Culture Culture

13/12/2017 - 08:16

An enthusiast of ancient hieroglyphics

Despite working as an Information Technology (IT) specialist, Mr. Phan Anh Dzung (born in 1958) has deep affinity with Han-Nom (Sino-Vietnamese hieroglyphics), and thus he has developed useful software, contributing to the conservation and development of Nom scripts heritage and bringing the ancient hieroglyphics into present-day being.

Mr. Phan Anh Dzung (white shirt) discusses work with a colleague

After several times having acquaintances introduce us to him, we finally had an opportunity to talk to Mr. Phan Anh Dzung, one of the eighteen amateur inventors of the province in 2017, who was honored in October. As an IT specialist, Mr. Phan Anh Dzung is the father of several useful softwares that are used nationwide and abroad. Particularly, the software system of Nom, Thai and Cham scripts was awarded with Balaban prize in 2011 – a creative product that makes “IT knight” Phan Anh Dzung well-known.

The enthusiasm for technology and creation was partly revealed through our conversation with “IT knight” Phan Anh Dzung. For this enthusiasm, all his research works have been based on information technology. He believes that all communication bariers encountered by the deaf will be eliminated with the assistance of IT and the Internet. Thus, he found it a great opportunity to realize his passion and ideas when he left Books and School Equipments Company for a job in Thua Thien Hue Center of Informtion Technology in 2005.

On his enthusiasm for ancient hieroglyphics – Nom scripts he wittily commented that it was as “old” as the ancient scripts. “When I was a school boy, I had deep affection for Sino-Vietnamese poetry such as Binh Ngo Dai Cao and Bach Dang Giang Phu, even though I was not sure what some words really meant. Later when I had an opportunity to work with Mr. Nguyen The on the Nom hieroglyphics edition of Truyen Kieu (‘Kieu’s Story’), I had more motivation to design software for Nom hieroglyphics fonts.”

Thanks to the help of experts in Nom scripts, after a long time struggling, he successfully built up a trio of softwares for Nom, Thai and Cham scripts in 2011 and another trio of softwares for Nom, Thai and Cham scripts that run on android mobile devices in 2015. This is a consistently and methodically designed software which consists of fonts, input methods, dictionaries, references, along with websites for online references, including forums for Nom, Thai and Cham scripts. It satisfies the demands of domestic and international users. All softwares and websites are hyperlinked, making a well-designed system that can run on different operating systems and support various devices. This is a useful tool for researchers and students of Sino-Vietnamese in colleges and universities, especially the Thai and Cham communities in Vietnam.

As a pioneer in applying IT to the preservation and promotion of national scripts, the amateur inventor Phan Anh Dzung has introduced a comprehensive approach in order to store and preserve ancient cultural heritage. “I hope the softwares for Nom, Thai and Cham scripts, as well as the linked websites that I developed will contribute to boosting research to help future generations better understand national scripts,” said Mr. Dzung.

With his creativity and devotion, Mr. Phan Anh Dzung has been honored in many competitions, remarkably, the national second prize in “Thap Sang Niem Tin” (Illuminating Hopes) and the second prize for the 10th National Award of Creativity in Techniques, Science and Technology.

Story and photo: Thao Vy