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Book reflects astonishing beauty of the Spratlys’ landscape, soldiers, people

Update: March, 13/2018 - 09:00
Soldiers in Trường Sa are captured in one of Nguyễn Mỹ Trà’s photos.
Viet Nam News

HÀ NỘI — The beauty of the nature in the Trường Sa (Spratly Islands) and its people is portrayed in a book of photos taken by photographer and journalist Nguyễn Mỹ Trà, released yesterday in Hà Nội.

Entitled Trường Sa – Here We Come, the book in Vietnamese and English contains stories of the magnificent, gorgeous, fathomless Trường Sa made of coral reefs, whirlwinds, hot sands, salty seas and the bitter taste of the blood shed by generations of Vietnamese defending the sacred seas and skies of the country.

The colour of the Spratlys is the blue and white of the sky, blue and white of sailors’ uniforms and the green of the phong ba tree (velvetleaf soldierbushes), bàng vuông (sea putats) and tiny, brave plantings of spinach and grass.

“Above all, and most movingly, Trường Sa is the tanned skins and strong, kind, sincere eyes and smiles of its defenders – the navy soldiers, policemen, fisheries surveillance officers and the families living on the islands,” said Nguyễn Thế Kỷ, member of the Party Central Committee and chairman of the Central Council for Theory and Criticism of Literature and Art.

“This book is also about the people living on the mainland and overseas who yearn to visit the Spratlys. It is about ceremonies saluting the Vietnamese national flag that flies over the islands and reefs, about tears of grief and gratitude shed for the fallen heroes who have sacrificed their lives for the Spratlys, about hands clasped in support or love, momentos from the sea, territorial markers and solemn soldiers turning eyes toward the faraway and beloved mainland.”

The beauty of Trường Sa is reflected through the lens of photographer Nguyễn Mỹ Trà. — Photo courtesy of the Kim Đồng Publishing House

Rear Admiral Phạm Văn Vững, political commissar of the Việt Nam People’s Navy, said the book is not a magnificent photo collection of the rich and diverse landscape of the Spratlys but also an honest portrayal of the daily lives of the soldiers and people who live, work and study on the Spratlys and the DK1 platform.

“These photos have managed to capture, with originality and humanity, the ceaseless passion for life, the positive outlook and the determination of navy soldiers, and people in a mission to strengthen and defend the sacred sea territory of the country,” he said.

“In just a short time in the Spratlys, photographer Trà was able to exploit her own enthusiasm, intelligence and creativity to tell touching and true stories about the Spratlys and the DK1 platform,” he added. 

Trà was born in 1976 and works at the Radio Voice of Việt Nam. She visited the Spratlys in 2016 and 2017. The photos taken during the trips have been exhibited in Hà Nội and HCM City. Now they are gathered in the book Trường Sa – Here We Come.

“I have been a reporter for nearly 20 years, and going to the Spratlys is one of my biggest dreams,” she said.

Trà published the book with aim of helping people have a better understanding of life on the islands. She hopes that her exhibition and book will inspire the younger generation to love the Spratlys as well as the country more. — VNS


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