Kaleidoscope (Aug 10, 2014)
by Phuong Mai
Parents choose locally made lanterns for Mid-Autumn fest
Children all over Viet Nam are excited about the upcoming Mid-Autumn Festival, which is known as "The Children's Tet." During the festival, they eat mooncakes with a variety of flavours, and walk the streets carrying lanterns.
In the past, parents were often worried about the quality of lanterns, whose origin was often unknown. But in recent years, locally made toys have been dominating the market.
Sales of lanterns began three weeks ago, with a wide range of products available, including traditional lanterns made of paper or glazed paper, and electric items made of plastic with colourful bulbs inside that emit music.
Traditional lanterns have the shape of ships, stars and animals, while electric ones look like Superman and cartoon characters.
This year's market has new electric lanterns with images of Vietnamese fishermen and their ships, soldiers protecting the country, the DK1 Platform, and islands belonging to the country.
The toys also feature legendary Vietnamese heroes like Saint Giong, a young man who chased invaders out of the country and then took off into the sky with his horse, and the Trung sisters, female leaders who fought against the northern enemy.
The toys can play Vietnamese songs popular with children.
Huynh Van Khanh, director of the District 8-based Ky Thuat Moi (New Technology) company, says his new lanterns this year offer lessons about patriotism. And, Quach Ngoc Lan, a lantern shop owner in District 5, says her shop will be selling only local lanterns.
The lanterns can be bought at stores and mobile stalls on streets like Hai Thuong Lan Oâng, Luong Nhu Hoc and Nguyen An in District 5, and Le Quang Sung in District 6.
Prices are VND10,000 to 40,000 for traditional items, and VND20,000 to 70,000 for electric ones.
Oldest married couple shares secrets to success
An amicable nature and optimism are the two most important attributes shared by Viet Nam's oldest married couple, as recorded in the Viet Nam Book of Records.
Cao Vien, 106, and Vu Thi Hai, 100, in the central province of Nghe An, have been married for 83 years, and have three sons and five daughters.
Vien met his wife when he was 24 years old. Their families were very poor.
Despite having an uncomfortable life, the couple was always optimistic and kind to others, and tried their best to teach their children to be good people.
"My wife and I have tried to be an example for our children and grandchildren," Vien says. "Fortunately, all my grandchildren have become useful people in society."
The couple has 34 grandchildren - the youngest is 54 years old. Most of them work in state agencies in the province.
Their youngest child, Cao Thi Que, 60, says: "Despite old age, my parents are healthy. They take part in activities of the Elderly People's Association in the province. During his free time, my father likes writing poems, reading books and even cooking, while my mother loves to take care of him."
Hai explains the secret of her long and successful marriage: both husband and wife avoid arguments, and share both happiness and sadness.
"Our parent's marriage is firm like a diamond. It brings great happiness to our big family," Que says. — VNS