Culture Culture

01/11/2019 - 08:10

Preserving Hue culture and personality

Developing strategies to preserve, maintain, exploit, and promote Hue’s traditional and heritage values is the primary concern of Dr. Phan Thanh Hai in his capacity as the Director of the Department of Culture and Sports.

Dr. Phan Thanh Hai, Director of the Department of Culture and Sports

In your new position, what are some of your concerns for heritage conservation and cultural construction?

Over the past years, the Party, the government, and people have made great efforts in restoring our rich heritage to foster the development of local tourism and services. However, investment in heritage and culture remains modest, primarily in the Complex of Hue Monuments.

For 25 years (1993-2018), investment in the Complex of Hue Monuments reached approximately VND 1,600 billion, whereas structures outside the Complex have received only about VND 50 billion of investment over the past 10 years.

Hue has almost no strategic cultural institutions despite their vital roles in a heritage and cultural city. Many museums are now in degraded and temporary accommodation, such as Hue Museum of Royal Antiquities and Thua Thien Hue Historical Museum. Hue Museum of Fine Arts has had no headquarters up to now, except for its two exhibition spaces for Le Ba Dang and Diem Phung Thi’s artworks.

We are still devoid of a range of halls for organizing major conferences, seminars, cultural and art activities when the Provincial Information and Culture Center built in 1978 has become too old. Large and well-stocked libraries are also absent.

In Vietnam, Hue is well-known for successfully preserving its ancient and traditional culture. Yet the whirlwind of urbanization, integration, and development also destroys many traditional values and customs ​​of the family and the people's lifestyle.

It is proposed that the province should focus on exploring more cultural strategies to preserve the traditional cultural identity, including policies on improving Hue people’s awareness and constructing Hue’s distinct ways of life to maintain the treasured values of ancestors. These values are preciously rare resources for development, so the cooperation of the whole society, especially the education of tradition, is of fundamental importance to maintain honorable ways of life.

The admirable gentle beauty of Hue women. Photo: Nguyen Phong

As the province is focusing on urban of "heritage, culture, ecology, landscape, and environmental friendliness”, what would be given priority to achieve a breakthrough in the cultural sector?

Our responsibility is to abide by the province's development strategies in the period of 2021-2030, with a vision toward 2045. In particular, a typical heritage city includes tangible heritage values ​​that must be identified and planned for conservation.

Intangible values ​​include the festivals and traditional handicrafts to be demonstrated and honored in festivals to develop products for tourism and related services.

In heritage urban areas, people are still the central element of development, so our strategies to build Hue culture, Hue people, Hue lifestyle, and Hue personality are absolutely the core.

All the cultural sector will work closely with the province to formulate and implement the development schemes for special heritage urban areas; pioneer the construction of projects involving Hue culture and people. More particularly, educating people on traditions, building manners and cultural lifestyle in both urban and rural areas are at the heart of development.

For the upcoming Hue Festival 2020, how will the Department of Culture and Sports plan to create profound and quality impact?

For Festival 2020, the province has assigned the culture and sports sector to organize two main activities: Ao Dai Festival and Art Clubs Festival. The Department of Culture and Sports is now actively preparing for these two activities, and up to now, the overall scenarios for both events have basically been completed.

We also worked with the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism and a number of agencies to organize some major cultural and sports activities before and during Hue Festival 2020.

The Department of Culture and Sports also plays an important role in linking all activities of Hue Festival, evaluating the content and plans of these activities and events to timely advise the Organizing Committee of the Festival. Hopefully, we will have a significant and quality festival to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Hue Festival held by the Imperial City. 

Regarding sports, what would be done to have more domestic and foreign achievements?

In 2019, Thua Thien Hue sport has achieved several impressive accomplishments. The medals won from domestic and international tournaments outnumbered those gained in the previous years. For the first time, our athlete Nguyen Thi Thuy Linh won a gold medal at a world shuttlecock kicking championship, and athlete Nguyen Thi Thanh Nhi set a new special national record in archery.

These are the fruits of our productive investment. In the coming time, we will continue to selectively invest in the key sports of the province such as shuttlecock kicking, archery, wrestling, martial arts, chess, and badminton…

The Department also suggests that the province prioritize investment in additional facilities for these sports, besides incentive policies for athletes. Besides, we pay special attention to encouraging public participation in sports like badminton, football, tennis, swimming, boat racing, dance sport, etc.

Thank you very much!

By Minh Hien