Nguyễn Thị Hương. — Photo hanoimoi.vn
Associate Professor Nguyễn Thị Hương talks to Hà Nội Mới (New Hà Nội) newspaper about the importance of proper behaviour in public places
Do you have any comments about efforts by Hà Nội authorities to protect civilised behaviour in the nation’s capital?
As the nation’s centre of culture, economics and politics, Hà Nội reflects thousands of years of civilisation.
Visitors all express their admiration for the city’s spiritual values through its cultural spaces and events.
In November, 2017 alone, more than 10 cultural events including arts, music, films, paintings and others were organised.
How do you respond to complaints about the poor behaviours of participants at some public events, particularly the recent Countdown to New Year 2018 at Hoàn Kiếm Lake?
Quite a few people have adopted strange behaviour in public places. They throw waste wantonly and laugh loudly as if they were at their home.
I’m sorry to say that the throwing of waste by many Vietnamese has been deeply rooted in backward agricultural practice for thousands of years. So it is not easy to erase it. It will take time.
In my opinion, such a negative phenomenon will gradually be eliminated. We have launched campaigns to persuade people to adopt a new healthy lifestyle, particularly in public places.
A key reason for negative phenomenon in public places is due to the poor behaviour of many people. If we don’t speak out against these acts, it may mean that we condone them.
Do you think there is another reason for poor behaviour in public places?
From the perspective of a management agency, may be the agency only focused on achieving a set result without thinking to mention environmental issues and the protection of public culture. For example, there weren’t sufficient rubbish bins to put waste, mobile toilets or even first-aid kits.
Last but not least, the organiser should estimate the number of people who will attend a given event to avoid crowd disasters, like the Countdown to New Year 2018 around the Hoàn Kiếm Lake.
In 2017, Hà Nội introduced a code of conduct for public places. But what happed around the Hoàn Kiếm Late at the Countdown to New Year 2018 seemed to show the code was meaningless.
No, I don’t think so. In my opinion, in our code there is no line talking about sanctions against misbehaviour in public places. We should learn from Singapore, Japan, the United States or Great Britain. I’m pretty sure the heavy fines levied would deter bad people from committing acts against public property.
But, what is more important, in my opinion, our information, education and communication activities have not been done properly. They should raise people’s awareness about behaviour in public places and the environmental aspects of throwing waste anywhere.
Last but not least, we need good co-ordination among agencies on environmental protection in the course of building a society ruled by law.— VNS