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AsiaGlobal Voices

Trending Opinions From Across the Region

AsiaGlobal Voices is a curated feed of summaries of opinion articles, columns and editorials published in local languages in media from across Asia.

The publication of AsiaGlobal Voices summaries does not indicate any endorsement by the Asia Global Institute or AsiaGlobal Online of the opinions expressed in them.
Make Tet – the Lunar New Year - a Global Celebration of Our Culture
Monday, February 14, 2022
Make Tet – the Lunar New Year - a Global Celebration of Our Culture

Phan Thuy Thanh, diplomat, in VN Express (January 31, 2022)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Trieu Nhat Le / Shutterstock.com)

Make Tet – the Lunar New Year - a Global Celebration of Our Culture

Many Europeans refer to the Lunar New Year Festival as the "Chinese New Year". Not many know that Tet is uniquely Vietnamese. We should change this. Promoting culture is not a competition, but more people should know about our country's Tet celebrations. It is such an integral part of Vietnamese culture and a great opportunity to highlight our country on the global stage. 

When I was ambassador to the EU, every time our embassy organized Tet events overseas, instead of mere parties, we opted for something a bit more comprehensive. We placed more emphasis on the word "Tet" as Vietnam’s unique variation of the Lunar New Year Festival, wanting people to remember and recognize the name as a distinctly Vietnamese event.

Brussels, as an international center in Europe, is famous for its festivals. While some people came to our Tet event to satisfy their curiosity at first, they soon became regulars. Soon, in the days leading to it, people began referring to "the Vietnamese Festival," and it attracted people from across Europe who came to enjoy Vietnamese food and cultural performances.

Gradually but certainly, Vietnamese Tet gained a footprint in Belgium. Every year our event was covered by the local news media. This is just a small story for me to tell as a diplomat. Vietnam has many more stories to tell the world. Tet is a small but significant one.

So, this Tet, bring along a foreigner friend to your home for a celebration. We can all become ambassadors and diplomats of our country by treasuring and sharing our values with the world. Tet is great way to start heightening awareness and appreciation of Vietnamese culture.


In This Civilized Age, Superstition Should Be Wiped Out
Monday, June 28, 2021
In This Civilized Age, Superstition Should Be Wiped Out

Bùi Hoài Sơn, professor and Director of the Vietnam National Institute of Culture and Arts, in Viet Nam News (April 19, 2021)

Summary by Alejandro Reyes (Photo credit: Wagner T Cassimiro “Aranha”)

In This Civilized Age, Superstition Should Be Wiped Out

Social development leads to a number of consequences that make many people feel insecure, anxious and turn to religious beliefs as a consolation. Many individuals and organizations have built spiritual tourist sites, creating spiritual activities to fill that need. Also increasing this need is the impact of new media (social networks) in disseminating information and creating online communities to connect religious and spiritual practices. 

This practice has both positive and negative consequences. The positive thing is that the spiritual beliefs and practices help people be more determined in their work. Practicing religion is also part of traditional culture. Traditional cultural values are thereby maintained and strengthened by Vietnamese society as the country integrates into the global system. 

There are some negative consequences, as it leads to the restoration of unsound customs and pushes some people to superstition, adversely affecting the spiritual and material life of each individual and family. A lot of scammers take advantage of beliefs and spirituality for profit, and many highly educated people still believe in superstition. 

The boundary between religious practice, belief and superstition is quite fragile. Religion and belief contain many good values. Each person's life will become happier and more worthy of living by pursuing the values that religion and beliefs bring. To properly practice religions or a belief, we need to first understand the nature of it.

Religion or belief teaches people to think well, live well, and do good things for others. When we do that, society will certainly be good. When we practice the right religion and belief, we will create a lifestyle that respects the traditions in the family. Other factors, without scientific basis, are not the nature of religion or belief, and therefore, are not conducive to individual personal development and should be removed from social life.