Ms. Hoang Thi Mai (second from right, first row) teaches local women to dance. (Photo: VOV)
At the family gathering every weekend, 75-year-old Hoang Thi Mai of Chieng An hamlet, Son La city, teaches her grandchildren to sing Thai folk songs.
Born in Yen Chau district, which is famous for Thai culture, Ms. Mai grew up with the sounds of the Khen (panpine) and Thai folk songs. At the age of 13 she could sing and dance quite well. After she retired in 1989, she began teaching her grandchildren Xoe dance and Thai folk songs.
“At first, the hamlet’s art troupe only had 6 people. In 2005, as the area welcomed more visitors, I set up two art troupes, one for women and one for young people. Now the hamlet has 5 art troupes for different ages,” said Mai.
For Mai, performing music is a great way to enjoy life. She said, “Through music and art performances, more and more people are learning about my hamlet, and investing in electricity and roads here. Our hamlet has seen great changes, thanks to the effort to promote our cultural values.”
Mai’s husband is affectionately called “Teacher Hac” by the locals because Mr. Hac has organized classes to teach the Thai language. His first class had only 3 students. Now it has more than 100 students ranging in age from 7 to 60.
“I create the lessons myself. Each class has two lessons per week for 3 months. At the end of each course, awards are given. Now, many locals can read and write Thai. I plan to offer more classes in the future,” said Hac.
|Mr. Quang Van Hac teaches local people ancient Thai language. (Photo: VOV)
Mr. Hac and Ms. Mai have 4 children and 8 grandchildren, all of whom have grown up to the sound of Thai folk songs and are knowledgeable about Thai culture and customs.
“I’m very happy and proud to be able to speak and write Thai. My grandparents have taught us a lot about Thai culture in order to preserve it,” said Lu Quynh Huong, one of the grandchildren.
In 2009, Mr. Hac set up an education fund for the Quang family. Many family members have been successful in their studies. 60 have an MA or BA degree.
“Despite their age, Mr. Hac and Ms. Mai still enthusiastically strive to preserve the Thai culture. Thanks to their effort, our hamlet is attracting more and more tourists, which has improved the local living standard,” said Mr. Luong Van Dich, the head of Bo hamlet.
In 2020, Mr. Quang Van Hac received a certificate of merit from the Vietnam Association for Promoting Education. In April, Ms. Hoang Thi Mai was invited by Vietnam’s President to attend a meeting of outstanding patriarchs and heads of villages and artisans of ethnic minority groups.