HÀ NỘI — Thirty five years have passed since Khamphan Suvannakha attended a special class organised by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA).
The journalist from Laos news agency Khaosan Pathet Lao (KPL) and his colleagues were in Việt Nam to help develop their skills.
Between 1981 and 1984 Việt Nam was their home. Each day they would listen and learn from staff at VNA as they tried to improve.
Thirty years have passed since Khampin Sishophavong and other former staff of Laos news agency Khaosan Pathet Lao (KPL) attended a special class held in 1981-1985 period organised by the Vietnam News Agency (VNA) to improve their professional skills. VNA/VNS Photo Phạm Kiên
And for one of his colleagues, the course has extra special meaning because it was during his time in Việt Nam he fell in love with a local woman who became his wife.
VNA staff even became his ‘surrogate’ family during the wedding ceremony as his own family back in Laos were unable to attend. The couple now live together in Vientiane.
According to Khamphan, what made the class “special” was it was the first and the only one that the VNA provided long-term training for up to four years, exclusive for Lao and Cambodia news agency staff. Other courses last only several months, he said.
“It was between 1981-1985, when Việt Nam faced huge difficulties and shortages, however, to help oversee learners like me achieve the best results, the VNA leaders created the best conditions for us,” Khamphan recalled.
To ensure the learners were treated well, the VNA also arranged accommodation and a chef for them.
Every year, Lao students from other schools were not allowed to return home, but those at VNA could still return home twice a year, Khamphan said.
VNA gave each student a Thống Nhất bicycle for travelling, he said, adding that the bicycle was a fortune and very precious to help them explore the city.
“To help the students have full knowledge and achieve the best result, the VNA even assigned people for tutoring them at home. Teachers also pay special attention to the students.”
If a student didn’t attend the class for some reasons, the teachers would go to see him and give him the lessons at home, he said.
Khamphan attributed the success to the combination of theory and practice, the dedication of teachers from the VNA and the Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) as well as the material and spiritual support from VNA management .
“The knowledge that the teachers of the VNA and the HUST have laid out a foundation for me to develop and grow at work in the following years,” he said.
Khampin Sishophavong, Khamphan’s classmate, who later became editor-in-chief of Finance newspaper under Lao Ministry of Finance, agreed.
For him, the passage of decades has not erased the memory of the days when VNA experts taught him.
"Sometimes the teachers [from VNA] would wake me up for class,” he said.
“It is indeed very special. Perhaps nowhere can you see such dedicated teachers.”
According to Khampin, thanks to the enthusiasm and dedication of the VNA, the Lao students on his course completed their studies with good results and contribute to the development of KPL after returning home.
“The application of the knowledge gained at that time helped the KPL compared to other domestic agencies in terms of technical issues,” he said.
Not only providing long-term training for KPL staff, the VNA also sent experts to guide KPL officials on how to apply what they had learned.
One of the most special things was that during his studying at the VNA he fell in love with a girl from Hà Nội who later became his wife. Now the couple is leading a happy life in Vientiane.
When he got married in 1985, it was the VNA’s staff who acted as the groom’s family, Khampin said.
According to him, the cooperation between the two countries’ news agencies is very close, sincere and special.
When asked the relationship between the two news agencies on occasion of VNA’s 75 anniversary, Sounthone Khanthavong, former KPL General Director spoke highly of the VNA’s support to KPL.
The relationship and cooperation between VNA and KPL over the past decades, including personnel training, technical infrastructure and professional expertise have laid solid foundation for KPL to better perform its tasks, he said.
“This is not only a testament for sound relationship between the two major news agencies of each country but contributing to preserving the traditional friendship, special relations and comprehensive cooperation between Việt Nam and Laos,” Sounthone said. — VNS