Maintaining National Cultural Identity in the process of integrating into the world community

Focus on Vietnam 2001
 Location - Climate
 People - Ethnics  Culture and Traditions  Religions  Economics  Current issues  Vietnamese Youth with country Chances and Challenges

GLOBAL GATHERINGS Brown-Bag Luncheon Series
Friday 23rd March 2001

Presented by Minh Vuong and Khue Ngo


• located along the eastern coast of mainland Southeast Asia • shaped like a giant letter S, extending some 1,600 km (1,000 mi) from the Chinese border to Point Ca Mau on the Gulf of Thailand. • Share borders with China, Laos and Cambodia • area of 329,600 square kilometres in land (two times bigger than Florida state) and 700,000 square kilometres of continental shelf. • Vietnam’s topography in land is a special one with two progressively widening parts at the northern and southern ends


An old street in Hoi An, Central Vietnam

Early winter morning on Hoan Kiem (Returned Sword) Lake. Hanoi, North Vietnam

The Ben Thanh market. Ho Chi Minh city (Saigon),


Climate - Natural conditions
• mainly tropical and partially equatorial • Hanoi the average temperature of the coldest month is 12.5 degrees Celsius (54 F), and of the hottest month, 29.3 degrees Celsius (85 F). • In central Vietnam, the temperature variation is from 20 to 30 degrees Celsius (68 to 86 F). • In Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), the temperature variation is much smaller: from 26 to 29 degrees (79 to 84 F) • The terrain along the coastal line enjoys a number of advantages but has to bear a lot of natural calamities such as typhoon, tropical low pressure


World Cultural Heritage Sites by UNESCO (United Nations Educational and Scientific Cultural Organization)

Halong Bay

Ancient capital of

the ancient town Hoi An


People and ethnic groups
• Vietnam is one of the most homogeneous societies in Southeast Asia with 78 million people comprised of 54 different ethnic groups • Ethnic Vietnamese constitute nearly 90% of the total population and are in the majority throughout the country except in the mountains. • Vietnam bridges the Pacific Ocean with the Indian Ocean, and Asian islands with the Asian continent and serves as a habitation for many ethnic groups.


People and ethnic groups
• The Vietnamese are descended from peoples who settled in the Yuan delta area more than 3,000 years ago and later moved southward along the central coast into the Mekong delta. They speak Vietnamese, which exhibits many similarities to other tongues spoken in the region but is sometimes considered a separate language group • On the path of development of human beings, Vietnam was located between two major ancient civilisations and soon became the place of exchange between these civilisations.


Culture - traditions and religions
• Historically rich cultural backgrounds and interesting folk arts. The country has more than 1,000 historical, cultural, and architectural sites which have been officially classified as "Heritage Sites". There were three layers of culture overlapping each other during the history of Vietnam: local culture, the culture that mixed with those of China and other countries in the region, and the culture that interacted with Western culture. The most prominent feature of the Vietnamese culture is that it was not assimilated by foreign cultures thanks to the strong local cultural foundations. On the contrary, it was able to utilize and localize those from abroad to enrich the national culture 8 Vietnam boasts 54 ethnicities living

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Cultural Characteristics
• The Vietnamese family unit (particularly in the rural areas) is patriarchal in nature with strong familial ties. It is not unusual to find three or four generations living in the same household. Personal names are written with the family name first, middle name second, and the first name last. It is common practice to address people by their first names, e.g. a woman by the name of Vuong Thu Minh would be addressed as "Miss Minh."


Culture traditions
Quan Ho Singing During village festivals, which are held every year, particularly in spring, young men and women gather in the yard of a communal house or pagoda, on a hill or in a rowing boat, and sing quan ho. This is a style of singing where songs alternate from group to group, going back and forth from one to the other. Quan ho singing is a folk art of highly collective nature. Those who sing are not entertainers, but all are part of the performance, and everyone is welcome to join.


Dan bau
The musical instrument that touches the heart
• The music of the dan bau (onestringed zither) should be solely for the pleasure of its player. Don't listen to it if you are a young woman. This warning, probably coming from vigilant parents wishing to protect their daughters from the emotional appeal of love songs played on this instrument; this gives an idea of the power and charm of its music The first dan bau was made in 1770. It was a very simple instrument comprised of a bamboo section, a flexible rod, a calabash or half a coconut


Water puppet
French critic has said "Water puppetry is the soul of Vietnamese fields." In water-puppet shows there is a very effective combination of the visual effects provided by fire, water, and the movements of the marionettes. Under the surface of the water is concealed the whole control system of the show. Calm and serene when fairy figures appear on it to sing and dance, it is agitated by stormy waves in scenes of battle with the participation of fire-spitting dragons.

The surface of water serves as the stage while spectators sit at the water's edge. The puppeteers both male and female stand waist-deep in the water to manipulate the puppets making them move about and even dance on the surface of the water. The water serves not only to hide the puppeteers and the puppets' strings but also to create a trembling stage full of reflection, while providing natural amplification for singing puppeteers accompanied by 12 percussion music and fire crackers. Every puppet is a piece

•The major religious traditions in Vietnam are Buddhism (which fuses forms of Taoism and Confusianism), Christianity (Catholicism and Protestantism), Islam, Cao Daism and the Hoa Hao sect.
* Buddhism

Buddhism was first introduced to Vietnam in the 4th century B.C. Buddhism was preached broadly among the population and it enjoyed a profound influence on people's daily life. Its influence also left marks in various areas of traditional literature and architecture. As such, many pagodas and temples were built during this time. The ideological influence of Buddhism, remained very strong in social and cultural life. Presently, over 70 percent of the population of Vietnam are either Buddhist or strongly influenced by Buddhist practices.

*Catholicism Catholicism was introduced to Vietnam in the 17th century. About 10 percent of the population are considered Catholic.


*Protestantism Protestantism was introduced to Vietnam at about the same time as Catholicism. Protestantism, however, remains an obscure religion. At present most Protestants live in the Central Highlands. The number of Protestants living in Vietnam is estimated at 400,000. * Islamic Islamic followers in Vietnam are primarily from the Cham ethnic minority group living in the central part of the central coast. The number of Islamic followers in Vietnam totals about 50,000. * Caodaism Caodaism was first introduced to the country in 1926. Settlements of the Cao Dai followers in South Vietnam are located near the the Church in Tay Ninh. The number of followers of this sect is estimated at 2 million. 14 *Hoahaoism Hoahaoism was first introduced to Vietnam in 1939. More than 1 million Vietnamese are

Ao dai (flowing tunic) – Vietnamese traditional long dress




Pre-renovation economic development (19451986): • 1945- 1975 period serious crisis due to undergo 30 years of resistance wars before it was reunified in 1975 Low starting point Heavy devastating consequences of war Mistakes in the economic management Long existence of the bureaucratic and subsidized mechanism

•1975-1986 period: recovered from the war social evils, the mass of flow of refugees Economic embargo, war-time policies continual natural calamities crisis in the former USSR and East 18 European socialist countries that led


The economic “Doi moi” process (1986 – now): Aims: • Eliminate the subsidy-based, bureaucratic, centrally-planned mechanism • Develop a socialist-oriented multi sector market economy under State control • Administrative reform for socioeconomic development, especial institutional 19 reform, organisational structural reform, public servants …

Results: • Maintain social and political stability and quickly take the economy out of the socio-economic crisis in the 1980s • Basically eliminate the centrally- planned mechanism and gradually form a socialist- oriented market economy • Strongly develop productive forces, improve the living standard, increase income and purchasing power of the population, thus enhancing the consumption of goods and export.


• • • • • Became the 3rd and the the 2nd largest world rice export country in 1990s Average economic growth rate (GDP) reached 8% Inflation decreased from 774.7% in 1986 to 67.4% in 1990 and to 6% in 2000 Living standards of the majority were improved Attracted 2501 projects with total capital of US$36 billions from hundreds of companies of more than 70 countries and territories all over the world. American business rank 9th among largest foreign investors During 1996-2000, nearly 1,500 FDI projects in Vietnam were licensed with their registered capital totalling some 24 billion USD and realized capital totalling some 10 billion USD


• • • • • • 1976 became a member of United Nations 1995 became a full member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations(ASEAN) 1995 signed a Trade and Cooperation Agreement with European Union Applied for the membership of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum(APEC) and World Trade Organisation(WTO) Established diplomatic relations with nearly 170 countries Had official trade-economic relations with more than 165 countries and its trade turnover registered rapid annual increases of over 20% on the average Total Official Development Aids(ODA) granted to Vietnam from 1994 to 1997 reached US$8.53 billion 2000 signed Bilateral Vietnamese American Trade Agreement

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Current issues
• High and sustainable economic growth coupled with sociocultural development Better solution of pressing social issues, such as employment, hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, social ills and traffic injuries Development of education and training; promotion of scientific researches, technological innovation and application; Improvement of management mechanisms; effective tackling of citizens' petitions; guaranty of social order and discipline; and 23 maintenance of political stability.

Main targets:
• • • • • • • • • GDP to increase by 7.5%; Agricultural, forest and fishery production to increase by 4.5%; Industrial production to increase by 14%; Services to increase by 7%; Exports to increase by 16%; Total social investments to account for 30% of GDP; Inflation rate not to exceed 5%; 1,4 million job opportunities to be created; 840,000 persons to get vocational training; Households living below poverty line (revised) to account for only 16% of the population; Birth rate to decrease by 0.05%.


Entering the new century, Viet Nam faces great challenges
As a poor country, Viet Nam, accompanied by weak competitiveness of the economy and enterprises • • • • • • • has to cope with a fierce competition in the regional and international markets. The macroeconomic balances are not strong and sustainable. Due to weaknesses in the economic structure, the strength and comparative advantages of sectors and regions have not been taken. Corruption As a result, in the coming time, economic reform should be further accelerated. Moreover, a strategy on the administrative reform should be set up in detail, including a long-term vision on the role of state administration to meet requirements of the multi-sectoral economy. Currently, the Government focuses its instruction on critical issues of the administrative reform such as institutional reform, organisational reform, particularly public servants, a decisive factor to the success of 25 "Doi moi" process.

The Vietnamese Youth with country Chances and challenges


Thank you for listening !!!