The Year of the Dragon is meant to be auspicious. Some of Viet Nam's leading lights are testament to that bold claim. An Vu and Dang Tran Trung report.
Do Minh Tuan, director, poet, born in 1952:
Like the Dragon, I am a person with many creations and ambitions because my mind is addicted to art. I also see characteristics in myself that people born in the year of the dragon usually have, such as the ability to overcome obstacles and I possess endurance. Figuratively, I am able to soar over the injustices and absurdities of life to travel freely in the sky of creativity.
In the past year, my main focus has been dozens of oil paintings for my fourth solo art exhibition both within the country and overseas. I've also been working on part two of my novel Than thanh va Buom buom (Gods and Butterflies) and finished some theatrical and cinematic scripts.
There are four things that I feel satisfied about. First, my son was accepted at an American school. Second, my daughter graduated from her masters course in France and got a job with an international organisation. Third, the seminar on the novel Gods and Butterflies, which was awarded the third prize from the Viet Nam Writers Association in 2010, has received good feedback. Finally, I received the Certificate of Merit from the Prime Minister for my achievements in the 1,000th anniversary of Capital Ha Noi.
In 2011, the socialist democracy spirit developed more and more. However, there are many things that held back that development like the increase of underworld activities, crimes and violence. I hope that in 2012, more peace and democracy will come to the world and Viet Nam so that money and injustice will not take control like they did last year. I have planned to travel abroad to promote my exhibition and generate some new literature and cinema works. I wish for all Vietnamese people to have the freedom, love and strength of the Dragon!
Trong Tan, pop singer, music lecturer, born in 1976:
Tet in my childhood was full of eagerness and expectation. My parents used to bring baskets of pork to their offices to share with their co-workers to make banh chung (square rice cake). I also loved to set off firecrackers, which signifies chasing away evil spirits. I'm sorry that firecrackers are forbidden now. My family still makes our own banh chung instead of ordering them from outside. Although the young generation today is enjoying better conditions than in the past, I think they should be taught the meaning of making banh chung to know more about the values of their fathers' Tet.
As for me, my job has not changed at all. I just did the live show Road of Music, organised by Viet Nam Television, with pop singer Anh Thu. The show received positive responses from the audience and I am very grateful for that. I really want to thank those who have had faith in me and given me favours. That is the most important thing to keep me going.
Tran Thuy Anh, Lecturer of Faculty of Tourism, Ha Noi University of Social Sciences and Humanities, born in 1964:
The Dragon is indeed a powerful creature in the traditional beliefs of Vietnamese people. Of the 12 zodiac animals, the Dragon is the only fictional animal. Because of this, it's different than the other 11. So it is natural that lots of people take an interest in dragons and people who born in the year of this sacred animal. Personally, I am not an ambitious person. I study literature, so I am quite romantic and dreamy. But patience and endurance are not only characteristics of people born in the Year of the Dragon. It also lies in most Vietnamese women. I am not an exception.
In 2011, I still carry on with my duties as a lecturer as I have for many years. Lucky for me, my career is stable and I have not lost my passion and enthusiasm for teaching over the past 26 years. I've also participated in many scientific seminars and have been the thesis advisor for many students. I am proud to be the daughter of Professor Tran Quoc Vuong, who has been nominated for the Ho Chi Minh Award.
Another happy thing is that both my children are good students; especially my son who has been awarded a full scholarship to the UK. He was also born in the Year of the Dragon.
I am dissatisfied that my health is still not improving.
In my opinion, Vietnamese people are always full of desire to live, no matter how hard life is. Vietnamese in general, especially women, have respectable energy. If there is anything that has not lost its way but is continually increasing, it is the strength of those ladies. The harder life is, the stronger they become. Wherever I see them, I see laughter and joy!
In the year to come, I wish for health for all families, friends and relatives, and happiness for all Vietnamese people as well as civilisation and development for the world. For myself, I hope I can devote more to my studies and lectures at the Viet Nam National University. Moreover, I hope the traffic jams and population will decrease, as many young mothers are yearning to have children this year.
Nguyen Thu Diep, accountant at Standard Chartered Bank, born in 1988:
As a young person who was born in the Year of the Dragon, I am very ambitious and always want to achieve the goals that I have set. At the same time, I see myself as very straightforward and hot-tempered.
Last year, there were some things that I was unhappy about but there were two things I can say I'm proud to have gained: I finished the IELTS course and a project for the bank.
In 2011, many issues prevented society from developing: rising inflation and the low awareness of food hygiene.
I wish for a promotion at work, for my family to always be in good health and for humankind to take more pride in protecting the global environment. I also hope for better living standards for the people. After all, don't we want peace for the whole world? I believe many young people think like me. — VNS