Viet Nam News
Artists and children united to make Giữ Lấy Tuổi Thơ (Preserve Childhood) to help stop child abuse. — Photo nhandan.com.vn
Nearly 200 artists and children participated in a music video titled Giữ Lấy Tuổi Thơ (Preserve Childhood), to appeal for society to fight violence against children, paedophilia and sexual abuse. Through the video, which was released last Mid-Autumn, composer Dương Trường Giang says it is an issue for everyone. Cốc Vũ talks with Giang about the MV.
How did the idea for this music video come about?
Composer Dương Trường Giang.
The project started with an idea from my former vocal trainer, Đinh Lan Hương, who is the director of a music centre for children. Hương loves children and is sensitive to many societal issues. One day, she told me she wanted to do something about the problem of child abuse. When I finished composing, I introduced her to singer Minh Quân. He is a professional volunteer and has run many effective community programmes. These were the first steps to build our team.
You may notice that the song’s lyrics are extremely varied. They come from news stories about violence and abuse of children. They come from the unfortunate stories of children who had to follow their parents as they begged in the streets.
For these children, there was no song to sing. Where was their childhood? How could they sing when they carried adult problems? These stories drove my team and me to create this video.
Is there any specific story that directly caused you to write this song?
In the past, I had the habit of giving money to beggars carrying babies, no matter who they were or what the situation was. Until one day, one of my sisters said to me that to do so was harmful to the baby. She said when I gave money to such adults, I had infringed on the children’s childhood. I just woke up. After a long talk that day, the first ideas for Giữ Lấy Tuổi Thơ flashed up in my mind.
Why did you and your team wait to debut the song when stories about violence, abuse and paedophilia ached more than ever?
When making products about volunteering, we can only work so quickly. The products must be perfect before they come out no matter what the occasion. But volunteer work cannot wait and neither can abused children. I want to spread this message: if you want to do something, do it right now. People who need our help do not have time to wait.
Is this your first project?
I used to participate in some community projects but I was just a partner. This is the first project of my own.
How do you feel in your first such experience?
I have lots of respect for my colleagues and the support of our team. There were some moving pieces in the process of making the video. I had to fly to HCM City where we did not have many workers.
Luckily the situation changed when I visited Phúc Bồ Studio, where I found about 30 people ready to co-operate. Those people did not know each other and did not know about me but when they heard about the project, they immediately agreed to support it. Many of them were willing to work from morning until late at night and only left when everything was done. I think there is only mercy that connects people in such a special way.
What do you think about an artist’s responsibility as a citizen?
Citizenship responsibility is not the story of a single person. At a certain age adults with experience in life will understand. Many people ask why the art community raises its voice about children’s issues. I reply that if we do not take the initiative to talk about these problems, who will? I think it is necessary to talk about this. Artists have some sway in the society. They can spread the word about important issues. They should contribute to making a better society because it will benefit them, too. Only when we live in a good society can artists have an environment conducive to creating art. Similarly, our children only grow well if they live in a good society. Participating in projects like this one gives artists a more profound view of people and life.
There have been many recent projects supporting children, but most of them were retail products. What do you think about the long-term development of this project?
With our present capacity, I can only do so much. However, after the video was announced, many people came to me with ideas. I will meet each of them to see what can be done in the future.
You are known for your love songs. Now you turn to songs about social issues. Will you really change your compositions?
A composer often works based on his or her own life experiences. Having children changed my music. Besides love songs, I did also try on write songs about social themes such as Nhìn Lại Mình Đi (Look at Yourself) and Chuyện Của Chúng Ta (Our Story). But they were topics related to youth and life. This is my first time composing a song about the responsibility of adults and society to children. I have thought of these things since I became a father.
What is the best thing about being a father?
I see it from both sides: as a father and a child. Being a father, I have a responsibility towards my child. But raising a child, particularly the first one, also brings me good experience. My child has taught me how to be a good father too. It is an exchange between father and child.
What else do you want convey through your video?
Nobody should be deprived of their childhood. Everyone has a childhood; everyone has his or her own dream. We hope the project will send a message – a voice of caution that urges everyone to protect children. — VNS