Researcher, poet Le Minh Quoc: raising voice of national pride

Thursday, 2020-07-09 13:13:08
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The book has been implemented by researcher and poet Le Minh Quoc for 20 years.
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NDO – The book titled “Dau an khoi dong van hoa Viet” (Imprints in enlarging Vietnamese culture) is a favourite research project which has been implemented by researcher and poet Le Minh Quoc for 20 years.

He granted an interview with Thoi Nay (Present Times) publication of Nhan Dan (People) Newspaper to talking about this work.

Q: Congratulations on your recent released work. I called it an “ambitious” work because we can see the long culture and history of the nation through the book’s five chapters: “Hung Kings and the Four Immortals”; “The ancestors of trade in Vietnam”, “Pioneering creative talents”, “Several milestones inspiring modern art”, and “The country bearing an oath”. What can you share about this “ambitious” book?

A: I did not have any ambition other than trying to readdress the issue that many people have expressed concern about. Since 1998, with the documents and artefacts that I have collected and ensured the reliability of, I decided to structure the book as you said. This structure is suggestive for those who want to add more characters and other fields. This is a matter of course, because culture is a constant movement that continuously tolerates the newness of the times and eliminates outdated things. Then, in the 21st century when many other cultures have been imported to the country, how will the Vietnamese people absorb and select the multiple cultural flows that suit national identities?

With this question, the current and future generations will continue to recognise and systematise as I do with my book. This silent work was implemented with the ambition of contributing to raising the voice of national pride and expressing my love for the country.

Researcher and poet Le Minh Quoc

Q: Many documents in the book have become popular. How did you make them attractive to readers?

A: This was also a problem that I worried over a lot. At last, I decided to express the contents as a story with many issues that were arranged in an orderly manner, based on reliable documents, such that readers would find it easy to thoroughly grasp. For example, everyone knows the role of Lang Lieu in the legend about “banh chung” (square glutinous rice cake) and “banh day” (round glutinous rice cake). However, I still rewrote it in a form of “literature” as much as I could. In addition, while discussing about Son Tinh – Thuy Tinh, I cited Nguyen Nhuoc Phap’s poems to “Dai Viet su ky toan thu” (Dai Viet historiography). I also paid great attention to the legends related to the characters to help reflect their characteristics more clearly.

Q: I sympathised thoroughly with what you once said: “When we survey the trade, ancestors and pioneers in a field, we will understand the cultural values and spirits of a nation”. What must we do to prevent these cultural values and spirits from fading over time?

A: In the past, our predecessors were successful in inspiring Vietnamese cultural flows because when assimilating new cultural values, they had to select and improve what they possessed. In addition, they apply the new things to suit with the psychology and practical conditions of the nation. In my opinion, culture is a process of movement and a continuous flow with the most vivid expression of the daily life and behaviour of the people in the country as well as other nations. All nations have limitations and shortcomings in their personalities and ways of thinking, and Vietnam is no exception. In the early 20th century, when the country was facing the risk of loss and the wind of Western civilisation swept into and shattered all patterns that had been forming for thousands of years, progressive Confucians were worried about the nation’s destiny. One of their top concerns was “enlightening” the people’s intellectuals. In order gain the “moult”, it is crucial to recognise the bad habits of our nation to make changes. I think the embodiment of innovation and culture.

In the past, celebrities enlarged Vietnamese culture thanks to internal resources in many fields, leaving a lasting impression. I think that the basic starting point was still patriotism with the spirit of putting the interest of community first. As a result, that pioneering cultural flow has spread.

In my opinion, when Vietnamese people genuinely want to remove the limitations and bad habits; We will help sustain the country’s cultural spirit. The change must be an urgent work of the whole nation, not any individual alone.