Culture Culture

07/09/2019 - 07:20

Preserving Uncle Ho’s timeless image

With respect and pride, the guards and guides at President Ho Chi Minh's memorial house on Mai Thuc Loan street and in Duong No village have always wholeheartedly taken care of the monuments, recounted tales, and spread inspirational messages about Uncle Ho's childhood in Hue.

Ms. Diep Thuy Hang (first from right) - an on-site guide introducing Uncle Ho's childhood in Hue to visitors

A vow of lifetime dedication

Amidst the tranquility of Duong No village, the memorial house of President Ho Chi Minh always has a leafy landscape. Every day in that thatched roof house, Nguyen Hanh diligently takes care of Uncle Ho’s relics.

His daily morning routine is to water the plants, sweep the house, take care of the garden, and clean the artifacts. Then, he changes flowers and respectfully lights incense on the altar. The work seems tedious but motivating for Hanh as he sincerely felt the warmth of the house and of Uncle Ho’s most cherished belongings.

Hanh is the second generation in the family to do the upkeep work of Uncle Ho's relics in Duong No village. His father, Mr. Nguyen Liem used to do this job since the memorial house of President Ho Chi Minh in Duong No was built. Liem once lived next to the monument, but when Ho Chi Minh Museum expanded this memorial house, Mr. Liem's ​​family voluntarily moved to donate land to the museum to build a display space.

Living next to Uncle Ho's monument, Nguyen Hanh had an attached childhood to this house. He shared: “When I was about 9 or 10, I came here to play every day. As I grow up, I know that this was where Uncle Ho lived during his childhood, and I feel very proud that my homeland bears his stamp. I’ve been honored to keep up the maintenance work at his memorial house for the past 15 years as my humble contribution helps preserve the warm image of Uncle Ho so that all visiting state officers, Party members, and individuals can feel gratified."

Once an Uncle Ho soldier, Nguyen Thanh Thoai have had 19 years working as a security guard at President Ho Chi Minh's memorial house on Mai Thuc Loan street. Thoai’s devotion at work shows a heartfelt love for Uncle Ho and his memorabilia.

 From the spinning wheel, the loom, Mrs. Hoang Thi Loan’s table for betel quid to the oil lamp plate, pots, bowls and dishes, all are carefully cleaned. Even the way he uses the towel and broom is very gentle.

Inspirational emotions

Besides the security guards, the on-site guides at the Ho Chi Minh Museum also have fond memories of President Ho Chi Minh's memorial houses in Mai Thuc Loan and Duong No. Taking turns to be on duty every week in either Duong No or Mai Thuc Loan, these guides are still deeply moved when reciting tales of Uncle Ho’s childhood to visitors.

On the occasion of the National Independence Day last year, I had a chance to visit Uncle Ho's memorial house on Mai Thuc Loan Street and learn from the guide Diep Thuy Hang that: “This was where President Ho Chi Minh's family lived when they settled in Hue, a place that bears the stamp of Nguyen Sinh Cung’s difficult childhood. In this house, his mother, Mrs. Hoang Thi Loan, passed away in poverty, leaving 11-year-old Nguyen Sinh Cung and his newborn little brother behind. His childhood years in Hue were to bear the grief at his mother’s loss, to shoulder the burden of a sobbing baby brother thirsty for milk, yet also to harbor his desire for national independence and freedom…” Hang recalled in a voice choked with emotion.

There have been countless times during her past 14 years as a guide at the Ho Chi Minh Museum that Hang introduced Uncle Ho's childhood in Hue to visitors, but each time mentioning his losses and pains, she still feels moved to tears.

Growing up in a family with a revolutionary tradition, from an early age, lecturer Nguyen Thi Minh Toan often heard her father recount stories about Uncle Ho. Her work at the Ho Chi Minh Museum in Thua Thien Hue has even deepened her childhood feelings for Uncle Ho. These growing sentiments helped her successfully and emotionally convey Uncle Ho’s life and career, especially his childhood in Thua Thien Hue, to the audience.

“Over 10 years working as a guide at two memorial houses, I’ve always tried to fully convey the life period of Uncle Ho and his family when they stayed in Thua Thien Hue for schooling and living, and his love for the people here. The more I grow up, the more experienced I become to understand his misfortunes during childhood. The memorial space always brings me a sense of warmth for the time Uncle Ho's family lived here”, Ms. Minh Toan confided.

Story and photo: Minh Hien