theatre and the Circus Federation plan to work with television stations to record performances and broadcast them on TV.
Trần Hướng Dương, deputy director of the Performing Arts Department under the Ministry of Culture, said the ministry is working to find specific solutions before holding meetings with theatres.
“I deeply understand the concerns of artists. Not only us but all of society is suffering from a difficult time. Through their work, artists can bring spiritual strength to the masses and therefore they need timely encouragement to continue to pursue their jobs,” he said. VNS
‘Make in Vietnam’ online conferencing platforms show that Vietnam’s problems are best solved by Vietnamese, but Vietnamese people need to give these platforms an opportunity to be used and improved.
The June meeting is organized online
Several days ago, the June meeting of the Ministry of Information and Communications (MIC) digital technology division was organized online, via the netMeeting online conferencing platform developed by NetNam.
Nearly 500 officers from 100 points nationwide attended the meeting.
Online conferencing has become more and more frequent for agencies and businesses in Vietnam during Covid-19 with the support of digital technology, including ‘Make in Vietnam’ platforms.
Previously, most meetings of an agency or enterprise took place in a direct form, with limited attendees, depending on the organizational model. But a ‘revolution’ has occurred which has flattened the traditional tree-shaped organizational chart, eliminating limits and creating a no-distance working environment.
Many state agencies are using next-generation online conferencing platforms, allowing officers to attend meetings at any time and anywhere with mobile devices and at negligible cost, instead of high-cost TV conferencing system as used before.
The quality of netMeeting, as shown at the meeting, is in no way inferior to foreign products.
eMeeting, another ‘Make in Vietnam’ online video conferencing developed by AIC and Bkav Corporation, was chosen by the National Assembly for the first online conference in history of the legislative agency, the ninth session of the 14th National Assembly.
eMeeting allows National Assembly Deputies to participate in sessions from a distance. It allows the Deputies to attend sessions via iPads in their offices in their home provinces with standard quality images and sound. There is no need to go to specialized meeting rooms with expensive equipment.
Vietnamese cannot solve the world’s questions well, but they can solve Vietnam’s problems the best, because they understand Vietnam’s culture, habits and its existing problems.
In the digital technology era, Vietnamese are continuing to make every effort to solve problems. The next-generation conferencing platforms are an example.
Vietnam’s digital technology firms have researched, developed and put into use a series of platforms, including Zavi of Zalo, eMeeting of AIC and netMeeting of NetNam.
Vietnam’s platforms use domestic connection bandwidth and can be customized to enhance security and safety.
Agencies and institutions can use the platforms on their infrastructure and control everything themselves, with no information leaking to third parties. They can further develop or rent to others to tailor the platforms to their needs.
‘Make in Vietnam’ products needs support
However, the online conferencing solutions developed by foreign technology firms are still favored and more commonly used by institutions and individuals in Vietnam.
|‘Make in Vietnam’ online conferencing platforms show that Vietnam’s problems are best solved by Vietnamese, but Vietnamese people need to give these platforms an opportunity to be used and improved|
A NetNam representative said that in the last two to three years many agencies and businesses have begun encouraging and creating a driving force for Vietnam’s technology firms to boldly make investments and develop new solutions.
“As a business, we believe that cooperating to build and improve competitiveness is very important. Vietnamese technology firms need to take full advantage of their understanding of the market demands and Vietnamese tastes, and use the world’s open technology to solve questions raised by domestic institutions and businesses,” he said.
He also expressed the hope that the Government would prioritize the use of Make in Vietnam services and technological solutions that have high quality and competitive prices.
Like a seed that needs good soil and regular watering to grow, Make in Vietnam platforms will only be able to dominate the domestic market and reach the world market if they are given opportunities to be used and perfected.
The market of 100 million people is a great asset of Vietnam. Each user and each comment about the weak points of products is extremely useful.