A: Let us enjoy this Christmas which has allowed us to share our joy with near and dear ones. Merry Christmas, dear listeners!
B: I hope Christmas fills up your life with love, happiness, tolerance, and peace. On this special day of the year, we’re very happy to read many Christmas messages from listeners worldwide.
A: David Baynon in Solihull, England, sent us a Christmas card with the image of Rudolf the reindeer and said: “I haven’t been in touch with you for a while but still enjoy your programs. Recently, I listened to VOV on the internet, but still enjoy your shortwave service at 18:00 UTC on 5955 khz with good reception.”
B: Here I have a lovely postcard of snowmen surrounding a Christmas tree, and this message: “Thank you for the wonderful programs during 2013. They added joy and happiness to my life. I’m looking forward to your programs in 2014.”
A: Jayanta Chakrabarty of India sent us an ecard and wrote: “Please receive my greetings for a very Merry Christmas and the very Best Wishes for the coming New Year. Convey my greetings to your loving family and to all dear staff members of VOV and their families.”
B: Ms Rokeya Khatun, a Bangladesh Dx’er, said: “Vietnam is one of my favourite countries and VOV is a loving station. I just started to tune to your station only a few years ago, at the end of 2007. But every time I listen to your voices I think you all are my family members and you give me information about you and your country. Merry Christmas and New Year greetings to you all.”
A: Thank you, dear listeners, for your warm sentiments. We hope our relationship will flourish in the New Year and for years to come. Now let me answer some questions from listeners. Ms. Rokeya Khatun asked “How many provinces, states, and districts do you have?”
B: Vietnam has 63 provinces and central cities. The provinces have provincial cities, districts, county-level towns, communes, and villages. The municipalities are divided into rural and urban districts, which are subdivided into wards. Cities and provinces are managed by People’s Councils, elected by the local people. The People’s Council elects a People’s Committee as an executive agency of the administration. This arrangement is, to a certain extent, a simplified version of Vietnam's national government. Provincial governments are subordinate to the central government.
A: Another listener in Bangladesh, Ashik Eqbal Tokon, told us that he read an article on festivals around the world. He learned that Vietnam has a festival called “Killing the inner insect”. Ashik wrote: “We Muslims worship Allah by not taking any food or drink in the day time throughout the holy month of Ramadan. You can call it killing the inner insect, as we try throughout the month to purify our inner spirit or soul. Is this the same as your festival?”
B: The Killing the inner insect festival is officially called the Doan Ngo festival. It’s held on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar Month. It’s has nothing to do with any religious rituals but is an agricultural festival. The festival is celebrated similarly in China, Korea, and Vietnam but the legends relating to this festival are different. Vietnamese people say that once upon a time, farmers jubilantly celebrated a bumper crop. But then insects came and ate all their harvested. The farmers faced devastation and tried in vain to kill the insects. One day, a stranger came and instructed them to prepare an altar in front of their house and pray. Amazingly, all the insects fell dead. The man told them that on the 5th day of the 5th Lunar Month, the insects are strongest and most aggressive. They should set up an altar and do as he had taught them to control the insects.
A: Thank you for your interesting story. It’s unbelievable but it’s our tradition. It has been upheld in both urban and rural areas of Vietnam, especially by farmers. On this day, we eat fermented sticky rice and sour fruits with salt before eating any rice or sweet food in order to kill the inner insects.
From Vikram Keshvala
B: I’m reading an email from Timo Alexander Stein of Norway, who used a shortwave travel radio, a Grundig Prima Boy 80, to tune in to our frequency of 5955khz. He noted that the signal came through quite well for certain periods with varying interference in between. Timo wrote: “I enjoyed listening to the broadcast of VOV very much. It is great to have a radio station maintaining its short-wave operations in the 21st century. I find it important to learn more about other cultures. Your webpage was also informative and well designed. The transmission from the Austrian transmitter site at 5955 kHz was sometimes difficult to hear due to interference.”
A: Maintaining a shortwave station is costly. But VOV believes shortwave broadcast remains an effective tool for communicating with the world. We have plans to begin broadcasts in additional languages in the near future. Our regular listener Rana Dewan Rafiqul shared his passion for shortwave radio and VOV: “I am very interested in cultural topics, particularly lifestyles in various countries. I love to know about folk festivals, music, the typical dishes from different regions and, of course, recipes. I’ve come to know so much about your beautiful country and its people. It feels like we all belong to one big family. I also use the Internet a lot, but the charming thing about radio is that one often discovers thing, such as music and information you didn’t know you would like”.
B: Thank you, Mr. Rafiqul, for your compliment. It’s the best reward for our work. In the last few minutes of this Letter Box, we will answer the question “what fundamental rights are guaranteed in Vietnam’s Constitution”, raised by Ratan Kumar Paul of India. The newly adopted Vietnamese Constitution, which will come into effect on January 1, 2014, defines human rights and citizen’s rights and obligations in Chapter 2. The Constitution says human rights and citizen rights in politics, civil matters, economics, culture, and society are recognized, respected, protected, and ensured by Vietnam’s the Constitution and law. All people are equal under the law. Vietnamese people living abroad are an inseparable part of the Vietnamese nation.
A: Other regulations state that all people have the right to do scientific and technological research, compose literature and fine arts, and enjoy the benefits of these activities. Citizens have the right to enjoy and access cultural values, live in a healthy environment, and have an obligation to protect the environment. National defense is a sacred obligation and the honorary right of citizens, who must fulfill a military obligation and contribute to national defense.
B: We picked just a few of the fundamental human rights and citizen’s rights and obligations mentioned in the Vietnamese Constitution, in answer to a question from Ratan Kumar Paul of India. If you are interested in this topic, please go to our website to read more about the revision and content of the Vietnamese Constitution.
A: Time is up on this week’s Letter Box. We’ll verify your reception reports and send you QSL cards soon. We welcome your feedback at: English section, Overseas Service, Radio Voice of Vietnam, 45 Ba Trieu Street, Hanoi, Vietnam. Or you can email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You’re invited to visit us online at www.vovworld.vn, where you can hear both live and recorded programs. Good bye. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.