by Thu Hang
TV show offers sex education
"I'm old enough to know about sex," says 18-year-old high school student Tran Minh Hoang, who lives in Ha Noi.
Hoang and his friends are fans of a television series called Hoa Phuong Trang (White Flamboyant) on Viet Nam Television's VTV9 channel, a new show that offers sex education for the youth.
Hoa Phuong Trang is broadcast at 10pm every weekend and focuses on young viewers aged 16 to 20.
It features love, sex and other matters, such as the use of condoms and the risks associated with abortion.
"After watching, I have gained confidence," says Hoang.
His parents' generation considered talking about sex a taboo, but Vietnamese youth are living in a different time. "It's funny how sex can sometimes be easier to do than to talk about, especially when what you want to discuss it with your parents."
"Youngsters want to receive more and more advice about our problems, including love, sex, family planning, sexually transmitted diseases and the risks associated with drugs and prostitution, from books, newspapers and cinemas," he says.
Local media recently reported that youth aged between 16 and 25 are freer and more open in talking about sex than their parents.
However, many of them suffer from a lack of knowledge on social and sexual issues, and the requisite protection to avoid unwanted consequences. As a result, they suffer from depression.
Psychologist Nguyen Minh Nga of the Love, Marriage and Family Consulting Centre in HCM City says that parents should stop forbidding their children's modern lifestyle, and instead offer life skills and useful advice.
"Talking about their delicate problems is our job," she says.
Collecting Giap memorabilia
Military veteran Tran Van Duy of Kien Giang Province's Rach Gia City owns a unique collection of materials about the legendary General Vo Nguyen Giap.
With more than 6,000 pictures, newspaper clippings, and other stuff about the military genius, he has positioned himself as a singular collector.
However, Duy denies that designation. "I'm not a collector. I store objects about General Giap because I want to preserve the spirit of one of Viet Nam's great revolutionaries in the 20th century, and keep for the next generation," said the 71-year-old man.
Since he was in high school he had heard on the radio and read plenty about Giap. In October 1964 Duy met and shook hands with the great man during the latter's visit to a military unit in Vinh Phuc Province's Tam Dao District.
His admiration only grew after the meeting and Giap became his role model. In July 1965 the General visited injured soldiers in his unit and spoke words of encouragement to them.
"It boosted the morale in the fight against the enemy," Duy said.
Since then he started collecting images and newspaper stories about Giap.
The albums that make up his 50-year collection have their own room in Duy's house. — VNS