Saturday, December 3 2016

VietNamNews

Special lake turtle passes on

Update: January, 30/2016 - 12:00

It was sad day recently when a much-loved turtle died.

It had great value to many people for whom it was very spiritual.

The turtle lived in a lake in Ha Noi and sometimes came out of the water to lie in the Sun.

There is now talk of keeping its body in a museum so that people can see the turtle and learn about it for many years into the future.

Rest in peace: The sacred turtle of the Sword Lake passed away on the afternoon of January 19, causing shock to not only Hanoians but also Vietnamese people across the country.
Rest in peace: The sacred turtle of the Sword Lake passed away on the afternoon of January 19, causing shock to not only Hanoians but also Vietnamese people across the country. - Photo zing.vn

HA NOI  (VNS) — The turtle living in Hoan Kiem Lake, a sacred symbol of Ha Noi that has been associated with many legends, passed away on Tuesday.

Many Vietnamese in general and Hanoians in particular have mourned over the death of the legendary animal, which had survived through the many ups and downs of the country.

"The most recent emergence of the 'Great Turtle' was on December 21, which lasted over two hours for sunbathing," Ha Noi's biologist Ha Dinh Duc said.

He added that he had been overwhelmed with sadness and regret of losing something sacred that is closely associated with his life and that of Hanoians.

"I learned about its death very suddenly," he said.

According to Duc, the retired biology professor of Ha Noi National University, who has spent over 20 years monitoring the rare turtle in the lake, the reason for its death has not been identified yet.

As an animal that has been closely connected with the spiritual and cultural life of the Vietnamese, each emergence of the turtle on the lake is believed to be an omen for an upcoming significant social event, and its death therefore has drawn much attention from the public and local media, he said.

However, Duc said that there should not be any misleading inference from the event.

He himself has witnessed the sacred turtle surfacing many times, the last of which was when the turtle was brought ashore for treatments for bites caused by red-eared sliders.

Speaking of the possible embalmment of the deceased turtle, Duc said that the final decision will be made by the city authorities.

At present, the turtle's body is being preserved in the Viet Nam National Museum of Nature before being treated for long-term preservation.

Symbol of peace

The professor also supported the idea of keeping the turtle's body in the museum for future generations, "because it is the symbol of peace and independence, which is significantly valued by all Vietnamese in general and Hanoians in particular".

Despite eyewitness sightings of one or two more turtles, Prof Duc said he believed that "there aren't any turtle of its kind left in Hoan Kiem Lake."

He had twice proposed to Ha Noi's administrators to recognise the turtle of Sword Lake as a national treasure that needed preservation and frequent health checks.

He also suggested enlisting the turtle into the Viet Nam's Red Data Book, a list of rare and endangered species of fauna and flora native to Viet Nam.

Measured 1.26m long,1.03m wide and 169kg in weight, the turtle, according to legends, originated from the central province of Thanh Hoa, the hometown of King Le Loi (1384-1433), and was released into the lake by the King. It has been therefore affectionately known to locals as "Cu Rua", meaning "great great grandfather turtle" in Vietnamese. — VNS

GLOSSARY

Many Vietnamese in general and Hanoians in particular have mourned over the death of the legendary animal, which had survived through the many ups and downs of the country.

To mourn means to feel sorry that someone, or in this case an animal, that you loved has gone.

Legendary means very well known .

"The most recent emergence of the 'Great Turtle' was on December 21, which lasted over two hours for sunbathing," Ha Noi's biologist Ha Dinh Duc said.

The turtle's latest emergence means its latest arrival.

He added that he has been overwhelmed with sadness and regret of losing something sacred that is closely associated with his life and that of Hanoians.

If something overwhelms you, it has a very emotional effect on you.

Sacred means holy.

According to Duc, the retired biology professor of Ha Noi National University, who has spent over 20 years monitoring the rare turtle in the lake, the reason for its death has not been identified yet.

Somebody who is retired no longer works because he, or she, is now too old to do so.

Biology is the study of all forms of life on Earth.

A professor is a senior teacher at a university.

To monitor a turtle means to watch and study it closely.

As an animal that has been closely connected with the spiritual and cultural life of the Vietnamese, each emergence of the turtle on the lake is believed to be an omen for an upcoming significant social event, and its death therefore has drawn much attention from the public and local media, he said.

An omen means something that happens that can bring about good or evil.

An upcoming significant social event means a special occasion, such as a wedding or a Tet celebration, which is important and will be happening soon.

However, Duc said that there should not be any misleading inference from the event.

An inference is what you believe about something after thinking about it. If you draw a misleading inference about something, it means that you have especially been led to wrongly understand it.

He himself has witnessed the sacred turtle surfacing many times, the last of which was when the turtle was brought ashore for treatments for bites caused by red-eared sliders.

To witness  something means to see it happen.

If a turtle is brought ashore, it is brought to the shore.

A red-eyed slider is another type of turtle.

Speaking of the possible embalmment of the deceased turtle, Duc said that the final decision will be made by the city authorities.

The embalmment of a dead body means the action of keeping it preserved and not rotting.

A deceased turtle is a dead turtle.

He had twice proposed to Ha Noi's administrators to recognise the turtle of Sword Lake as a national treasure that needed preservation and frequent health checks.

To propose that the turtle should be a national treasure means to put this forward as an idea.

To recognise the turtle as a treasure means to accept that it is a treasure.

If health checks are frequent, they happen often.

He also suggested enlisting the turtle into the Viet Nam's Red Data Book, a list of rare and endangered species of fauna and flora native to Viet Nam.

Creatures that are rare are fairly few in number. If they are endangered there are so few of them that they could easily disappear forever.

A species of animal, or plant, is a type of animal or plant.

Fauna means animals.

Flora means plants.

Fauna and flora that are native to Viet Nam come from the country and were not brought in from other countries.

It has been therefore affectionately known to locals as "Cu Rua", meaning "great great grandfather turtle" in Vietnamese.

Affectionately means fondly and lovingly.

WORKSHEET

Find words that mean the following in the Word Search.

1.      The type of school where Ha Dinh Duc once worked.

2.      A name for the people from the capital city of Viet Nam.

3.      What Cu Rua did for two hours on December 21.

4.      The subject in which Prof Ha Dinh Duc is an expert.

5.      A word meaning plants.

 

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© Duncan Guy/Learn the News/ Viet Nam News 2015



































1. University; 2. Hanoians; 3. Sunbathe; 4. Biology; 5. Flora

 

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