Monday, October 23 2017

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News travels on a motorbike

Update: March, 19/2017 - 09:00
News on wheels: Phạm Ngọc Chiêng, a 65-year-old veteran from the central province of Thanh Hóa broadcasts news and information from his motorbike. —VNA/VNS Photo Hoa Mai
Viet Nam News

Phạm Ngọc Chiêng had the job of being his commune’s broadcaster.

He noticed that in some parts of the area, people did not get to hear the news he was announcing.

So, he decided to put speakers on to his motorbike and ride around to these remote places.

Ever since then, people in the commune of Dân Lực, in the central province of Thanh Hóa have had a better idea of what is happening.

If one was to visit the commune of Dân Lực, in the central province of Thanh Hóa, and ask about Phạm Ngọc Chiêng, every local would have something to say about the 65-year-old veteran who drives around on his motorbike playing his own radio news.

Almost every day for more than ten years, Chiêng works as an unpaid ‘communication officer’, disseminating information about current events, government plans and decisions, and even laws to local villagers.

Locals even have their own name for him – the ‘knight of information’.

Chiêng drives his old motorbike, equipped with two big loudspeakers, a battery and a fluttering Vietnamese flag, to all corners of the district. He allows himself a break only when he feels too unwell to drive or when the weather becomes treacherous.

Chiêng had previously served in the army where he was in charge of cultural and artistic programmes. In 1977, he returned home, having sustained some injuries during his service. He was offered a job in the province’s Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, but turned it down and chose to spend his time in the native village.

“Until 2002, when my kids grew up, I agreed to work as Dân Lực commune’s broadcaster. While I was working there, I saw that many programmes failed to reach those living in remote areas.”

“I hoped that with my motorbike, I could reach the remote areas and bring information to them,” said Chiêng.

Every day, Chiêng drives about 10 to 15 kilometres broadcasting news on national socio-economic issues, as well as policies and official decisions that will impact local people. Normally, Chiêng would drive around the communes of Triệu Sơn, but sometimes his journey could stretch for 100 kilometres.

On the event of the National Assembly elections held in June last year, Chiêng was on the move from 5am to 10pm, continuously for a month. Initially his wife and children were against the hard work, but his passion and responsibility won out.

“I receive information materials from the government, province, district and commune every day, edit them into concise and easy to understand pieces of news, and then record them and ask my children and grandchildren to add some music to make them more lively and interesting. The recording will then be played through the loudspeaker,” said Chương.

The highlight of the ‘news’ often focusses on traffic laws, food safety, and reminders for locals not to encroach public roads to dry rice during the rice season. As he had witnessed tragic accidents, Chiêng felt an urgent need to do something to raise awareness of traffic safety laws.

Materials on traffic laws were once difficult to come by, but on realising the passion shown by Chiêng, Dân Lực Commune’s and Triệu Sơn District’s police provided him with legal documents on policies and plans of the government so that he could disseminate the information accurately.

To convey the legal documents and raise awareness about traffic law compliance in a simple and easy-to-understand format, he often used short slogans in his traffic reports such as “Being careless while driving is the shortest path to the death”, “Driving while being drunk is violating traffic laws”, “Please do not leave consequences of your own carelessness to your loved ones”.

“To boost effectiveness, I often choose places where people gather, including schools and market entrances,” he said.

With a vision to ensure his voluntary job has a long-term impact, Chiêng has been broadcasting from his bike for more than a decade. Besides the dissemination of legal documents, Chiêng also helps locals find their missing personal papers, as well as missing livestock by including notices in his broadcasts.

Thanks to Chiêng’s information, especially on traffic, the number of road accidents has decreased dramatically, according to chief of Dân Lực Commune Nguyễn Quyết Tĩnh.

Following his dedication over the last few years, Chiêng received awards from the local police. He was also awarded a new motorbike last year by Thanh Hóa Province’s police. VNS

 


 

 

GLOSSARY

If one was to visit the commune of Dân Lực, in the central province of Thanh Hóa, and ask about Phạm Ngọc Chiêng, every local would have something to say about the 65-year-old veteran who drives around on his motorbike playing his own radio news.

A veteran is someone with lots of knowledge and experience in life, including people who were soldiers during wars.

Almost every day for more than ten years, Chiêng works as an unpaid ‘communication officer’, disseminating information about current events, government plans and decisions, and even laws to local villagers.

Disseminating information means spreading it widely.

Locals even have their own name for him – the ‘knight of information’.

A knight is someone who is recognised for performing a good service.

Chiêng drives his old motorbike, equipped with two big loudspeakers, a battery and a fluttering Vietnamese flag, to all corners of the district.

When a flag flutters, it moves in the wind.

He allows himself a break only when he feels too unwell to drive or when the weather becomes treacherous.

The weather becomes treacherous when you cannot tell that it could turn dangerous.

In 1977, he returned home, having sustained some injuries during his service.

To sustain injuries means to suffer injuries.

“Until 2002, when my kids grew up, I agreed to work as Dân Lực commune’s broadcaster.

A broadcaster is someone who gives other people a message by announcing it with his, or her, voice, usually over some sort of public address system or radio.

While I was working there, I saw that many programmes failed to reach those living in remote areas.”

Remote means far away from anywhere else.

Every day, Chiêng drives about 10 to 15 kilometres broadcasting news on national socio-economic issues, as well as policies and official decisions that will impact local people.

Socio-economic issues are things that are to do with the way people live and the money they can make.

Impact means affect.

Initially his wife and children were against the hard work, but his passion and responsibility won out.

Initially means at first.

A passion is a strong feeling you may have for something that makes it possible for you not to worry how much time or money you spend on it.

To have responsibility means to be willing to have to answer to something and therefore make sure it is done correctly.

“I receive information materials from the government, province, district and commune every day, edit them into concise and easy to understand pieces of news, and then record them and ask my children and grandchildren to add some music to make them more lively and interesting.”

To edit a piece of writing or film footage means to change it by adding bits to it and taking bits out of it.

A concise piece of news is written in a few words but gets a message across clearly.

The highlight of the ‘news’ often focusses on traffic laws, food safety, and reminders for locals not to encroach public roads to dry rice during the rice season.

If rice encroaches on a public road, it takes up space on that road from the side.

To convey the legal documents and raise awareness about traffic law compliance in a simple and easy-to-understand format, he often used short slogans in his traffic reports such as “Being careless while driving is the shortest path to the death”, “Driving while being drunk is violating traffic laws”, “Please do not leave consequences of your own carelessness to your loved ones”.

To convey documents means to take them from one place to another.

Traffic law compliance means the obeying of traffic laws.

A format is a style of presenting something.

“To boost effectiveness, I often choose places where people gather, including schools and market entrances,” he said.

To boost effectiveness means to make something work better.

With a vision to ensure his voluntary job has a long-term impact, Chiêng has been broadcasting from his bike for more than a decade.

A vision is a goal that is based on how you would like to see things happen in the future.

Besides the dissemination of legal documents, Chiêng also helps locals find their missing personal papers, as well as missing livestock by including notices in his broadcasts.

Livestock means farm animals.

 

WORKSHEET

State whether the following sentences are true, or false:

  1. National Assembly elections were held in June 2016.
  2. Phạm Ngọc Chiêng has been broadcasting from the back of his bike for more than ten years.
  3. Phạm Ngọc Chiêng would never travel as much as 100km to broadcast news.
  4. This year, police in Thanh Hóa Province gave Phạm Ngọc Chiêng a new motorbike.
  5. Phạm Ngọc Chiêng is in his sixties.

 

ANSWERS: 1. True; 2. True; 3. False; 4. False; 5. True.

 

 

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