|Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword) Lake - the heart of Hanoi - in autumn. (Photo: VNA)
B: Thedja Haryanto of Indonesia told us that he has been listening to VOV since the 1990s and the reception of VOV broadcasts on the frequency of 12020 khz is the best ever. He said VOV’s programs are getting better and better and VOV broadcasters have beautiful voices.
A: Chanthima of Laos wrote: “Thank you for broadcasting many beautiful songs about Hanoi and introducing the attractions of Vietnam. I’m very excited about visiting Vietnam at this time of the year.”
B: Sharing impression on our stories about Hanoi’s autumn, Bidhan Chandra Sanyal of India wrote: “The description of the beautiful form of the charming autumn was good.”
A: Amir Jameel of Pakistan wrote: “I would like to send greetings to all VOV broadcasters and editors on Vietnamese Women’s Day, October 20. I wish you all health, happiness and enthusiasm.”
B: Richard Taylor of London wrote: “I wish female presenters and editors at VOV and Vietnamese women in general peace and happiness. I’m always your loyal listener.”
|Autumn sunset over West Lake. (Photo: VNA)
A: In an email to VOV this week, Tim Breyel sent us a reception report for our broadcast on October 18: “You may be interested to learn that The Voice of Vietnam was heard on the shortwave frequency of 9.840 kHz, under good conditions in the Kuala Lumpur area. An English language broadcast of news, current event reports, "Letterbox" and Vietnamese pop music was observed from 10.08 till 10.30 UTC, on 18 October 2023.”
A: Thank you all for your greetings, and for tuning in to VOV and sending us feedback. We hope to continue to receive more correspondence from you.
|Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique folk art, believed to be more than 1000 years old
B: Writing to VOV this week, Kobayashi Hideyuki of Japan asked about Vietnamese puppetry arts and the changes that it has seen over the past 10 years. He wrote: “I’m very impressed with your puppetry art. I watched puppetry shows twice when I visited Vietnam. The music, artists and the puppeteers created a wonderful performance on the stage.”
A: First, we must say the Vietnamese art of puppetry has changed to adapt to contemporary life but its core, traditional features remain because they are a unique feature of Vietnamese puppetry art.
B: Vietnamese water puppetry is a unique folk art, believed to be more than 1000 years old. A guide book says, “Not watching a performance of water puppetry means not yet visiting Vietnam.” A water puppetry performance provides great fun and excitement for their audiences with puppeteers cleverly manipulating wooden puppets on a special stage covered in water.
A: The prerequisite for a Vietnamese water puppetry show includes puppets performing on a shimmering water stage accompanied by music and singing. From the beginning to the end, audiences can only see the puppets and a small folk orchestra that performs live, but not the puppeteers who stand behind a curtained backdrop in a waist-deep pool.
B: Traditionally, the themes of the show are simple and familiar to Vietnamese people. Water puppet plays avoid complicated themes and emotions. They focus on the daily life of farmers, as they work in the paddy fields, herding ducks, catching frogs, and racing boats. They also feature common aspects of Vietnamese spiritual life, for example, illustrating the trance ritual, and the dances of the dragon, lion, phoenix, and fairies.
A: All traditional puppets are made of fig wood. After being carved, the puppets are painted with lacquer. The puppets will be lacquered all in black and dried before being painted in other colors to form their faces, figures, and clothes.
B: Vietnamese water puppets are manipulated by 2 main systems: rods and strings, all underwater. Every puppet needs them, though the specific device for each puppet may differ.
A: Meanwhile, stage puppetry is an art form in which the expression, gestures, and actions of hollow puppets are manipulated by people. There are different forms of stage puppetry: stick puppets, rod puppets, string puppets, hand puppets, and finger puppets. In Vietnam most puppetry plays are based on folk tales or excerpts from traditional theater performances.
B: These are the core features of traditional Vietnamese puppetry. But today, puppeteers try to keep up with global trends while breathing new life into their puppets and performances.
|Artist Thuy Tien and her marionettes made of bamboo and rattan and characterized with Vietnamese cultural identity. (Photo: sovhtt.hanoi.gov.vn)
A: Recently, Meritorious Artist Nguyen Ho Thuy Tien has been honored for being the first artist in Vietnam to create her own solo puppet show. “For a long time international friends have only spoken about water puppetry when talking about Vietnam’s puppetry art. In 2013, for the first time, after introducing my show ‘Vietnam In Puppets’, I wanted to participate in international puppetry festivals to share experiences with international friends and say to the world that Vietnam now has a wealth of puppetry arts, which I’m the first to bring to the world,” said Tien.
|Meritorious Artist Nguyen Ho Thuy Tien has been honored for being the first artist in Vietnam to create her own solo puppet show.
B: Tien says praise from the audience and her fellows gave her the courage to develop a solo puppetry show in Vietnam: “This is my show so I wrote the script, directed it myself, and had to improve my foreign language in order to perform it abroad. I’m not only a performer, but also in charge of all the logistics. It’s extremely hard, but I was extremely proud when my performance earned high praise. Everyone said it was beyond their expectation to discover that Vietnam has such unique puppetry. The title of my solo performance, ‘Vietnam in puppets’, says it all – the puppets represent Vietnam’s culture and people."
A: Thuy Tien is one of many Vietnamese puppeteers who are breathing new life into Vietnamese traditional art genres.
B: Early this year, "Dream Dragon", a play by the Vietnam National Puppetry Theater, was performed at the 36th International Theater Institute World Congress 2023 in the United Arab Emirates.
|A play performed by the Vietnam National Puppetry Theater. (Photo: VNA)
A: The play directed by Le Quy Duong embraces traditional Vietnamese theatrical identity and international features with sound effects, lighting, images and modern staging methods. The performance sends a profound message of love and aspiration for peace and happiness of mankind.
B: Well, that’s a brief about Vietnamese traditional puppetry and its adaptation to the contemporary life.
A: This week Dieter Feltes of Germany asked about beer drinking in Vietnam.
B: Vietnam is one of the world’s top ten markets for beer consumption, with an established indigenous beer culture that emerged during French colonization.
A: A first‑time visitor to Vietnam will be surprised by the variety of local and regional beers offered here. Along with imported beer brands such as Carlsberg, Tiger, San Miguel and Heineken, local people have produced and developed their own beer. Every city seems to have its own beer. For example, Saigon Beer is made in Ho Chi Minh City, Huda or Hue Beer comes from Hue, Hanoi Beer from Hanoi and so on.
B: Vietnamese beer culture is influenced by traditional European styles as well as embracing unique local taste called fresh beer – “bia hoi”.
A: Unlike canned or bottled beer, bia hoi is made fresh each day with no additives or preservatives. In its pure form, bia hoi is foamy, light with a crisp taste suggesting rice. Its taste is probably similar to Bud Light beer. The alcohol content of bia hoi is somewhere between 3 and 4.5% and is best when served as close as possible to when it has been made because the taste will quickly decline with time. After 20 hours or so, bia hoi will become undrinkable as it goes flat and tastes really bad.
|Bia Hoi is a must-try when you visit Hanoi
B: You can find hundreds of corner bars along the side walk or at every street in Hanoi. The price in these restaurants, as well as their accessibility and the relaxing atmosphere, is the main attraction for beer drinkers. In hot and humid weather, a cold delicious glass of beer not only cools down the thirst but is also a relaxing treat after a stressful day – with an extremely cheap price of only $0.20 USD for a glass. That is the reason why everyone, regardless of age and occupation goes there at lunch or in early evening to unwind and share their stories.
A: Thank you all for your interest in VOV, for sharing your love of our country, and for sending us your feedback. We hope to see you soon in Vietnam.
B: We welcome your feedback at English Service, VOVWorld, the 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 vovworld.vn, where you can hear both live and recorded programs.
A: Check out our VOV Media App, available on both the IOS and Android platform, to hear our broadcasts. We look forward to your feedback on the mobile version of vovworld.vn. Once again, thank you all for listening. Goodbye!