by Phuong Mai
Writer competes in pageant
Vuong Thi Bich Viet of the central province of Quang Ninh has been using a wheelchair to get around for the last six years, following a motorbike accident that left her unable to walk.
Scared and depressed, she was floundering for months until she discovered the joys of reading, which brought her such peace and purpose that she began writing herself.
The novel Ban Sao Khong Hoan Hao (Imperfect Copy), the short story Chi La Yeu Thoi Ma (Just Love), and a book for the handicapped, Cuoc Doi Khong Hoan Hao (Life Is Incomplete) are a few of her works. Her poems have also appeared in the newspapers Quang Ninh, The Gioi Gia Dinh (World of Family) and Ao Trang (White Shirt).
Recently, Viet, now 25, decided to enter the Ve Dep Vang Trang Khuyet (The Beauty of Crescent Moon) beauty pageant for the disabled, the country's first such event. She is among 70 women aged between 18 and 30 from provinces and cities nationwide who are participating in the contest.
Held to mark Viet Nam's Day for Disabled People, the contest was organised by the Ha Noi Association of Disabled Young People, the Centre for Support of Community Development Initiates, the Sustainable Health Development Centre, and the Centre for Creative Initiatives in Health and Population (CCIHP).
Dinh Phuong Nga of CCIHP says the contest's aim is to promote the wisdom, beauty and talent of people with disabilities. The jury has chosen 15 contestants to enter the semi-finals, and 10 finalists will be decided for the final round to be held from April 15-17 in Ha Noi.
Contest calls for emotional VN
Let's On Air 2013, a creative art contest organised by Scommunications of HCM City's University of Economics, is encouraging Vietnamese to emote. This comes after a sobering Gallup International poll released last November that ranked the country 13th among the "most emotionless" nations in the world.
The poll, which measured daily emotions in more than 150 countries and areas, asked residents "whether they experienced five positive and five negative emotions a lot the previous day". The result: Singapore ranked first, and seven countries tied for dead last.
This has sparked a movement of sorts among HCM City youth, who are so concerned about the nation's emotionless state that groups of them are walking around town wearing white masks in popular areas near the Notre Dame Cathedral, the main Post Office and Turtle Lake.
One youth, Nguyen Thanh Long, says the masks are worn to remind people of their unfeeling state.
With the message "Don't talk, let's see. Don't only see, let's open your heart", the group wants people to begin to express themselves more deeply.
The contest has asked for artworks (short films, publications, and print adverts) from individuals or groups. The deadline is April 24. For more information, contact .
The results will be announced on April 28. The winner will receive VND300 million ($14,300). — VNS